Weil McClain Boiler ID & repair/servicing basics to locate a leak.

Closed Thread

  #1  
Old 12-17-17, 03:28 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Weil McClain Boiler ID & repair/servicing basics to locate a leak.

Weil McClain Boiler Identification & Boiler repair/servicing basics to locate a leak in the system.

Good Morning Everyone!

This is my first experience working with a boiler system and am hoping for a little help identifying the model of this unit. General boiler service and repair guidance for our particular system would be tremendously helpful in locating a suspected leak.

My 87 year old grandma who lives by herself on Social Security alone has been without heat for a year or two now. She has had a few different people/shops monkey around with it but from what I can gather they didn't seem very knowledgeable or professional about any of it. This was before I was told there was even a problem so I wasn't involved with any of it.
The last diagnosis was a leak somewhere under the house which just happens to be a tight crawl space with 1 maybe 2 foot of clearance at best and extremely difficult/practically impossible to crawl around under. (Just as my luck would have it lol.) And basically said the system needed to be replaced/converted over to a forced air with duct work and an 8 grand price tag. Something she just doesn't really have access too especially since a nursing home has started to be considered. (Completely by her choice which I will respect but am trying to keep her out!)

I have an RC truck setup with a camera that I am planning to send down and hopefully confirm a leak/ locate the area. I
figure If found then I could probably tear the floor up from above to repair if I hopefully get that lucky but that really sounds like a perfect world scenario to me LOL!

WAY too many times Iíve had situations where people didn't know what they were doing or wanted to sell a new system or were just plain lazy so I am very skeptical of the last diagnosis and want to dig into this to confirm/see exactly where/what the problem is and maybe even perform a miracle and get it repaired and back online.

I am attaching a few pictures of the system and would appreciate any kind of information or feedback anyone might have for me as I start to dive into this project. Initial steps I should take like how to check/fill the system etcÖ

A few notes about the pictures, She originally had well water then city service was brought in about 20 years ago but the well is still in use for the outside faucets. She also has a garage that was converted into a family rec room and has a heated floor. There is a tank in the attic directly above the boiler. I believe she had a new hot water heater installed in the last few years.

I am a VERY mechanically & electrically experienced person that has performed full house rewiring, service upgrades, drop moves, and just about anything else that might need to be done to a house or automobile. Most importantly I have some common sense, something Ive heard could be kind of important dealing with these situations LOL.

My grandma said she will send a dozen homemade cookies and possibly even a case of beer to anyone that really helps out with this project LOL! (That also happens to be what she forces me to take for payment.) We really do have a great relationship thankfully, I love her a lot!
 
Attached Images        
  #2  
Old 12-17-17, 05:24 AM
V
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: North East Kingdom of Vermont
Posts: 2,533
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
I don't have much to offer; but just to clarify . . . . the system hasn't been running at all for the past 2 years ?

And the suspected "leak" is in the piping of the Radiant Heat in the Rec Roo's floor ?

As a Real Estate Broker, I have encountered numerous situations where it has been recommended that someone switch from Forced Hot Water to Forced Hot Air . . . . there has never been a good outcome !

Houses are born as either FHW or FHA at birth . . . . there is no ROI on pushing them through a transition; but many people (especially the Elderly) fall for the fast talking statistical necessity.

I won't try to identify what you have for a system right now; but someone will be along later this morning who can assess the components and get you on the road to correcting whatever might be the cause of your Grandmother's problem.

What's she heating with right now ?her
 
  #3  
Old 12-17-17, 10:51 AM
S
Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 3,176
Received 72 Votes on 68 Posts
S,
Are you saying that the boiler is not leaking but the leak is in a line somewhere.

I obviously cannot read the tags but my guess would be a Weil McLAIN, possibly 3 section which would be around 100,000 btu, probably around 1980 or so.

This is just a guess but if the boiler works and the leak is elsewhere it's immaterial what the boiler is if that's not the problem.

Getting back to your leak. By the circulator I see 2 lines coming in and only 1 pump which usually indicates zone valves, which means 2 zones. Do you have 2 thermostats.

