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Abnormal water drip from my radiant heater?

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: Jul 6 2009

There is a 3/4" copper pipe that leads from my radiant heater boiler in the garage to the outside, where it ends in a 90 degree elbow pointing down. In the past, I think I've seen water drip out of this pipe into the ground, maybe about a drop every few seconds. Since this pipe looked like it was some kind of a drain from the boiler, I wasn't too concerned.

But lately the flow of water has increased from drips to a small but steady stream. And since the water streams out so close to the wall, I'm also wondering whether it might damage my foundation if I let it go on.

Can someone tell me what's going on, and whether this is normal?

One other observation, not sure whether it is relevant. I hear water running when I'm next to the boiler. When I shut off the valve for incoming fresh water, the sound stops. About two hours later, the water flowing outside also stops. BTW, this is a Teledyne Laars Mini-Therm II.

Thanks in advance for any explanation.

Joined: Mar 21 2003

That pipe leading outside is probably drain tube for the temperature/pressure relief safety valve. And under normal circumstances should not have any water coming from it at all. Something is wrong in your system (too much pressure or bad relief valve, or ???). And you want it fixed, not just because of the waste of water: Fresh water going into the radiant system means fresh oxygen to cause more corrosion, so you will be decreasing the life of other components including, perhaps, the copper tubing in your floor.

Because you are asking this question here, I suspect that you are not comfortable with understanding and maintaining your boiler system. So I'd recommend calling a radiant heat specialist to have your system fixed.

Joined: Jul 6 2009

Tod, thanks for the info. I was thinking along the same lines. But turns out the problem was with a bad regulator (if I remember the name of that part correctly) being stuck open. Anyways, it sits on the incoming supply pipe after the shut-off valve and before the heater. Since it was stuck open, some additional pressure from the incoming line (60 PSI) was causing the 30 PSI pressure relief valve to open (as designed). So I replaced the regulator and the drips have stopped.

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