Pressure test PEX? Suspect propane leak following boiler repair.

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The Unknown Plumber

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Boiler company came to install replacement PEX in-floor heat tubing and connect to boiler that already had remainder of the house with in-floor heat. Reported that the "regulator" on boiler needed replaced despite no prior issue with boiler. Replaced regulator, installed PEX in 400 s.f. room adjacent to existing rooms. Once new PEX was installed in adjacent room company reported floor ready for gypcrete and tile. I wanted confirmation that PEX install has no leaks and functions before investing in gypcrete/tile. Company reported their 10-minute test was sufficient and urgent need to cover with gypcrete and tile. Snohomish Co. had no permit issued for work, thus, no inspection or pressure test for inspector was performed. I took mechanical permit out once County stated a permit is required on this work. Company refuses to allow my observation using air pressure test for a duration of minimum 24 hours. They stated the maximum test time is ten minutes due to their method of testing with boiler's heated water which "deforms" the tubing if longer than 10 minutes and would cause problems if tubing is exposed and gypcrete and tile is not installed on top to control this "deformation" of the tubing. Our prior work with in-floor heat in two homes were both air tested for at least 48 hours (over the weekend) with inspection passed and no problems.
After hours on the web researching this issue, I decided I want to stay with my past experience and have the system air tested. I questioned how the propane usage was extreme the past two months after they installed the PEX and learned that they "combined" the existing home's in-floor heat with an apartment's heat zone, now regulated from the thermostat in the apartment. The thermostat in the house where the new PEX was installed in one room is inoperative. Why? Due to the tiny apartment, it heats to the setting fast, so it was set at the top heat, maybe 90 or so, throughout the coldest two months in order to have the boiler kick on to heat the remainder of that home. It was explained to me, if the apartment was set at its normal 70, it would turn off before the zones in the other home had any heat supplied. This 24hour heat distribution at the highest setting has consumed Propane unlike I have ever seen. Both areas are vacant, so it should be minimum if they had not combined these two living quarters with the thermostat of the tiny apartment. Even if they had chosen the larger home's thermostat to regulate both.

My problems have several issues: One; why did they abandon the home's thermostat? They assure me after the tile is installed, they will connect the two thermostats to the boiler like it was. I don't feel good about that and cannot understand their comments that testing the PEX with the boiler must be no longer than ten minutes because if the tubing "deforms" why would that not occur with gypcrete and tile, thus, expansion, cracking the gypcrete, grout and eventually tile, especially with weight on the floor like furniture etc.?

After propane was used up immediately, I put electric space heaters in both living quarter to come to a solution. I thought for a few days to go the way they left it; to have the tiny apartment put on the highest setting so the home's heat would turn on in the areas the heat was not disturbed. We tried that, but after about half an hour we discovered the mechanic room where the boiler was had a profound odor (pretty sure it is propane) and immediately shut the boiler off, opened the doors/windows in 20 degrees to clear the air enough to close off. Now, I must consider the company's insistence of maximum 10-minute test is due to their knowledge that installing the new regulator has created a "leak" in some connection or the regulator is not the proper one for the Buderus? I really have no idea where to start with this. After $750.00 for a new regulator, that I had no prior knowledge of its defect, PEX that is not operational or even allowed to air test, thermostats now combined into one, that have two living quarters and should remain as the original construction; separate living to accommodate the occupants.

Please comment even if on one issue to help me know where to start with this problem. The boiler company is asking for the payment, which I want to pay, but I want to see the thermostats separated, the test done with air for 24 plus hours and whatever caused the propane leak to fix that. I hate having this situation and I want to sell the property but everything, tile and the rest is dependent on the boiler company's work. Hope to find help. Thank you.
 

Fitter30

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From https://www.pexuniverse.com/pex-tubing-technical-specs
During the pour 30 lbs. Pex manufacturers will have spec on their tubing for air test and pour pressure. Take some pics of boiler and piping. Water temp old system?

PEX Tubing Pressure RatingsPressure testing - Hydronic & Radiant HeatingPressure testing - Hot & Cold Water Plumbing
200°F at 80 psi
180°F at 100 psi
74°F at 160 psi
3 times the maximum working pressure or a minimum of 40 psi, but no greater than 100 psi.

Duration: 30 minutes minimum, 2 hours recommended
1.5 times the maximum working pressure but no greater than pipe’s pressure rating at given temperature.

Duration: 30 minutes minimum, 2 hours recommended
 

Jeff H Young

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Never heard of a 48 hour pressure test on pex, many people think if you do something wrong and it works then its the right way to do it. like running a red light Ive done it befor so it must be safe . Im not going to research the type and brand piping you have and test procedures Recomend contacting manufacture for a test procedure. but I belive your idea of a test is likely wrong so verify with manufacture of the pipe
 

GReynolds929

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24-48 hours is excessive. You would get lots of pressure fluctuations from temperature and atmospheric changes. Gas lines only need to hold for 15 minutes at low psi.
 

