boiler still discharges after 3 repairs--what should be next?

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Old 11-25-12, 01:55 PM
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boiler still discharges after 3 repairs--what should be next?

All,
Your posts have been super helpful and after following them as far as possible, I am again stuck.

My weil-mcclain gold v5? with closed combustion that is 17-18 yrs old.

I first had a discharge of water (filled the little tray I have always kept there) and spilled over another gallon or two (over perhaps a week or two) onto the basement floor.

What I have done.

Diagnosed and replaced expansion tank. (now 12psi.) Name:  expansiontank.JPG
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Backflow preventer had been dripping for years, replaced.
Replace emergency discharge valve.

Thought I had it solved.

I watched furnace via couple of cycles. I suspect temp gauge is faulty pressure never appears to exceed 20 psi 170 degrees but 2 hours later there is some water in bucket that had been discharged via a 30psi emerg. discharge valve. I also found a new leak, water was dripping rapidly from air vent at top of zone at far left in pic.. Tighten air vent.

I have no shutoff to my indirect water heater. It is via the first pump/zone on right in photo.

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What is left : a) pressure reducing valve b) coil in the indirect hot water heater. c) ?????

What test should I do next? Pressure reducing? I did shut off cold water inlet to backflow preventer if pressure reducing valve is not reducing, there should be no additional water discharged into bucket.

If there is more water in a few hours, leave it closed and test indirect heater coil. Do I then?

1) close cold water inlet into hot water heater (logic? if there is a leak in coil, city water pressure is pushing water into boiler loop raising it over 30psi) .

2) if water continues to be discharged, it is not the coil but something else?

I fear my logic is flawed and I feel like I am chasing ghost and could end up with new everything. Thank everyone in advance.
 

Last edited by NJT; 11-26-12 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 11-25-12, 02:02 PM
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Opps, the references above to air ROOSTER is a banned word and I should have called it an automatic air vent, which i closed the top to stop the water from leaking out.
 

Last edited by NJT; 11-26-12 at 04:35 PM. Reason: I fixed with neutral word!
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Old 11-25-12, 02:33 PM
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You suspect that the boiler gauge is faulty. Until we know, it's hard to diagnose your troubles until you replace the gauge or perform this: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...ure-gauge.html

Where in or on the air eliminator is it leaking? It can be replaced if necessary.

If you suspect that the indirect heater/coil may leaking into the boiler, valve it out and see if that resolves the problem temporarily? Likewise, you can temporarily valve out the city water inlet to the automatic fill valve.

Can you post more photos in better focus - showing various angles of the whole system. Don't use a cell phone.

You say that the expansion tank is at 12 psi. Was that before you pressurized the boiler?

The number one priority is be able to measure the boiler pressure and temp reliably.
 
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Old 11-25-12, 05:26 PM
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thanks, will get new guage on monday. jumping to the end question, it was a new expansion tank, pre-pressurized and i checked it with a bike guage prior to firing up the boiler.

it was water dripping steadily out of the thumb screw at the top of the auto air bleeding valve. There was air in the system has i had dropped the level by a quart to do my last two change outs.

i skipped the temp/pressure because something is clearly exceeding 30psi. will work on the two feeds. thanks, again, will post tomorrow.
 
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Old 11-25-12, 06:32 PM
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it was a new expansion tank, pre-pressurized and i checked it with a bike guage prior to firing up the boiler.
No, did you check the pressure in the expansion tank before pressurizing the boiler, much less before firing it? If not, you need to depressurize the system and pump up the bladder to 15 psi.

A new expansion tank likely is not at the correct pressure. They leak due to air diffusion through the bladder, just like they all do. You will have to check it, which requires depressurizing the system.
 
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Old 11-25-12, 08:03 PM
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How many btu's is the boiler and what type of radiation doe you have? Baseboard, cast iron cabinet convectors?
 
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Old 11-26-12, 04:33 PM
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The reason I believe rbeck is asking his question is because he wants to get an estimate of how much water is in your system. That will help determine if the tank is correctly sized for the application.

Did you replace the tank with the same size as had been there and working in the past?

You are on the right track...

First verify the gauge. You may well have a gauge that is reading unusually LOW which will cause you to set the cold pressure of the boiler unusually HIGH... and cause your problem.

DOUBLE CHECK the expansion tank pressure. This means dropping the boiler pressure to ZERO and THEN checking the air charge in the tank. Adjust if necessary.

After this, if there is still a problem, proceed with the 'valving off' tests of the pressure reducing valve and the indirect water heater.

Have you read this one yet?

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...sion-tank.html
 
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Old 12-01-12, 03:00 PM
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Thanks, Yes, i did. i bought the exact same tank from a plumbing supply house and added the shutoff and spigot. I remember using a tire pressure guage at that time and it was either 9 or 12 lbs. That was before i filled it, then once I filled the system, but before turning on the furnace.
 
