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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4

    One Pipe Steam System

    Forgive me for any confusion. I'm having trouble formulating a comprehensive, clear question. This Steam Boiler is more than 25 years old.
    It is a Peerless 120K Boiler model G-560-w-s.
    The water level in the sight glass keeps rising. I find myself draining water
    rather than filling it. To my knowledge, water is fed to the system manually.
    When the system is off, the water level is above the marker. I use the spigot valve at the base of the furnace to lower the water level to about 2/3 full. The next day or so, the cold water level increases and I have to release more water. When the furnace is running, the water level goes above the marker and bounces near the top of the site glass. A couple of events took place that may be relevant. First, I drained alot of water 2 weeks ago and re-filled the boiler. Shortly thereafter the system flooded with water spilled on the floors upstairs. One radiator stopped working so I removed it, blew air down, removed the dry return pipes and cleared the sediment. Second, out of the 9 radiators in the system, there are about 3 turned completely off.
    In addition, there is a big gray thing on the side of the furnace with a big yellow lever and an open pipe coming down, I would assume that this is for "blowing down". This lever does nothing, I have to use the spigot on the very bottom of the furnace to release water. Is this system screwed up?
    If I fill the site glass 2/3 of the way up, why does it keep increasing it's level when cold? Is it bad that the operating water level raises all the way to the top of the site glass? Thanks, Jerome

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Location!, Location!
    Posts
    929
    Hi Jerome, you have several issues showing here, you would definitely save money(and property) by having a good steam tech look at your boiler. It sounds like you haven't had a good cleaning(w/skim and flush) and checkup for a while so surging could call the feeder prematurely, and you're holding back condensate, along with a couple of other things that you have described. All these factors can show the symptoms you describe, so try to find a good steam guy, this is definitely not something for the band-aid approach, nor should it be DIY, unless you sre a steam tech. Is there an installer's sticker on it- try them. A good tech can show you how to maintain the boiler and clear up it's operating sequence for you. A 25 yr old steam boiler isn't that old.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,675
    In addition, there is a big gray thing on the side of the furnace with a big yellow lever and an open pipe coming down, I would assume that this is for "blowing down". This lever does nothing, I have to use the spigot on the very bottom of the furnace to release water. Is this system screwed up?<<<<<
    You really need a tech to look at this and soon

    The thing with the yellow handle could be the low water cutoff and it needs attention by a tech, especially if there is no water being released from it. This could be an essential boiler safety device and if it isn't working you could end up with a new boiler because of it

    Also sounds like you are getting water bypassing the shutoff somehow
    Really take the advice and get this looked at by a competent boiler tech

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    The Gray Northwest
    Posts
    661
    You have some safety issues that I think need immediate attention. If you need a referral in your area, try: www.heatinghelp.com. There's a lot of "steam heads" there that will do a good job for you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,285

    Here, read this

    Look at page 12. http://www.bellgossett.com/literature/files/1427.pdf

    At ten years old, the manufacturer wants the control replaced.

    They require REGULAR maintenance, and dissassembly for cleaning annually.

    They HAVE to cover their butts this way, because this control is frequently neglected, and is the control that keeps the boiler from exploding if there is a water level problem.

    If they didn't publish these rules, they would be sued out of business by people that don't follow these instructions, and their boiler explodes, or just cracks open.

    You NEED service, beyond what the internet can do for you.

    Nothing makes a boiler rep sadder than telling a customer that there is nothing that can be done for them, after the boiler splits open in the middle of the winter.

    Noel

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4
    I called the "steam tech" and left a message.
    I also pushed a hanger up inside the grey rooster ( low water cutoff, thanks for the nomenclature ) and sludge and water came pouring out. It "blows down" now. I shall monitor the furnace daily and notice any bizarre occurances until the guy calls me back.

    Thanks all, for the recomendations and the pdf.
    Jerome

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,513
    Quote Originally Posted by jloomy View Post
    I called the "steam tech" and left a message.
    I also pushed a hanger up inside the grey rooster ( low water cutoff, thanks for the nomenclature ) and sludge and water came pouring out. It "blows down" now. I shall monitor the furnace daily and notice any bizarre occurances until the guy calls me back.

    Thanks all, for the recomendations and the pdf.
    Jerome
    just because it blows down doesnt mean it is working correctly
    when you blow it down does the boiler shut off. If not then it needs to be replaced. Does it feed or turn on the feeder also

    gladyou listened to Noel and made the call before you need a new unit

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,666
    If its got a tankless coil inside the boiler for domestic hot water, its probably got a pinhole leak. I find this more frequently than a malfunctioning manual valve or autofeeder.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Gold Coast of Connecticut
    Posts
    4,593
    Quote Originally Posted by oil lp man View Post
    If its got a tankless coil inside the boiler for domestic hot water, its probably got a pinhole leak. I find this more frequently than a malfunctioning manual valve or autofeeder.

    I bet you have a tankless for domestic as well, I was just going to reply and I see a steam guy is here...........I am no steamer.
    Aire Serv of SW Connecticut- Gas heat, dual fuel and central a/c systems installed and serviced

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4

    No call back

    Allright, the steam guys didn't call back. I'll find a new one today.
    I installed another ball valve because some guy told me that the water was filling up in the tank because the first valve was leaky. I took the loop off between the low water cutoff and the pressuretrol and cleared it out. Sediment was resting at the top of the loop but I wouldn't say it was clogged.
    The pseudo tech told me that the pressure in the system should be around 4psi. This is not the case. When the boiler is off, the gauge is at 10 to the left of the 0 and when it's operating it stays at 13psi until the thermostat is satisfied and then shuts off. The cut in is set around 1 and the cut out is set to 5 and the pressuretrol plate above the loop when manually lifted shuts the furnace off. The confusing part is, the pressuretrol does not seem to control the furnace operation, the cycling is driven by the thermostat and the pressure stops at 13psi no matter how long the water is boiling. The woman who lives here thinks I'm crazy because I'm constantly going down cellar when there is absolutely no problems whatsoever in the living areas. No banging no hissing no cold radiators.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,171
    If the pressure gauge says its going to 13PSI, I'd replace the gauge first.
    Then if its really going to 13psi.
    Replace the pressutrol.

    Resi, should not need more then 2 psi.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,666
    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    If the pressure gauge says its going to 13PSI, I'd replace the gauge first.
    Then if its really going to 13psi.
    Replace the pressutrol.

    Resi, should not need more then 2 psi.
    I agree with that.
    5 psi will cause a lot of surging.
    The new gauge should be protected with a steam pigtail or it will fail quickly like the previous one probably did.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    306
    holy hell, man...if that boiler is really at 13 psi, turn that thing off and get someone out asap...or at the very least make sure your insurance payments are up to date and check your family into a hotel.
    Leadership...the ability to move forward even when you've burned your foot.

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