*#&^#% blasted Boiler!!!!

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  #1  
Old 12-08-11, 11:34 AM
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*#&^#% blasted Boiler!!!!

Guys, I'm at my wits end......

We've been in this house for 12 years and this....heating system... has never worked for crap.

The fresh water fill has always been shut off, you have to hop back there and do it manually. Each time I try to set the fill valve and leave the water on it builds too much pressure and pisses out the pressure valve after getting up to temp. I've been catching it in a bucket but the darn thing will over fill.

If I do nothing it looses water volume and pressure, the circulation pump gets loud until the pressure comes up OR I add water. BUT, after adding water it gets up to temp, builds too much pressure and starts pissing out the pressure valve again!

More over, there are NO bleeders at the registers. The only air bleeder is at the X trol tank above the boiler on the exit or feed line to the system. There has always been that "gurgling" sound when it started....you could hear it and follow it althe way through the house. Now, its really bad (noise) and I have been messing with it for weeks with no help in sight.

The tag on the boiler says "Min relief valve pressure = 48lbs." THEN it says "ASME maximum working pressure water = 30lbs." It has a 30lb ASME valve, can I just put a bigger lb valve on it?????

The guage isn't accurate either, sitting here with the ASME valve removed (it's all shut down, gas too) and completely cooled it reads 16-18lbs. When building pressure to operating temp the ASME valve will start to leak at 42lbs or so on the guage. So, if 16-18 is really 0 and it starts to leak at 42 the operating pressure is right (or close) just reading at different numbers. That means the ASME valve is functioning correctly.

Ugghhhh! I've installed 3 circulation pumps in 12 years, 2 of them back to back. If I can't keep water pressure (volume) up when it's dormant I'll just burn up another pump. If I do keep the water up and the pump runs quietly it builds too much pressure at opperating temp and pisses out all the water I just put in!

I'm not in a position to pay a pro, with the right help I'm more than capable of handling this but I'm getting pissed.

Freakin boiler heat.....I hate this crap!!!!!!!!

I'm sure you have tons of questions......fire away.....it's getting late and we'll need some kind of heat tonight!!!

Thanks!

Robert
 
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  #2  
Old 12-08-11, 11:53 AM
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Any boiler system should be leak proof as fresh water contains oxygen which attacks the metal causing corrosion. The expansion tank absorbs the water as water expands when heated, so check for proper operation of this tank.When the boiler water is cold pressure should be 12psi. and 18 t0 20 when at 180f .safety valve should pop at 30psi.
 
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Old 12-08-11, 12:31 PM
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I shut the system down, gas too. It has cooled so I removed the ASME valve (30 lb) and was going to get a higher pressure valve to replace it....but, it will just leak out at a higher pressure right?

I also drained the water from the X trol tank, it was crystal clear and only room temp compared to the rusty, extremely hot water in the boiler/lines. How is that?????? it has to come through the boiler to get to the tank!

Should these tanks be dry? If not why is it filled with clean water?????
 
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Old 12-08-11, 12:57 PM
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There is a rubber bladder that separates the water from the air in these tanks ,if you got water out of the air valve the tank need to be replaced as water is incompressible and the boiler water will have no place to go as it is heated and expanding and therefore the boiler pressure will increase until the safety valve leaks at 30psi.
 
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Old 12-08-11, 01:06 PM
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OK, thats good news!

After I replace this tank what will I have to do then? Do you pressurize this new tank with air through the valve or just fire it up?

I read earlier that it should be under pressure, tested with an air/tire guage to 15psi. When I tried this with the existing tank it just added pressure to the boiler/system as evidence from the guage rising in pressure. The raised pressure just made the saftey/pressure valve pop sooner (in elapsed time not lower pressure).

I guess that should have been an indication something was wrong, huh?
 
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Old 12-08-11, 01:15 PM
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Robert... yer on the road to recovery now... no more CAFFEINE!

The tank should hold air pressure, yes.

When you add air to the tank the boiler pressure CAN increase... if there is water in the tank that is being pushed out to the system by the act of adding the pressure.

BEFORE you install the tank, check to see that the factory pre-charge of 12 PSI is still there. If you've got a two story home TWELVE is the number, not fifteen.

After the tank is installed, you need to re-pressurize the boiler to 12 PSI COLD... and you can't do that if your gauge is broken... so you need to replace that also.

ABOVE ALL!!!!! DO NOT CHANGE THE PSI OF THE PRESSURE RELIEF VALVE! THAT IS AN IMPORTANT SAFETY DEVICE! DO NOT CHANGE THE PRESSURE! PLEASE!

I'll post more later this evening...
 
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Old 12-08-11, 02:29 PM
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Well, I got the tank and installed it. The guage...thats another story! I took it over to the H&C shop and they don't have it in stock. Now its after hours and getting a replacement won't come until tomorrow.

I'm going to reinstall the old one so we have some heat (and water!) and go at it again tomorrow. Won't be able to dial in the fill valve without an accurate guage but I'm hoping all will work out tomorrow!

Huge help guys, thanks so much!

I'll update tonights progress/happenings and hope we don't screw anything else up before tomorrow.

Robert
 
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Old 12-08-11, 02:45 PM
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You can piece together a gauge that screws onto a drain valve for temporary use...

