Is 15psi low for home boiler?

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Old 04-16-12, 07:47 PM
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Is 15psi low for home boiler?

After over a year, our new boiler started dripping in one of the open-ended vertical copper pipes and flooded our boiler room. We called the plumbing company that installed it and we were told that municipal water PSI was too high. He showed me that it went over the 100 psi limit of his PSI gauge attached to our outdoor faucet.

He recommended we have an expansion tank installed. So we did. They installed it for 1k+.

When they left and we started using the shower and laundry, we noticed the water too weak. The shower head does not sprinkle but instead water pours weakly in the middle. I looked at the boiler's psi meter and it showed under 15psi. I took a picture:

[IMG]http://i41.************/6h4va9.jpg[/IMG]
i41.************/6h4va9.jpg

We complained to the plumbing company but were told on the phone our PSI was 50. They said our faucet and shower head had dirt which would explain the weak water coming out. When I said the laundry faucet is weak, too, we're told there's a screen in the hose and that might be clogged up, too.

We had none of these problems until right after the expansion tank was installed.

Any advice appreciated. Thank you.
 
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Old 04-17-12, 05:11 AM
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The boiler pressure has nothing to do with the pressure for your domestic water. Where did they install this expansion tank? Was it on the domestic water supply? Did you try cleanign those items as they suggested? Did that improve anything?
 
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Old 04-17-12, 09:49 AM
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I have not tried cleaning as suggested but I'm planning to buy a new shower head on the way home tonight.

We actually have two baths, the other one has a different shower head and water seems to sprinkle out fine -- water is not focused in the middle like a faucet as with our other bathroom both on the same floor -- albeit weaker than before.

I'm beginning to suppose with your comment that what we're going through is probably normal(?). We're spoiled by the strong current before and after the expansion tank (installed between the city's main and our boiler, if that's what is meant by domestic) we miss that with the now more-or-less normal water pressure. I suppose the plumbing company installed things right and we'll just have to get used to the lower water pressure.

Thanks for the response. I'll pick up a psi gauge, too, just in case.
 
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Old 04-17-12, 05:18 PM
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Domestic water supply refers to the water pipes that come in from the city and supply your faucets and shower heads. These are different than the boiler pipes which operate in a separate environment.

Was the expansion tank the only thing they installed?
 
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Old 04-17-12, 05:23 PM
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Please tell us the make and model of the boiler.

Several things you've said have got me scratching my head...

our new boiler started dripping in one of the open-ended vertical copper pipes
What is an 'open-ended vertical copper pipe' ? Are you talking about the pipe coming off the pressure relief valve on the boiler and pointing DOWN toward the floor? OR, is the pipe coming off of the 'backflow preventer' on the water line that feeds the boiler? Can you take a pic of that please? The answer to this will tell a different story perhaps.

This forum won't let you use t i n y p i c dot com ... try Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket instead.

He recommended we have an expansion tank installed. So we did. They installed it for 1k+.
Yikes, I hope you got a bubble bath, anointed with oils, a haircut, shave, and a steak dinner with a nice bottle of wine with that 'deal'.

Can you take a picture of where exactly this 'expansion tank' was placed in the system?

An expansion tank by itself isn't going to reduce your operating pressure from over 100 down to 50. I believe that the tank wasn't the only thing they did. I suspect that they also installed a water pressure regulator on the home supply from the street.

You must live VERY close to a pumping station to see that high city water pressure.
 
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Old 04-17-12, 05:31 PM
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They said our faucet and shower head had dirt which would explain the weak water coming out. When I said the laundry faucet is weak, too, we're told there's a screen in the hose and that might be clogged up, too.
How many thousands did they want to come out and change those ?
 
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Old 04-17-12, 06:19 PM
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You have been scammed.


*****************************************
 
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Old 04-17-12, 07:43 PM
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Thank you all for the responses.

Water started dripping out here and flooded our laundry/boiler room:

#1)


This is our heater installed 1 year 4 mos ago:

#2)


This is the expansion tank installed:

#3)


The receipt says:

"Installed new main water pressure regulator w/ dual check backflow prevention and expansion tank w/ relief valve. Also replaced temp/pressure relief valve for boiler."

On the other receipt (where I gave downpayment), it says:

"Install one pressure domestic system pressure absorption and backflow domestic. Also one pressure relief system for Triangle Tube. 1 yr warranty."

