Baseboard Water Rushing and Dripping Relief Valve

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Old 01-21-14, 11:53 AM
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Baseboard Water Rushing and Dripping Relief Valve

Hi DiYers,

This is my first question asked here, but not my first answer, as I have been reading this forum for a while now since I purchased my first home!

Thanks for the great resource so far, but now I can't seem to find a specific answer to my problem (since it seems every heating system is different).

First things first, there is heat in the house, every baseboard unit seems to be functioning and warm when the system is on. There was a bit of "running water" sound coming from some of the first floor baseboards, 2 rooms more noticeable than the others. My girlfriends father suggested putting a bit more water in the system, and this seemed to help a tiny bit but not much.

I then called a technician from [company name removed], to come take a look, and he flushed the entire system, told me that it would take 2-3 days to work itself out of the system. Well.... it is now about 10x louder and also in the upstairs baseboard units as well, and it's been over 2 weeks.

Also I noticed the relief valve leaking on the side of the boiler unit and it fills up about a quarter of a gallon container every day.

The technician said my system was old, and I should replace it eventually... but from what I have read, this unit is a "workhorse" and it seems to be functioning quite well except for this current issue.

I am posting pictures of the setup (I have no idea what the terms are for everything and I am sorry about that). Hopefully someone can help me figure this out.

NOTE: there is only one "Bleed Valve" on the baseboard unit on the 2nd story bedroom. There are NO other bleed valves on any other baseboard unit.


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Last edited by NJT; 01-21-14 at 01:33 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-21-14, 01:51 PM
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Mikko? that you?

The technician said my system was old, and I should replace it eventually...
Of course he did! Because there is little doubt that there is commission involved. Sadly, techs these days have incentive to tell you this because they are also salesmen... how 'old' was he? Is HE ready for 'replacement' yet?

No, there's no reason to trash a perfectly good boiler because it's 'old'.

We need to see some close up shots, in focus, well lighted... (get some lamps down there and try to minimize shadows. If you have a real camera rather than a cell phone, use that for the pictures...) we're mostly 'old' too, and our eyes ain't what they youster be. I can't replace them though.

Specifically, in this photo:



I'd like to see clearly the piping around that red valve on top of the pipe that comes out of the boiler, and the piping that goes to that overhead tank.

I think I can see a blue handled shutoff valve on the pipe leading from the boiler pipe to the tank, is that correct?

On the other end of the tank there is (or should be) a drain valve. Looks like the handle may be missing from that valve? Get a close up of that valve also... see if there's a label on that valve that says 'drain-o-tank' or ' DT-2 ' or ' Bell & Gossett ' or ' B & G '.

To cure the pressure safety relief valve from leaking you are going to have to service that tank... we'll tell you exactly how when we get the further info.

Your pressure gauge appears to be reading 15 PSI, which is OK if the boiler is cold, but it appears that the boiler is at about 180F in that picture, so it is actually a little low.

Read this:

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

Also, just above where the two pipes join together and go down to the pump at the side of the boiler there are two valves. Can you show us a clear shot of those valves please?

One last thing... SOMEWHERE near the boiler is a pipe that leads from the domestic water system to the boiler system. There should be at least one valve on that pipe. There may be some other gadgets, specifically a 'bell-shaped' thing called a 'pressure reducing valve' that limits the pressure in the boiler from the high pressure in your domestic piping. This pipe and valves are how the boiler gets it's water fill... see if you can locate those and post pictures. I don't see them in the pics you posted so I presume they must be up toward the ceiling... look around and see if you can find them.
 
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Old 01-21-14, 01:55 PM
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Maybe this is the pipe that fills the boiler on the LEFT side in this image? The one with the drain sticking out. Where is that going, and show us any valves on that pipe...



Yes, that may be the water fill pipe, there seems to be a valve peeking out from under the flue pipe in this pic.

Follow that pipe back, it should intersect with the domestic water supply piping. See if there's another shut off valve before it connects. There should be...
 
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Old 01-21-14, 02:56 PM
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Wow thanks for the reply! So much to try and answer... here goes nothin!

Also I would like to apologize for putting the company name there in my first post!
I'll try and answer your questions in order, including pictures inserted in the post (I busted out the big boy camera lol).

I'd like to see clearly the piping around that red valve on top of the pipe that comes out of the boiler, and the piping that goes to that overhead tank.
Here you go! (5 Images)
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I think I can see a blue handled shutoff valve on the pipe leading from the boiler pipe to the tank, is that correct?
This is correct, but this thing won't turn in either direction. Unless I am just weak... which is very likely.

On the other end of the tank there is (or should be) a drain valve. Looks like the handle may be missing from that valve? Get a close up of that valve also... see if there's a label on that valve that says 'drain-o-tank' or ' DT-2 ' or ' Bell & Gossett ' or ' B & G '.
I think you mean this?
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Also, just above where the two pipes join together and go down to the pump at the side of the boiler there are two valves. Can you show us a clear shot of those valves please?
Here you go!
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Yes, that may be the water fill pipe, there seems to be a valve peeking out from under the flue pipe in this pic.