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Old 12-01-12, 03:36 PM
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it was either 9 or 12 lbs
I hope it was 12... 9 ain't enough. The air charge should equal the cold fill water pressure.
 
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Old 12-01-12, 05:08 PM
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What i have done since my last postprior to seeing these new questions)

I closed the intake water valve. The periodic discharges from the relief valve slowed to a slow dripping.

1) replaced relief valve and gauge.

Slowly opened and then closed the water intake and water was almost immediately discharged from the relief valve. Repeated, same results.
closed intake valve, let furnace run several cycles, no drips, discharges.

2) replaced same (12psi-17psi valve pressure reduction valve) that was next to downstream back flow preventer and new gauge (pressure and temp).

Slowly opened water supply valve. heard system fill, no discharge via relief valve. Ran furnace for a day no additional water discharges—NO pressure registering on new gauge. Furnace ran to 170 degrees, but would not register pressure. (same temp as old gauge, but old gauge was registering 20 psi)

Furnace appears to be cycling fine. Plenty of heat in the zones and to indirect hot water tank. Air in system dissipated in about 36 hours.

I guess i should make a boiler gauge and attach it to a spigot to see what is going on. I have read posts and will get answers to all questions posted.

Just went downstairs. holy @#$#@ bucket is full from relief valve.
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Shut off water intake.
No pressure registering on new gauge. temp at 150. furnace not running-between cycles.

(red indicator I turned to get it out of the way.)
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Just because i had no idea what i would see, i put checked the expansion tank pressure with furnace at 150 degrees, (at least no water came out like the tank I replaced) it registered 36 lbs. This can not be good!


I feel I am back to the beginning but with some new valves.

Furnace is Weil-McLain GV-4, series 2, input 105,000 BTU/hr, max wp 50psi, DOE heating capacity 92mbh ande Net I-B=R 88 Mph.

baseboard, 2 zone and 3rd zone to vaughn indirect hot water heater. (contrary to prior post, i did find a valve next to the hot water heater that i can isolate that loop)

Expansion tank is 5 gal, matched exactly to old tank. (old tank had water pouring out of air valve when I checked it for pressure!)
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Thank you in advance for your time walking me through this. Tom
 

Last edited by TombinVT; 12-01-12 at 05:17 PM. Reason: missing photos.
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Old 12-01-12, 05:20 PM
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Let me see if I got this right...

In step 1 it says REPLACED GAUGE, then in step 2 it says NEW GAUGE.

Do I understand that you replaced the gauge TWICE and STILL got a bum gauge?

checked the expansion tank pressure with furnace at 150 degrees, (at least no water came out like the tank I replaced) it registered 36 lbs. This can not be good!
No... something caddy wompus there...

Keep in mind though that if you measure the tank charge when there is pressure on the water side that you will NOT read the straight air charge in the tank. If the pressure on the water side is HIGHER than the air charge, you will read that instead... but still, 36 PSI ? This brings into question the accuracy of your tire gauge... no wonder the tires on your truck always look low, eh?

With a new relief valve, I don't think there's any way that it could be THAT far off...

Yeah, there's some sorting out to do there.
 
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Old 12-01-12, 05:21 PM
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I had but at your suggestion re-reading i had forgot i can isolate the tank with that drawing and test pressure without dropping the boiler pressure (what ever it is) to zero). Will do that after i get my youngins to bed. Thanks, T
 
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Old 12-01-12, 05:22 PM
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Gotta go eat, but real quick...

Should have put an elbow below the relief valve so it is installed in an upright position...

note to my spouse: please don't buy me a tire pressure gauge from Lowe's this year!
 
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Old 12-01-12, 05:25 PM
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air pressure checks

changed the furnace presure/temp gauge once. missed it in edit.

Lowe's tire pressure gauge has consistently matched the tire inflator (Sears) gauge on my compressor. I can check the expansion tank with a second tire pressure gauge.

As to an elbow...that was how it was originally plumbed, a project for monday. perhaps 2 elbows or i can wash the walls with hot water. thanks.
 
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Old 12-01-12, 05:58 PM
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Completely depresserize the boiler to zero psi, and then pump up the expansion tank to 12 psi per this: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...sion-tank.html

[NJT edit- make sure to check boiler again after adding air to tank, because if the tank was low and water was still in the tank, adding air would try to push that water into the system and add pressure back to the water side. You need to push any and all water out of the tank and the only way to do this is in multiple steps... unless you've got the shutoff and drain as shown in the diagram in that post... did you say you added that? It's a very worthwhile modification...]