Pricing was $265.92 for I think the boiler's pressure relief system and $750 for the rest.

When they made the recommendation, I approved on the spot because they did a really good job on the boiler they installed over a year ago (see pic #2). I called 3 major plumbing companies at the time for quotes and they were the lowest. So I placed my trust in them since then.

Also, the reason our old boiler was replaced was because of the same thing: water (muck, actually) started pouring out of one of the copper pipes.

Also, a few years ago, the city came in and did something to our pipes. It was free and I was actually happy because they installed a lever as the main water switch. Before, I turned off water main (when installing faucet, washers, etc.) via the knob handle (relief valve?) which leaked a little whenever I did.

Now I'm wondering if what the city did had to do with damaging our old boiler, and now our new one. The plumber showed me that water pressure went beyond the 100psi on his psi gauge.

Today, I bought a psi gauge at HomeDepot and it reads about 43-44 psi on both our laundry faucet (cold water) and outdoor garden faucet. I also installed a new shower head and water sprinkles out better.
 
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Old 04-18-12, 04:25 PM
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OK... I feel a little bit better about the work you had done and what you got charged now that I've seen the pics.

If you just got an expansion tank for a grand, you got seriously shagged... the price for all that work may be a bit high by some people standards, but depending on where you live, it may be the going rate.

BUT...

one pressure relief system for Triangle Tube
VERY seldom does a boiler safety relief valve open and spew all by itself for no other cause or reason.

The city domestic water pressure won't cause that relief valve to spew... they are separate systems.

99.9% of the time the reason they open is because the pressure in the BOILER ( NOT the home supply, they are two separate systems ) has gone too high.

MOST of the time this is because the expansion tank on the BOILER (the gray one in the pic) has lost it's air charge or become otherwise defective. Changing only the pressure relief valve without checking and/or charging the boiler's expansion tank will usually do nothing but waste your money. And the problem will return shortly.

There are other reasons for the relief valve to open... fairly common, but not as likely.

I strongly suspect that your guys did BOTH... replaced the relief valve and found and corrected the reason that the pressure in the boiler went too high... otherwise, you would have the same problem that you did originally... the safety relief valve would still leak when the boiler heated up.

In other words, the relief valve spewing is a SYMPTOM of a problem, not the CAUSE.

Depending on the temperature of the water in your boiler, 15 PSI on the boiler gauge is most likely FINE. You NEVER want to see that gauge approaching 25 PSI. If you do, very soon that relief valve will be spewing again. Make it a point to check that boiler gauge from time to time and know where it sits when the boiler is COLD, versus when the boiler is HOT. It SHOULD be higher when the boiler is HOT, maybe as high as 20 or a bit more. If it consistently goes near 25 when hot, and drops back to 15 when cool, you should make it a point to check the air charge on the expansion tank. It's not a difficult thing for a DIY homeowner to do, but it must be done CORRECTLY. There are step by step instructions in a 'sticky' post at the top of the forum. Yours looks close to the ground... you may need rubber arms to get a gauge on that fitting on the bottom. If it's working OK now, leave it be... but for reference, here's the post with instructions.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...sion-tank.html

Did the guys tell you to NEVER EVER attempt to plug that pipe to stop a leak? If they didn't, I'm telling you now. Unless you want the system to possible blow up from over pressure.

The OTHER vertical down pipe to the left of the one you have circled is coming from a BACKFLOW PREVENTER. That device stops boiler water from entering your domestic water supply in the event that the boiler pressure becomes higher than the city water pressure for any reason.

more...
 
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Old 04-18-12, 04:44 PM
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Does the gauge from HD have a needle on it that records the maximum pressure? If so, reset it and connect it to a hose bib outdoors. Leave it on for like 24-48 hours and check the maximum it reads.

One of the reasons that you may have seen the high pressure over 100 on the plumbers gauge is because your water meter may have a CHECK VALVE internally.

Even if the CITY water pressure isn't that high, when a check valve is present the HOUSE side of the water meter can be HIGHER... MUCH HIGHER... because of your domestic WATER HEATER.

When water is heated in a boiler OR a water heater, that water EXPANDS... without a place for that water to go as it expands, the pressure in the system will increase... sometimes a LOT!

