The Wall
Forum / THE MAIN WALL / Has anyone had problems with Dunkirk Boilers?
  • Post a Reply to this Thread

    Has anyone had problems with Dunkirk Boilers? (87 Posts)

  • Dennis M. Phipps  Dennis M. Phipps @ 2:30 PM
    Contact this user

    Has anyone had problems with Dunkirk Boilers? We had a Dunkirk Quantum 90 boiler installed about 18 months ago and have had several problems with it. Along with the cold days and nights in our home, we have been frustrated with the response, or lack of, from the Dunkirk reps. We would get the run-around, promises of parts that never showed up, reps who would say they would call our heating company here in Elkhart but then no follow-up calls, etc. It's been very frustrating for us and our heating company which has been very helpful.
  • dave dave @ 5:25 AM
    Contact this user

    I have repaired a Dunkirk that was not set up correctly. 2.5 " WC at the manifold was the requirement. Alluminum block raises concerns regarding dissimilar metals and protecting against electrolosis. High levels of CO and flame outs were the initial problem.
  • John Mills John Mills @ 2:08 PM
    Contact this user

    Wiring

    We tried them for a while but ended up having to correct the wiring in the units before firing them up. Between that and a lot of shipping damage, we gave up.
  • peter desens peter desens @ 3:22 PM
    Contact this user

    Factory Assistance

    Mr. Phipps, Please let me assure you that your Q90 Dunkirk boiler is not only a technologically advanced boiler, it is simple in it's operation. I'm sure with the help of your heating contractor, we can resolve any problem you have with the boiler or the system it is supporting. Please feel free to contact me at our office to discuss this further. With more details, I'm sure we can provide the necessary assistance. Peter Desens, Technical Service Manager, ECR International - Dunkirk Boilers 1-800-325-5479, ext. 4128
  • Ron Ron @ 11:44 PM
    Contact this user

    > Mr. Phipps,
    >
    > Please let me assure you that your
    > Q90 Dunkirk boiler is not only a technologically
    > advanced boiler, it is simple in it's operation.
    > I'm sure with the help of your heating
    > contractor, we can resolve any problem you have
    > with the boiler or the system it is supporting.
    > Please feel free to contact me at our office to
    > discuss this further. With more details, I'm sure
    > we can provide the necessary assistance.
    >
    > Peter
    > Desens, Technical Service Manager, ECR
    > International - Dunkirk Boilers 1-800-325-5479,
    > ext. 4128

  • Ron Ron @ 11:49 PM
    Contact this user

    Q-90

    Have only used one so far showed up and the ignighter failed after two days , had to order parts in and recived the wrong one , no heat for 3 days in the home , this was installed after removing a lennox complete heat for the 3rd time that had failed in less than one year , Have had no problems with the unit since , around 3 months since the install , lennox is useing them to replace the complete heat under warrenty issues , hope they choose well this time ?
  • Al Corelli - Agix Associates Al Corelli - Agix Associates @ 1:58 PM
    Contact this user

    Dunkirk Quantum 90

    I have one of these in my own home. 4 years and the ignitor just went out this month for the first time. I have never seen another one installed yet. Mine is serial number 004. I had NO problems with wiring or gas pressure. There was a flood in my basement in August of 2002. The controls got wet. Ordered controls (never got them), so to dry out the controls, I placed them on top of the clothes dryer and left them for a week. I placed them back in service, and have had no problem since the ignitor issue the other day. Bought another ignitor just in case. My only gripe is with the supply houses that cannot or will not order parts for these "cutting edge" boilers.
  • Al Corelli - Agix Associates Al Corelli - Agix Associates @ 2:03 PM
    Contact this user

    Dunkirk Quantum 90

    I have one of these in my own home. 4 years and the ignitor just went out this month for the first time. I have never seen another one installed yet. Mine is serial number 004. I had NO problems with wiring or gas pressure. I use it for both radiant and baseboard (have not completed the radiant yet, so the baseboard stays) loads, and am contemplating the use of a Tekmar 250 to do reset. There was a flood in my basement in August of 2002. The controls got wet. Ordered controls (never got them), so to dry out the controls, I placed them on top of the clothes dryer and left them for a week. I placed them back in service, and have had no problem since the ignitor issue the other day. Bought another ignitor just in case. My only gripe is with the supply houses that cannot or will not order parts for these "cutting edge" boilers. i never mentioned the Dunkirk, cause I thought all of the Munchkin guys would make fun of me! When I find the picture of my system, I'll post it.
  • Wayco Wayne Wayco Wayne @ 7:04 PM
    Contact this user

