Magnet filter and boiler water treatment

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Bozman

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Need advice
current setup:
2016 Burnham Alpine 210B
mix of split fin and cast iron baseboard
amtrol extrol EX-30 (undersized)
burn ham alliance 50 gal hot water tank
5 zones and 6th for hot water tank
Water softener and carbon filter tank
forgot to add this/or if its relevant - one of the zones has a hot water coil inside an air handler

I received a quote to replace the expansion tank because its undersized and has been leaking as well. The plumber also recommended a magnet filter and Spiro vent and several other recommendations.

Spirovent- $599 (part and labor)

#90 expansion tank- $572.00 (part and labor)

Magnet filter – $489.00 (part and labor). Do I need this?

Isolation valve- $224.00 (part and labor). Do I need this?

Boiler water treatment - $305.00 (part and labor). Do I need this?

I am ready to do the tank and spirovent but unsure of the others, any thoughts? If I get the Manet filter will I then need to call the plumber every time to clean it potentially? If it's just a matter of isolating it and flushing the filter out I could probably do that

Thanks
 
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Fitter30

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Take a few pictures of the boiler and surrounding piping just don't get to close to see how its piped. Where is the expansion tank leaking?
 

Bozman

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Take a few pictures of the boiler and surrounding piping just don't get to close to see how its piped. Where is the expansion tank leaking?
what I meant by leaking is that its just coming out of the air vent that's connected to the expansion tank

boiler.jpg
 

Fitter30

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Looking at the tridicator gauge left of boiler it shows pressure and temperature. Does the water pressure vary with the water temperature more that a few pounds ad what are the readings? Has the system have any air problems like hear air noise in the pipkng?
 

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no air noise...only have one zone that is on now since it's not that cold out and it doesn't look like there is a big fluctuation in pressure when the temp goes up. When the system is running full boar no leaking, it's when it's warm out and not running that it starts dripping out mostly. But it happens often enough that it rusted everything below the vent.
 

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Fitter30

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Most residential systems run at 10-12 lbs for a one to two story house. With all pumps off pressure is measured. 2.31' per pound, 10 lbs 23.1' of height. From the bottom of the boiler to the top of piping. So whatever the height is add 3-4 lbs is more than enough water in system. Expansion tank has a bladder in it that has a air charge access is under the plastic cap at the bottom. With a cool system under 100° pumps off measured pressure should be with in a lb of system pressure measured with a 0-50 lb tire gauge and pressure can be added with a tire pump. The pics of the tridicator water temp increased 30° pressure 2lbs. Without adjusting system pressure and checking ex tank pressure doesn't seem out of the ordinary. If the boiler pressure was opening the relief valve then there's a problem. The green fitting that the ex tank is screwed into is a air scoop and the devise that is leaking is a air vent that is replaceable. Spiro vent is a better devise for removing air but since your not having any problem i wouldn't change it. Mag filter ( related valves for service) and especially the treatment. Treatment, air vent and mag filter can be added without draining the complete system if the valves hold.
 
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Bozman

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Most residential systems run at 10-12 lbs for a one to two story house. With all pumps off pressure is measured. 2.31' per pound, 10 lbs 23.1' of height. From the bottom of the boiler to the top of piping. So whatever the height is add 3-4 lbs is more than enough water in system. Expansion tank has a bladder in it that has a air charge access is under the plastic cap at the bottom. With a cool system under 100° pumps off measured pressure should be with in a lb of system pressure measured with a 0-50 lb tire gauge and pressure can be added with a tire pump. The pics of the tridicator water temp increased 30° pressure 2lbs. Without adjusting system pressure and checking ex tank pressure doesn't seem out of the ordinary. If the boiler pressure was opening the relief valve then there's a problem. The green fitting that the ex tank is screwed into is a air scoop and the devise that is leaking is a air vent that is replaceable. Spiro vent is a better devise for removing air but since your not having any problem i wouldn't change it. Mag filter ( related valves for service) and especially the treatment. Treatment, air vent and mag filter can be added without draining the complete system if the valves hold.
thank you for the detailed explanation!
 

Bozman

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I never went ahead with this work but now that I turned the heat on for the season I need to consider getting this done now.
Im sure the prices will go up slightly but that's what usually happens when I procrastinate

Spirovent- $599 (part and labor)

#90 expansion tank- $572.00 (part and labor)

Magnet filter – $489.00 (part and labor).

Isolation valve- $224.00 (part and labor).

Boiler water treatment - $305.00 (part and labor) - Any danger in causing leaks in some old piping or connections when they perform this flush/or when they pump the treatment into the system?
 

Bozman

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No heat or hot water for several days after a power outage fried several components. I have no idea why it happened also since I have a vortex h100 surge protector on my box. Transformer in the taco and the aquastat on the hot water tank stopped working once they restored power after an outage. Plumber changed the transformer $380 and had to come back the next day since my domestic water was not heating up charging $180 to determine that the aquastat was also fried. I ordered the TPI aqua stat and installed it myself... (his price was over $700)

while the plumber was there had him give me a fresh estimate for the work above (different plumbing company)

2nd estimate:
Replace 1” Taco air scoop and vent with a 1” spirovent air eliminator. : Also replace leaking 30 psi relief valve, pressure reducing valve and backflow preventer. Move new spirovent to the right 12”
Replace Extrol 15 or 30 with a floor standing #90 Extrol tank $523
Install a new backflow preventer. $196
Change auto feed valve on boiler.$256
Replace 30# relief valve.$198
Install 1” Spirovent $450


1st estimate:
Spirovent- $599
#90 expansion tank- $572.00
Magnet filter – $489.00 (part and labor).
Isolation valve- $224.00 (part and labor).
Boiler water treatment - $305.00 (part and labor).


