Boiler goes above 30 psi - tried several things - still problematic

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Old 03-02-13, 02:12 AM
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Boiler goes above 30 psi - tried several things - still problematic

Hello all,

I'm new to the forum and have been reading and searching and can't find a solution to my problem. Here is the situation.

I have a Weil-Mclain CGM-4, series 7 water boiler heater. For several years (about 5) no water was fed through the system. Found out that the water shut off valve that fed the system was closed (was told this was okay because no autofill valve was installed). Got a Watts 1156F autofill installed by a heating/cooling plumber so pressure and water can be regulated into the system. Now when running the system, if the water temps get around 130F, the pressure goes up to about 30 - 32 PSI causing the releif valve to trickle and leak.

Here is what the plumber and I have tried to see what the problem is and where we are at now:

Completetly bled the radiators to make sure all air was out.
Installed an automatic air vent on the bioler to make sure the boiler had no air trapped from returned water.
Drained the entire system and re-filled.
After re-filling the system, I noticed the pressure with cold water, boiler not running and all radiators bled, that the pressure was at 18PSI before we even kicked on the boiler.

Here are some additional troubleshooting steps I tried:

Turned off water supply and drained water from bottom of boiler until the pressure got to about 15 PSI (kept draining, but pressure wouldn't go below that). Once I closed the drain valve, the pressure went back up to about 18-19 PSI (cold water, heater not running).

I adjusted the Watts autofill and it is pretty much at the lowest pressure setting (based on how I read the adjustment instructions). I loosened the lock nut, unscrewed all the way counterclockwise (which will cause the adjusting screw to come off), then I screwed the adjusting screw down just until it latched and tightened the lock nut. The instructions state: "To lower the reduced pressure - turn the adjusting screw counterclockwise." This is to take the pressure from a higher PSI to a lower PSI correct?

Here are some other things that I am not sure if it is a problem or not. The autofill valve is installed before the water shut off valve that feeds the boiler. The heating/plumbing guy said this is okay because as long as water can be cut off that feeds the boiler, everything is okay. Last night when I drained the boiler (to drain the entire system), I noticed that even with the shut off valve closed, water was still coming through the boiler drain valve after about 6 hours of having the hose conneced. I did open all of the radiators so the pressure can be relieved when draining. I am in a two story home with only 8 radiators. The expansion tank is a steel tank in the ceiling above the heater/boiler.

So, with all of the information above, can anyone help my figure out why the pressure keeps rising above 30PSI with the heater/boiler running and only drops to about 18-19PSI when not.

Here are some direct questions that I hope can help my situation:

Is the autofill valve safe to be installed before the water shutoff valve that feeds the boiler?

Did I correctly adjust the autofill valve to lower the pressure?

Is the scenario with the water draining through the boiler after about 6 hours an indication that possibly the seals on the shut off valve are shot and the valve should be replaced?

Also, another thing I noticed is that no matter what water temp I set on the boiler, the temp guage doesn't go above 140F. I even confirmed that if the boiler is supposed to run because the thermostat temp is not reached, the boiler burners will cut off and the circulator will still run. I checked the water temp when the burners cut off and the water only reached about 118F.

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to provide as much info as possible so someone can possibly help.

Thanks.
 
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Old 03-02-13, 02:31 AM
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The others will chime in, but I know what they are going to say.
Do this http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...ure-gauge.html

Read this Pressure Relief Valve leaking? Service your bladder type expansion tank!

Read more: Boilers - Home Heating Steam and Hot Water Systems - DoItYourself.com Community Forums


And post pictures of the entire unit from various angles and include all piping.
You will not know what is going on until you verify your temp and pressure and check your tank.

Clint
 
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Old 03-02-13, 05:04 AM
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The expansion tank is a steel tank in the ceiling above the heater/boiler.

You need to drain this tank completely. This is most likely why you have a pressure issue. It takes time to drain them so make sure its as empty as can be.

Installed an automatic air vent on the bioler to make sure the boiler had no air trapped from returned water.
No,no,no.... With a steel tank as yours the system should have no AAV,s. Close the cap on top and leave it closed.......