Follow that pipe back, it should intersect with the domestic water supply piping. See if there's another shut off valve before it connects. There should be...
Here are pictures of that valve, I am VERY FAMILIAR with the water lines in this house, as I just re-did all the lines while installing my new 50 gallon hot water heater! There is one shutoff before the hot water tank, and a separate shutoff after that on the cold water line directly to the Boiler system. AFTER that shutoff valve is what I think is the auto fill valve pictured here:
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I will try and figure out the pressure gauge later on tonight if I have a spare moment.
 
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Old 01-21-14, 04:40 PM
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Perfect Pics...

this thing won't turn in either direction. Unless I am just weak... which is very likely.
No... that valve should turn easily. If it doesn't you're going to have to do something so that it does, because you have to drain that tank completely. In order to do that, you will have to close that valve. It HAS TO BE open now, otherwise you would be getting a lot more than just a 'little' water out the relief valve!

So that's going to be the first order of business then...

Of course, since it's open, the only way it can go is clockwise to close.

First, examine the 'stem' under the handle. Is it all corroded? If it is you should polish it up before trying to close it in order that you don't damage the 'packing' which seals the stem from leaking by running a corroded old valve stem down into the soft packing material. Since you redid the plumbing, you must have done some soldering, and probably have a roll of that plumbers sandpaper? That's perfect for cleaning up that stem... tear a strip off and polish it up.

Do you have any silicone spray? Give the stem a shot so a little can work it's way down into the valve. Let it sit for a while.

Try to close the valve... still won't budge?

That valve should have a 'gland nut' under the handle, but I can't see it that clearly. Perhaps you are familiar with valve packing and know what a gland nut is? We can also call it a 'packing nut', as in the graphic below.


image courtesy hubimg.com

The flexible packing material under the gland nut is compressed by the nut and creates a seal around the stem. After so many years of not being turned, it has 'seized' to the stem.

That gland nut must never be gorilla'd down tight... only tight enough to stop any seepage.

You can try to LOOSEN that nut just a wee bit and start wiggling the valve handle open close open close... once it frees up it should turn easily. Maybe another shot of silicone spray...

If the stem does start seeping a little water, don't worry, you are going to tighten the packing back up again once the valve is freed up.

This is IMPORTANT! NEVER EVER let your inner gorilla tighten a gate valve as hard as he can. Gate valves have a VERY nasty habit of 'wedging' the gate down into the internal slot and when you go to open the valve again, the stem actually BREAKS out the brass on top of the gate leaving the gate closed and the stem doing nothing. At that point, yer screwed... so DON'T let Magilla loose!

That valve only needs to stop the majority of the flow from the boiler into the tank while you are draining the tank.

LONG explanation for simply freeing up a stuck valve, but I don't want you to get in trouble.

Once you get the valve freed up, let me know and I'll continue... or maybe I'll continue anyway.
 
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Old 01-21-14, 04:56 PM
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Once the valve is freed up, it's time to drain the tank.

You are REALLY lucky to have the Drain-O-Tank valve! Makes life SOOOO much easier!

First, shut off the boiler, and CLOSE the valve feeding the water to the boiler from the domestic side.

CLOSE the blue handle valve between the boiler and the tank.

Put a garden hose on the 'Drain-O-Tank' valve and direct to a bucket, laundry tub, floor drain...

OPEN the D-O-T valve and let it run till no more water comes out.

Here's what's on the inside of that tank connected to the D-O-T valve... an AIR TUBE running up into the tank:



Here's the instruction for that valve:

http://s3.pexsupply.com/manuals/1303..._PROD_FILE.pdf

Take a flat blade screwdriver and UNSCREW that brass screw in the center of the D-O-T valve handle. It will suck air and more water will come out the hose. You MAY get water out of the brass screw if the tank is really full of water, but it SHOULD SUCK AIR IN.

If it doesn't do either... STOP and let us know.

Once ALL the water is out of the expansion tank, close the D-O-T, replace the screw in the air vent on the handle, turn the water back on to the system, and OPEN the blue valve between tank and boiler.

You will hear water feed into the boiler and the tank, it is SUPPOSED to do this! In normal operation that tank will be more than half full of water with the top half full of air. This air is what controls the pressure in the system. When the water is heated and expands, it will push into that tank and compress the air inside.

When there is not enough air in the tank the 'resting' pressure of the system will be fine, but the HOT pressure will rise too far and open the relief valve.

At this point, your OVER pressure problem should be fixed... the relief valve should not spew any longer.

But wait... there's more!
 
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Old 01-22-14, 06:57 AM
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Thanks NJ Trooper, I'm going to try and verify the accuracy of the pressure gauge after work, and then start the other process... although its -8 degrees here today so maybe I'll wait until it's a tad warmer in case i break something :P
 
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Old 01-22-14, 07:05 AM
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If you have any WD40, Silicone, etc, give that valve a shot and let it work while you are out...

Heading out to burn some hydrocarbons... trying to get all this white crap outta my way. About 12" of it here.
 
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Old 01-22-14, 07:24 AM
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HA! I will give it a shot! I heard NJ and NYC got hit pretty bad, upstate NY here we didn't get anything at all! (for once)
 
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Old 01-22-14, 09:35 AM
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Yeah, all totaled about 13" here. There was a 'band' that cut across the state and we are right in the middle of that band. Thankfully, it was light and powdery. All cleared out now... thanks to internal combustion!
 
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