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Thread: Circulator pump leak

  1. #1

    Default Circulator pump leak

    I have an ageing gas boiler (circa 1951) that heats water for a 2-zone house - one zone is radiators and is working fine since I bled them all, the other is baseboard heating and while it seems to be heating fine but there is a small leak (intermittent drip when pump running) from the old Bell & Gossett circulator pump that is leaving a small milky puddle on the floor.

    Originally I thought it was just excess oil from over exuberant maintenance - the pump is not in the most accessible place and its hard to keep the little flap open and drip the oil in without a few drips hitting the floor, but now its obvious that there is some water involved - not sure why its the milky color though?

    I'm covered by the PSE&G Worry Free maintenance plan and they say they cover parts for circulator pumps but will not perform water work. I'm suspecting that the circulator pump seal is starting to fail and as its a leak it obviously involves water to some degree.

    A couple of questions:

    * Is the pump seal considered part of the pump?

    * Would this be something a plumber would fix?

    * How are these things usually fixed? Is it a huge job?



  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    A milky color could be a mixture of oil and water. Sounds like the seal is starting to go. It could be fairly easy to replace (assuming access), or a pain. I know that the Taco pumps have a replaceable cartridge which is fairly easy to replace as the housing ususally can last a very long time.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member CHH's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Denver, CO


    Have you checked the B&G website?


    Looks like they've got a page on seal replacement. I always considered the seal part of the pump and I hope that your worry free plan covers it since it is a maintenance item. Best thing to do is call and ask. My perspective on pump seals is that it's best to have either someone experienced replace it or two seals on hand (there's a fair chance the first one will get buggered).

    Prolly aught to take a peek at the bearings while it's down. Worn bearings will cause a seal failure.

    Another thing to consider is that this might be a good time to replace the circulator with a maintenance free design.
    Last edited by CHH; 11-25-2007 at 02:57 AM.

  4. #4


    No luck with PSE&G - they confirmed that the milky white liquid was oil & water mix and said we need a plumber to repair the leak probably by replacing the pump seal.

    Got a quick quote from a local plumber - $250 for the pump seal + $110/hr labor - and it will probably require 3hrs to drain the system and perform the repair. They also suggested a new pump for $325 would be a better idea.

    Not quite sure why a pump seal costs $250. If we go with this quote I expect they will try and push the pump upgrade anyway as the current pump is so old they probably wont have the part even though they were confident they would.

    So right now it looking like a $500-$700 repair. If it wasn't winter I might buy the parts online and try replacing it myself but if something went wrong it would be emergency repair time and I thats the last thing I need (2 kids under 3 etc.)


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