LWCO and Boiler Question


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Old 01-04-18, 10:04 AM
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LWCO and Boiler Question

First off I am a new homeowner and a going solely on what I have read online. I apologize if my terminology is off.

My question is: have recently noticed that the sight glass tube looks empty as the boiler runs. There is a LWCO, so shouldn’t it be turning off and refilling to the correct level and then resume functioning? The tube does refill once the boiler turns off, but seems to drain out whenever the boiler turns on.

I flushed the boiler until the water began to run clearer (it was VERY brown) and then turned it back on. The water refilled to the proper level and the boiler began to run. However shortly thereafter I went back and the tube was empty again. The radiators seems to be working well and the house gets warm.

Is this supposed to happen/am I crazy? Or if something is wrong any thoughts? I’d be more than happy to give more info" I am just not sure where to start.
 
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Old 01-04-18, 11:01 AM
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N,
No this is not normal or neither is it uncommon.

If your boiler water is dirty it will surge up and down and depending how much water is there it could disappear or depending how it's piped it could be syphoning up into the system and returning when the boiler shuts off.

It sounds like you have an automatic feeder which is not standard on steam as it is on hot water. The feeders have adjustable time delays on them so if the water does what you are going through it gives it a chance to drain back so it doesn't overfill the boiler.

That being said if your water is dropping below the LWCO it should be shutting the boiler down as a safety so that you don't fire a dry boiler and crack the sections.

Pics would good if possible of the boiler, controls and near boiler piping.

Hope this helps a little.
 
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Old 01-04-18, 07:45 PM
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What Spott said is correct but I would like to add. A water feeder does not normally maintain the proper water level. Auto feeders on steam a for emergency purposes only. The installation manual will show the proper water level usually marked "NWL", Usually what happens inside the boiler is much worse than you see in the glass.
The boiler may need to be skimmed.
 
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Old 01-05-18, 01:37 PM
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A McDonald Miller 51-2 or a 47-2 control will give you low water protection and water feed The 47-2 is for smaller boilers and the 51-2 and similar numbered controls are for commercial boilers. water line control (feed).. Most steam boilers that are operating properly with clean water should not need a feeder type control.
 
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Old 01-06-18, 03:37 AM
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boiler service

If I were you I would call a boiler service company and have them check the complete system to help keep you safe. The fact that the water level can go "out of sight" below the bottom of the sight tube and not shut off the burner is a reason for concern. A working low water cut off is there for your safety and is a code requirement. I have to ask, is this a 1 or 2 pipe steam system, what type of heating units, cast iron radiators or baseboard units and how old is the boiler? Pictures would be helpful .
 
 

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