Water Overflow Pipe Dripping

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amkazen

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Hi, I am not sure if this is the proper forum. Please let me know if this is incorrect and I will move the post. Thanks.

Hi,

I am hoping I can get some help on my home’s #1 plumbing issue.

I have what I call an “overflow drain pipe†that is dripping water at such a fast rate we have to empty the pan under it twice a day. This just started about 2 -3 months ago and has become really bad in the last 2 weeks.

Why do we need a pan to catch the water? For some reason our plumber did not drill through the deck floor to let it drain on the ground. This deck is now part of the master bedroom so we put a pan under it to prevent being flooded, and also it just started to drip a few months back.

Here are some known issues with the home plumbing:
1) dripping overflow pipe
2) toilets need valves replaced: to be done weekend of Sep 19-20, 2009
3) check valve needs to be replaced
4) shower pressure drops when sinks & toilets in other parts of the house are used: from day 1 of moving into the house
5) shower water temperature drops when sinks & toilets in other parts of the house are used: from day 1 of moving into the house, and shower valves have anti-scald/temperature drop feature
6) in the winter the available hot water for showers decrease as the radiant in-floor heating system is being used: master bedroom shower faucet handle only needs to be at just a little less than 50% of the handle travel to get perfect water temperature. In the winter it needs to be at 100% of the handle travel and water is still just an ok temperature: from day 1 of moving into the house, shower faucet is single handle Moen

Possible Issue:
1) Bolier expansion tank drains water at bottom of tank when pressing schrader valve..at least I think it is a scharder valve..it is at the bottom, looks like one, and what is the horizontal valve type on top.

Here is my home’s plumbing description:
1) 525’ deep well, static water level is approx 130’, pump set at approximately 450’, can run well for over 2 hours before any noticeable drop in water flow
2) Jacuzzi well pump, 230v, model # is
3) Well pump is not automatic yet: if we need water we turn breaker on
4) Well pump pumps water into galvanized 3,000 gallon water storage tank set within 2’ of house, approximately 4’ above level of first floor: water pipe from well to tank is approximately 1 ½†PVC pipe
5) Water is pumped into top of tank and flows out at bottom of tank into house
6) Plumbing lines from 3,000 gallon storage tank enter house horizontally from bottom of tank, then go up approximately 7’ to ceiling space between floors, run across that space approx. 17’ to mechanical room, and then drop down mechanical room wall to floor level: plumbing lines are approx 1†copper
7) Radiant in-floor piping system is winter heat source with 5 zones: a 6th zone is to be added in November 2009
8) Radiant floor hot water & domestic/potable hot water is supplied by a “combi-boiler†unit
9) Water heater is a indirect water heater
10) Well pressure tank is 81 gallon in mechanical room next to boiler
11) Boiler has a small pressure tank above boiler
12) Indirect water heater has a small pressure tank above water heater
13) There is a Culligan resin tank water softener using potassium
14) A ½ hp jet pump pulls/sucks water from the 3,000 gallon water tank
15) Home is on a septic system: 1,000 gallon concrete tank with leach field

Here is the equipment description:
1) Crown Mega Stor Indirect Water Heater model #MS-40, Capacity: 40 gallons, Max Allowable Working Pressure: 150 psi, Temperature set to 170°, Watts Regulator Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve Model 100XL, Honeywell Aquastat Controller, Type L4006, Watts Regulator Expansion Tank, Model DET-12 M1, tank volume 4.5 gallons
2) Crown Boiler Model XBF-150EID LP, Input 140,000 BTU/hr, Maximum WP 30 psi, Minimum Relief Valve Capacity 118 lb/hr or MBM, Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve Watts Regulator Model M3, Effikal International Flue Damper Model RVGP-KSF, unknown brand expansion tank
3) Laing Recirculating Pump Model SMT-303-BSW
4) Well Rite Pressure Tank Model WR240.OLC, Tank Volume: 81 gallons, Maximum Working Pressure 100 psi, Factory Precharge 38 psi, Drawdown @ 40/60 psi
5) Water Ace Jet Pump, Model RTS5, ½ hp: will be placed on floor weekend of Sep 19-20, 2009 by replacing power cord; used to be a ¾ hp pump but impeller failed on that pump due to lack of water: 3,000 gallon storage tank was empty
6) Culligan Resin Tank Water Softener

Picture Notes:
1) Crown boiler gauge in picture @ 10 psi and 180°; pressure dropped to 5 psi while taking photos, boiler kicked on, and pressure rose to 25 psi, and boiler shut off
2) Crown Mega Stor indirect water heater temperature set to 170°
3) Well Rite pressure tank gauge in picture @ 44 psi after 7 hrs of no water use: overnight
4) Pictures were compressed using Microsoft Picture Manager to email size. It might be possible to resize them larger if needed, or I can email the original, larger size pictures to you separately

Plumbing Desires:
1) Fix overflow water pipe dripping
2) Is there any thing to be improved on current system
 

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hj

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You are asking us to do a Plumbing 101 evaluation of your house and come up with solutions. That is WAY beyond the abilities of a website. Call a professional plumber to evaluate the ENTIRE system. You may only have one or two problems which could cause all your symptoms.
 

Jadnashua

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If the expansion tank is leaking when you open the schrader valve, it is shot...replace the tank. That being shot will cause the T&P valve to open when the boiler runs - the heated water expands and there's no place for it to go. You may find that the continual use of the T&P valve means it needs to be replaced as well. They are a safety valve, not a device that likes to be tripped regularly.

If you can't keep up with hot water in the winter, your tank may be too small, or you need to add a priority zone to the WH so it can get all of the heat when it needs it, rather than sharing it with the rest of the heating task. It's also possible that the piping and pumps are not set up right, and the WH just doesn't get proper flow when other systems are calling for heat.