If there were no check valve between the house and the street piping, the excess pressure from your water heater would be absorbed by the city water system. When there's a check valve, it has nowhere to go.

I think the guys did the right thing, installing a pressure regulator, expansion tank, and domestic relief valve.

more...
 
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Old 04-18-12, 04:51 PM
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Now I'm wondering if what the city did had to do with damaging our old boiler, and now our new one.
No... not likely. There is a regulator device between the city water and the boiler water that prevents this. I believe that both the old and new relief valve problems are due to a lost air charge in the GRAY expansion tank. Those should be checked for proper air charge every couple of years because they DO lose air pressure, normally, just like your car tires.

It MAY BE possible that the work the city did stirred up some sediment in the pipes that is now lodged in the aerators on your faucets, in your shower head, in the strainer screens of your washing machine, etc. Cleaning the aerator screens is pretty easy... the strainers on the washing machine a bit more difficult... you already changed the shower head.

I see no reason at all for your pressure to be in the 40-45 PSI range. That IS actually fairly low. It would be typical of a home with an old worn out private well pump.

There is no reason at all that the pressure can't be increased to at LEAST 50 PSI and I would personally go to 60 PSI. Those regulators are adjustable. Perhaps you should call them and tell them what you've found and ask that they come and adjust it to 60 PSI. We could probably walk you through a DIY adjustment if you prefer.
 
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Old 04-18-12, 04:58 PM
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I can't see all the piping in this picture:



I take it the yellow handle valve at the rear is on the pipe coming from the street?

Then that pipe goes directly to the gray water meter?

The bottom of the pic cuts off the piping... does the other side of the water meter go directly to the bell shaped pressure regulator?

And then to the expansion tank?

And then to the rest of the house supply?
 
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Old 05-16-12, 11:46 AM
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Apologies, NJ Trooper, I didn't see you last responses -- I appreciate them a lot.

Yes, the yellow valve at the rear is coming from the street. I'll try to take pictures at different angles tonight.

Our water at under 50psi does feel a bit low. It's OK, though, especially now that I remember in the past I didn't want to touch our under-the-kitchen sink valve, under the toilet tank valves, etc., because whenever I did, they leaked for a couple of days. I now suspect it was because of the too high water pressure. So our plumbing may be being strained in the past.

On our two toilet tanks I increased the water pressure (by turning the valves under the toilet tank) and no leak.

If you could walk me through increasing the PSI to 60 I'd appreciate that a lot.
 
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Old 05-16-12, 03:41 PM
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Does the gauge from HD have a needle on it that records the maximum pressure? If so, reset it and connect it to a hose bib outdoors. Leave it on for like 24-48 hours and check the maximum it reads.
You need to do this first, because you need to get a 'baseline reference'.

Give me all the model info on the regulator valve they installed. It's the one in the picture with the green tag hanging from the top.
 
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Old 05-16-12, 06:48 PM
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Looks like a standard watts with a 50 psi preset.

Here are the instructions for reference.

http://media2.wattswater.com/1910200.pdf

IMO 60 psi would be the max I would set it. Possibly 65 psi if running an irrigation system.

I see there is a 100 psi relief valve. Thats there because you have plastic water piping. You should pipe it within 6" of the floor. Although it will not hurt you if it trips, its still code I as far as I know.

The installer should have done this. Permits should have been taken out also.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 05-16-12, 08:04 PM
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Thank you, NJ Trooper. Below is hopefully a better picture that would show most of the plumbing.



Model # on the green metal tag is scratched off.

Other info on the green tag:
Size 1/4
Set 50 PSI
Range 25-75 PSI
Max 300PSI / 160 deg F ("deg" expressed in superscript-o)
WATTS
 
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Old 05-16-12, 08:10 PM
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Thank you, Mike.

Yes when we asked them to come back to check the water pressure was at ~50 psi (when we hadn't yet replaced the shower head) and to increase it some I was told by the plumber that the PSI was set at the factory. The plumber said some models can be adjusted. He did not make any adjustment. This gave me the impression that ours is fixed and cannot be adjusted.

However from the PDF you sent it looks simple enough -- loosen the locking nut and turn the adjusting bolt. I'm assuming the "adjusting bolt" is the same as the "adjusting screw" in the diagram.
 
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