Is the autofill valve safe to be installed before the water shutoff valve that feeds the boiler?
Does not matter. You should have one before and after. Sounds like your shut off is not working and should be replaced.

Did I correctly adjust the autofill valve to lower the pressure?
Yes but you gauge is probably broke. You need to replace that gauge, then you can get an accurate psi reading. Also the temp part may be inaccurate too.

























 
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Old 03-02-13, 06:40 AM
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The others will chime in, but I know what they are going to say.
Do this How to verify a boiler pressure gauge
This was my plan, so I was going to do this soon.

Pressure Relief Valve leaking? Service your bladder type expansion tank!
I don't have a bladder type expanstion tank. I have a steel type that is in-between the floor joints.

I've read through the forums, but haven't found enough info to see what could be the problem (other than the expansion tank).
 
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Old 03-02-13, 06:49 AM
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You need to drain this tank completely. This is most likely why you have a pressure issue. It takes time to drain them so make sure its as empty as can be.
Thanks for the info. I tried looking into draining/emptying a steel type expansion tank and I could not find easy enough to follow directions. Most posts/sites I found pretty much had different directions and I didn't know which to really follow.

I will take pics soon and post some.

Is it easy to replace the pressure/temp guage? Do I have to drain the entire system again?

I'll close the cap on the AAV, but what harm can it cause by having an AAV installed onto my system?

Thanks.
 
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Old 03-02-13, 07:07 AM
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To recap all the q & a .... agreed with all:

First thing, get an accurate pressure gauge on the system. If you had to back the screw all the way out of the regulator it's pretty obvious that it needs to be verified.

Also, another thing I noticed is that no matter what water temp I set on the boiler, the temp guage doesn't go above 140F. I even confirmed that if the boiler is supposed to run because the thermostat temp is not reached, the boiler burners will cut off and the circulator will still run. I checked the water temp when the burners cut off and the water only reached about 118F.
What is the high limit setting on the boiler control set at?

How did you check the temp when the burners cut off?

Is it easy to replace the pressure/temp guage? Do I have to drain the entire system again?
Easy enough I think that you can handle it. You will at least have to let the pressure off to zero. Depending on exactly where the gauge is on the boiler, you might be able to work quickly and not have to drain the whole thing, at least if you don't mind getting a little wet and spilling a little water. It's sometimes easier and faster to spill a little water than drain the whole system.

I'll close the cap on the AAV, but what harm can it cause by having an AAV installed onto my system?
On systems with steel compression tanks (often called expansion tanks) by allowing an AAV to expel air from the system, eventually the compression tank will become waterlogged... that tank is where the air in the system is supposed to go. This is opposite to a diaphragm tank.

Thing is though, if your system is not piped so that the air in the system CAN go back to the tank, then in a way it really doesn't matter because the system is piped improperly and will ALWAYS present a problem with the tank becoming waterlogged... and require service every year, two, three, to drain the expansion tank and refill with air.

I tried looking into draining/emptying a steel type expansion tank and I could not find easy enough to follow directions. Most posts/sites I found pretty much had different directions and I didn't know which to really follow.
On the pipe leading to the tank; is there a shutoff valve?

Waiting for pics to further instruct...
 
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Old 03-06-13, 07:29 PM
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I will do the accurate pressure test this weekend.

For the temperature setting, the low/high values are: 140F/220F.

I checked the temprature using a food thermometor. Not the most accurate, but its all I had at the time. When the burners turned off, I drained some water from the heater and measured that. Then, I immediately went to the radiator closest to the heater on the first floor and one furthest away on the second floor and drained some water and measure that. The radiators were only a couple degrees different.

For replacing the guage, the guage is on the left (my left) of the heater where the relief valve and drain spout is.

There is a shutoff valve where the expansion tank is, but this is the only valve that also cuts off the water that feeds the heater. I'll have pics in the next post.

I do have one additional question about the guage accuracy. The relief valve is a 30 PSI relief valve and it leaks when the guage is above 30. If this is so, how innacurate can the guage be since the leaking valve and pressure gauge correspons to the same number?

