Boiler Water Fill / Pressure Relief Valve Problem

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Old 12-26-13, 08:21 AM
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Boiler Water Fill / Pressure Relief Valve Problem

Hello,

I am a homeowner trying to troubleshoot my hot water boiler system (Winkler Gas Boiler). I noticed recently that my boiler is reading zero pressure. The combination fill & pressure relief valve (at least I think thats what it is - pictured below) is producing a slight hissing sound (from the nut on the top left with the green around it) and water drips constantly from the overflow pipe (none of this seems to change when the system is running except that more water is released). The system seems to be heating fine, but I am concerned with constantly losing water and adding more freshwater to the system...

Attachment 23542

In the above picture, the automatic water feed line is on the left, the steel pipe at the bottom of the valve is the overflow pipe, and the copper pipe on the right extends to the boiler. The green copper oxide has been on the fill valve for some time (indicating water leakage?), but the boiler would previously hold pressure and not drain so much water.

I am wondering if I need to replace the combination fill/relief valve altogether or if I can repair it? It seems that the nut on the top left (with the green around it) is leaking slightly (producing the green and slight hissing sound), and am wondering if I can loosen it and use thread sealant to stop the leak. I know that I don't want to seal the relief valve and cause an explosion, but would tightening that particular nut do that? The nut is completely closed on top and doesn't look like it's designed to release pressure - also it seems like the other side of the pressure relief valve (top right section with the small handle) would be where excess pressure is released...

I'm not sure if this nut leaking would cause my problems, but figured it would worth asking. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

Aaron

Attachment 23543
 
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Old 12-26-13, 09:00 AM
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This is why there are good reasons to not consume adult beverages on the job...



The combination fill & pressure relief valve (at least I think thats what it is - pictured below)
Yes it is [called that].

is producing a slight hissing sound (from the nut on the top left with the green around it) and water drips constantly from the overflow pipe (none of this seems to change when the system is running except that more water is released).
You obviously already know this ain't right.

The system seems to be heating fine, but I am concerned with constantly losing water and adding more freshwater to the system...
And well you should be.

I am wondering if I need to replace the combination fill/relief valve altogether or if I can repair it?
Replacement would be in order.

wondering if I can loosen it and use thread sealant to stop the leak
No, not worth the effort and not likely to solve your issue.

It sounds to me as if your 'pressure reducing valve', the one on the left in the first picture is 'leaking through'. Replacement is really the only thing you should consider with a valve that old.

=============

Let me ask you some further questions though:

1. Is that pressure relief valve (the one on the right in the picture) the ONLY pressure relief valve on the system?

You should be aware that since your system was originally installed that building codes have changed and that type of pressure relief valve is no longer up to modern codes.

Unfortunately, you may not have an appropriate place on the boiler itself where a proper relief valve could be installed.

2. Find the PRESSURE and TEMPERATURE gauge on the boiler and tell us what the readings are. Show us a picture of the gauge (take some more pictures all around the boiler as well, I like to see everything, including the piping to the large tank in the ceiling)

=============

Once you have found the PRESSURE GAUGE and reported it's reading, I am going to ask you to CLOSE the valve to the left of the pressure reducing valve and observe the gauge reading for a period of time.

I would like to know if the pressure drops and continues to do so... if it DOES it would indicate a leak somewhere.

I'm going to have more for you later... I would suggest that in addition to replacing the valves, that you also service that expansion tank in the ceiling. This could also contribute to the pressure problem.

I'm not sure what to tell you yet about the relief valve.

Are you capable of sweating copper pipes yourself? Or would you be calling in a plumber?
 
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Old 12-26-13, 01:20 PM
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Update

My father can help me sweat copper pipe, so I would not be calling a plumber.

Below is a picture of the pressure/temp gauge:
Name:  pressure temp gauge.jpg
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The temperature reading is 80 degrees and the pressure isn't reading anything at all (the dial is on the -50 mark to the right).

As far as I can tell, that is the only pressure relief valve on the system.

Closing the valve to the left of the pressure reducing valve does not change anything that is happening.

There is a very small leak (few drops every couple of hours) from what looks to be the gasket between the motor (horizontal) to the pump itself (vertical) as shown in the picture below:

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In order to fix that, I am thinking I would have to remove the bolts sitting horizontally just to the left of the motor. Hoever, I'm am trying to avoid that for now if possible...

In regards to the valve,

I am planning on replacing it with a similar combo feed/pressure relief valve.

How should I service the expansion tank on the ceiling? I have read forums about draining it, is that what you mean?