Then repressurize the boiler.
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-01-12 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 12-01-12, 07:05 PM
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changed the furnace presure/temp gauge once. missed it in edit.
I'm wondering if you've got the type of well on that gauge which has the spring loaded valve at the bottom. These were used on some boilers, they allowed a gauge change without draining the boiler, only depressurizing it... because as you screwed the gauge out, the 'valve' at the bottom of the well would close. [can't find an example on the web, but know I've seen them... maybe at the Winters website... I've seen a few boilers with them installed. Maid-o-mist makes a similar device called a 'shortstop' model 9A I believe, that does the same thing, lets you change the air vents without draining system]

FOUND IT!

Pressure Gauges and Industrial Thermometers - Winters Instruments - TST Tridicator Shut-off Thermowell

If the new gauge has a SHORTER STEM on it, it may not be long enough to open the 'valve' at the bottom of the well, thus no pressure to the gauge.

Since I mentioned it, even though you don't need it on your own boiler, for reference here is a link that shows the 9A shortstop from Maid-o-mist.

MAID-O-MIST No. 9A S Shortstop Automatic Shut-off: Welcome To JMJ Distributors

perhaps 2 elbows
Yeah, lots of guys install them wrong.

I don't think you need 2 elbows though. Since you've got a FEMALE valve, you can pick up a STREET ELBOW and install on the boiler so the male threads are UP, put valve on, and the down pipe that you have, just turn that so it points back down again.
 
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Old 12-01-12, 07:37 PM
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Looks promising...

Just dinged the expansion tank and it sounded empty.
Closed valve, opened spigot, looked empty as little water came out.
Again checked air pressure on 2 gauges both read, 36psi.

Unscrew tank, Empty! Bleed off air to 12psi., Re-installed tank.

Opened water intake, opened valve, hear and felt expansion tank fill top with hot water, dinged down side of tank, bottom was air. water on top—yipee!,
Closed valve and cracked spigot, lots of pressure and dirty water.
Check air pressure, 12 psi,
Opened valve.

Checked furnace, pressure gauge now reads 12 PSI. Original gauge was probably fine. I can use it for adding solar panels next year J … Is there a forum for that?

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Watched cycle. No leaks, nothing unusual.

Pressure at highest point climbed to 26 psi but as water heated past 145 returned to present reading above and remained there at 180.
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I was surprised that when a zone stopped calling for heat, the boiler and zone circulating pump shut off leaving the water temp at 180.

I had opened the water intake and the system seems balanced around 12psi.

Open to any thoughts, suggestions. Will monitor every few hours and post tomorrow.

I can not figure how the air pressure in the bladder got to 36 lbs. It was 12 lbs as i found i wrote it on the tank when i installed it. If there is a problem, it should re-occur soon.

Thanks,
 
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Old 12-01-12, 07:51 PM
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thanks NJ Trooper, perhaps i do, when i loosened the original, it was such a struggle i wanted to be gentle, I took on the 3/4 threaded insert so have not separated them. The new pressure gauge is not designed that way. The new one was $20. Next maintenence i may reinstall the original.

Your thoughts...i saw in the WM manuals left by the 'plumbers' the intake and exhaust pipes run along the floor then up the wall and exit in a through the wall thimble.

In my installation the plumbers when vertical immediately and then horz between the floor joists to the outside thimble.

Since they installed the relief valve horz, i am questioning everything.
 
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Old 12-01-12, 07:56 PM
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yes, I made the modification. It should be code.

The guys working the counter at the plumbing supply were intrigued and had never heard of it before. They are friendlier to a know nothing hack like myself than another supply house across town.
 
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Old 12-01-12, 07:57 PM
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Again checked air pressure on 2 gauges both read, 36psi.
Howindaheck do you suppose you ended up with 36 PSI in the tank?

I've had similar problems with the well systems that I service for myself and my neighbors... the first time I was faced with the problem I was baffled for days. Since well system tanks are hard piped and can't be removed and shaken, and the air vents are on the TOP, there is no reliable way to test for a busted bladder and retained water on TOP of the bladder.

What happens is that the pressure in the tank appears to be always increasing over a period of days.

When the system pressurizes to the highest pressure, it forces water above the bladder and the pressure in the tank increases. When you shut down the system to check the tank, the bladder pushes itself against the bottom of the tank and seals the leak in the bladder so that the water on top of the bladder can't release.

So, you adjust the pressure back down to spec, and a couple days later, neighbor is having same problem again...

Finally I replaced the tank in desperation and sure enough, FULL of water... DAMN that was HEAVY! I had to drill holes in it to lighten it up to get it out of the well pit.

Ah, but I digress... we aren't talking about well systems, are we?

By the way, I'm sure you know to leave the expansion tank drain spigot OPEN when you add air to the tank, correct? You do want the water side to be at atmospheric pressure.
 