Did you try running 1 zone at a time to see which one was leaking. You may be able to isolate one zone and run the other to get some heat and then repair the leak.

There is no sense having the whole system down for just a leak in one zone if you have the valves to isolate each zone.

I hope this helps a little.
 
  #4  
Old 12-17-17, 12:33 PM
S
Member
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: USA
Posts: 552
Received 7 Votes on 7 Posts
I would see if the boiler system will hold water and if not just how fast it leaks out and where the leak is in the piping. If your grand ma doesn't have any heat how is she living in that house? If the leak is affecting one room maybe you could run baseboard heating in that room and connect to the rest of the system. Oh yes, I love chocolate chip cookies but will have to give the beer away.
 
  #5  
Old 12-17-17, 12:40 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Sorry guy's, I know sometimes my posts can be long winded and rambling, I just like to try and give as much info as possible.


I don't have much to offer; but just to clarify . . . . the system hasn't been running at all for the past 2 years ?
That is correct!


And the suspected "leak" is in the piping of the Radiant Heat in the Rec Roo's floor ?
The suspected leak is in the piping of the original house going to the radiators, NOT in the rec room adition that was added ~15 years ago. There are on/off valves going to that section that I would PRAY someone turned off and rulled out.


As a Real Estate Broker, I have encountered numerous situations where it has been recommended that someone switch from Forced Hot Water to Forced Hot Air . . . . there has never been a good outcome !

Houses are born as either FHW or FHA at birth . . . . there is no ROI on pushing them through a transition; but many people (especially the Elderly) fall for the fast talking statistical necessity.

I won't try to identify what you have for a system right now; but someone will be along later this morning who can assess the components and get you on the road to correcting whatever might be the cause of your Grandmother's problem.
Thank you VERY MUCH for the input so far, it is GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!


What's she heating with right now ?

Unfortunately 2-3 electric space heaters and the gas stove whenever it gets really bad. I cringe and even the thought of that right now.
 
  #6  
Old 12-17-17, 01:08 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Are you saying that the boiler is not leaking but the leak is in a line somewhere.

From what I've been told 'there is a leak under the house somewhere' but I have not done any further investigating/troubleshooting beyond taking pictures. The rec room addition is not a part of the house.


I obviously cannot read the tags but my guess would be a Weil McLAIN, possibly 3 section which would be around 100,000 btu, probably around 1980 or so.

This is just a guess but if the boiler works and the leak is elsewhere it's immaterial what the boiler is if that's not the problem.

I understand, I was looking for that information to search and find more information about this specific system.

Getting back to your leak. By the circulator I see 2 lines coming in and only 1 pump which usually indicates zone valves, which means 2 zones. Do you have 2 thermostats.

Did you try running 1 zone at a time to see which one was leaking. You may be able to isolate one zone and run the other to get some heat and then repair the leak.

There is no sense having the whole system down for just a leak in one zone if you have the valves to isolate each zone.

I have not even attempted to start the system as of yet. I will be heading back over there later tonight or tomorrow to check this out further. I think my big question is what process or checks should I go through before attempting to fire it up initially? Meaning should I/how do I check the water in the system or anything else that should be checked?

I hope this helps a little.
YES, Every little bit is extremely helpful and sincerely appreciated.
 
  #7  
Old 12-17-17, 01:11 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I would see if the boiler system will hold water and if not just how fast it leaks out and where the leak is in the piping. If your grand ma doesn't have any heat how is she living in that house? If the leak is affecting one room maybe you could run baseboard heating in that room and connect to the rest of the system. Oh yes, I love chocolate chip cookies but will have to give the beer away.
How exactly do I go about checking the current level of water in the system? Anything else to check before I attempt to fire it up? Thank you again, I sincerely appreciate any input.
 
  #8  
Old 12-17-17, 02:47 PM
S
Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 3,176
Received 72 Votes on 68 Posts
Just a suggestion but after 2 years I think I would isolate the bad zone, fill the system and test it to make sure everything works before putting all this time and effort into locating and fixing the leak only to find out the boiler doesn't work.