I may even get a 3rd estimate not necessarily to get a better price but to try to get the best setup
 

Fitter30

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Since the taco air scoop has been working I'd just replace the air vent on top. Magnetic filter and boiler treatment is a good idea. Treatment should have a oxygen scavenger in it. Shouldn't be a problem with leaks after. Ex tank, prv and backflow if pressure isn't getting over 25 lbs running at your 170 - 180° water temp wouldn't expect anything wrong. Ask the plumber what water pressure the cold fill should be set at. Change the relief valve.
 

DanInNaperville

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This only applies if the Alpine is a water tube boiler, but since Burnham has gone to great lengths to scrub any information on the heat exchanger from the boiler's public technical documents, it probably is. A little surprising that the original installer put a cast iron air scoop in a system with copper pipes and a stainless steel heat exchanger (without adding that scoop and assuming brass pump bodies, there wasn't much in the system to corrode and cause trouble). With a brass air scoop like a spirovent there would be a lot less risk if the anti-corrosion treatment wore off. As it stands, you likely have some iron junk floating around the system from that cast air scoop making the magnetic filter a very good idea. If you flush the system and replace the air scoop with something that's brass you may not need the filter while if you don't get that cast iron out of there there's a good chance it will eventually damage the boiler whether you have a magnet and screen or not. Residential high efficiency water tube boilers typically use a coil of flattened stainless steel tubing to form the heat exchanger. The result is a very compact and efficient heat exchanger that likes to trap bits of metal and other debris in the creases created when the tubing is flattened (it's an oval, not a sharp crease, but it's still a very small, tight area - even away from the crease the flattened tube is very narrow). The trapped bits insulate parts of the heat exchanger from the water flow causing hot spots that can fail causing leaks. As long as the water stays clean, there's no problem but big iron components, like that air scoop, should be avoided where possible and it's very important to add anti-corrosion treatment to the boiler every year (as Fitter 30 said).
Old style cast iron boilers have large chambers through which the water flows and they tolerate moderate levels of debris pretty well. It isn't great to have in there, but generally it just keeps circulating in the system - for decades - without destroying anything other than the pump impeller every 5 or 10 years.

By the way, the boiler treatment costs about $25 and if the other work is being done then the system has to be drained enough to make it simple to add the boiler treatment. Charging you $305 for that is a stretch. Look up Sentinel X100 Corrosion Inhibitor on Amazon or check your local hardware store. If you're not doing anything else to a system, it can be a fair amount of work to make room to add the inhibitor, get it into the system, then bleed out remaining air and finally check over everything. But if you're doing that other work, you're doing almost all of the labor, anyway.
 

Bozman

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This only applies if the Alpine is a water tube boiler, but since Burnham has gone to great lengths to scrub any information on the heat exchanger from the boiler's public technical documents, it probably is. A little surprising that the original installer put a cast iron air scoop in a system with copper pipes and a stainless steel heat exchanger (without adding that scoop and assuming brass pump bodies, there wasn't much in the system to corrode and cause trouble). With a brass air scoop like a spirovent there would be a lot less risk if the anti-corrosion treatment wore off. As it stands, you likely have some iron junk floating around the system from that cast air scoop making the magnetic filter a very good idea. If you flush the system and replace the air scoop with something that's brass you may not need the filter while if you don't get that cast iron out of there there's a good chance it will eventually damage the boiler whether you have a magnet and screen or not. Residential high efficiency water tube boilers typically use a coil of flattened stainless steel tubing to form the heat exchanger. The result is a very compact and efficient heat exchanger that likes to trap bits of metal and other debris in the creases created when the tubing is flattened (it's an oval, not a sharp crease, but it's still a very small, tight area - even away from the crease the flattened tube is very narrow). The trapped bits insulate parts of the heat exchanger from the water flow causing hot spots that can fail causing leaks. As long as the water stays clean, there's no problem but big iron components, like that air scoop, should be avoided where possible and it's very important to add anti-corrosion treatment to the boiler every year (as Fitter 30 said).
Old style cast iron boilers have large chambers through which the water flows and they tolerate moderate levels of debris pretty well. It isn't great to have in there, but generally it just keeps circulating in the system - for decades - without destroying anything other than the pump impeller every 5 or 10 years.

By the way, the boiler treatment costs about $25 and if the other work is being done then the system has to be drained enough to make it simple to add the boiler treatment. Charging you $305 for that is a stretch. Look up Sentinel X100 Corrosion Inhibitor on Amazon or check your local hardware store. If you're not doing anything else to a system, it can be a fair amount of work to make room to add the inhibitor, get it into the system, then bleed out remaining air and finally check over everything. But if you're doing that other work, you're doing almost all of the labor, anyway.
thank you for the info, didn't think of the cast iron corrosion plugging up the coils. I will change out that cast iron air scoop but It sounds like I will still do the boiler treatment since half of my baseboard is cast iron /base-ray.
 

Bozman

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Prices have gone up. Procrastination will cost me. Updated estimate from same company today.

Estimate to replace parts on boiler and heating system
1- 1” spiral vent magnet filter combination $1395.
# 60 expansion tank with wall bracket $879.
Replacement of fill valve and back flow preventer $ 590.
Relief valve $310
doesn't even include boiler water treatment

ouch, in order to save money I asked to go down to a #60 expansion
 
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