    I had some trouble

    with one I put in 3 years ago. It had intermittant short cycling that was causing ignitor failures. Since there were no diagnostics it was hard to catch. The HO and myself were getting pretty upset after 2 years of intermittant trouble but after I found the problem and fixxed it it's been running well. The trouble was the air pressure switch for the flu piping was adjusted wrong and would cut out and then immediately start the ignition cycle again. It would only happen when the aquastat was nearing 180 F. To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Luke Lefever Luke Lefever @ 1:44 PM
    Contact this user

    I am Dennis' heating contractor. Between the location of the pressure switches being wrong at the beginning of the production of the Q90 and some inadequate wiring in the house, there have been many (12+) nuisance no-heat calls. At this point, I want to be able to assure Dennis that the boiler will work reliably... but I don't know that I can say that. The number of difficulties with this particular boiler is far outside my ordinary experience with Dunkirk. I have defended Dunkirk previously here on "the Wall", and would like to continue to do so... but my customer is frustrated, I am frustrated and solutions do not seem to be forthcoming. I am willing to accept responsibility for the installation issues that complicated the situation, but there doesn't seem to be any way for me to assure them that the boiler will settle down and become reliable. I am at a loss as to what to suggest, or what to try... I am open to suggestions, either from the factory, or from other Wallies. Please help, Luke Lefever, Lefever Plumbing & Heating, Inc. Elkhart, Indiana.
  • Rodney Summers Rodney Summers @ 11:54 PM
    Contact this user

    piece of junk- Dunkirk Q90-125-200 Direct Vent Hot Water Boiler

    I am a developer in Erie, PA. This past year I built a beautiful home for my family and included a Dunkirk Q90 as my primary heat source. After less than a year, I am on my 3rd new boiler. 1st boiler aluminium casting leaked within 2 months, factory wanted to replace whole unit. However, factory only wanted to pay my heating contractor 1/2 of his fee, and stated they do not expect my heating contractor to make a profit on the reinstall, only want to cover his expense to do the work. He is being shorted by $450.00 dollars. Guess who is suppose to pay the $450.00? Also, both the dealer and Dunkirks marketing rep., C & C Marketing, respond as uninterested in helping to resolve the claim. Next, after an unreasonable period the replacement unit arrives, boiler is installed only to leak, boiler bushing is fixed by my plumber on install day, but 5 days later casting plug is leaking on replacement. Replacement boiler in less than 5 days and has had 2 different leaks. Factory Rep. admits to me over phone, in the mean time, that Dunkirk has had some problems with their castings for this model. Again, Dunkirk wants to replace whole boiler with 3rd boiler, but does not want to pay more than 1/2 of my plumbers fee leaving me out another possibly $450.00. I consider myself a fair person, but after many calls to some of the upper people at Dunkirk and the parent, ECR International, Inc., I have to say no one seems interested in helping resolve my plumber fees. As of today, who knows if I will need a 4th or 5th hot water boiler and how soon. My 3rd boiler still has to be installed and everybody points the finger at someone else. I wish the lemon laws applied to these guys. At one time I think Dunkirk probably was a good name; but now, watch out or you might find yourself battling, and hoping your boiler lasts (tonight in Erie is around 30 degrees) until fairness is achieved. The leak is getting worse, and I sure hope my family does not loss heat anytime soon as winter has set in. I can honestly say I really doubt the people at Dunkirk Boilers care whether my troubles are addressed. As proof, I pointed out to the Dunkirk people my company is currently developing over 300 home/condominium units in my County. They just yonded. Any questions? DBSAWAU@Velocity.Net
  • wmmurphy wmmurphy @ 7:38 AM
    Contact this user

    Lennox GWB9

    Is the Dunkirk Quantum 90 the same as Lennox GWB9 Thanks
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 11:49 PM
    Contact this user