Fitter30

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Mix up some dish soap and water in a spray bottle. Spray all the fittings and top of the regulator look for the bubbles for the leak.
 

Jeff H Young

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Sorry I cant read a Book its hard to follow this novel.
Whats the problem with the gas it leaks or dosent leak for crying out loud!
 

sajesak

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Boiler company came to install replacement PEX in-floor heat tubing and connect to boiler that already had remainder of the house with in-floor heat. Reported that the "regulator" on boiler needed replaced despite no prior issue with boiler. Replaced regulator, installed PEX in 400 s.f. room adjacent to existing rooms. Once new PEX was installed in adjacent room company reported floor ready for gypcrete and tile. I wanted confirmation that PEX install has no leaks and functions before investing in gypcrete/tile. Company reported their 10-minute test was sufficient and urgent need to cover with gypcrete and tile. Snohomish Co. had no permit issued for work, thus, no inspection or pressure test for inspector was performed. I took mechanical permit out once County stated a permit is required on this work. Company refuses to allow my observation using air pressure test for a duration of minimum 24 hours. They stated the maximum test time is ten minutes due to their method of testing with boiler's heated water which "deforms" the tubing if longer than 10 minutes and would cause problems if tubing is exposed and gypcrete and tile is not installed on top to control this "deformation" of the tubing. Our prior work with in-floor heat in two homes were both air tested for at least 48 hours (over the weekend) with inspection passed and no problems.
After hours on the web researching this issue, I decided I want to stay with my past experience and have the system air tested. I questioned how the propane usage was extreme the past two months after they installed the PEX and learned that they "combined" the existing home's in-floor heat with an apartment's heat zone, now regulated from the thermostat in the apartment. The thermostat in the house where the new PEX was installed in one room is inoperative emergency boiler repair. Why? Due to the tiny apartment, it heats to the setting fast, so it was set at the top heat, maybe 90 or so, throughout the coldest two months in order to have the boiler kick on to heat the remainder of that home. It was explained to me, if the apartment was set at its normal 70, it would turn off before the zones in the other home had any heat supplied. This 24hour heat distribution at the highest setting has consumed Propane unlike I have ever seen. Both areas are vacant, so it should be minimum if they had not combined these two living quarters with the thermostat of the tiny apartment. Even if they had chosen the larger home's thermostat to regulate both.

My problems have several issues: One; why did they abandon the home's thermostat? They assure me after the tile is installed, they will connect the two thermostats to the boiler like it was. I don't feel good about that and cannot understand their comments that testing the PEX with the boiler must be no longer than ten minutes because if the tubing "deforms" why would that not occur with gypcrete and tile, thus, expansion, cracking the gypcrete, grout and eventually tile, especially with weight on the floor like furniture etc.?

After propane was used up immediately, I put electric space heaters in both living quarter to come to a solution. I thought for a few days to go the way they left it; to have the tiny apartment put on the highest setting so the home's heat would turn on in the areas the heat was not disturbed. We tried that, but after about half an hour we discovered the mechanic room where the boiler was had a profound odor (pretty sure it is propane) and immediately shut the boiler off, opened the doors/windows in 20 degrees to clear the air enough to close off. Now, I must consider the company's insistence of maximum 10-minute test is due to their knowledge that installing the new regulator has created a "leak" in some connection or the regulator is not the proper one for the Buderus? I really have no idea where to start with this. After $750.00 for a new regulator, that I had no prior knowledge of its defect, PEX that is not operational or even allowed to air test, thermostats now combined into one, that have two living quarters and should remain as the original construction; separate living to accommodate the occupants.

Please comment even if on one issue to help me know where to start with this problem. The boiler company is asking for the payment, which I want to pay, but I want to see the thermostats separated, the test done with air for 24 plus hours and whatever caused the propane leak to fix that. I hate having this situation and I want to sell the property but everything, tile and the rest is dependent on the boiler company's work. Hope to find help. Thank you.
I’ve recently been very lucky to receive a charity grant of £400 which is meant for boiler repair and extra heating costs through winter. I’ve approached a couple of gas fitters/plumbers but the part alone is going to be £450...+ labour costs.
I’ve looked into the free boiler scheme and apparently that funding was cut in September 2018.
Anyone help to point me towards any other possible solutions?
 

GReynolds929

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I’ve recently been very lucky to receive a charity grant of £400 which is meant for boiler repair and extra heating costs through winter. I’ve approached a couple of gas fitters/plumbers but the part alone is going to be £450...+ labour costs.
I’ve looked into the free boiler scheme and apparently that funding was cut in September 2018.
Anyone help to point me towards any other possible solutions?
You gotta stop hijacking other people's threads man. You'll get better results with your own thread.
 
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