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Old 09-20-2009, 08:24 AM   #1
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My boiler doesnt have any water in it.


Started the boiler up yesterday to do a test run. After 20 minutes of no heat went down to basement. The area around boiler was much hotter than usual. Turned the system off. I opened up the drain valve and nothing came out. Pressed manual feed but all that did was create an overflow of water from a pressure valve.

What should I do?

Thanks.

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Old 09-20-2009, 12:25 PM   #2
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My boiler doesnt have any water in it.


?????

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Old 09-20-2009, 01:00 PM   #3
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My boiler doesnt have any water in it.


Is this forced hot water or steam? For FHW, was the circulator pump(s) running?

Is the pressure valve in a different place from the manual feed?

It is possible for the boiler drain valve to get plugged with sediment, particularly if a small amount of water isn't drained out at the end of each heating season.
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:37 PM   #4
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My boiler doesnt have any water in it.


I agree with AllanJ, The boiler drain is is probably plugged or defective. The best way to verify water in the boiler is to check the pressure/temp gauge. If it shows pressure at all, the boiler has water in it. If the water ran out of the relief valve the boiler is full. The relief is designed to open at 30psi. As AllanJ suggested, you need to check the pumps and zone valves. Could also have an airlock somewhere.
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:45 PM   #5
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My boiler doesnt have any water in it.


Did the boiler ever reach operating Temp ?
Did the pump run at all ?
Was the thermostat on & turned up ?
Has the system/radiators been bled ?
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Old 09-20-2009, 06:00 PM   #6
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My boiler doesnt have any water in it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leoskee View Post
Started the boiler up yesterday to do a test run. After 20 minutes of no heat went down to basement. The area around boiler was much hotter than usual. Turned the system off. I opened up the drain valve and nothing came out. Pressed manual feed but all that did was create an overflow of water from a pressure valve.

What should I do?

Thanks.
First ...Your lucky you didn't blow yourself up... Never add cold water to a HOT boiler with no water... Get a pro to check it out...

Last edited by newtech; 09-20-2009 at 06:11 PM. Reason: .
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Old 09-20-2009, 06:29 PM   #7
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My boiler doesnt have any water in it.


I Agree newtech, as a former Boiler Tender in the Navy never introduce cold water in to a hot Boiler.
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Old 09-20-2009, 08:57 PM   #8
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My boiler doesnt have any water in it.


You guys gave me plenty of of homework to do. I cant answer any questions besides the one about the manual feed and pressure valve. Yes, the pressure valve is directly above the manual feed. I do not have any background knowledge on boilers so this is all new to me. I've been in the house 3 years now and everything has been working well. I did find another valve that I opened up and water came out of it. I then noticed that there is a guage on the side of the boiler and it is completely full of water. I am assuming that the boiler does have water in it. The question now is, why did it heat up the radiators.

Off hand, how long does it take for a boiler to produce enough steam to heat up the radiators direcly above it from a cold start? I waited about 20 minutes. Did I jump the gun?
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:39 AM   #9
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My boiler doesnt have any water in it.


Depends on how much water the boiler had in it. And the BTU size of the boiler.

To heat 1 pound of water from 50F to 212 F takes 172BTUs per pound of water. It takes another 970 BTUs to turn that pound of water into a pound of steam.

1 gallon of water at 50 F weighs 8.33 pounds. So 1 pound of water, is only about a pint.

Drain your boiler, flush it out. refill to marked fill level.
Steam time could be 25 minutes, or 45 minutes for first time.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:08 AM   #10
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My boiler doesnt have any water in it.


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Drain your boiler, flush it out. refill to marked fill level. Steam time could be 25 minutes, or 45 minutes for first time.
How do I do that? Do I just open up the valve and continuously empty out buckets of water or is there another way to do it? Will the boiler fill itselve up on its own or will I have to something else?
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:07 PM   #11
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My boiler doesnt have any water in it.


Presuming this is a steam boiler.
Hook a garden hose to the boiler drain cock.

Open it, and let it run out. Until its clear.
You may have to run some fresh water into it while draining it.

You should have a manual water feed valve.

Post pics of your boiler and the valves on and near it. Then we can tell better.

Look on your system. To see if it has
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:17 PM   #12
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My boiler doesnt have any water in it.


I'll post pics when I get a chance.

My drain valves are near the floor. Is the water under pressure even when it is turned off? I dont see how else I can drain it with a hose.
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:22 PM   #13
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My boiler doesnt have any water in it.


On a how ater boiler, yes.
On steam, not when the boiler is cold.
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:34 PM   #14
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My boiler doesnt have any water in it.


The significance of the pressure valve directly above the water feed is that the clog could be just below there there and the boiler really has no water in it while opening the water feed sends water squirting out the pressure valve. This is rare but could have dire consequences if you fire up the boiler empty.

Steam boilers often have a vertical glass tube on the side that shows the water level.

Once every other year should be enough to drain a boiler completely to get sediment out and then refill with brand new water. You will need professional help unless there is a level indicator or other way to verify that you put the proper amount of water back in.

Steam systems with one-pipe radiators admit air via the radiator valves that will facilitate draining the boiler. Other kinds of systems require a valve higher up, perhaps on the boiler itself or on an expansion tank, to be opened to let air in needed to in turn let water out the drain valve down below.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 09-21-2009 at 12:41 PM.
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