Boiler dying at the wrong time...can I make it a couple more months?

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Old 01-13-13, 10:24 PM
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Boiler dying at the wrong time...can I make it a couple more months?

I have a roughly 60-year old boiler that just started leaking at an alarming rate today. 4 ounces a minute /1.88 gallons per hour / 45 gallons a day. Not a good time for this to happen (I live in a suburb of Detroit, MI).

I was planning on replacing the boiler this spring/summer, but I'm not sure it'll last that long...

Back in December I noticed that the pressure reducing valve was failing...the pressure in my boiler went to up 25psi until I noticed. I ended up shutting off the water supply complete and just monitored it weekly. I wonder if these trips above the safe pressure limit took their toll.

I can't see the source of the leak, and with the boiler being in such bad condition (lots of rust), I'm very concerned about taking anything apart to investigate.

For now, I've just opened the bypass valve slightly, in an attempt to put just enough water into the boiler to match the leak.

I feel like I have three options:

1) Replace the faulty pressure reducer now, and wait until March to replace the boiler. By then it might be warm enough to rely on my woodstove and electric heaters.

2) Order a replacement boiler ASAP and try to install it over a weekend. I have a friend at a local plumbing store who has installed several boilers and has offered to help me plan mine out.

3) Pull in a pro ASAP.

I really wanted to do this install myself...looking forward to the learning process, and saving some money too. I'm comfortable doing all the labor parts of the job, but definitely need help on the design.


Do you guys think it'll make it until March? If it does make it, will I be paying through my nose for heating for the next couple months?

Thanks for your input! Any suggests would be greatly appreciated.
 

Last edited by NJT; 01-14-13 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 01-14-13, 06:01 AM
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At 45 gallons per day it needs to be replaced ASAP.
 
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Old 01-14-13, 07:03 AM
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Do you guys think it'll make it until March?
Confused... "make it until March" ?

It sounds more to me as though you did not "make it" until January 15th.

If you have the financial resources to do so, replace it now.

Unless of course an investigation discovers a leak that can be repaired.

In the pic, the water leak is where?
 
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Old 01-14-13, 07:17 AM
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I have had success with this stuff to hobble customers through until spring.... Some cracks are just too big and you need to slow the flow to them to seal... If you can even get to them....thats the whole thing....


Its worth a shot IMO.


And come spring do a proper heat loss and size the boiler accordingly. Read the stickys.....


1 qt. Boiler Liquid-30115 at The Home Depot
 
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Old 01-14-13, 08:01 AM
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NJ Trooper, here's a picture with the leak highlighted:



I've checked the picture on a couple computers and it shows up fine on my LCD monitors, but is a bit harder to see on my darker CRT. If you still can't see it I'll try and lighten up the image.

By "make it until March" I was referring to any sort of temporary fix I could apply to deal with the issue for just a few months, so I March I could do a proper replacement. I realize it might be a stretch...I was just hoping to have a bit more time to plan out the new system so I could do it myself over the course of several weeks.

I started the process in the fall...as lawrosa suggested, I read the stickys and used a couple tools (SlantFin Heatloss Explorer and CarmelSoft HVAC Residential Load Calcs HD, iPad app) to calculate a heatloss, and I was hoping to finish the rest of the design (choose boiler, pumps, zone valves, etc) before spring so I could start the project then.

lawrosa, that Hercules Boiler Liquid looks like it might work...do you have any suggestions for how best to use it? I might try and pick that up today, and if it doesn't work I'll have to proceed with planning out the new boiler (or find a good contractor in my area).
 
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Old 01-14-13, 09:42 AM
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You mean that light colored vertical line is a constant stream of water? It's leaking that badly?

I wonder if that stop-leak will do the job at all with a stream like that.

I've never used stop-leak, but several guys here have and the words I hear is that the stuff gets into the entire system... I suppose it must coat everything, and that it is very difficult to get it all flushed out again when replacing the boiler... but don't know anything more about it.
 
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Old 01-14-13, 10:07 AM
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lawrosa, that Hercules Boiler Liquid looks like it might work...do you have any suggestions for how best to use it?

Follow the instructions. You may need to tap some steel wool in where its leaking to slow it down. The boiler temp needs to be hot. No cold boiler.