    Dinkirk Q90 IS Junk

    My Q 90 is 4 years old. The first year it shut down randomly, usually when it was cold out so we would wake up in a freezing home. Our plumber would come and that year he changed a board and the burner or twiddle something to coax it to life. This went on all winter. As it and his labor were under warranty at least it didn’t cost me any money, unlike year two. The second year the story repeated, my plumber was only too happy to come over and try to fix it, and at his hourly rates I would be happy too. His wife and kids were probably happy too in their new car given the  hundreds and hundreds of dollars I paid for emergency calls  to repair  my new Dunkirk POS . Lets rename the the thing, "Introducing the new Dunkirk POS90"
     
    Year three was a little better after a modification to the exhaust pipe to reduce the back pressure and some more twiddling with parts. Here were in year 4 and tonight I notice its getting cold in the house. A quick trip to the basement confirms what I already knew, the Quantum crapped out again! Bang on this, push that, flip the switch, wait and pray, and  shazam…heat again.
     
    I replaced my old boiler because it was 20 years old and I wanted to upgrade before it went bad and have piece of mind, instead I have a piece of crap. If I had the money I would rip out the Dunkirk Q90and sell it for scrap (which is all it is worth) and replace it with another brand. My confidence in this product is absolutely ZERO. It is a stellar example of an engineering failure, poorly trained field staff and accompany which doesn’t stand behind their product, because if they did, they would have been upgrades sent out to the field to retrofit the ones in peoples homes.
     
    This is my opinion based on my experience with Dunkirk Q90 Boiler. My recommendation to anyone considering this product is the following. Do not under any circumstances waste your time, money or your family’s health on a Dunkirk high technology product.

    Lastly as I write this the Dunkirk POS Q90 has  locked out twice.
    Its 11:45PM, most likely it will happen again tonight, we’ll be waking up cold in the morning, there will be no hot water for a shower before we leave to go visit out daughter at school. Well return Monday afternoon to a freezing house here in NY, broken boiler and a plumber who will get that much richer working on my Dunkirk POS90. I will have to bite the bullet, take out a loan and replace the Dunkirk Q90 with a more reliable product.
    This post was edited by an admin on December 4, 2010 11:55 PM.
  • Ironman Ironman @ 12:33 AM
    Contact this user

    Have You Tried...

    Contacting Dunkirk directly. Pete Desens 1-800-325-5479 x4128.

    What size is your boiler? What is the code it's locking out on?

    I can understand your frustrations, but the purpose of this forum is to ask questions and get help, not vent your anger at people that are willing to help to help you at their own time and expense and that have had nothing to do with the installation and service of your boiler.

    You are also incorrect in your assessment of Dunkirk and their reps. I know many of them personally and have seen them go out of their way to help a customer when they didn't have to.

    There was a burner upgrade on some of these boilers. I don't know if yours would be one or not. There are also tech bulletins available on Dunkirk's web site.

    How far did your plumber check any of this out? Did he set the burner up using a combustion analyzer? I personally would not continue to use and pay someone who could not fix the problem or get answers as to what the problem was. For him to keep charging you and not fix it, when he was the one who installed it, is unethical. Unless you purchased the boiler yourself and bypassed a trained/certified dealer. In that case there would be no warranty on it from Dunkirk

    If you want help, then there are people here, as well as at Dunkirk, that are willing to help you. But you'll have to ask and be co-operative.
    Bob Boan



    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 1:38 AM
    Contact this user

    Dunkirk Q90 issues

    Dear Bob,
    Regarding the burner, yes it was replaced, maybe even twice if I recall and so was the controller board and nope, did not install it myself. It is a 175, and this time the purge light was blinking and the blower was running, other times just the top green light is on but the fan stays running. In the past it has been other combinations of lights. In fact, I would call the plumber and tell him what the trouble code  lights were so he could call his guru and ask before coming out!
    spending more money to have my plumber or another plumber come and work on it is somewhat of an issue. How do I know if he/she has the experience needed to trouble shoot the problem?  I have no way to know who has gained the experience on a large base of installed field units and clearly it is not a simple problem on my unit. Or, who has run into a complete spectrum of unique problems which would enable him/her to compile a workable data set of knowledge deep enough and wide enough to trouble shoot the unit in a strategic manner.  Specific product experience and sound trouble shooting skills will win the day, nothing less.
    Thank you for leading me to Mr. Desens, this is valuable and useful information, I will contact him on Monday on our way back. Maybe he is in a position to authorize one of their field experts to come out and assess the unit, confirm its calibrations/retrofits/upgrades and ensure it is operating to its design specs. Then maybe even suggest a strong service person in my area who is experienced with the Q90. Once it is confirmed the unit is functioning to factory spec, I would feel very comfortable engaging a designated service person to maintain the unit.
    Thanks for your sincere reply, Ill post again after speaking with Mr. Desens and let you know what happens.
    Have a great weekend
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 8:31 AM
    Contact this user

