New K-6 Leaking???

Stoker Coal Boilers automatically feed the coal and have controls and pumps just like any conventions boiler. They are intended to be used as a primary heat and often have domestic hot water coils as an added bonus. They can be set up independently or in dual sytem with your existing oil/gas boiler. They can accommodate both hot water base board or steam plumbing.
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McGiever
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Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
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Location: Junction of PA-OH-WV

Post Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 8:10 am

Antifreeze is still most likely in there, it is now stained by iron oxide/rust due to abundance of
oxygen.
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Scottscoaled
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Post Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 8:23 am

McGiever wrote:Antifreeze is still most likely in there, it is now stained by iron oxide/rust due to abundance of
oxygen.
You're a funny guy! All I can picture is 30 gallons of red antifreeze huddled in the corner of a K-6 boiler that has a 55 gallon water capacity. :lol: :lol: You are just way too funny. ;)
Last edited by Scottscoaled on Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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McGiever
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Post Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 8:37 am

toothy
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coalkirk
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Post Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 8:41 am

Pretty hard to diagnose this problem from afar. By the way, that boiler holds 55 gallons of water, not 43. From what I've read the only evidence this fellow has of a "leak" is the water is no longer red. Not sure how he is viewing the water, maybe through the PEX. The color does fade but I wouldn't expect it to completely disappear. Certainly much more likley that any leak is in distribution piping rather than the boiler vessel itself. Keystoker pressure tests these of course. If there is a leak, my money is on a connection or pipe.
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Post Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 8:59 am

Yes, there is a pretty bad exchange of fluids going on there. The red antifreeze is the heavy duty commercial type. Takes several years for it to break down , turn brown, and settle out. For the boiler to run clear, it would have to have drained boiler, filled, drained boiler, filled, many times. My way of thinking,if the pressure was initially correct, dropped, was added to, dropped, was added to, etc. then the leak was showing itself then. Putting a backflow preventer wouldn't have solved any problem other than keeping the red antifreeze from showing itself in the domestic water supply. 30 gallons is a bunch! The makeup valve did it's job and added water to the right pressure. It kept adding water. It kept diluting and diluting. Yes, the bet would be on the underground pex from the boiler to the house. Any other big leak would cause a mess in the house. This is IMO a bigger leak than a dripping valve. The boiler should be pressurized and isolated to rule the boiler out.
I think a man does what he can, untill his destiny is revealed. Right now that is trying to sell my EFM plate boilers in 520 and 700 sizes.

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Post Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 10:19 am

Thanks for the replies; My feeling is that we have a leak inside the boiler because I drained out a glass of water from one loop and its as clear as tap water, no pink color at all. The thermoPex pipeline goes from the stoker downhill (maybe 10-11 vertical feet) to the house which is about 70 feet away. ThermoPex has 2 heat pex inside a spray foam insulation that's then in a solid black outer casing. The pipeline is one piece from the stoker to the house. I think a leak inside the pex would run downhill into the cellar and be very easy to see in the house. All our pex is UPonor heat pex 3/4", an since I ran 80% myself its in area's of the house that I can look at or get to and NO LEAKS are seen anywhere in the house. I plan on pressuring the stoker ( we have isolation valves all over the system) as soon as the weather allows. All the valves are clean with no chaulking.
I also agree that air was in the system and we added a air relief device to the top of the stoker. I will also add that our incoming Pex line is dark gray along with zone one thats gray/brown, however the upstairs zone seems clear as can be? A real mystery, but the first floor runs 24/7 where the upstairs is on very little.
thanks again for the idea's. bob

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Post Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 10:57 am

drzbob wrote:Thanks for the replies; My feeling is that we have a leak inside the boiler because I drained out a glass of water from one loop and its as clear as tap water, no pink color at all. The thermoPex pipeline goes from the stoker downhill (maybe 10-11 vertical feet) to the house which is about 70 feet away. ThermoPex has 2 heat pex inside a spray foam insulation that's then in a solid black outer casing. The pipeline is one piece from the stoker to the house. I think a leak inside the pex would run downhill into the cellar and be very easy to see in the house. All our pex is UPonor heat pex 3/4", an since I ran 80% myself its in area's of the house that I can look at or get to and NO LEAKS are seen anywhere in the house. I plan on pressuring the stoker ( we have isolation valves all over the system) as soon as the weather allows. All the valves are clean with no chaulking.
I also agree that air was in the system and we added a air relief device to the top of the stoker. I will also add that our incoming Pex line is dark gray along with zone one thats gray/brown, however the upstairs zone seems clear as can be? A real mystery, but the first floor runs 24/7 where the upstairs is on very little.
thanks again for the idea's. bob
What about something on the order of this. http://www.tooltopia.com/mastercool-53351.aspx?ut ... grabber_r1
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Post Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 1:28 pm

Just a thought,but have you calculated the total volume of water in the boiler,in the 70' of thermopex(supply & return) ,in the total lenght of raditors,and all other zones conected to the system.Not sure,but you might not of put enough anti-freeze in the total system,if you can't see any leaks? Does the pressure gage on the boiler stay constant,with in reason?

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Post Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 3:06 pm

Dennis; with our system and 70 feet plus the inside loops I realize its not enough anti-freeze but at $70 per 5 gallons----30 gallons was all we could afford. And now its gone????? Or not, I'll try to check the levels with a automotive tester soon. thanks bob
Flyer5; I like the UV tester idea.

