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Boiler Stop Leak solutions

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by danjayh, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. danjayh

    danjayh New Member

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    I shut my boiler down a few days ago due to the warm weather, and the contracting of the metal must have caused it to spring a leak (oh no!). I believe it's around the seal for one of the sensors, but I cannot be sure, as the Maxim is spray-foam insulated and I will not have time to tear it down until next summer ... so I'm thinking about using a boiler stop-leak solution.

    Has anybody else tried these? Will the plug my valves/pumps/sidearm/water-air hx? I could try isolating the boiler, but it'd mean cutting into my pex and doing some plumbing, and even then the circulator would be exposed (I'm of the opinion that I'd have to leave it running to make sure the stop-leak was mixed in well).

    So bummed. I bought it used and it's been fine for a month, so I have to imagine that the stress of moving it is to blame. It was still under warranty when I bought it, so the guy who had it before me would've just had it fixed had he already had this problem. :( :(

    EDIT - right now I'm using my water heater to heat up the boiler through the sidearm (still coming up to temp), with hopes that the tolerances will change and the leak will stop/dry up. At the least I can get it hot enough for the stop leak (I can't fire it up because the water is shorting one of the sensors).

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  2. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    You have enough of a leak to short out a sensor? And what kind of sensor on your boiler is not water tight?

    I'd personally want to see the source of the leak no matter what. You'll be even more bummed if you treat for a leak and it turns out the water is coming from someplace non-treatable.

    I think you'll find you'll spend less time on this if you do it right. Open that thing up. Maybe it's a fitting that just needs an 1/8th turn to stop the leak. Could be just that easy...
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I've used Boiler Stop Leak on several occasions and it's always worked well for me. That kind of slip-shod approach is frowned upon by heating system pros, by the way.
  4. danjayh

    danjayh New Member

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    So I came to the same conclusion as you did while I was working through this - that I needed to know where the leak was coming from before I dumped anything in there. Turns out it was the water level sensor. The M175 is spray-foamed, and it was leaking out from that sensor, running down to the next one under the foam (which is a snap disc that I believe is used to detect over temperature conditions, and then running out. The water shorted the snap disc's electrical connection to ground and was causing the arc.

    Long story short, I turned in the water level sensor another 1.5 turns, dried up the inside with a hair drier, and cut back the insulation so that it was no longer touching the contacts for any of the sensors (to prevent a repeat of the pyrotechnics performance if there are ever any leaks in the future), and all is well with the world.
  5. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Excellent. Nicely done. Burn on!
    ComnRailPwr likes this.
  6. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I've had a couple of annoying small drips show up in fitting joints - most of which would be a severe PITA to fix. One would require draining of a storage tank & dismantling of quite a bit of piping. I'm also leery of what will spring up in the off season when I only burn every week or so. I've never taken this kind of remedy seriously, but now I'm reading accounts of it actually working and satisfaction with it. I'd suspect you'd need a crapload of it for 700 gallons of system - but the time & work it would save might be worth it. Any more real world experience anyone can share - and specific product recommendations? And where a fellow can get this stuff in Canada? Seems we're hamstrung in buying almost everything boiler & system related.
  7. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    My Wood Gun came with 2 bottles of conditioner/dealer they wanted me to dump in. I'm not sure what was in it, but it sure looked like Radiator Stop Leak to me.

    Ac
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think it finds the leaks no matter how much water in the system, maple. I used one $10 bottle in a system I had once (all gravity feed) that held probably 200 gallons. Tell you what, if you can't find it in Canada (check HomeDepot, etc.,), I'll swap you one for a bottle of Dewars.
  9. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Eric, what brand did you use? I've done web searching of the hardware chains with no success - HD is over an hour away, so a real store inquiry will have to wait until the next time I'm by there, but they seem lacking on the 'serious' system supplies. I've been all around my PH&E suppliers shelves during my project the last few months & don't remember seeing anything looking like stop leak - but I'll ask though next time I'm by there too. We have nothing up here like Pex Supply, and they don't ship up here (at least that's what their website says). I'd sure be happy if I could get some and it would work the way I read it will.

    Dewars eh? :)
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Taking it easy on you, Bro.

    I'll dig up a bottle of the stop leak and take a photo. I think I got it at the Depot.
  11. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I found an info sheet on the Gunk Boiler Seal. Going to print it out & take it with me when I go trying to find some of this stuff - figured if they don't have it maybe they can order it. Aside from the recommendation to mix 50:1 [!], it also has a line in the hot water heating system directions 'do not use in systems with water lubricated pumps'.

    I don't think I'll be getting 14 gallons of the stuff - if I can find it at all.

    But what is a 'water lubricated pump'? Right now I've got an ideal temporary open spot in my system where my dismantled sidearm returns, that I could just open a valve & pour it in, and it would go directly into the section with the drips (almost too easy) - but that's also where my circ pump is. Which makes me kind of leery.
  12. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I believe most cartridge circulators (007s, etc.) are water lubed. The only system I used it in was gravity feed, so no pumps. Might be something to consider.