    Cold morning

    Just to confirm, woke up cold this morning, red purge light flashing. Turned off the boiler, waited, turned it back on, and it fired up. Looking foward to speaking with  Mr. Desens on Monday to hear his sugestions.
    Thanks again for your kind reply.
    This post was edited by an admin on December 5, 2010 8:33 AM.
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 4:45 PM
    Contact this user

    Dunkirk Q90-- Last entry

    Dear Bob

    Since my last entry I have spoken to two Dunkirk factory service people and have had a heating contractor come to service the boiler. you shold know  that the boiler checked out fine.

    The factory reps were helpful with many suggestions to investigate, but basically, it can be anything wrong with any of the parts to cause the problem and of course you have to pay a heating contractor to figure it out. They refused to send a factory person to my house to diagnose the system issuse.
     In the end here is what I take away from this experience.
    Unlike more conventional non condensing boilers running at 87% and its simpler, proven design and technology, these newer high efficiency products are not simple, by any means. They have electronic controller boards, multiple pressure switches, inducers, and boilers which are made of non traditional materials. Overall as a system of more advanced components, it has a significantly larger exposure and opportunity for failure than a conventional system. I’m sure in a few more years of experience the engineers will learn from the field failures and root cause analysis and be able make a robust product with a life expectancy on par with what we are used to. . But, as with any new technology product, you do not want to be one of the early adopters unless yo are willing to accept the exposure and pain which goes with it.
     
    As for the warranty, from Dunkirk its pretty light after the first year, other than for the boiler as each part they purchase from a manufacture to build their unit has its own  warranty from what ever manufacture they buy it from. Unfortunately, you have to go to each part manufacture to see what their individual warranty is.  It would be great given the failure record of the Q90 and related units if Dunkirk warranted their “System” so the homeowner had one company responsible for the problem instead of a dozen.
     
    The heating contractor(s) I spoke with all stopped installing these, the one I selected stopped after his first ten, the units failed too often and several ended up with cracked boilers so he no longer sells the Dunkirk or other related products from that family. But, working with 10 failures gives him more experience than the others with only 4 or 3 failures so I picked him. Nobody I spoke with likes these things, they will only install them if requested by the home owner.
     
    Here is the real rub of it all. At 90% it is only 3% better than a conventional non condensing boiler at 87%, which has a simpler design and control system and costs less. So the 90% saved me  ~3% on my $4,000 heating bill which is  only about 120 bucks in savings per year which is about half of what it costs for each service call on my Dunkirk Q90. Given that I have spent over $800 in service calls so far in the 4 years I’ve had it, this thing now needs to run perfectly for the next 6.6 years for me to save enough in gas to pay for the service calls!
     
    My advice to anyone looking for a new boiler is not to buy these advanced systems, you will not notice the insignificant difference in your yearly heating bills between 90% and 87%, but you will notice is waking up cold, paying hundreds for multiple service calls and most importantly, loosing your peace of mind if you go with the Dunkirk Q90. With the money you save buying a conventional boiler, you can purchase additional insulation for your home!

    The above  has been my experience with the Dunkirk Q90, If the factory is interested to understand the issues they mayto contact me through this post.
  • Charlie from wmass Charlie from wmass @ 5:24 PM
    Contact this user

    I was wondering

    Can you post a photo or 2 of your boiler?
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.
    cell # 413-841-6726
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 2:56 PM
    Contact this user

    New news on problematic Q90

    If anyone could shed some light on this I’d appreciate it.
    Further investigation into my intermittent Q90 revealed the following:
     Measuring the input gas rate by timing the meter as described in the manual calculated out to 200K BTUs.
    Measuring the differential pressure with a digital manometer showed 1.97”
    Both results are perfect for a 200Kbtu boiler, except that mine is a Q-175!
    Is possible that Dunkirk that sold 200kBTU boilers labeled as 175K’s?
    Is it possible that when the heating guy changed out the old burner with the upgraded one that it changed the boiler from 175K to 20OK
    Any insight would be appreciated.

