Steam Leaking from Relief Valve

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Old 02-13-14, 12:38 PM
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Steam Leaking from Relief Valve

Please pardon my bad English, it's not my first language.

I have a Williamson GAS-125, a gas supply steam boiler. Recently the relief valve starts to leak out steam when the boiler is on and I checked the gauage is reading around 4 psi. I tried to take some water out from the drain valve couples days ago to clean up the water in the boiler on Saturday and I do remember the psi reading dropped to 0.
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I went through the thread NJ Trooper wrote on "Pressure Relief Valve leaking?"
I'm not sure where the "air valve" is which I think I need to pump some pressure to my system.

Also, my auto water feeder was working before I try to clean up the boiler the other day, I didn't see it feed the water when I check it on Wednesday when the water level was low(couldn't see any water inside the glass waterline reader). I really need some help here at NY when the temperature is around 20s. I don't know if its safe to run the boiler anymore, my basement is full of steam and paints start to peel off

Here are some picture I took from the system. Thank you.
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Old 02-13-14, 01:28 PM
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Hi Hamster, your English is not bad!

Something you need to understand:

Your system is a STEAM boiler as opposed to a HOT WATER system and the message which you read about the relief valve does NOT apply to a STEAM boiler.

The pressure in your system appears to be set VERY VERY HIGH, Much higher than it should be. You may have other issues as well.

I will type more later.
 
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Old 02-13-14, 01:49 PM
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Thank you Trooper. I'm so desperate to fix the issue that I just scheduled a person to check on it in two hours. But I want to understand how to fix it or prevent it from happening again.
 
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Old 02-13-14, 02:50 PM
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I understand.

I would like to recommend an excellent book for homeowners with the STEAM heat systems:

Heating Help

This is the FIRST and BEST $25 that a homeowner can spend on his heating system.

A homeowner with a STEAM system MUST know and perform some basic routine maintenances during the heating season. This book will explain these things better than we can here on the forum.

In this picture:



the gray box on top is called a "PRESSURTROL" and it's settings ( from what I can see in the picture) are FAR TOO HIGH!

That bar on the front should be NO HIGHER than 0.5 PSI ... that's ZERO POINT FIVE . It is adjusted by means of the screw on top. This is not a typographical error, that setting should be turned WAY down!

There is also a dial INSIDE that box and it should be adjusted to NO HIGHER than 1.5 ... that's ONE POINT FIVE.

STEAM systems in residential service do NOT need a pressure any higher than these settings which I have mentioned. You will use a LOT MORE FUEL than required with NO ADDED BENEFIT. Nothing good can come of raising the pressure on your system as high as it has been raised. It will NOT heat the home any better or faster, and as you have learned will lead to other problems.

The copper tube that control is connected to is called a PIGTAIL or a SIPHON TUBE, and they often become clogged with 'junk'.

If that tube is clogged with junk, the Pressurtrol will not be able to know what the pressure in the boiler is, and it can go out of control.

If pressure goes out of control, the safety relief valve will open and spew steam.

This MAY be your problem, and would be the very first things that I would check. Make sure that the service person readjusts the Pressurtrol to the correct settings, and checks that the pigtail is not clogged.
 
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Old 02-13-14, 03:01 PM
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thank you so much, I'm about to check on the system now. I'll let you know how it goes.
So the pressure should be set below 0.5 on the honeywell device, and the gauage should read below 1.5.

btw, how about the water feeder issue?
 
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Old 02-13-14, 04:06 PM
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So the pressure should be set below 0.5 on the honeywell device, and the gauage should read below 1.5.
There are TWO settings of the Honeywell PressurTrol.

The one that is called "CUT-IN" is the dial on the front and it should be set to 0.5, yes.

If you remove the screw on the front of the box you can remove the cover easily. Inside you will find another setting. This one should be set to 1.5 PSI.

When this is done, the gauge should move between 0.5 and 2.0 PSI.

The dial inside is called a 'differential', and on your control this differential is ADDED to the CUT-IN pressure.

This gives the control an operating range from 0.5 PSI up to 2.0 PSI (which is called the "CUT-OUT" pressure).

