Boiler running

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Old 03-10-13, 09:31 PM
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Boiler running

Hello, let me start by saying sorry, I know nothing about boilers, how they work, names of things, etc. In the past week I have noticed that water is always running. It sounds like someone is in the shower or has a sink on upstairs. When you go to the boiler you can hear water moving in the pipes, but it never made this sound before. The pressure valve reads zero, but water flows fine. I don't know where to start? Calling a tech out here is kinda out of the cards for financial reasons. I can follow instructions and try to answer any questions. Really I wouldn't say there is an issue because water is fine, heats and flows well, heat in home is fine, it's just the sound, it's never sounded like this before so something happened, and it's driving me crazy.

I think it's kind of a hodge podge system, the boiler heats the water, and provided the heat, but it's forced air. The previous owner (DIY) was going to zone it off with floor registers but never finished.

Additional info:

Vaillant Hot Water Boiler, mod GA92-160 SPVD
Air Handler, ThermoPride, Mod AH2-A
Amtrol Water, and expansion tank, ex tnk Mod 110

Water temp reads 120 on water tank, 160 on boiler valve, and zero pressure. Expansion tank is cool to the touch (I would image it should be warm right?)
 
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Old 03-11-13, 05:37 AM
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So you supply heat with a coil? Hmm... Why not a furnace? Well anyway, depending on where the air handler heating coil is located determines how much boiler system pressure you need, but more then likely its going to be set with a normal 12 psi feeder. If it sounds like water is running and your gauge reads zero, more then likely you have a pretty significant leak somewhere. Any piping go under the floor at all or in areas where you can't see?
 
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Old 03-11-13, 05:57 AM
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I think the flow your hearing is simply air in the lines because of the lack of pressure.
Take detailed pictures of the system and post them on her.
 
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Old 03-11-13, 06:17 AM
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Agreed that your possible pressure issue is the first thing to tackle.
Its possible that your pressure gauge is bunk.. you might need to fit a known good one into the system somewhere to verify this.
If it is indeed zero, then it's a good point to test/refill the air side of your expansion tank (must be done with zero system pressure).
Depending on what fittings etc you have, the process could be different for all of this.. need pics of the system (wide and close ups of parts).
 
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Old 03-11-13, 06:29 AM
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Ok thanks. I'll get some pictures when I get out of work and upload them.
 
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Old 03-11-13, 02:50 PM
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Pictures or pretty much everything. Previous owner was a boiler tech (not sure if a good one) so I think he pieced the whole thing together with stuff he got from his company. He moved out of state and was a jerk anyways.
 
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Old 03-11-13, 03:09 PM
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The brass can on top of the green 'air scoop' appears to be leaking... needs replaced. This is not leaking badly enough that you would hear 'water running' though.



Is there any support (I can't see if there is in the pics) out at the end of the pipe that the expansion tank is hanging on? If not, you need to add some. I piece of strapping up to a joist and a nail would do it.

 
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Old 03-11-13, 03:16 PM
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That blue tank... that's a 'BoilerMate' ? and not a private well pressure tank, right?

Honestly, I can't make heads or tails out of that jungle gym you've got there.

Can you locate the manual shutoff valve for the line that feeds water into the boiler?

If you can, close that and determine if the sound stops.

You're going to have to use a process of elimination here.
 
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Old 03-11-13, 03:21 PM
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Previous owner was a boiler tech
I think you have a typo there... you got one letter right... not "tech" but HACK ... my 12 y.o. nephew can sweat pipes better than that!
 
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Old 03-11-13, 05:31 PM
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I see several greenish indications of leaks in copper connections. My major criticism is overall sloppy installation. What is that long cantilever supporting the expansion tank? That looks like an accident waiting to happen.

The sweat connections are worse than mine, which is saying something.
 
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Old 03-11-13, 06:08 PM
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@ NJ Tropper

The brass can on top of the green 'air scoop' appears to be leaking... needs replaced. This is not leaking badly enough that you would hear 'water running' though.

Odd that you say that because I just noticed water spurting out....I'm sure it has been for a while and the little amount dries before we notice. It also started whistling like a tea pot when it was spitting water, hate to be an idiot, but what does that part do? I imagine it vents air out of the system?


Is there any support (I can't see if there is in the pics) out at the end of the pipe that the expansion tank is hanging on? If not, you need to add some. I piece of strapping up to a joist and a nail would do it.

No, there isn't really anything supporting it, however there is a peice of meter tied between that and the upper pipe to hold it....so yes, the support is basically a twisted coat hanger.

That blue tank... that's a 'BoilerMate' ? and not a private well pressure tank, right?
Yes a Bolier Mate tank

Honestly, I can't make heads or tails out of that jungle gym you've got there.
Coifidence level dropping...

Can you locate the manual shutoff valve for the line that feeds water into the boiler? Honestly....no. there's, with as many levers as all these pipes have, I feel like a 90 year old trying to figure out how to use an iPhone, but here goes, from the water coming into the building it enters the Boiler Mate, two pipes come out of BM, 1 goes to the boiler unit, where you see all the pipes like it was going to be zoned out...the last one in the back has some sort of electrical device on it (not the one where you see conduit leading up to it) If you turn lever right before that the water stops running through the pipes, but the sound still persists. I guess it's like a "pressure" sound you would hear when water is being sent up to another floor. Pipe 2 comes out of BM, goes to air handler, back of the boiler, and Ex tank. Turn lever to boiler, same deal, water stops running, but can still hear sound, turn lever to ex tank, can hear "new" water running.

The only thing that completely stops the sound, and water moving is killing power to the boiler. Perhaps I wasn't clear, the "sound" is two parts, water running through pipes like it's draining, and a pressurized sound like the shower or sink is on (I don't know any other way to explain the sound). It's looking like a may have to call someone out, but I atleast would like to know what to tell them. Saying I have hot water, heat, and ok water pressure, I just hear water moving sounds a little nutty.
 
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Old 03-11-13, 06:11 PM
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Just want to get a good idea before I call someone out here. Last time I called someone out they charged me $300 and the only thing they did was replace a $6 elbow piece and show vac'd everything to clean it up.
 
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Old 03-12-13, 07:13 AM
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Where the bunch of yellow handles are (unused zones ?), there is a drain valve (?) with the blue handle and black globe valve on the pipe. Does that pipe go back to the boiler without any gizmos along the way ? Might be one place to check pressure (would need some adapters to attach the pressure gauge) ?
 
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