Boiler Disaster, air bubbles, low heat, and high pressure

Reply

  #1  
Old 09-14-15, 10:27 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 38
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Boiler Disaster, air bubbles, low heat, and high pressure

Hello Everyone,

I am posting for some advice on recent boiler issues I am having. My in-laws have a hot water boiler system that has not been serviced in many years. Some of the parts are very old dating back to the 70s. It is a Utica Boiler with an air charged expansion tank, one circulator pump, a pressure reducing valve, and a little air removing valve.

This all started last winter when the temperature in NY was 20 below zero for a while. The little boiler just didn't want to heat the house and the temperature was around 58 degrees when the thermostat was set to 70. The circulator was running constantly and I could hear air rattling around through the pipes. I decided the problem here was excessive air in the system, preventing heat from circulating because of air pockets. I didn't want to mess with the system at the time because we didn't want to go changing things / replacing things when it was so cold and we needed heat in the house. The wood fireplace picked up the slack from the boiler and we waited out the super cold weeks until it started to warm up.

Now, I am trying to prep the boiler for the winter so the same problems don't resurface. I gave the system a look over and found a few of the drain valves were leaking (the two used to bleed out air and one for the boiler drain). I replaced all of these. I then saw that the air removal valve up on top by the basement ceiling was bent, corroded, and looked like water was coming out if it slowly, so I changed it. The expansion tank was also reading 6 psi when it says on the tank it should be 12 psi, so I brought the water pressure in the system to zero and filled it up to 12 psi with a bicycle pump. Lastly, the circulator pump was making some strange noises and had been running constantly for weeks, plus the electrical box was getting dripped on by one of the leaky valves I mentioned earlier, so I changed this as well. (Also changed thermopile for the hell of it, but that probably has nothing to do with my problems)

Now, more of my problems surfaced.... I filled up the system and bled out the air. Fired up the system, cranked up the thermostat, no rattling bubbles, hot pipes, everything looked great! I felt accomplished and shut everything down to wait for winter. The next day I came down stairs and glanced at the pressure gauge on the boiler..... 28 psi cold!

This thing was about to pop all over the basement floor with a pressure relief valve set to 30 psi. I hooked up a hose to the boiler and let out some pressure. I heard the pressure reducing valve kick on at 12 psi and then turn off shortly after, so I figured everything was fine. Next day, same thing, creeped back to 28 psi again. There were never pressure issues in the system before I started messing with it, so I'm confused as to what happened. I can hear some faint hissing in the pressure reducing valve when its supposed to be off. Is this normal or does it mean the valve is slowly letting more water pressure seep in when it supposed to be off? I tried shutting off the valve that lets water flow into the system before the reducing valve, and I still hear the hissing, plus this valve started dripping when I shut it off. I suspect it is bad as well.

My theory here is that when I started to fill up the system after the repairs, I used the quick fill lever on the reducing valve to speed up the process. This valve is probably 40 years old and I may have damaged or cracked a seal in there when I used the quick fill lever. My plan of action is to turn water off to the whole house (since that valve before the reducing valve is probably bad too), change the main valve to the system and the reducing valve, then turn the water on, fill up the system and try again.

Any thoughts?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 09-14-15, 10:51 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 59,099
Received 1,112 Votes on 1,032 Posts
Welcome to the forums.

Is this normal or does it mean the valve is slowly letting more water pressure seep in when it supposed to be off?
The water fill valve is shot and allowing too much water in. Change that and your other leaking valves at the same time.
 
  #3  
Old 09-15-15, 05:40 AM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 18,146
Received 60 Votes on 52 Posts
My plan of action is to turn water off to the whole house (since that valve before the reducing valve is probably bad too), change the main valve to the system and the reducing valve, then turn the water on, fill up the system and try again.
Sounds like a good plan.........................

Let us know....
 
  #4  
Old 09-15-15, 09:01 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 38
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I'm going to replace the valves Thursday, I'll post how it goes. I went to Lowe's today to buy the supplies and they didn't sell any reducing valves, I was surprised. I'm going to try a specialty plumbing store next. Can I buy any pressure reducing valve with a 12psi limit? or are there many different types that I should be aware of? The old valve seems to be just a simple reducing valve with a bypass lever on the top for the quick fill option, and 1/2" inlet and outlets. Also, does the valve need to be mounted upright, or can they be mounted sideways/ upside down? The space I'm working with here is very minimal, and I was considering using the shark-bite type fittings because I'm horrible at sweating copper joints, but they spin, so the valve could potentially spin upside down if I don't brace it with something.
 
  #5  
Old 09-15-15, 09:18 PM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 18,146
Received 60 Votes on 52 Posts
  #6  
Old 09-18-15, 10:11 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 38
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
So i installed a new pressure reducing valve. That one lawrosa recommended wouldn't fit in the space I was working with without re-doing the existing plumbing so I went with a valve that was the same as the original model. Luckily the plumbing store I went to had it in stock for about 70 bucks. I changed the main fill valve as well. Just to double check, I then checked the expansion tank pressure that I had filled several days earlier. I wanted to see if It was still holding the 12 psi that I had put in it while the system's water pressure was at zero.....this presented yet another problem when the psi was only reading around 9 and water was dripping from the air valve. So now I have to change the expansion tank. It is on back order from Home Depot, only set me back about 40 bucks. Just to test the valves I filled up the system and let it sit for about 6 hours. It stayed steady at about 15 psi without rising so I figure that the new valves solved the pressure problem. I won't know if the system is working fully until the expansion tank comes in, so it will have to sit for now. Is it OK to run the system with the main fill valve open? Or once desired pressure is achieved/air removed - should it be run with the fill valve closed?
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: