burnham boiler with broken pressure gauge

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Old 12-18-11, 01:27 PM
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Question burnham boiler with broken pressure gauge

My v-7 oil fired boiler is used for hot water and heat the house. The boiler is running all day yet the house is still cold. I went downstairs to do some inspection and realized that the pressure gauge is not functioning at all. I don't know for how long the gauge's been broken. What could be the problem? Should i shut the boiler down? Is there a safety issue? Please help
 

Last edited by maple_leaf; 12-18-11 at 01:34 PM. Reason: to get a quicker reply
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Old 12-18-11, 01:41 PM
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Hi Maple, What leads you to the conclusion that the gauge is not functioning?

I will be the first around here to suspect a pressure gauge, everybody knows that... but is the gauge reading zero? If so, how do you know that you don't actually have zero psi in the boiler? It's possible!
 
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Old 12-18-11, 01:50 PM
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The needle is all the way to the right
 
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Old 12-18-11, 02:27 PM
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You need to post pics to a free site like photobucket.com, then post the link back here.

Trooper may be on later. I can help you.

if the gauge is all the way to the right and the relief valve has not tripped and released any water, then I would say the gauge is no funtioning of course.

As far as the house being cold, you can have several issues. Not enough water possibly? A circulator or zone valve thats not working?

If you can do this today I would absolutly shut off the power to the boiler until you can get the correct pressure reading. Then we will need to take it from there. I know its cold here in the east, but if you have no heat anyway shutting it down for saftey purposes is more then resonable.

If you are on sure and this is a DIY site sometimes it may be smart to call in a pro.

If you think to tackle this yourself then go to the home store and get a gauge that hooks to a hose bib.

Like this.



Of course try to get one that reads 100 psi or less for better accuracy, but if not this will get you at least a reading. Hook it to a bleeder valve or the boiler drain itself.

If you can take additional well lit pics from all angles of your boiler we can guide you further.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 12-18-11, 02:32 PM
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Ahhhh...Trooper i just beat you by a minute...LOL

OK maple leaf Trooper is on and can guide you also. He will add to my comments.

Doh...your post is gone trooper.... never mind the above...Ha,ha,

Mike NJ
 
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Old 12-18-11, 02:39 PM
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Ha! I'm still here... but feel free!

I gots lots to do... in and out of the room...
 
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Old 12-18-11, 03:18 PM
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Thanks ... i just bled all the boards and it's better in here. But the needle on the gauge pressure is still all the way to the right. See attached pictures





 

Last edited by NJT; 12-18-11 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 12-18-11, 03:24 PM
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Yeah, before anything else, you need to know what the pressure in the boiler is.

Where's your expansion tank?

Is there a barometric damper on that flue pipe?

Show us a pic of the stuff above the boiler too.
 
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Old 12-18-11, 03:40 PM
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The expansion tank is on top of the boiler.. see picture


Yes there is a damper on the flue ..see pic
 
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Old 12-18-11, 03:52 PM
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You can get a gauge and hook it to that valve to the right of the burner. Hook it up and open the valve. At least it will give you some indication of the psi.

Also I have to say that I am not sure of the implications of that elbow for the flue directly coming off the boiler. I am sure there is a rule but I cant remember right now. I am sure its not a show stopper.

Now why you bled and how seems an issue. We will not know anything until we know what your pressure is.

Also do you hear the circ running on a call for heat?

And looks like the pressure gauge reads 180F? Is that working do you think?

Mike NJ
 
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Old 12-18-11, 03:55 PM
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Your gauge is toast. That needs to be replaced. You can do it yourself if you are up for it, or you can do what lawrosa suggested. What you really need is a gauge with a scale much smaller than the one lawrosa posted. So you will have cobble something together using the proper gauge. with the hose bip connection on it, you can hook it to the boiler drain. Then in the warmer months, replace the gauge on the boiler.
 
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Old 12-18-11, 04:00 PM
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The baseboards were cold while the boiler was running. So i bled to get the air out. Yes i can hear it. How easy is it to replace the gauge? It looks like there is a broken spring or something inside the gauge.
 
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Old 12-18-11, 04:03 PM
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Good... I can't tell if the photo is crooked, or if the damper is... but those should be installed plumb and level. That horizontal should be horizontal, no big deal, just sayin'

I'm gonna recommend that you check the air charge in the expansion tank, but not until you do something about the pressure gauge... let us know when you have a way to measure the pressure accurately... either replace the gauge or get an add on one ...
 
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Old 12-18-11, 04:05 PM
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Thanks...how dangerous is it to run the boiler without the pressure gauge. Although i don't know for how long it's been broken.
 
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Old 12-18-11, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by maple_leaf View Post
Thanks...how dangerous is it to run the boiler without the pressure gauge.
The question is comparable to a car with a bad oil pressure gauge or bad temp gauge. It's not dangerous unless there is a problem.

In your case, since you don't know how long the gauge has been broken, I assume you never pay any attention to it. Every time I walk past my boiler, I glance at the temp and pressure - but that's just me.

When something goes haywire, and you post a question here, probably you will be first asked to tell us what the gauge indicates.

The alternative for an non-DIYer is to call in a plumber at least once a year, and tell him to do whatever is required, and to give you a bill. If I were you, I would call one now.
 
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Old 12-18-11, 05:07 PM
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Every time I walk past my boiler, I glance at the temp and pressure - but that's just me.
Nope, not just you... you are not alone brother!

Maple, I'm kinda thinking the same thing as Gil...

The alternative for an non-DIYer is to call in a plumber at least once a year, and tell him to do whatever is required, and to give you a bill. If I were you, I would call one now.
Because I'm also wondering just how long it's been since the boiler has been cleaned and the burner has been serviced. I'm gonna go a bit further though and not say "plumber" but instead "heating technician". Apologies to any plumbers on board, but they usually are not that well versed on servicing oil burners. Many are, but make sure when you make your calls that you tell them that you need the oil burner serviced as well.

Changing the gauge is not really a big deal, but you probably will have to drain the boiler... and getting the water back in and air out and running again can be a challenge if you haven't done this before... and winter time is NOT the time for a homeowner to learn by doing... what happens you break something? or run into some problem?
 
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Old 12-18-11, 05:15 PM
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I plugged a pressure gauge to the drain and i am reading only 10 psi
 
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Old 12-18-11, 05:23 PM
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Although many draft regulators are mounted in the chimney like this shows but in reality the draft regulator is supposed to be in the pipe in the flue gas flow. With oil heat the chimney base below the pipe should be backfilled.
 
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Old 12-18-11, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by maple_leaf View Post
I plugged a pressure gauge to the drain and i am reading only 10 psi
Your system should have a minimum of 12 psi when cold.
 
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Old 12-18-11, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by maple_leaf View Post
I plugged a pressure gauge to the drain and i am reading only 10 psi
Too low. If you are unsure how to raise the pressure, please call for help - he can do that when he comes to replace the gauge.
 
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Old 12-18-11, 06:15 PM
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I look at my gauge every time by it too.
If the boiler is hot 10psi is too low, mine reads around 18 or so at 170 and 12 cold.
 
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