When there is NO call for heat, the gauge will soon return to ZERO. It should NOT always show a pressure reading when the boiler has not been firing for some time.

how about the water feeder issue?
I missed that question when I first read through... let me look.

Here is the instruction book for your water feeder:

http://www.hydrolevel.com/new/pages/...structions.pdf

Start by reading and understanding it's operation and maintenance.

Did you remember to re-open any valves which you had closed when you were maintaining it?
 
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Old 02-13-14, 07:55 PM
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Thank you very much trooper.
So I realized there were couple issue after the plumber came by.
First the Relief Valve was broken, he replaced one for me ($250)
Second, the boiler was probably "never" cleaned up before so we had chemical flushed everything out and feed the water again. ($650)
The feeder and pressure gauge have issues related to the system I have at home.
The house was built in the 40s, the boiler I have now is probably the second one they installed ( I just bought the house for 2 months).
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The visitor room have a "base board" system instead of a radiator. It is probably because they don't have enough space to install the steam pipe in the room( probably an add-on after the house was built). Therefore, the previous landlord told the tenant to feed the water themselves instead of relying on the feeder. The plumber told me since it shouldn't have the base board there, the pressure is different and he left the pressure setting the same as the photo I took before. So he said the water feeder I have need to be replaced with another kind that can have a longer delay because the boiler is using more water, wasting gas and shorten the life of the boiler (its always on). The feeder is another 850 but he didn't have one with him.

The tenant have been living there fore more years, they told me they always feed the water themselves. In that case, I asked them to keep on doing it and keep their eyes on the gauge and make sure it will not pass 10PSI else shut the machine off right the way.

I wonder does the feeder I have right now can my programmed as the way I need or do I really need a new feeder. I truly don't have enough budge for anything to go wrong at this moment. I need to make sure the boiler can run and provide heat at this moment; having the tenant to feed them as they need is fine with me.

The plumber also told me that I need to have chemical to clean up the system every 3~5years( I wonder will it help if I flush out the water every week.)

Also the front Den radiator have a hole which leaks out steam. The radiator have 2 holes on the end of each sides of the fin. The one of the left have a bleeder, but the one on the right is just a hole. I tried to buy a valve for it which it didn't fit( 1/8 if I remember correctly). Name:  IMAG0255.jpg
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Size:  36.1 KB We currently use aluminum foil to cover the hole(work out pretty well actually). The plumber told me he might be able to fix it for 250 else I need to replace it. ( this is like a smaller issue that concern me at this moment because the system can run with the steam leaking at least.)

This whole thing was not in my budge... and my basement have molds now... I hope it should stop spreading and die by itself cause it is dry in the basement now. Plus we found the hot water boiler have leak on the connecting part of the 2 pipes. He also said the boiler doesn't have some safety because on the top of the boiler (i think its like an exhaust kind of thing) it only have a pipe but doesn't have the safety equipment he was talking about which I have no idea).

any suggestion trooper?

Thank you so much for your help
 
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Old 02-13-14, 08:02 PM
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I just read the instruction of my feeder, I believe I can just change the "Feed Delay" and "Feed Amount" on the dip switch then I should be fine(if it works which I think it does).

My boiler can take 9.8 gallons total, what would you recommend on the delay and feed amount?
 
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Old 02-14-14, 06:45 AM
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I can not answer all questions now... do not have the time... will come back to this later this evening, but:

The plumber told me since it shouldn't have the base board there, the pressure is different and he left the pressure setting the same as the photo I took before.
This is male cow excrement.

The pressure settings are FAR TOO HIGH, and it has nothing to do with the fact that someone has piped a baseboard zone onto the boiler.

First the Relief Valve was broken, he replaced one for me ($250)
Wow... he saw you coming, didn't he? $250 for 15 minutes of time to change a $20 part... ouch. Did he buy you dinner when he was done with you?
 
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Old 02-14-14, 10:12 AM
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I knew it... I came home and checked on the price and I was like

What is a reasonble price for that and the chemical flush? I probably will get a compressure and do it myself next time.
 
