Steam leaking from circular plate on older Burnham boiler

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  #1  
Old 01-20-14, 03:09 PM
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Steam leaking from circular plate on older Burnham boiler

My friend noticed a small bit of steam coming from a circular plate on her steam boiler. It is a gas fueled burnham. I could not get it to replicate what she saw after running it for half an hour.

In the photo below, you can see where it has been coming out at around the 10 o'clock position(well....7 o'clock with the sideways photos) with that whitish mark. The plate does not seem to have a tight seal there, though I am not sure if it is just a loosened bolt(doubt it) as I had to try to use a cheesy pair of vice grips she had.

First off...what is that circular plate for? Is there a rubber(or some type) of seal behind it?

Thank you.

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Old 01-20-14, 03:23 PM
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That plate looks like a cover for a hot water coil. There seems to be some corrosion at the point where the leak is. There is a gasket under there, the bolts don't look that rusty, but you never know what the actual threads might be like. Replacing the gasket could be an easy task or a big mess.
It's a hit or miss on the labor.
 
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Old 01-20-14, 03:41 PM
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Yes, I could see some signs of corrosion.

So it is pretty much a drain, unbolt cover and install new gasket, then all is well.....of curse assuming those bolts are fairly easy to budge?
 
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Old 01-20-14, 04:07 PM
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Hi James,

Yes, that's pretty much it, of course remember to turn off the power to the boiler!

Get a can of "PB BLASTER". Stuff is great for loosening rusted bolts, and they WILL be rusted. It STINKS, but it WORKS. Smell will diminish quickly.

LAST THING you want to do is BREAK ONE OFF!

So, give the bolts a squirt, loosen bolts a little and rock them back and forth, loose / tight, loose / tight, you will feel them getting looser. Another shot of the blaster... do it again.

Do NOT get impatient or let your inner gorilla try to get those bolts out 'first time' because they WILL break off, then you are up Jack's creek...
 
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Old 01-20-14, 04:15 PM
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But....breaking one off sounds like so much fun

Ok, sounds good and thank you for the advice. I am going to do it for her on a warmer day, in case I need to hire a plumber to rescue me....but I feel more than confident I can do it.
 
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Old 01-20-14, 05:02 PM
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How much time would I have with an issue like this? In other words, can it wait until spring or is it more pressing?
 
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Old 01-20-14, 06:58 PM
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Hard to say how much time...

What you might run into is rust making that plate very hard to seal. It looks pretty well rusted at that spot. If it's really pitted and gouged (as well the boiler face that it mates to may be) you could run into problems getting a good seal.

Sorta goes without saying that unless you are good at cutting your own gaskets, to source a new gasket before you even think about starting.
 
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Old 01-20-14, 07:09 PM
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OK, I will pass that on to her.

I am leaning towards suggesting she hire a plumber, only because if something goes wrong I do not want to be researching the fix. That and I have never cut my own gasket

Thank you for your time and advice.
 
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Old 01-20-14, 07:40 PM
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Could you not use some sort or sealant/RTV like they due in autos to make a good seal.

Cutting a gasket is easy. Just trace and cut with a sharp exacto knife. Make them all the time when repairing our old farm equipment. Gasket material can be sourced from and auto parts store.
 
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Old 01-21-14, 03:41 PM
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If that plate is too pitted to seal, with the make & model number of the boiler you can buy a new one complete with gasket. When putting the bolts back use some never seize and make it easier if there's a next time.
 
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