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Old 12-01-12, 08:15 PM
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Your thoughts...i saw in the WM manuals left by the 'plumbers' the intake and exhaust pipes run along the floor then up the wall and exit in a through the wall thimble.

In my installation the plumbers when vertical immediately and then horz between the floor joists to the outside thimble.
GV Series 4 boiler... on the WM site I couldn't find the complete I&O manual, but they have supplements and addendums galore:

Discontinued Boilers | Weil-McLain

This venting supplement shows several examples of straight up and over, so that part is fine.

http://www.weil-mclain.com/en/multim...3inch_vent.pdf

One thing that I need to ask because I can't see much of the venting arrangement in your pics... note that the pdf file shows a "Starter tee" which has a drain hose on it, and also there is a drain hose for the condensate.

What I have seen with these boilers is that the drain hoses either aren't connected, or have fallen off and discarded, or the drains get plugged and the condensate sits in the pan inside and rusts it all out.

It's pretty common on these boilers. You should probably inspect yours... because you could end up with exhaust leak into the home.

You DO have CO detectors all over the place, yes?
 
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Old 12-03-12, 11:51 AM
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I bet its the indirect. Has this been checked already?
 
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Old 12-03-12, 05:01 PM
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The guys working the counter at the plumbing supply were intrigued and had never heard of it before.
Maybe that's why they are at the counter... and we're out here in the ditches... just tell them it's a Joisey Thang. I'm sure they'll understand!

pressure gauge now reads 12 PSI
Looks more like 18 PSI to me...



surprised that when a zone stopped calling for heat, the boiler and zone circulating pump shut off leaving the water temp at 180.
Don't be. Normal operation, it is what it is.

Pressure at highest point climbed to 26 psi but as water heated past 145 returned to present reading above and remained there at 180.


OK, I'm totally confused now...

Are you saying that the pressure was 26 PSI at 145°F and then as the boiler got HOTTER, the pressure went DOWN AGAIN?

Ummm, that's against the laws of physics. You need to explain this better.

RD asked:
I bet its the indirect. Has this been checked already?
We did instruct to valve off the feed and the indirect but I don't know that it was done...
 
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Old 12-10-12, 08:47 AM
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Finishing touches

Thank all of you, especially NJTrooper for the handholding.

Everything is working great. Not a drop of water since my last repair. Boiler stays at max of 18 degrees[ I know you meant PSI - NJT edit]. Never spiked like the first time.

Hope this catches everyone's feedback

1) will add an elbow to put exhaust valve upright.
2) will add drain tee to exhaust. When I pulled the exhaust pipes apart found lots of condensation(normal) Pulled them apart to fix dripping - (hole) where 2 section of Z vent jointed over head. NJTrooper is spot on, should have drainage tee. (Later this week!)
3) will inspect boiler for rusting.
4) have CO2 tester ac/battery wired in basement. One on each floor for gas fireplace and 2nd floor gas dryer ( thanks for including that very essential sensor that needs to be in every household near every source of combustion).
5) will check indirect this spring for corrosion etc. there was a lifetime warranty with the Vaughn but never saw the back cover (until a yr ago) where the homeowner had to mail in within 30 days. That was 17 yrs ago and around 12 years ago it was replaced for free by original hvac crew.

Anything I missed?

Thanks again. All of you are amazing for all the work and research and TIME you each put into guiding us loose cannons with wrenches.

tom
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-10-12 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 12-10-12, 03:45 PM
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Never spiked like the first time.
No time to refresh memory and read back full thread, but I have an idea...

I have heard stories about the rubber membrane 'sticking' to the inside of the tank on NEW tanks and requiring removal from system, deflation of air side and application of compressed air to water side in order to 'unstick' it.

Perhaps this is what happened with your new tank? The pressure rose and finally unstuck the membrane and allowed it to start working properly?

Just a WAG on my part, but laws of physics being what they are, I can't think of any other plausible explanation for what you saw!

1) will add an elbow to put exhaust valve upright.
You meant RELIEF VALVE? This can wait until spring time.

2) will add drain tee to exhaust. When I pulled the exhaust pipes apart found lots of condensation(normal) Pulled them apart to fix dripping - (hole) where 2 section of Z vent jointed over head. NJTrooper is spot on, should have drainage tee. (Later this week!)

3) will inspect boiler for rusting.
Yes, very important! Top of list! (safety concern, along with the CO detectors)

loose cannons with wrenches.
You funny!
 
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Old 02-16-13, 07:11 PM
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I want to ask a question, can I
 
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Old 02-16-13, 08:14 PM
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Hi BarbaraAnn...

Yes, of course you can.

If it's a NEW question, start a NEW THREAD.

Only ask here at the end of this one if it's specifically related to this particular thread.
 
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