expansion tank and packing valves

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Posted by jtown on November 13, 2001 at 08:39:51:

In Reply to: even more questions? posted by jennifer on November 12, 2001 at 21:27:28:

I assume that one of the expansion tank's pipes are the overflow. Normally they come out of the top area of a round tank. Your rectangular tank may have been built with a tube up into so it could be packed into a space. If the pipe goes straight down (almost) to the slop sink it must be it. You would only have a sight glass on the expansion tank (or steam boiler if steam). Your expansion tank was never sealed tight. When your water gets hot it expands some into the tank, and back down when it cools. Just like the little plastic bottle hooked to your car radiator. If it accidently gets too full, then it goes out the overflow. Often overflows went out doors and poured on the lawn so you would see it overflowing. I think you said that you have a valve half way up your tank. If the valve just dumps onto the floor, it is a try cock. If there is a valve to add water at the tank, open the try cock and add water 'til it squirts out of the try cock and shut the try cock and fill valve, then go bleed radiators, and repeat. Your tank is probably fine, as long as the leak was at the top. It would be better if the overflow could have handled it. You should fix it someday in case your fill valve won't reclose tight etc and you damage ceilings and floors. You could cap those pipes and put a tank in the basement. Repack your valve instead of replacing. First try to tighten a hair. If you can't - you didn't add enough packing. If you can pull the whole bonnet off the valve, pull it and clean the stem as good as possible without scratching it (remove paint and crud) green scrubbing pad etc. Pull packing nut and try to dig out old packing with end of corkscrew, bent wire etc. Wind lengths of new shoestring graphite packing into it staggering any end gaps. Put the nut on and pack in gently and then open and add some more, leaving a couple of threads to be able to start nut. Tighten gently, just 'til any leakage stops. How long to flow water answered above.

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