Just my thoughts.

Good luck,
 
  #9  
Old 12-17-17, 03:57 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 14,363
Received 33 Votes on 31 Posts
This is a longshot but in looking at the manufacturers plate, I'm thinking it is a 5 section 66 series boiler. From the size of the circulator, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it were a 5 section.
 
  #10  
Old 12-17-17, 06:28 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 36 Votes on 28 Posts
"...basically said the system needed to be replaced/converted over to a forced air with duct work..."
This is utter nonsense! Do they really think that running ductwork through the crawlspace is going to be easier than fixing a leaking pipe?

My first house had a crawlspace with about 18 inches of clearance in most areas although some places were reduced to about 12 inches because of the support beams. I DID run ductwork and it was a miserable job but I got it done. I would have preferred to run piping but my (now former) wife absolutely would not allow the installation of hydronic baseboards. My current home has a crawlspace with depths varying from 12 to about 24-28 inches. While still tight it is spacious compared to the previous house.

"WAY too many times Iíve had situations where people didn't know what they were doing or wanted to sell a new system or were just plain lazy so I am very skeptical of the last diagnosis..."
It is truly unfortunate but this is far too common. If you live in an area where hydronic heating is uncommon then the majority of contractors WILL likely take this attitude. I wish it weren't so but that IS the reality.

I like your idea of running the R/C vehicle with a camera. IF you are able to get good, clear and well lit footage it could help to locate the leaks. I am suspecting the embedded piping in the radiant slab as these had a notorious failure rating before they started using PEX tubing.

Oh, for the instruction of the others responding it is obvious to me that there are at least two circulating pumps, a three-piece model (B&G?) as well as a wet-rotor canned (Taco?) pump. The boiler and near piping needs some TLC but until we can get a lot more pictures I'm not making any judgment calls.
 
  #11  
Old 12-17-17, 07:02 PM
S
Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 3,176
Received 72 Votes on 68 Posts
F,
There are 2 pumps. I completely missed the B&G but saw the Grundfoss until Grady saw the B&G and didn't mention the Grundfoss.

I saw the 2 lines coming into the Blue pump so I figured he had zone valves but apparently not the case.

By the way, in one of the posts he did mention the leak was in the main house piping somewhere and not the radiant but after 2 years who knows now.
 
  #12  
Old 12-17-17, 08:24 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 61,489
Received 1,422 Votes on 1,315 Posts
I'm not the boiler specialist but you need a place to start. This is what I personally would do......

On the front of the boiler is a gauge. It's probably registering close to 0 psi. You're going to need to add water to the system to get a steady reading on the gauge of maybe 5psi. See if the 5 PSI holds or drops right down. There will be a valve attached to the fill regulator that will let water fill the system.

Since there may be a leak inside the house you need to add water carefully while checking for leaks. Check around the emitters, check where the pipes go up the wall, check in the crawlspace. If a leak is found. Don't add any more water but drain it from one of the lower valves around the boiler.

The others will add to or shoot down my plan.

Name:  boiler.jpg
Views: 234
Size:  37.7 KB
 
  #13  
Old 12-17-17, 11:52 PM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 18,159
Received 69 Votes on 61 Posts
You want a real answer from a plumber of 35 plus years?


Dont waste your time...

1. The boiler needs to be replaced..

But lets talk about your 87 yr old grandma... Forget what she can afford... Wheres the family? Children? She shouldn't have to put a dime out of her pocket IMO. 87 yrs she deserves more then that. Just my opinion but im a bit appalled...

2. If she is truely going into a nursing home, then get her there.. Go out and buy electric heaters for the rooms until she does go.. Its not 1932.. she deserves warmth...

3. If shes staying it may be cheaper to have an electrician run circuits and electric baseboard throughout the house...

Last I cant believe anyone here is posting to help you get that boiler running...

a. Its a converted oil boiler I believe
b. It may have been a gravity system, or looks like it was steam converted to HW... So probably radiators in the home..
c. That boiler probably had so much condensation in its life that the exchanger is rusted up, and youll end up killing you grandma from CO issues...