Pics to come next.

Thanks so far everyone.
 
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Old 03-06-13, 07:38 PM
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Good Lord 220F... You can turn that down to 180f and save some fuel...... Too hot.

OK gauge may be good PSI wise but not temp. Fill valve needs replacement and that tank drained.... Take pics.

If the gauge is right and its not getting above 118 or 140F then you have other issues.

I wonder if they turned the temp to 220f to compensate for a cold return.....


Pic, pics , pics .......................
 
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Old 03-06-13, 07:42 PM
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Here are the pics of the system:

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Old 03-06-13, 08:16 PM
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You have to take that plug out and drain that tank. If that plug does not come out or you mess it uo you may have to convert to a bladder tank.

You have a high mass system there and that boil cant get all that water hot. Thats why the temp is set high. Your return water temp is too low hence the 118f water temp you describe. That causes condensation in the flue and rusts the heat exchanger.

Plan on doing some near boiler piping and installing a bypass to get the temps up. Plan wisely. If you are not going to do the work yourself you may want to evaluate the price on repair to proper piping or install a new boiler with proper piping.

That boiler may be plugged up........


IMO you have a lot of work to get that system running properly.....
 
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Old 03-07-13, 05:46 AM
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The relief valve is a 30 PSI relief valve and it leaks when the guage is above 30. If this is so, how innacurate can the guage be since the leaking valve and pressure gauge correspons to the same number?
How far ABOVE 30 is the gauge reading when the relief valve is 'leaking' ?

A relief valve may start to drip at around 28 PSI... so if you are reading above 30, and it's only dripping, there's a good chance that the gauge could be off by 5 PSI or more, and that's a pretty fair percentage of error. Additionally, the error may not be linear and constant. It could be way off at a lower reading.

Even if the gauge is off by 5 PSI across the range, and you set it for 12 PSI, this could mean that you really only have SEVEN and that is not enough.

To add to this, the fact that a BRAND NEW fill valve which was factory set to a certain pressure (12-15PSI) had to have the screw completely backed out in order to drop the pressure in the system down to 'nominal' when cold tells me that the gauge is KAPUT. A factory setting on those valves can sometimes (rarely) be 'off' a little bit, but not by that much.

Good Lord 220F... You can turn that down to 180f and save some fuel...... Too hot.
OMG... yes ... TURN IT DOWN! That's crazy hot!

more after viewing pics...
 
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Old 03-15-13, 09:08 AM
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You have to take that plug out and drain that tank. If that plug does not come out or you mess it uo you may have to convert to a bladder tank.
I would actually not want to risk taking that plug out and having a problem. I wouldn't mind converting to a bladder type tank. Does it cost a lot and is it hard to install? Where would it go and how should I do the piping?

I am familiar with sweating and soldering pipe, but just don't know how the proper water flow should be, location of essential components, etc.

You have a high mass system there and that boil cant get all that water hot. Thats why the temp is set high. Your return water temp is too low hence the 118f water temp you describe. That causes condensation in the flue and rusts the heat exchanger.
The temp is set to about 150F. I have tried setting it at 180F, but no matter, the temp and burners cut off at about 139F.

Plan on doing some near boiler piping and installing a bypass to get the temps up. Plan wisely. If you are not going to do the work yourself you may want to evaluate the price on repair to proper piping or install a new boiler with proper piping.

That boiler may be plugged up........


IMO you have a lot of work to get that system running properly.....
I want to do some work. Actually, I am trying to get some work done before the cool season is over here, so I don't have to wait until next fall/winter to worry about these problems. Just need some info about location of piping, tank, etc.

Thanks.
 
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Old 03-15-13, 09:33 AM
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How far ABOVE 30 is the gauge reading when the relief valve is 'leaking'?

A relief valve may start to drip at around 28 PSI... so if you are reading above 30, and it's only dripping, there's a good chance that the gauge could be off by 5 PSI or more, and that's a pretty fair percentage of error. Additionally, the error may not be linear and constant. It could be way off at a lower reading.
Funny thing, the guage goes above 30 (like to 31) and it hasn't leaked since I drained the entire system. Now, this is since I have lowered the water temp back to 150, from 180. It used to leak as soon as it hit 30 or just slightly above. Now comes the question, what guage do I get to replace the current one?