Home Depot and/or Lowes have these for about $10, but the resolution on the down low isn't great... good enough though to get you by until you can get the other gauge replaced:



You could stop by a real P&H or Swimming pool supply and pick up a 0-30 or 0-50 and replace the gauge that comes with the gadget... or you could also just buy the fittings and roll your own.

I'm putting odds on your fill valve also needing replacement!
 
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Old 12-08-11, 02:58 PM
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I made a pressure gauge tester out of bits from my junque boxe:



By the way, it's also a very good idea to replace the relief valve... if it's been spurting and such for some time, it's seen better days. Relief valve is something that's recommended to replace like every 5 years or so... but nobody ever does.

Also, on the expansion tank... they will last a LONG time if the air charge is properly maintained... just like car tires, or kids balloons, they will lose air each year... maybe 1-2 PSI ... then the rubber membrane gets all stretched outta shape after a few years and fails.... I always recommend some optional valves be installed when replacing the tank. Like this:



Since you need to have ZERO water pressure on the water side of the tank in order to accurately charge it with air, the ball valve and drain allow you to do this without having to mess with the boiler at all. Just close the ball valve, drain the pressure off the tank, leave the drain open, add air if needed... close drain, open ball, adjust boiler pressure if needed, and yer done!

You can put that together with threaded fittings and nipples ... there are commercially made valves for the same purpose for about 40-50 bucks... Watts makes a neat one, model RBFF, even includes a pressure gauge!


image courtesy watts.com
 
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Old 12-08-11, 03:32 PM
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So far so good!

The temp is coming up slowly as well as the pressure. Funny thing is, the guage is reading perfectly in accordance with my math. Adding the water to get it running it came up about 12lbs!

It's been running about 20 minutes and the temp & pressure are slowly but steadily rising, nothing beyond the pressure of the relief valve! It's at 160 and holding at 20lbs, this morning it would have been up near 180+ and pissing out of the relief valve after just a few minutes.

I'd love to say thats it, and just deal with the wrong guage reading...... but thats not me! I'll install the new guage tomorrow and sleep better knowing its all good.

Thanks again for the help fellas, freggin tank.....I never would have guessed a bum diaphram could screw up the entire system.

I'm a "car guy", if it had a swirl tank and a rad cap I could have fixed it hours ago!!!!! And it would bleed off air better!

Robert
 
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Old 12-08-11, 03:44 PM
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I'm a "car guy", if it had a swirl tank and a rad cap I could have fixed it hours ago!!!!! And it would bleed off air better!
Welll... think about it.... kinda sorta the same thing, ain't it?

16PSI rad cap, when engine heats, coolant pushes into tank... just like expansion tank, except it's 'open' versus closed... engine cools and sucks it back in... pretty much the same principle.
 
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Old 12-08-11, 06:03 PM
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Just went back and really read all of your post. Very thurough, and informative. No disrespect I was just frazzled this afternoon, had more important things to do. Gotta have heat though!

It working fine. All the numbers are good and its actually warm in here! Not a drip to be found but I need a new t-stat. Once its at temp and cycles off for awhile it naturally comes on when the stat is tripped. It runs for 6-8 minutes then cycles off again. Burns gas but gets nothing accomplished. It will do this every 10-15 minutes or so. Crank up the stat and it runs fine, numbers are good, it will click off on the stat too.

The poor thing looks 40 years old!

More tomorrow
 
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Old 12-08-11, 07:13 PM
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Once its at temp and cycles off for awhile it naturally comes on when the stat is tripped. It runs for 6-8 minutes then cycles off again. Burns gas but gets nothing accomplished. It will do this every 10-15 minutes or so. Crank up the stat and it runs fine, numbers are good, it will click off on the stat too.
I'm not quite followin' ya here Robert...

Does your boiler system also supply the domestic hot water to the home?

Do you know the model of aquastat control on the boiler? If not, can you tell me how many temp dials are in the control and what they are set to?

When a thermostat calls for heat, the burner and the circulator pump will start... if the boiler water gets up to the HIGH LIMIT setting on the control, the BURNER will stop firing, but the CIRCULATOR will continue to run as long as the thermostat is still calling for heat.

If the thermostat continues to call for heat, and during the time that only the circulator was running, the boiler water cools to about 10 less than the HIGH LIMIT (aka the DIFFERENTIAL) the burner will FIRE AGAIN and reheat the water...

So, maybe that's what you are noticing?

The other possibility is that your boiler also supplies domestic hot water, in which case the burner will fire in order to keep the boiler warm, even WITHOUT the thermostat calling for heat.

p.s. what disrespect? I know you were freaked out... I get like that too.
 
  #14  
Old 12-09-11, 05:26 AM
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It's the stat. Each time it turns on then off the stat "clicks".

I believe the aquastat (no idea what I'm talking about) is a Honeywell item. It has a disc type thingy inside much like the limit/warning switch on my blown air furnace in the garage.

Yes, my garage has better heat than my house!!!!

The H&C guys said its a common side effect of a stat out of calibration...which happens....to old school stuff like mine.

We have a regular water heater, the place is old (early 1940's) but not THAT old.
 
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