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Post Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 3:12 pm

I am just putting this out there...take what you want from this...
Propylene glycol oxidizes when exposed to air and heat, forming lactic acid. If not properly inhibited, this fluid can be very corrosive, so pH buffering agents are often added to propylene glycol, to prevent acidic corrosion of metal components.

Besides cooling system corrosion, biological fouling also occurs. Once bacterial slime starts to grow, the corrosion rate of the system increases. Maintenance of systems using glycol solution includes regular monitoring of freeze protection, pH, specific gravity, inhibitor level, color, and biological contamination. Propylene glycol should be replaced when it turns a reddish color.
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Post Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 3:55 pm

My take that even if the antifreeze was diluted to 1/3 of strength, there still should be light red color if it was good antifreeze. Say you used 30 gallons, the boiler holds 55 and the piping won't hold much compared tothe boiler, so say about 90 gallons of volume for the system. This would still give you 1/3 strength.

For the color to disappear from dilution, there would be a considerable leak. That would be clearly visible with water in the bottom of the boiler near the ash bucket. If a pinhole, it would take months of operation for it to dilute so you didn't see the color.

Find out what this magical mystery juice is you bought and check with the manufacture. Get a cut sheet and verify this is a good fluid.

Don't go by an standard automotive tester as they are not accurate with propylene glycol.

I uploaded a cut sheet from Hercules for Cryo-tek as this brand is typically sold by HVAC supply houses.
Cryo-Tek-100_SpecSheet.pdf
(1.01 MiB) Downloaded 4 times
I am not sure what you have here. Why is the system not already pressurized? You should have put in the glycol and then pressurized the system with a hose.
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Post Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 7:06 pm

Refractometer is what is needed to test propylene glycol.
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Post Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 7:36 pm

Someone might explain the system design. Apparently there is no heat exchanger, however any normal looped system could easily be power-vented, so I am having a hard time understanding why there is any air in the system....unless there is no spirovent or air scoop......flow checks?? It is NOT that hard, we need more info.

Please tell me there are NO mono-flow tee's.................

Are you ABSOLUTELY sure there is no leak underground? I've fixed dozens of 'no leakers' where a fitting was NOT in place correctly, or seated deep enough.....or ........you fill in the blank.......I would love to hear some new ones.......(the ole 'Shark-Bite Fitting Slipped' is a favorite for OWB folks) .....The boiler went to 260 degrees and the pipe melted away.......How about The boiler temp dropped below 140 and the circ stopped and the resulting freeze-up drained the boiler........OR 'I shut down the main switch to check the boiler'
There are a multitude of "Job Security Installs" everywhere!!!!! You can't change stupid......and ALL of us can be a victim one day or another!

Like the guys say: usually a 'anti-freeze protected install. has the feed valve closed and a low water cut off installed AND working. That K-6 should have NO problem keeping you warm.... :idea: :idea: :!:
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Post Fri. Mar. 15, 2013 7:47 pm

whistlenut wrote:Someone might explain the system design. Apparently there is no heat exchanger, however any normal looped system could easily be power-vented, so I am having a hard time understanding why there is any air in the system....unless there is no spirovent or air scoop......flow checks?? It is NOT that hard, we need more info.

Please tell me there are NO mono-flow tee's.................

Are you ABSOLUTELY sure there is no leak underground? I've fixed dozens of 'no leakers' where a fitting was NOT in place correctly, or seated deep enough.....or ........you fill in the blank.......I would love to hear some new ones.......(the ole 'Shark-Bite Fitting Slipped' is a favorite for OWB folks) .....The boiler went to 260 degrees and the pipe melted away.......How about The boiler temp dropped below 140 and the circ stopped and the resulting freeze-up drained the boiler........OR 'I shut down the main switch to check the boiler'
There are a multitude of "Job Security Installs" everywhere!!!!! You can't change stupid......and ALL of us can be a victim one day or another!

Like the guys say: usually a 'anti-freeze protected install. has the feed valve closed and a low water cut off installed AND working. That K-6 should have NO problem keeping you warm.... :idea: :idea: :!:
I agree. If you were loosing the amount of water that's reported out of the boiler, it would be evident. Base would be soaked. I say underground.
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Post Sat. Mar. 16, 2013 9:21 am

whistlenut; thanks for your reply. Our primary loop goes into the house from the stoker pushed by a Taco 10 3speed pump. Our plumber did the pump wall and I don't think he used any mono flow tee's. In the primary loop the Taco is the flow check I believe. The 2 house zones come off the primary into a Taco 7 (second floor) and a new Grundfos 3 speed for the first floor loop. We did install a Spirovent next to the Expansion tank after a few weeks when we had less than ideal heat that we thought was air related.
We are not absolutely certain that the leak is underground, as I've said the pipe was one piece, no connections from the stoker area to the house 70 feet away. Could ThermoPex have sold us a one piece pipe with a pinhole leak in the middle, maybe. So where is the water? Our stoker is uphill from the house, like 10 vertical feet, the water would follow the pipe into the house assuming the outer plastic core wasn't cracked. I dug the trench and back filled it myself paying attention to not damaging the outer shell of the pipeline. I'm open to the idea its leaking underground but can't find out till the ground thaw's out and we can dig it up to check.

Oilman; the stoker is on concrete blocks above a compacted limestone crusher run base. I've not seen any wet area's under it.

Today I'm planning on isolating the 2 house zones and running the primary loop at 25 lbs with no water feed, so we will see what happens to the pressure after 4-6 hours. I'll let you'all know later.

Can I attach pics? Some forums require a certain amount of posts before a member is allowed. thanks bob

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