Good Lord 220F... You can turn that down to 180f and save some fuel...... Too hot.
The temp dial is set at 150F. The range that the dial can be set is 140 - 220. I have only had it up to about 180 and the water temp didn't go past 140 (on the guage). So, I want to replace the guage and just need some input on which guage to buy, and if the install is as easy as unscrewing and screwing back on (while draining some water, etc. or just letting water spill out).

Thanks.
 
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Old 03-27-13, 12:28 PM
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Any thoughts

Any thoughts?

Just wondering if any of the suggestions could definitely fix the issue. I noticed that the gauge hasn't leaked since I drained the system. I have checked almost daily and the gauge goes to about 31 PSI and no leak from the relief valve. I will be replacing the gauge but was wondering if the new, bladder type expansion tank will definitely fix/help the issue.

Thanks.
 
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Old 03-27-13, 01:40 PM
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Imo you should just fix whats there. Verify the gauge, add a new shut off valve/prv and drain expansion tank . Do not use that aav. Keep it closed.
 

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Old 03-27-13, 02:14 PM
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In the absence of a connected water heater, either a tankless coil or an external water heater, the ONLY reason for the pressure to increase over time is the addition of more water. That MAY be caused by a pressure reducing (fill) valve leaking through or it could be the loss of the air cushion in the expansion tank. The latter will cause the pressure to go low during off cycles and an otherwise perfectly functioning pressure reducing valve would add water to bring the pressure back to cold normal. Upon firing the pressure WILL go high due to a lack of expansion space.

Having the automatic air vent on that system is definitely wrong and WILL cause the air in the expansion tank to eventually be released to the atmosphere.

Looking at the accumulation of rust on that expansion tank I would not be the least bit surprised to find that it is leaking air. Leaks generally develop at the maintained water line but can also be in the upper area of the tank. I would suggest changing the expansion tank, you may either replace as original or install a bladder-type tank. I would also change out the pressure gauge and thermometer along with the safety valve.
 
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Old 03-27-13, 04:02 PM
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or install a bladder-type tank.
I think another member had an issue on sizing the bladder type tank when replacing the steel tank... I believe at least a ex90 size is needed. ( 14 gallon) I know there is a formula, but better bigger then too small.

http://www.amtrol.com/media/document...L_Brochure.pdf


Whats do you think Furd?
 
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Old 03-28-13, 01:23 PM
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Bigger is always better regarding expansion tanks. The limiting factors are usually the capital cost and the room allowed for installation.
 
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Old 03-28-13, 03:11 PM
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I can think of one VERY SLIM possibility of bigger not being better for an expansion tank... so slim as to probably not be worth even mentioning...

In some cases it could be possible that system pressure would need to elevate slightly as it gets hot.

If the NPSH at the suction side of the circulator is 'borderline'... nearly at the point that the pump cavitates, what can happen in these rare cases is that the pump will not cavitate when the water is cold and the specific gravity is higher, but may cavitate as the water heats and the SG goes down. In this case, a slightly smaller tank that allows a modest pressure increase can alleviate this problem.

Cavitation is VERY bad for a circulator.

As I said, this possibility is VERY SLIM, probably not to worry about... just sayin'
 
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Old 03-29-13, 12:21 PM
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So, my plumber guy just came back out and helped me install a bladder type expansion tank (sized for 15 gallon), change the pressure/temp gauge, change the drain valve (was going to change the pressure relief valve, but the local hardware store didn't have them in stock), and change the water shut-off valve that feeds the boiler/expansion tank. We didn't install a second to shut off valve to the expansion tank, but the plumber and I both forgot about that. I could probably do it later in the summer.

Here is some additional info:

After the boiler was running for about 60 minutes, the temp was at 130F and pressure was about 27. I have noticed that the radiators are hotter (so the issues someone mentioned before about the return water to the boiler/expansion tank issue is probably now fixed).