Finally, there are some additional pictures below:

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Name:  expansion tank piping.jpg
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Old 12-26-13, 01:27 PM
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One more thing

Just one more thing for now - I am trying to replace the valve within the next week. Should I bring in kerosene / electric heaters and try to not run my boiler at all in the meantime, or do you think it would be okay to run it in it's current state for another week?

Thanks again.
 
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Old 12-26-13, 02:17 PM
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The temperature reading is 80 degrees and the pressure isn't reading anything at all (the dial is on the -50 mark to the right).
I don't know why there is a 'minus' sign there. If you will notice, ZERO is all the way on the OTHER side of the dial. So when you say " isn't reading anything at all " ... what you really mean is that the gauge is pinned out into the 'red zone' and reading PLUS 50 PSI.

You could well have FIFTY PLUS PSI in that boiler. That's not good!

That is, IF the needle that's pinned all the way to the right is not the 'lazy hand'...

Do NOT 'take for granted' that the gauge is busted. Until you know with absolute certainty that there is NOT 50 PSI in the boiler, treat it as if you DO.

Your gauge has TWO hands on the pressure dial, one of them is just a simple 'bookmark', a 'lazy hand' that is used as a reminder, and is meaningless. The other is the actual pressure gauge needle. I can't tell from the picture which is which.

You need to replace that gauge with one that functions. I don't see any drain valves in your pictures to which you can attach a test gauge and verify the boiler pressure. You NEED TO KNOW the boiler pressure.

Read this:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...ure-gauge.html

I am planning on replacing it with a similar combo feed/pressure relief valve.
If that's what ya gotta do, then that's what ya gotta do...

However: I STRONGLY URGE YOU to install the new combo valve right next to that vertical steel pipe because the fact that it is NOT going to be a 'proper' relief valve and only have limited capacity to relieve pressure anyway... it should NOT be further limited by a bendy twisty run of 1/2" tubing going up to it. Nor should it be limited by elbows on the DISCHARGE side.

If I were you... I would cut that 1/2" copper where it connects to the steel pipe and remove the threaded adapter that's in there and screw a black steel nipple into that pipe, and then thread the new combo valve DIRECTLY to that nipple. Run a straight length of pipe from the valve discharge down to the floor. Do NOT reduce the size of the discharge pipe, if the valve is threaded for 3/4" pipe, use 3/4" pipe. Use a length of pipe that brings it to within 6" of the floor. There should be NO THREADS on the end of that pipe to discourage anyone from threading a cap onto it in the event that it leaks again.

Install a NEW shutoff valve in the water line leading to the new pressure reducing valve. Use a BALL VALVE.

Closing the valve to the left of the pressure reducing valve does not change anything that is happening.
That would seem to mean that the manual shutoff valve isn't working at all then. It probably means that you are going to have to shut off the water to the house... unless there's another shutoff that you can use upstream of that one.

How should I service the expansion tank on the ceiling? I have read forums about draining it, is that what you mean?
Yes, that's what I mean... and is why I wanted to see pictures of the tank and the pipes leading to it to see what valves you had available to isolate the tank to service it. I can sorta see the pipes in one of the pics, but not clearly enough to get any details.

You are going to have to drain the boiler to install the new combo valve. When the boiler is drained is the time to also service the expansion (actually a COMPRESSION) tank.

I'll tell more about this when I can see those pictures.

There is a very small leak (few drops every couple of hours)...In order to fix that, I am thinking I would have to remove the bolts sitting horizontally just to the left of the motor. Hoever, I'm am trying to avoid that for now if possible...
Find the model number of the pump and let us know what that is. There's a 'service manual' for those pumps that can be found on the web I'm sure. Don't take it apart until you've read that service manual and have a good idea of how to fix it properly.

Should I bring in kerosene / electric heaters and try to not run my boiler at all in the meantime, or do you think it would be okay to run it in it's current state for another week?
I wouldn't run a kerosene heater in the house.

How is the electric wiring in the house? Make sure you don't burn the place down by overloading circuits with electric heaters.

Why wait a week to fix it?

I don't think I would run it the way it is... at least not without verifying the pressure gauge.
 
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Old 12-26-13, 04:18 PM
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NJ Trooper,

I cannot thank you enough for your advice today. I opened the drain valve for the boiler and sure enough the pressure started to fall (which made me realize how stupid I was for assuming the gauge was bad). I drained the system until the gauge read 12psi, and will assemble a device tomorrow (based on your other thread) to verify that pressure is correct. I also shut the water off to the house as a temporary solution to keep the pressure from rising again (since the valve to the water feed is defective as well).

The only reason I would wait up to a week to replace the valve is because I may have to wait that long to get a combo feed/pressure relief valve delivered to my house (I cannot find anywhere close that has them in stock). I will definitely be replacing it ASAP.