I mean come on man!!! Look at the thing?

There are many assistance programs out there and having no heat in the home is a big moral issue.. 2 years!!!!!! %^^$@#%$

Someone should make a phone call thats for sure.

Its a shame .... I can go on but I best shut up now before I get myself in trouble... Maybe there's more to the story, but I doubt it..

I dont know how old you are but ::: go fund me page, family, children, habitat for humanity, ???
 
  #14  
Old 12-18-17, 05:34 AM
S
Member
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: USA
Posts: 552
Received 7 Votes on 7 Posts
Hot water boilers can last a lifetime or two. The only difference between very old, old and not so old is usually in the overall efficiency. There is nothing wrong with repairing this heating system as long as it is worth repairing. I would call in numerous HVAC companies and ask for an estimate of repairs and their recommendations for the system. Maybe one of them will give you a straight answer or a least a direction on how to proceed. Depending on the type of system and the type of piping, radiators etc. this system may be worth saving. If this were my 87 year old Grand mother there would not be a question or pause in repairing or replacing this system. My mother and dad needed a new boiler and I replaced it. "that is what a son does" So as @lawrosa said, get off your butt and find a way to rectify the problem. That boiler probably has years of good reliable service left. (This from a service tech and installer of large and small boilers with 40+ years experience) . Just get it done!!!!
 
  #15  
Old 12-18-17, 07:46 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Steamboy and everyone else that has given me tremendiously helpfull information I sincerally apreaciate it! I wil respond in greater detail to each later this afternoon. I am heading there now to sit down with your info so far and see what I can come up with.

lawrosa, its clear youve been a plumber for 35 years thats sure!!! You have certainly made a lot of assumptions about things that were not originally mentioned because this isnt the time, place or most importantly the topic for that discussion. If you would have even bothered to read my original post you might have realized that but instead you showed how clueless you really are. Regarding the programs, family and whatever else you spewed out.... well we have been there and done that, again thats not the topic of this discussion.

To be very honest I dont even care how knowledgeable you might be or what info you could potentially offer any further response from you IS NOT WELCOMEND on this post. Thank you!

​​​
 
  #16  
Old 12-18-17, 10:30 AM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 18,159
Received 69 Votes on 61 Posts
Steamboy and everyone else that has given me tremendiously helpfull information I sincerally apreaciate it! I wil respond in greater detail to each later this afternoon. I am heading there now to sit down with your info so far and see what I can come up with.

lawrosa, its clear youve been a plumber for 35 years thats sure!!! You have certainly made a lot of assumptions about things that were not originally mentioned because this isnt the time, place or most importantly the topic for that discussion. If you would have even bothered to read my original post you might have realized that but instead you showed how clueless you really are. Regarding the programs, family and whatever else you spewed out.... well we have been there and done that, again thats not the topic of this discussion.

To be very honest I dont even care how knowledgeable you might be or what info you could potentially offer any further response from you IS NOT WELCOMEND on this post. Thank you!
Ive read your first post very clearly... So hold your horses...

My 87 year old grandma who lives by herself on Social Security alone has been without heat for a year or two now. She has had a few different people/shops monkey around with it but from what I can gather they didn't seem very knowledgeable or professional about any of it. This was before I was told there was even a problem so I wasn't involved with any of it.
But now you are involved.

I respect my elders. I would be embarrassed if I posted here that my 87 family member had no heat for two years.. I would take any amount of money out of my bank account to help my 87 year old family member.

And I did so with my grandparents who lived to 96 and 98 respectively. 3 tours of WW2 and lived a life I can only dream about...


Listen... The boiler is shot. Find another alternative. Its my opinion the elderly deserve more .

Ill leave it at that and I am closing this thread.

1. The boiler should be condemned.
2. I can guarantee there will be combustion issues with that boiler leading to CO issues and possibly death..
 
 

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