    Thanks all
  • Ironman Ironman @ 9:57 PM
    Contact this user

    200k BTU

    You now have a 200k btu boiler. Dunkirk used one size on the upgraded burner to do both the 175 and the 200. See attached tech bulletin

    I' ve also attached the I & O manual. If the boiler locks off again, get the code and look in the manual for the fault and remedy before you reset it. Then you'll at least have an idea of what the problem is. Post it here and we'll try and get an answer to get it resolved.

    In regard to your earlier post about Dunkirk sending a factory tech. to repair your boiler, they can't do this because of legal and liability issues. They will work with a licensed contractor to advise, but not actually do repairs. This goes for any boiler manufacturer as far as I know.
     
    You should also have the burner set up with a digital combustion analyzer.

     I'd encourage you to read the manual through and see if there's anything in your installation that is deficient and have it corrected. The vast majority of boiler problems are the result of improper design and installation practices but everyone wants to blame the appliance.
    Bob Boan



    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 7:43 AM
    Contact this user

    Q90 Set up

    Thank you for the manuals.
    I've read through them and my installation appears to be sound particularly the vent pipes fall within the length and elbow limitations.
    I'll perform the combustion analysis this weekend, one question, what do you recommend best to seal the exhaust pipe with after drilling the hole in it for the analyzer tube? Bacharach, the manuf of my combustion analyzer, they didn't have a recommendation and I have seen many different types of tape/plugs used on flue vents during my Energy Audits although most of them were not adhered well.
    My concern is that the exhaust  has some positive pressure in it instead of "draft"
    What do you think?
  • Gordan Gordan @ 8:20 AM
    Contact this user

    Why would you expect negative pressure?

    This is induced draft - exhaust is "pushed" and not "sucked out."
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 8:52 AM
    Contact this user

    Its drafty

    Thanks for the reply,
    Exactly, I said "positive pressure" instead of draft,
    Maybe its a silly question, but given the POSITIVE pressure present while the exhaust gases are being pushed out and after drilling the sampling hole I want to ensure the pipe is sealed correctly and semi permanently (semi because I want to periodically check the combustion) . Ive seen many heating  contractors use duct tape to seal an exhaust pipe, and the stuff always seems to dry out and fall off.  Because this is a positive pressure exhaust we don't want CO blowing out the hole into the home, so the question is what is proper method to seal the sample hole in a plastic pipe ,positive pressure system>  Also considering the corrosive environment within the pipe. Any suggestions?
    Thanks
    This post was edited by an admin on December 17, 2010 8:54 AM.
  • Gordan Gordan @ 8:54 AM
    Contact this user

    Ah, get it now.

    Sorry, misunderstood your question. I'll let the experts answer it, though.
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 8:56 AM
    Contact this user

    It sDrafty

    No problem!

    Thanks for taking the time to reply.
  • Robert O'Brien Robert O'Brien @ 9:47 AM
    Contact this user

    PVC

    I use a brass plug to seal the hole. It will tap itself into the plastic.
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 12:51 PM
    Contact this user

    PIpe plug

    Thanks, for the tip.
    Brass will hold up to the flue gasses for a while?
  • Chicacold Chicacold @ 3:26 PM
    Contact this user

    Same issue!

    I've been living the same nightmare BadQ90 has for the past five plus years.  I really need some help.
  • N/A @ 3:36 PM

    I would bet,,

    The problems lie with the venting,,, those proving switches are a spring/diaphragm/micro-switch activation & are very touchy if there are irregular offsets.  
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 3:55 PM
    Contact this user

    Q90 vents

    Hi Dave, and thank you for your input.
    My pipes fit well within the manuals specifications for venting being less than 60 ft and 4 x 90 elbows. They are parallel runs at 30-35ft. The intake leaves the boiler transitions to 3" white pipe and has 1 x 90 and 2 x 45 before it goes up through the house,  the exhaust leaves the boiler, transitions to white pipe and has 2 x 90 and one 45 before it goes up. As I mentioned before, measuring the differential pressure yielded a perfect 2".  Also, the 90s are the gradual kind not the right angle type.
    What kind or irregularities were you thinking about in the vent pipes?
      