In regards to draining the compression tank, there is one valve between the boiler and the tank shown in the picture below:

Name:  compression tank valve.jpg
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Should I close that valve and empty the tank by removing the nut pictured below?

Name:  tank empty nut.jpg
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Old 12-26-13, 05:18 PM
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I would wait up to a week to replace the valve is because I may have to wait that long to get a combo feed/pressure relief valve delivered to my house
I bet you could get these in a couple days... the ones that are on 'fast track' shipping and in stock.

Fill Valve - Backflow Preventer - Fill Valve and Backflow Preventer Combo - PexSupply.com

My preference would be BRASS construction, but if you are on a budget, the cast ones last a pretty long time.
 
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Old 12-26-13, 05:19 PM
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More on the tank later.............. wife want me to join her for a bite to eat.
 
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Old 12-27-13, 12:19 PM
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Pump Problem

Well, I replaced the regulator / relief valve combo, added a new ball valve, and drained the compression tank. As I was refilling the system to test it, I noticed a stream of water coming from the pump. The pump had been leaking very slowly (a few drops at a time) previously, but now it seems to be a steady stream...

I am now hoping for some advice on what pump to replace it with (I am not going to attempt to repair it as other threads say the repair job often fails and I need to get my boiler running consistently asap). There is a picture of the pump in one of my earlier posts, and here is the info I found on the motor housing:

1/6 horsepower
1725 RPM
115 Volts
60 cycles
2.7 amps

serial MOT-109-6
protector MRF36EV

In addition, I own a 3 story house with large, cast iron radiators if that helps...


Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!
 
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Old 12-27-13, 12:35 PM
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I hope you put a drain valve on the tank for future use?

Believe it or not, a Taco 007 will PROBABLY pump that system... I know you will find this hard to believe, but the 007 is a good little pump and despite is smaller size and less horsepower it is PROBABLY capable of handling it.

The only reason NOT to try an 007 would be if the FLANGE TO FLANGE dimension of the existing pump is not 6-1/2" to 6-5/8" ... so measure that distance first and let us know.

I believe your pump is a "Series 100" ... but it may be an " HV " and if it is the dimension will be too far off to use the 007.

The height of the building has nothing to do with the pump. Heating systems are CLOSED so there is not an issue with the height. Height only applies to OPEN systems, i.e. potable water systems. The water is a "ferris wheel" in a closed system and all you need to do is turn the wheel, not push it up a hill.

The 007 is very inexpensive because there are MILLIONS of them made and used. Under $100 and should be available locally at HD or Lowes. (or any supply house).

In order to get your heat working again, I would try the 007... I highly doubt that you will find it can't do the job.

We need to talk about system pressure since you have a 3 story house... I don't think we previously knew that, did we?
 
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Old 12-27-13, 12:40 PM
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By the way... how much additional support is holding that tank in the joists? I do NOT like that twisted wire that's there... If I were you I would be adding some 'strapping' metal to support that tank. VERY HEAVY! Yeah, OK, it's been like that for years... famous last words.
 
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Old 12-27-13, 12:44 PM
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By the way, we would like to see pictures of the finished project. That's our 'payment'. We like pics.

We need to talk about system pressure since you have a 3 story house... I don't think we previously knew that, did we?
Because you have a 3 story home, your COLD FILL PRESSURE is going to need to be at LEAST 17 PSI and maybe 18 PSI. so you will need to adjust the pressure regulator up a few PSI after you are finished.

The extra pressure is required to maintain a POSITIVE PRESSURE at the top of the system at all times. If you don't adjust the pressure up a bit you will have CONSTANT problems with air collecting at the top of the system and will probably lose the heat on the upper floor because of this.

Determine to the nearest foot how high above the BOTTOM of the boiler that the the TOP of the uppermost radiator. Do this and I can tell you exactly how much you need to raise the pressure.
 
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Old 12-27-13, 12:46 PM
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Pump

There are two additional staps on the tank on the ceiling that were probably not shown in the picture, but thanks for the thought.

The flange to flange distance on my pump is 8 1/2 inches. I called Bell & Grosset and gave them all the information I could find on it and their guess was that it was an HV pump... but it was just a guess.
 
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Old 12-27-13, 12:50 PM
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Just to reassure you that the little ole 007 will do the job, here is data on the 'pump curves' of the series 100 versus the 007. You will see that they are adequately the same as far as pumping ability goes.



In fact, in some cases, the 007 will pump MORE than the 100 ...

In general they are 'close enough'.

Of course, if your pump is an HV, all bets are off...

Look for more information on the pump, the numbers you gaver are for the MOTOR ONLY.

