Utica steam boiler leaking????

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by harveymasons, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. harveymasons

    harveymasons New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Hello,

    great forum and happy to have found this place!!


    I have a strange problem: I have a utica steam boiler that services a 4 family house. I had a tenant call and say that water was dripping out of one of the vertical pipes, the water was slowly dripping out of the top of a gordons #1 valve. Now the part that is bizzare is this unit is off and has been off all summer. It has an Mcdougal (sp.) automatic water feed/ auto low cut off, Is it possible that this auto feed device failed and the water filled up the boiler to capacity adn backed up into that vertical pipe and is just sitting there??

    That is the only thing I can think of? I don't know too much about these devices but one question I have is this: when the boiler is not in use and full the water should only sit in the boiler correct?? It shouldn't be so full that water is going into the suppy/return pipes? This particular pipe is vertical and thinner then the main pipes and has a valve at the very top of it

    I am really puzzed and not sure what to do about this?

    any suggestions as to what caused this and how to remedy it??

    your help is greatly appreciated.

    regards,
    harvey
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2005
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,892
    Location:
    New England
    First, I'm not a pro, so this is a guess. A steam system should not be full of water...if it is, then a valve is probably leaking. There has to be room for the steam to expand.
  3. harveymasons

    harveymasons New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Understood Jim, however, withthe unit off and not runnign all the water is just sitting in the boiler. OF course when the unit is running the water is heated into steam and flowing throughout the pipes but this is not the case, as the unit is completely off.

    regards,
    Harvey
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,486
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    steam

    Running or not, the water should only be at the proper level in the sight glass. If the water is higher than that the feeder valve is leaking. When the boiler is running a small leak is not a factor because the boiler will just use it as part of the makeup water, but when it is turned off the water accumulates.
  5. harveymasons

    harveymasons New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Thanks guy for all that info. I tested it today, here is what I did:

    I refilled the boiler with water and it cut off when it got to proper level. I then opened the blow off valve and drained water out, as I did this I heard the water from the feeding valve start filling and it kicked off after about 5 seconds.

    I did this several times, all times it worked proper. Is there a more extensive test I can run?? I also found out that whole low water cut off/automatic water feed is made by Mcdonnel miller and will cost 500 dollars just for the part!! YIKES!! I hope this was just a fluke!

    thanks again,

    HArvey
  6. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    steam

    Is there a bypass around the fill valve? If there is it could also leak around the McDonald feed and add water.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,486
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    water

    Your problem is not the feeder working when it is supposed to. It is that it is leaking slightly when it is supposed to be shut off. Leave the water supply on and then check it tomorrow to see if the water level has risen. The feeder part of the MM valve is replaceable by itself. You do not need to buy a whole unit.
  8. harveymasons

    harveymasons New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Thanks for the tips.

    I left it on adn sure enough my tenant called me during the day to say water is coming out of the vertical pipe w/ a Gordon' no.1 valve on top. Seems this is the first place water woudl excape to when the boiler is over filled (lowest vertial pipe next to boiler)

    DO you think I should only replace the feeder? The whole part MM no. 47-2 combo lwco and auto water feed is 389.00 dollars. I am thinking the whole device is 22 years old so maybe I should just replace the whole unit?? I don't want to have enough problem and have to worry about it. 400 dollars now will really hurt but I am thinking it is money well spent? what do you think??

    Also, how would I go about only getting that one specific part if I decide to go that route?

    thanks again for all the help.

    regards,
    harvey
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,486
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Lwc

    There is not a whole lot of reasons for replacing the whole unit, assuming the rest of it is functioning properly, which is apparently the case. Any supplier who handles the whole unit will have the feeder assembly. Four bolts and a cotter key and you are ready to reconnect the water pipes to it.
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