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Old 02-14-14, 12:12 PM
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ham,
It sounds like this guy is taking you for a ride. As trooper said the relief valve should have been the price of the part and they usually get at least an hour for a service call. So whatever his hourly rate is plus the part. I would guess maybe around 100.00.
That hole in your radiator. Is that on the opposite side on the top. Does it have threads to screw something into.
That could be for another kind of vent for hot water. Some radiators can be used for either steam or hot water.
Was the 1/8" plug too small. There are different size plugs you can get.
They 1/4", 3/8", 1/2". If it has threads and its not defective you can get all the plugs for under 5.00 and get some pipe dope or Teflon tape and do it yourself.

As far as cleaning your boiler. Once you skim it or put chemicles, since he already did it, you shouldn't have to do it again. The more you change your water the worst it is for the boiler. You can drain a cup or 2 once a week or every other week in the winter but unless something happens that's all you need.

What I think you do need is someone else to work on your boiler. Show this guy the door. He's really taking advantage of you. That's just my opinion.

Can you take a pic of that hole in the radiator. And by the way, listen to trooper and lower that pressure, nothing but good things will happen. Either that guy has no understanding of your system or he's putting on an addition and he needs your help.

Good Luck,
 
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Old 02-14-14, 12:16 PM
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He really raked you over the coals. $900 for a relief valve and a chemical flush that he probably didn't even do correctly. What did he use? Probably squick. Lol silly plumbers. To do a proper chemical flush probably takes a full day and someone who knows what they are doing. Tsp (tri sodium phosphate) is what I would've used. That stuff must be completely flushed out of the system, that's why it takes so long. Its a waiting game. Most " boiler cleaners" are system safe and don't really do much. It's like Drain-o for your boiler. Pipe friendly because there's no harmful chemicals but probably won't get the job done. Don't bother calling that guy back, especially if he raised the pressure settings back up. Steam isn't about high pressure. It's about removing the air from your system and over coming a VERY SMALL amount of friction to get your return water back, typically thats ounces of pressure, not pounds.
 
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Old 02-14-14, 12:35 PM
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What I think you do need is someone else to work on your boiler. Show this guy the door. He's really taking advantage of you. That's just my opinion.
Mine too.

He is one of the 'knuckleheads' that you will learn about if you buy that book I mentioned earlier. You REALLY SHOULD read that book. If nothing else, you will learn how to spot the 'knuckleheads' out there.
 
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Old 02-17-14, 01:37 PM
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Sorry for the late reply.

Spott
Yea, he's out of the door for sure. I believe the there is thread in the hole, I will try some other size and see. I'll try smaller sizes plug or the pipe dope or teflon tape(not letting the guys get another 250 from me for sure). Since the hole is next to the wall, its not easy to take a photo of it. I'll try to take a good picture next time. I lowered the pressure to 2 today which should be good I guess. The gauge was reading around 7 today.

RDSteam
He used this to clean it up. First he put above 1/7 of the bottle to the tank from the broken relief valve area. Then he connect a tank with air to put pressure to it, and another pipe to the drain to get the nasty water out. He also use the manual valve to feed some water in after couple minutes.

Trooper
I went through the manual of my water feeder, I believe its still good cause it feed the water by itself after the cleaning process. I have 5 options for feed delay, 30secs, 2mins, 4mins, 6mins, 8mins or 10mins. Also the amount could be LWCO(don't understand), 1gal, 2gal, 3gal, 4gal or 5gallons. What would you recommend? I lower the psi setting on my pressuretrol. I will wait and see how it goes.


Thank you guys very much for helping me here.
I have to do some research now on how to clean up the mold on the sheetrock wall and ceiling...
 
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Old 02-17-14, 01:57 PM
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Ham,
I don't think you have to take a pic as long as you know it has threads.
It's most likely an 1/8" plug you'll need with a little Teflon or pipedope.
That rad was made for steam or hot water. That hole is for a coin vent if you used the rad for hot water. If that was the case you would plug the other one.

You can use the 248.00 left over for your mold problem.

Good luck,
 

Last edited by spott; 02-17-14 at 02:33 PM.
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