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    Dangerous Condition?? (13 Posts)

  • Glen Glen @ 11:14 AM
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    Dangerous Condition??

    Was helping a friend today start her gas boiler. Flipped the switch on and the boiler lit ok. I noticed the exhaust pipe had an opening in it before the chimney. No damper in it. Warm gas seemed to be coming out and I'm thinking this is not good. I attached a few pictures. Am I correct that this is an unsafe condition?
    Thanks.
  • Glen Glen @ 11:30 AM
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    Pics attached

    Sorry-here are pics
  • Robert O'Brien Robert O'Brien @ 11:40 AM
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    Diverter

    That is a draft diverter, there should be no flue gas spillage out of it.
  • Glen Glen @ 6:56 PM
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    Draft diverter

    Is there a way to better test other than holding ones hand underneath? Thanks.
  • Jamie Hall Jamie Hall @ 7:30 PM
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    Yes, there is

    or are -- actually at least two ways.  Less sensitive is to take a strip of tissue paper -- say a strip torn off a single ply of bathroom tissue (!) and hold it underneath.  It should be lifted, perhaps only slightly, towards the diverter.  Or you can use a candle flame, which should be attracted to, not blown away from (even a little) the diverter.

    If there is any gas actually coming out, it is indeed a potentially dangerous situation, and indicates that there is something wrong with the draught up the chimney or stove pipe.  Have that checked as soon as possible!

    And... with a gas appliance in the house, I do hope that you have a functioning CO detector in place?
    Jamie

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Robert O'Brien Robert O'Brien @ 8:03 PM
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    Jamie?

    What's the matter,you don't smoke? :)
  • Jamie Hall Jamie Hall @ 9:53 PM
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    Actually...

    I do smoke -- and cigarette smoke is one of the best ways to check!  But so few people do these days...
    Jamie

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 11:03 PM
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    SHUT IT DOWN NOW!!

    From what you're describing your chimney is blocked, and products of combustion are coming into the boiler room thru the draft hood. This can kill someone- do NOT run that unit OR the other one connected to that chimney until the chimney is cleared!
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    This post was edited by an admin on October 19, 2013 11:04 PM.
  • Glen Glen @ 8:30 AM
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    It is shut down

    I will try the candle or smoke test for them later. If that shows flue gases escaping I will shut it off again and have them call a chimney company. Thanks for the feedback all.
  • bill nye bill nye @ 8:49 AM
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    Give it a minute..............

     A cold chimney is not going to draw so well. Any one who has lit a wood stove in cold weather could tell you that. Thermal draft is warmer air rising and it wont do it so well in a cold chimney. Give it a little time to establish draft and then if it does not seem right then you can become concerned. Give it a minute to warm up... but have a door or window open in the basement to be on the safe side.
  • BobC BobC @ 8:50 AM
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    Better safe than sorry

    About 20 years ago a neighbor across the street noticed a funny smel in her basement while doing the laundry. I told her to call the gas company (she had a repair contract with them) to make sure the 40 years old boiler was working properly.

    When they came they found elevated levels of CO and inspected the chimney. It turns out a seagull had fallen into the chimney and blocked it's flue. Ever since then I use a mirror a few times a year to make sure my chimney is clear. Now with a liner and a cap, I can't do that any more but I do have a CO detector in the cellar.

    That snowman is still working to this day. I've tried to explain how much it's costing her to run it but she doesn't see replacing a working boiler.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @76,700 BTU, Single pipe steam


    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in


    3PSI gauge
    This post was edited by an admin on October 20, 2013 8:51 AM.
  • Robert O'Brien Robert O'Brien @ 9:43 AM
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    Let me go out on a limb here

    and suggest we go old school and actually use a draft gauge or combustion analyzer with pressure function? Not as accurate as the smoke or toilet paper tests,I know, but worth a shot! And of course this would need to be done in steady state with all doors closed and anything that could create a negative pressure running, dryers,bath fans,kitchen fans etc
  • TomS TomS @ 10:54 AM
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    Flue Pipe

    Is the horizontal section of flue pipe OK - or should there be a upward pitch to it?
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