I set the temp on the boiler to 180, just to see if I get the same behavior as before where the burners will cut off at 139F.

What I am concerned about is will the pressure keep rising with the increased temps. My guess is yes, but at what rate? I would like to see if the boiler can get the water to 180F just to see. Realistically, we can probably keep the temps at 160F, but I want to know that I made the right choices putting money into this old system and hopefully I can get a good amount of heat from it.

The other thing is that the old gauge was off by about 5 PSI. It is shown in one of the pics below where it is still on about 5 PSI and it isn't connected to anything. Temps look to be off too.

Hopefully this fixes the issue, but the pressure going up as high as it is now is scaring me a little, but I'll see.

Here are some new pics:

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Old 03-29-13, 01:08 PM
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Snake, why on earth did you install a '15' tank? There is absolutely NWIH that tank, which happens to be the SMALLEST size available is going to be big enough for that system.
 
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Old 03-29-13, 01:17 PM
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I said it in post #17....If you have high psi its probably because the tank is too small.........

You need an EX90

I believe your plumber needs to go back to school......


or install a bladder-type tank.
I think another member had an issue on sizing the bladder type tank when replacing the steel tank... I believe at least a ex90 size is needed. ( 14 gallon) I know there is a formula, but better bigger then too small.

Amtrol- Water System Solutions - Commercial, Industrial, Residential
 
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Old 03-29-13, 01:17 PM
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Sorry about how the pictures loaded. Took with iPhone, they looked right on my Windows 8 computer, but when uploaded, they are slightly off. The 2nd picture should be rotated 180 degrees and all other pictures should be rotated 90 degrees to the right.

Here is some additional info. After an additional hour or so, the temps got up to about 160F. The pressure was at around 27F still (closer to 30 actually, but not exactly at 30) and the pressure relief valve started to drip slowly.

It was getting too hot in the house since the ambient temps weren't that cool outside (I was just running the heater to test).

I'll post back later after another run or two. The pressure going up that high is making me worry something else is wrong. I opened the bleeder valves on the radiators another time while the water was hot and it dropped the pressure just a little, but no air is in the system.

Hopefully this won't be a never-ending problem.
 
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Old 03-29-13, 01:21 PM
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HTX 90 here.

http://www.flexconind.com/pdf/FLEX2P...stallation.pdf

Hmmm... I am wondering id you need a floor model? Bigger then a 90?

The pressure going up that high is making me worry something else is wrong.
Yes the tank is too small.......
 
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Old 03-29-13, 01:46 PM
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Snake, why on earth did you install a '15' tank? There is absolutely NWIH that tank, which happens to be the SMALLEST size available is going to be big enough for that system.
Plumber got it.

What size tank is best? At this point, I can replace it myself if needed since the additional work that I paid for got done on the same visit. I can just shut off the water, drain, the boiler some, remove/replace the tank or just shutoff the water, remove and replace the current tank with a larger one. I can do it fast enough even if a little water spills, I won't care too much. All of this, of course if the new, larger tank is half inch threaded. If not, I'll have to use an adapter.

Just looked up and found this site: Amtrol

I don't know which is my net output, but the label on my heater has: A.G.A input as BTU/HR: 105000 and D.O.E. Htg Capacity: BTU/HR 83000.

Using 100000/125000/150000 BTU on the website above, I should have had an EX-60. Lesson learned.

Does anyone know if I change to the larger tank it I can still leave it hanging like in picture one, or should something be supporting the tank? Not sure if the expansion tank will always be filled with water.
 
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Old 03-29-13, 01:58 PM
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HTX 90 here.

http://www.flexconind.com/pdf/FLEX2P...stallation.pdf

Hmmm... I am wondering id you need a floor model? Bigger then a 90?

The pressure going up that high is making me worry something else is wrong.
Yes the tank is too small.......
Got it. Saw your post after I posted the one a few minutes ago.

60 or 90? Looks like I am 60 according to the size selector in my previous post (based on my understanding).

So at this point, I am back to having to drain the system again or drop the pressure low enough after I shut off the water feeding the boiler? I will try and order the tank as soon as I can (next week when the supply stores open back up) and do this install sooner rather than later so I won't have to do anything next cool season.

