Posted by scrook on December 24, 2000 at 12:23:03:
In Reply to: Water loss in steam system posted by Don Miehling on December 24, 2000 at 07:28:20:
: This is a pretty old residential steam heating system. Since this heating season has started I've noticed
: more water loss than ever before - the unit needs to be either refilled or topped off every day - it's manual.
: All the radiator's air valves work properly - they close completely when very hot. I've traced all the steam
: and return piping and and don't see any signs off water leakage.
: I've observed the system as it built up to about 1 lb. of pressure, as it will do in the morning to raise
: temperature from the overnight set-back, and think I hear a "whooshing" sound at the boiler,
: (as well as all the bubbling of steaming water). But, when I open the skins on the unit there's no sign
: of steam escaping, and no water leakage.
: Now what? I suspect a steam link in the boiler but how do I confirm it?
: If I get a plumber in what kind of testing might he do?
Do you get LOTS of white smoke from the chimney? This would be a sign of a water or steam leak into the firebox. A heating contractor could remove the burner & fill (overfill) the system to the top w/ water and look for leakage into the firebox. Th eother possibility is if you have buried wet return(s) that you have a leak in one, in which case you'd need to dig it up and replace it with new black iron pipe. If none of the returns are buried you should be able to see a leak (specially in wet returns at floor level. leaks in mains or dry returns (overhead) may be more elusive. Check too that the end-of-mains vent(s) are closing when steam reached them too.
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