    This post was edited by an admin on December 20, 2010 4:10 PM.
  • Rick_1234 Rick_1234 @ 3:43 AM
    Contact this user

    Q90 Mystery Solved!

    My Q90-100 was intermittent and kept acting like it had draft pressure problems.  After a whole evening of checking for ice, cleaning out the vent and exhaust pipes, and even cleaning out the heat exchanger, it seemed to work for a while.  Measuring the pressure differnential, though, it was just right at 1" WC across the pressure switch test ports. 
    And sure enough, it dipped below that and locked out with the purge light flashing again.
    So I tried to cycle it a few times, and it was clear there was something seriously wrong with the airflow.  But when I disconnected the vent intake, still no good, so it wasn't a clogged or iced intake.  Taking apart the exahust (again), it struck me that there was quite a bit of water in there.  Then I realized, what if that water is not supposed to be in the inducer area? 
    Sure enough, the condensate drain at the bottom of the heat exchanger was plugged with crud.  I took the hose clamp off and slide the hose off.  The inside of the hose was dry as a bone.  Then I poked a screwdriver up into the fitting on the bottom of the heat exchanger.  A gusher of brown cruddy water dumped out.  I poked in an out a few more times to make sure it was clear, put the hose back on, and fired her up.
    Wow!  about 3" WC of pressure diffferential.  Plenty of airflow.  And when the flame came on, it was dead solid, no flickering or stuttering on startup. 
    So I guess having the exahust passages and inducer housing filled with water kind of makes it hard to get decent airflow.
    I suppose it kind of explains the intermittent operation and cold weather sensitivity as well.  Running in the cold days, a lot more condensation.  And maybe it was draining just slow enough that after being locked out for a while, it would be back to the verge of draining enough to just barely start working again.
    Bottom line: I would recommend anybody having issues with purge switch lockouts to check the condensate drain!
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 7:51 AM
    Contact this user

    BadQ90

    It’s been several weeks since my last post about the poor design issues with my Q90, but don’t fret, I’m back!
    As they say, there are a few things in life you can count on, death, taxes and problems with a Q90.
    The thing has shut down several times more for no apparent reason,  even though I have had it serviced and checked the fuel flow and pressures myself with my dual channel manometer combustion analyzer. It’s funny (not really) mention this boiler to a heating person and they all make that strange face and say they no longer sell them because they have too many problems.  Shouldn’t be too hard to find an expert witnesses against this thing.
    As I sit here writing this, it is 51oF cold in the house, because, you guessed it, the POS Q90 crapped out AGAIN last night! This time it is different than the usual blinking lights problem, this time there are no blinking lights at all, no sign of life, dead. Ya know, I kind of miss those lights.  I checked all the simple things like AC power and 24V to the control board.  The heating technician will be here in a little while, in the mean time all of you out there, sitting in your freezing pajamas, thinking how you are stuck with this expensive boat anchor in your basements, wishing you could afford just to get rid of it and get something different yet functional, would anyone be interested in joining me in a class action lawsuit? If enough of us respond, I’ll do it because what we are experiencing is not within our reasonable expectations when we purchased a new heating system.  
    It post again once the technician gives me the bill.
  • Chicacold Chicacold @ 9:44 AM
    Contact this user

    Class Action

    Keep us posted.
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 10:33 AM
    Contact this user

    BadQ90

    Here is the update I promised you all regarding the LATEST failure of my Dunkirk Q90.
    As you recall, we last left our frigid hero in his pajamas, in the basement staring at the lifeless Q90. He tried all the usual tricks of cycling power, wiggling wires, praying etc, but nothing would make the little lights come on so once again he broke out the checkbook and called in a heating professional.
     
    This time there was a new discovery, a NEW SYMPTOM, unlike any before it!  For some unknown reason the high temperature switch located on the top of the boiler got tripped and it shut the whole thing down. The technician reset the switch with one swift push of his finger on the button and the boiler roared to life yet one more time.
     
    Now the question, “Why” did it trip for the first time in the several years I have had it? The technical looked as if I had just asked to explain how the universe was formed. He replied, “No idea” but when he had asked the factory about this problem which he has encountered several times the only solution they offer is turn down the set point! So that’s what he did, he lowered my set point from 180, to 175. ritual.
     
