Posted by Harold Kestenholz - Hydronic Network on September 13, 2000 at 08:54:32:
In Reply to: Low level auto fill posted by Jim Shields on September 11, 2000 at 08:41:19:
Your boiler should not run low water that fast. Most residential boilers don't run out in a year. Have the radiator vents (those whistles that are on the side of the radiator about 8 inches from the bottom) checked and replaced. There should also be one on the main (pipe) leading to the raiators from the boiler. They prevent steam from leaving the system(when working properly), but allow air in and out. Unless there is a serious leak elsewhere, they are probably a cause of the water loss by leaking steam.
Once the leak is corrected, the water level should stay up for a few months, so you can go on vacation. An automatic fill is not terribly expensive. Combination low water cutoff and fill devices are available. I would close the automatic fill off to see what the water loss rate is while you are at home, and use it when you go away. The quick rate of fresh water you now have will eat your boiler from the oxygen and sludge.
Ask about electrically operated radiator vents to control zoning. If air can not leave the radiator, then the heat is cut back, giving you zoning. This is less expensive than cutting a large steam control valve in the main. You probably have to replace vents anyway, so their expense could be transferred to the controlled ones.
Yes, you do need a professional to get the right combination to repair and change your system. A Licensed Master Plumber usually has the experience and training to complete the work.
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