Too many variables to evaluate without being there.

It's normal to need to turn the shower control up further in the winter...the cold is often much colder, so a little cools off the output. The real test here would be to verify that the WH is reaching temp both winter and summer. Your shower valve should also have a high limit adjustment for anti-scald. You may need to adjust that higher in the winter. This is one reason I prefer a thermostatically controlled valve...it stays the same winter/summer, regardless of the input water temps.
 

amkazen

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Hi,

1st, thank you both for your response.

jadnashua, you response was exactly what I was looking for: brief, to the point, and it ties with what I suspected after reviewing some of the other posts on this site. Now, I just need to figure out how to safely remove and replace that expansion tank, and also R&R the boiler's T&P valve. The T&P valave looks to have been leaking.

HJ, well, I was not looking for a Plumbing 101 evaluation of my house.

And, get a professional plumber in this city to come up to this neighborhood? HAH! Of the 5 or so houses that have been built in this rural neighborhood in the past 5 years, every single one had issues with subcontractors: yep, the plumbers & electricians. And, the plumbers were all different. It seems the plumbers in this area like "city work" and do not like to drive on a dirt road and be 20 minutes away from Lowe's or Home Depot, or 25 minutes away from a professional plumbing supply house. You can see the city from our neighborhood, people love it up here, comment on how far away yet so close we are, but....the drive seems too long because it is on a dirt road that is about a 12 - 15% grade and you must do 10 - 15 mph for the 3 miles into and out of our neighborhood. Once the plumber gets the job and then finds out where the job is, they either back out, go slow, or never return calls. And this is the common thing for the last 4 - 5 houses built, all different plumbers, because guess what? We never give the plumbers a good recommendation because of their attitude so everybody has always gotten a different plumber! I tried for over a year to get my plumber back up to do some minor things he left undone, like forgot to install outside hose spigots, and also check the radiant in-floor piping the 1st year we used it, and he came up once. There went his recommendation. So, we all do it ourselves, ask questions, & learn from the school of hard knocks. The subcontractors we do not have issues with are the ones who get the job done within 1 week or so, like the framers, the roofers, the tile guys, etc. But, on a job that takes multiple weeks..forget it. As you can see, I am a little passionate about the professionals in this area.

I supplied all the info on my house and all the pictures to avoid multiple back & forth posts, questions, etc. I got this idea from having read posts on this forum and also other forums over the years: give the people you are asking as much info up front as you can so they have as complete a picture as they can when trying to determine a solution to a problem they cannot touch or see. But, sometimes, for some people, the amount of info is overwhelming and their eyes gloss over and .......
 
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hj

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Do you have any idea how long it would take us to open every one of those pictures, and even then they might not show us the important things. That is why being there is so important. WE can decide what we want to see, and can see it in its context. If you were in my area I would drive down that dusty road, because I do it every night when I go home.You either have a lot of plumbers and your neighbors are just using the least expensive ones, or there are only a few and none of them are professionals.
 

amkazen

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pictures are unzipped
 

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amkazen

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more unzipped pictures
 

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amkazen

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Here some more unzipped pictures
 

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amkazen

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continuing with more pictures
 

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amkazen

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almost done with providing pictures
 

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amkazen

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almost to the final pics
 

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amkazen

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almost there
 

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amkazen

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DONE! And the infamous overflow pipe: just a pipe sticking out of the wall...and the plumber we hired when building this house did not drill throught the previous wood decking to get the pipe to drain on the ground...just let it drip on the wood deck...said we would never have an issue..how was I to know? Oh, the things I have learned since!
 

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Redwood

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Okay nice...
All that and now i still don't know what the overflow pipe comes from...
I'm guessing from the T&P but who knows...
Really you need a plumber on site...
 

amkazen

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Until I looked at the piping myself I also had no clue what the overflow pipe comes from. I finally decided to release the T&P valve on the indirect water heater and also the pressure valve on the boiler and viola! Water flowed out the overflow pipe.

But, I decided to call one of the largets plumbing companies in this area and see if they would come out to my house. And, wow. They did, 2 days ago, on the same day the power supply in my desktop PC went up in smoke. I am now using my old laptop after updating it the past 2 days. I am currently waiting for their quote.

Why did I call? I noticed in the Crown indirect water heater manual the expansion tank in every exapmle shown was installed on the cold water line. My tank is installed off the hot water line coming off the top of the tank. And, there is a tee installed on top of the tank and both copper lines are so hot you cannot touch them. This did not seem right and contrary to the manul so I called Crown's tech support. The man I spoke to kind of groaned and said he hated it when plumbers installed the expansion tanks on the hot water line using a tee. He said they are to be installed on the cold water line, that it works ok for a while on the hot water line but that is nto the correct place. So, I diagnosed one issue myself, not a professional plumber! I am sure glad now I hired one during the building of this house!

Anyway, I called a plumber and he diagnosed both expansion tanks are bad. I had figured the boiler one was bad and needed replacing, along with the pressure valve, but he also said the other expansion tank was installed wrong, as is using a tee on top of the indirect water heater. He also said the T&P and pressure valaves were piped wrong: the boiler pressure valve empties down about 2 feet and then goes vertical about 8 feet to the ceiling and then dumps out on the deck. The T&P valve tees into the vertical pipe. He said this is why I had continual water running out of the pipe I disconnected from the T&P valve on the indirect heater: it was draining all the water in the overflow pipe from the 2nd story down to the 1st story.

I expect this to be about a $600 bill. I could have done better myself 7 years ago!
 
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