    As I may have mentioned in a previous post, I was a service manager for several years and, THAT is the kind of answer, just lower the temperature, if the type of answer you give out when there is a known design problem, and there is nothing you can do about it. So if you are keeping score, my boiler fails several times per season for no apparent reason, it has had the burner upgrades which turned it from a 175,000 to a 200,000 BTU so it is now incorrectly sized, all operational parameters have been checked and are within spec and I must spend hundreds of dollars a year on service calls to keep my new Dunkirk Q90% high efficiency boiler running.
     
    Now for the very most important and disturbing thing of all for you to consider, Given all my troubles and verbose documentation of these troubles in this posting forum, wouldn’t you have expected that someone from Dunkirk would become aware of this situation and reach out to me either directly or through a rep in an effort to understand the root cause of these failures and get them resolved?
     
     If it were my company and I believed in my product I would have had somebody knocking on your door months ago, even if I had to drive to your house myself with a new boiler in the trunk!  Because to their lack of contact one can assume that Dunkirk has an unmanageable, unreliable product on their hands that they wish never existed and now can’t retrofit enough to correct the fundamental design flaws.  I  believe they would have tried to contact me and do something otherwise.
     
    If anyone has any idea as to what can intermittently cause the high temp switch to trip, I’d be interested in hearing what you think and would share the info my heating technician.
     
    Thanks
  • Andyk Andyk @ 12:02 PM
    Contact this user

    Dunkirk Issue

    I work for a distributor in upstate NY and I sell the Utica equivalent ( UB90 ) of this boiler. I can honestly say that I have had little or no issues with this product. I have a few dozen of these in the field although all of the ones I have sold are no larger than the UB90-125.  I will say that there is always an exception to the rule but I can't understand why you are having support issues from Tec Service at ECR.
    Peter Dessens is not only the head of Tec Svc but he also has design input on their equipment. I know Pete and if I have had an issue with any Utica product he has always been there to rectify the problem. He is well versed in the products they supply.

    Charles Garrity asked early is the post if you could post a pic or two of the install. Is that a possibility ? Pics are worth a thousand words.

    Have you contacted the distributor where the boiler came from ? Is there a local rep agency that handle the Dunkirk Product Line ?

    Good luck with your problem and I hope it's solved sooner than later.

    Andy
    "Call a Pro~in the end you will save some dough "
  • Chicacold Chicacold @ 1:50 PM
    Contact this user

    The streak is over

    It was too good to be true.  After six weeks of fairly consistent performance the beast has once again started to shut down for no reason.

    Has anyone heard of a suggestion to add an additional loop just outside of the unit to help avoid overheating?  The suggestion was made by someone I'm considering bringing in to make some changes.  The thing did not fail during the coldest parts of the winter but now that it is getting warmer he believes that since perhaps only one of my two zones are kicking in there may be too much heat building up.  This really stinks.

    If anyone has a Dunkirk rep. in the Chicago area that they can recommend I'm all ear.s
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 9:03 PM
    Contact this user

    Q90, dead again, for a little while!

    Hello friends,
    Just came home from a nice dinner into a cold house… the Dunquirk  Q90 had failed for some amount of time while we were gone, the house is freezing.  Its running now, I didn’t do anything to it, oh the joy to discover a new failure mode, random  intermittentness.
    Isn’t there a factory expert out there who has had enough of my ramblings, or out of  curiosity  or even the  quest for knowledge  want to discover what the root of these product  problems are? Doesn’t anybody from Dunkirk want to take on this challenge? How about just to prove me wrong - that after all is said and  done it was my fault all along, and watch me eat crow ( which I would gladly do in exchange for a reliable heating unit) in front of this message board?
     
    Or, is it that you guys know this unit has latent engineering problems and understand there is nothing that can be done to fix it. The gauntlet is down gentleman, I’m hoping that a few of you go into a meeting in some conference room and decide that it is time to raise Dunkirk customer service to a new unheard of level and jump into this game.
     