I just need to know if the tank can hang unsupported or if it should be supported.

I'll add another shut off valve for the tank and if I can, a drain valve to the piping to assist with servicing the tank in the future.
 
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Old 04-21-13, 11:15 AM
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Hello all,

Finally about to order a size 60 expansion tank. I'm pretty much at the end of the cool season and will do the swap within a month. My plan is to install a shutoff valve for the expansion tank for easy servicing and I will add a drain valve (as seen in the recommendation in the post for servicing a bladder type expansion tank).

Got two questions:

1. Is it definitely okay to install a shut off valve just for the expansion tank? (read somewhere that it could cause a pressure problem, but I don't see how that is possible).

2. Is there a way to safely support the expansion tank (foreseeing it will fail in a few years and just want to be prepared for the extra water weight not to be too heavy for the piping).

I don't have much room and my only thought is to use some support material (like pipe support material) and support the small piece of horizontal pipe that is before the 90 degree bend that is holding the expansion tank. Not sure if there is something I can buy and support the bottom of the expansion tank.

If I just support the small piece of pipe, is the solder strength of the female threaded adapter strong enough to hold 40+lbs?

I will be ordering this tank: 103-1 - Amtrol 103-1 - #60 Extrol Expansion Tank (7.6 Gallon Volume)

Saw this too for the support, but I don't see how I can get it to work for my space:

HC11-A - Storm King Enterprises HC11-A - 11" HydroClaw Expansion Tank Support Bracket

Thanks again for any responses and for everyone who has responded and helped. Size 60 is large enough for my needs and is bigger than what is needed (size 30 is actually what I need, but getting 60 to be safe).
 
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Old 04-21-13, 12:35 PM
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1. Is it definitely okay to install a shut off valve just for the expansion tank? (read somewhere that it could cause a pressure problem, but I don't see how that is possible).
The only way it can cause a problem is if the valve is accidentally closed and the system is run. If you are concerned about this, remove the handle and hang it on a nail near the boiler somewhere to discourage the valve being closed when system is in operation.

2. Is there a way to safely support the expansion tank (foreseeing it will fail in a few years and just want to be prepared for the extra water weight not to be too heavy for the piping).
In many cases, simple 'galvanized pipe strapping' will do the job.


image courtesy plumbersurplus.com

There are literally hundreds of pipe hanging solutions available...

I doubt that you need to support the bottom of the tank.

Remember to service the tank at least bi-annually and you won't have anything to worry about...
 
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Old 04-21-13, 06:31 PM
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Cool, thanks.

The galvanized pipe strapping is the pipe supporting material I was mentioning. Couldn't think of the name.

I'll use that to support the small piece of horizontal pipe that links to the expansion tank as shown above.

Thanks for the assistance.

Hope to tackle this in a week or so.

This forum is awesome. Learned a lot from all who responded and from other threads.
 
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Old 04-29-13, 04:05 AM
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Thanks everyone. Got the 60 installed, put a new shutoff valve just for the tank and a boiler drain on the pipe for the tank for easy servicing in the future.

Got the boiler water temps up to about 170F yesterday and the pressure only went to about 18-19 PSI.

My issues are now fixed and if the tank fails, I can easily replace without having to drain the entire system.

Thanks again for all the help.
 
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Old 08-06-13, 06:36 AM
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Red face boiler pressure over 30 psi

My boiler worked fine for years at 10 psi regulated by the replenishment valve. One day I found the cellar flooded and the pressure relief valve was opening and the pressure was over 30 psi.
I thought it was the replenishment regulator so I shut off the replenishment line and drained a bit of water out of the system to get the pressure down to 10 psi.
Again the pressure increased to 30. After several cycles of this process I could not figure out how the pressure was increasing. I read on this site about how an indirect hot water heater can have a rupture in the heating coils allowing line pressure to be applied to the boiler. I shut off the heating coils to the hot water heater and the boiler pressure no longer increased. A new hot water heater solved my over pressure problem. Thanks to this Do It Yourself site!
 
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