Again read instructions here.

http://www.herchem.com/specs/boilerliq.pdf
 
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Old 01-14-13, 02:48 PM
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What about bringing in some electric heaters and salamander heaters and replace the boiler now, in January?
 
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Old 01-14-13, 04:21 PM
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I knew I had seen that beasty boyler before! For history sake, Nathan has been in a few times since buying his home...

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...convector.html

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...ove-145-f.html

I hope NJ Trooper is ok
Thanks Nathan, we made it through the storm relatively OK, no power for two weeks, a few missing shingles, and some siding, but otherwise OK. Sorry I didn't see the thread that quote came from until I looked back at previous posts...

Not to confuse the thread, but for some background, here is the thread:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...questions.html
 

Last edited by NJT; 01-14-13 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 01-14-13, 08:42 PM
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NJ Trooper, glad to hear you made it through Sandy safe and sound. What doosy...

Yes, I've come to you guys for help before and you've been great. Honestly, I don't know what I'd do without your help! I'd probably be paying someone 20k to replace my 300k BTU boiler with another massively oversized boiler

gilmorrie, if I can't fix it with some kind of boiler seal, yup, I might just have to gather the heaters and do it in January. Feel better about that, if push comes to shove.

lawrosa, thanks for the link. Sorry, I wasn't trying to be a noob and have you look up the instructions, I just wanted to know if there were some pro tips I should follow.
 
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Old 01-14-13, 09:11 PM
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Progress report

Alright, here's the scoop:

I was having trouble finding Hercules Boiler Liquid in stock in any stores around me, but my local heating store recommended Gunk Boiler Seal powder, and he had it in stock so I gave it a go. It comes in a dirt-like powder form, and you have to mix it with hot water to use it, so it ended up making a couple gallons of goop.

Not fun to work with, and in the end I was only able to get maybe a 1.5 gallons in the boiler. The good news is my leak slowed down considerable (down to a rate of .56 gallons a day vs 45+ gallons a day). The bad news is I may have just filled my system with garbage...

lawrosa, after using this stuff I'm convinced that your recommendation was a better product. I'm going to buy it online and use it if my leak starts back up. It's much easier to get one quart of liquid liquid (Hercules Boiler Liquid) than 2 gallons of Gunk Boiler Seal power+water into my system.

Plus, the activation method sounds effective: "As the water leaks through the crack, it is vaporized and the oxygen in the air transforms the boiler liquid into a strong, solid substance. The heat generated by the boiler further hardens the seal. Contains no petroleum distillates and is safe to use in boilers and systems with plastic or rubber components." Sounds good, and any rate.

I'm hoping at the worst case, when I replace my boiler this off-season, I'll also have to replace some pumps and zone valves, and scrub the pipes with some cleaning chemicals. Really hoping it's not worse than that...

At any rate, the leaking has slowed to a pace that will allow me to wait until spring (assuming the 'patch' holds). I'll keep an eye on it over the new couples days and post the results.

Thanks for your support, guys! I'll be going through the stickys now in preparation for my next thread: new boiler setup
 
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Old 01-14-13, 09:33 PM
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preparation for my next thread: new boiler setup
Looking forward to it Nathan!

Did you see my saga by any chance?

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...n-finally.html
 
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Old 01-14-13, 09:43 PM
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I sure did, Trooper. One of the key threads I'll be referring to!

Extremely helpful for people like me, getting ready to undertake a similar project. Making me thing seriously about a Burnham...
 
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Old 01-14-13, 09:47 PM
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Yours will be bigger than mine to heat that McMansion of yours!

I've already got some modifications in mind for my piping. I knew when I installed it that I should pipe in BOTH a BOILER AND a SYSTEM bypass... then open whichever one worked better... but I said, naaah, boiler bypass will be fine...

So, I only did the Boiler bypass and I'm not that happy with it.

Think the bypass thing through very carefully before you melt any solder!
 
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Old 01-14-13, 10:08 PM
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lawrosa, thanks for the link. Sorry, I wasn't trying to be a noob and have you look up the instructions, I just wanted to know if there were some pro tips I should follow.


No tricks... It either works or it don't... Mostly works.


but my local heating store recommended Gunk Boiler Seal powder,


Never used it.



Keep us updated.
 
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