    That said, I've used 007s to pump fresh (domestic) water (for years) and never had a problem. And you're not supposed to use a cast iron pump with fresh water, so they can obviously take some abuse, etc.
  13. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    My pumps (three of them) are all Grundfoss 15-58 three speeds.

    I've just never heard the term 'water lubricated pumps' - actually didn't know water was a lube. :confused:
  14. danjayh

    danjayh New Member

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    The stuff I bought was called "Base Hit II", got it at Menards. They had a couple of different options. I can't give you a report on it, though, because I actually just fixed the leak.
  15. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Lowe's sells BaseHit II as well.

    "Water lubricated pumps" are another term for "wet rotor pumps". The bearings and rotor are in a stainless can so water literally separates the ceramic shaft from the sleeve bearing surfaces. I think Grundfos is the same. I'm a Taco man so........

    TS
  16. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    The Grundfoss are 'wet rotor' too - makes me a bit nervous, although most lit says this stuff won't hurt circs. Or anything else. Also wondering about the laddomat thermostat/internals.

    No Lowes in this part of the country, nothing on their website (or HD, or Rona, or any of them).

    I emailed Hercules & asked them where/how I could buy there stuff up here - will see what they say.
  17. Bob Rohr

    Bob Rohr Minister of Fire

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    Fernox is another brand. I have used this to seal leaks in tubing in slabs with some success. It looks and smells like Elmers glue!

    I have seen this product on the shelves in Canada, try contacting Fernox online for a local source.

    Attached Files:

  18. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Hercules was bought by Oatey - I called their 800 number & was told Boiler Liquid was not available for sale in Canada.

    Stopped at the supplier I've been using this morning. They didn't have anything, but could order it. I'm not sure he could tell exactly what brand it was going to be from his computer screen, but he thought it was Boiler Liquid. Anyway, I ordered 4 bottles - I'll see what I end up with & how it works in a couple weeks after it gets here.
  19. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Maple, I cant remember, are your leaks in copper or black iron?

    Just wondering if they might rust up and plug on their own...
  20. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Black iron.

    The couple I did have on initial filling did seem to stop leaking on their own.

    I had a couple worse ones appear since. I cut out some piping a couple weeks ago to do some dismantling & resealing on one. I think I got it - it seemed to be getting worse rather than better. The other main one is right where I'm hooked into bottom of storage - it would be a severe PITA to (try to) fix. There is another couple of minor drips too in other places. And I've got a couple very small hardly noticeable seeps where my aquatstats are mounted on top of boiler, when the boiler cools off. This has all appeared gradually over the couple months or so since I started burning and has me expecting maybe more seeps to appear mainly over the summer when I only fire every few days & things cool off in between.
  21. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    A sprinkler guy I used to work with kept a salt shaker in his toolbox for those fittings just just wouldnt seem to stop leaking... Hard to drain a system like that to fix it without problems.

    Not the best way to fix something, but you could try it and see if it helps!
  22. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Well, I FINALLY got my hands on some 'stuff' Friday. Talk about unobtanium, eesh - sometimes being in Canada is a PITA. It ended up being the Gunk brand, that had the ominous sounding warning about the wet-lubed circs.

    So I found some time yesterday to get some into my system. I got 4 bottles, only put one in for now. I had a good place to pour it in open right now for my sidearm re-plumbing - basically a 1' stand pipe with a valve at the top, coming off my return manifold right in the area of my worst dripping. The iffy thing is my load circ is right there too. Anyway, I drained enough water out of my Wye strainer drain to make room for the bottle of magic stuff, then once I had that in there I opened all my valves back up, manually opened my zone valves, and let it circulate slowly by gravity for a few hours (storage was hot). Then I turned a stat up for a bit & let the pump run. I checked a little while ago, and my drip pans were DRY. Not sure how long that will last (I'm kind of skeptical about things like this to say the least) - but I couldn't believe it when I saw dry drip pans after only one bottle. I'll run for a while normally to see how things go before closing up my sidearm circuit - but if the drips stay away this will be the best investment I've ever made, even if it does ruin my circ.
  23. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Those drips ain't coming back. You bought 3 bottles too many.
  24. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    According to the mixing ratio on the bottle, I should have needed somewhere around 14 gallons of the stuff. :eek:

    I wonder if it would have sealed just as well if I couldn't have introduced it into the system in the piping right where the leaks were, and rather had to pour it into top of storage or the boiler as the directions suggested?

    So far so good - still no drips & circs quietly operating hunkey dorey, even with some pretty wide temp swings from letting storage cool down a bit more than it should have. I'll be happy as a pig in poop if I never have a use for these other 3 bottles. :)
  25. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I don't think so. My understanding is that the stuff dissolves in the water, finding any and all leaks in the system. It's designed, in other words, to go into solution, so it really can't be contained. You could contain it with a lot of elaborate piping, but there's no point. It's kind of like medicine--you put in into the system and it goes where it's needed and does what it needs to do. Those spare bottles will turn into rocks over time, BTW. The stuff solidifies eventually. If you really don't need them, best to give them to someone who does, or try to sell them on eBay. Two of them, anyway.

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