There should be another data plate on the part between the motor and the pump part.
 
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Old 12-27-13, 12:51 PM
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The flange to flange distance on my pump is 8 1/2 inches.
Yeah, it's an HV almost for certain.

There is a Taco pump that will replace that though... I THINK it's the 0012 ... standby...
 
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Old 12-27-13, 12:52 PM
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If the leak is between the motor and the volute it could just be the gasket. Why it's leaking more is because when you draained the system the gasket may have dried out and when cold water was added it would leak more. When you heat the water it may come back to life a little. Also there are oil cups on that pump that take a few drops of 30W oil.
That may buy you some time until you get a new one.
 
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Old 12-27-13, 12:55 PM
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According to Taco:

0012-F4 is a direct replacement for the HV Series
You aren't going to be happy about the price though... but you will pay almost this for the parts needed to repair your HV.

0012-F4 - Taco 0012-F4 - 0012 Cast Iron Circulator (HV Equivalent), 1/8 HP
 
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Old 01-15-14, 03:28 PM
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Finished! (I think...)

Well I spent some time on the phone with Bell & Grosset, looked for all of the numbers I could find on the pump/bearing assembly/motor, and we determined that I have an HV pump. It sounds like the Taco pump 0012-F4 would have been the one to buy to simply "swap it out", but it was Friday evening when the pump started leaking and there was really cold weather on the way... so here's what I did.

I called various plumbing supply stores, found one that had a bearing assembly that would work for my setup, removed the pump/bearing assembly/motor, took it to the hardware store and they put the new bearing assembly on. It ended up costing me about $260 total, but I was able to have my boiler up and running the very next day.

In addition to pictures of the pump, I have also included pictures of the valves I replaced. Per the instructions on the dual regulator/pressure relief valve, I installed a backflow preventer and a new ball valve.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 04:02 PM
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I hope you straightened out that drunken cattywampus feed water piping!

How's the pressure now? Are you somewhat confident that the gauge on the boiler is accurate?

Remember, for a three story home, you want a little more pressure... did you adjust up the new regulator to give you 17-18 on a cold system?
 
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Old 01-29-14, 06:46 AM
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Pressure

Right now my pressure gauge on the cold system reads 18-19psi (although admittedly I haven't checked the accuracy of the gauge because I haven't been able to find a suitable pressure gauge at any local stores).

I measured from the bottom of the boiler to the top of the uppermost radiators and got approximately 28 feet.

I am hearing a gurgling sound in the uppermost radiators when the system shuts off, and I have air collecting at the top of the system. I have two questions:

1)Rather than order a pressure gauge online to check my system pressure, can I turn the pressure up little by little (over the course of a few days) so that it is just high enough to avoid the collection of air in the top radiators? I just put on a new pressure relief valve, so if I were to reach 30 psi it would release the pressure and I would know...

2) Does air collecting at the top of my system mean I have a leak somewhere? I have released the air several times and it keeps building back up.
 
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Old 01-29-14, 04:28 PM
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For 28' of height, you need a MINIMUM pressure of 16 PSI when the system is cold. This means that your expansion tank and pressure reducing valve both need to be adjusted to 16 PSI also. (and you need to know the gauge is accurate to do so!)

1)Rather than order a pressure gauge online to check my system pressure, can I turn the pressure up little by little (over the course of a few days) so that it is just high enough to avoid the collection of air in the top radiators? I just put on a new pressure relief valve, so if I were to reach 30 psi it would release the pressure and I would know...
Well... I suppose you could do that... trial and error... but it really is a 'hack' way to do things! I do understand the reluctance to spend money though and try to 'muddle' through.

2) Does air collecting at the top of my system mean I have a leak somewhere? I have released the air several times and it keeps building back up.
No, not necessarily.

Air is put into the system whenever fresh water is added. Fresh water has a lot of air dissolved in the water. When the water is heated, that air comes out of the water and forms bubbles. You've added fresh water from the work you've done on the pump, etc...

Most systems with the steel tanks above the boiler are not 'properly' piped such that air traveling in the system will be 'caught' and sent to the tank where it belongs. From what I can see, yours is not ideal, so air in the system will continue to travel around until if finds a nice low pressure spot for it to hang out... and the lowest pressure spot is always the highest point in the system.

You are "releasing the air" exactly how? Air bleeders on the radiators at the top of the system? At some point, the fresh water will give all it's air up and you should be able to bleed it out. Could take a while though... weeks... or more...

I don't recall and too lazy to read back... you successfully drained the expansion tank COMPLETELY? And when you were working on it, you installed a drain valve in the tank where that plug was?
 
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