    And to AndyK who wrote “Peter Dessens is not only the head of Tec Svc but he also has design input on their equipment. I know Pete and if I have had an issue with any Utica product he has always been there to rectify the problem. He is well versed in the products they supply.”
    I had contacted Mr. Dessens a while ago, via phone call and left a mesage for him,  he passed the message onto another support person who while being kind, had no real resolution to the problems. If you are out there Pete, please reach out to me, I could use your help.
  • bwa bwa @ 5:28 PM
    Contact this user

    Dunkirk disasters

    Not surprising. We had so many failures of the Q series aluminum boilers here in Colorado, ECR (dunkirk) sent their chief engineer and their product engineer out here for two days to look at half dozen installations where their Q90's failed, typically leaking heat exchangers. the only thing they could find quote "wrong" is that we do not use auto fills - (don't believe in them, I would rather have a boiler go down than flood a house). After their visit they would never return my phone calls or emails. Just a poor excuse for a boiler. They replaced 5 boilers in one customers home in 5 years and could never find anything wrong with the installation or fluid. Since then the later failures dunkirk would give you a new heat exchanger and no labor - takes a day to change out + plus you have to pay for return shipping 100 lbs of aluminum. Better to just take the heat exchanger to the scrap yard and install a IBC stainless steel boiler - which we have done on some 20 occasions.
  • bwa bwa @ 5:32 PM
    Contact this user

    Dunkirk Q90 parts

    Since we have removed so many Q90 aluminum boilers we have cheap parts for awhile anyway.
    bwadams2@msn.com
  • EddieG EddieG @ 10:03 PM
    Contact this user

    Has????

    Has any of the tech's preformed a combustion test on your boiler? Have they drilled a hole in the PVC flue pipe (which would have a plug in it)?
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 6:56 PM
    Contact this user

    BadQ90

    Yes, everythig is within spec, combustion, gas, pressure..
  • Andyk Andyk @ 7:10 AM
    Contact this user

    Re:Dunkirk Issue

    CALL Utica tech and ask for Scott Dam, I spoke to him yesterday about your prolonged issues. These guy's are pro's and this is a good product.
    1-800-328-5479
    "Call a Pro~in the end you will save some dough "
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 6:59 PM
    Contact this user

    BadQ90

    Thank you Andy,
    Scott sent me an e-mail, I left him a phone msg today, he called me back. We've been playing phone tag today but have a plan to connect on Monday. I am grateful for his contact. Just came home and the heat was out. I'll be brief, no lights on the control board, cycle power, and away she goes.... maybe it just misses me when I'm gone....:)
    This post was edited by an admin on February 25, 2011 7:01 PM.
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 11:02 AM
    Contact this user

    Maybe not so bad Q90

    Final chapter:
    Since my last post, I had a lengthily conversation with Scott Dam at ECR about the operational characteristics of the unit which was very enlightening. Scott is very knowledgeable and arranged a visit to my home by their Regional Sales Manager a person from their Technical Service department. Both of these gentlemen were professional, knowledgeable and I want to thank them for taking time out of their busy schedules to address my boiler issues. Also present was my heating contractor.
    My boiler was manufactured in 2005 so the first thing I wanted to know, was are there any parts or configurations of parts in my boiler now which were suspect, out dated, in need of modification or replacement or are there any components which ECR had found to be suspect or marginal in function either due to design or manufacture supplier issues? After review and taking lots of pictures, the answer was no, all parts were OK.  I had already had the burner upgrade (I’ll get to that in a moment) so there was nothing else from a component perspective in need of updating or which would have caused the random shutdowns.
    With regard to the combustion mix, the spec calls for a max limit of 10% CO2, I rechecked it myself after the last visit from my heating person who said it was OK, and it turned out to be about 11.3%, guess he thought that was close enough.  I adjusted the throttle screw down till the reading was 9.2, right center in the allowable range. This took about 6 turns of the throttle screw from where it was. It also reduced the burn rate from 200KBTUs to 175K BTUs as measured by the gas meter. There is no trail to figure how my 175K boiler got set to exactly 200K, so that still bothers me a bit, but it is correct now and will remain a mystery forever more.
    So, with regard to the comment made that because of the burner upgrades “I now have a 200K boiler”, that is an incorrect statement. Scott at ECR said that the 175 and the 200 use the same burner part to make it easier on people who have to stock parts, but that alone does not change a 175K into a 200K boiler.  
    The throttle adjustment screw not only changes the mixture, but it also has a significant impact on the burn rate, enough to easily make my 175K burn at a 200K, and probably has enough range in it to go even higher, or lower I would suspect, all this while the flame “looks good”.   My CO2 was over the high limit by only 1.3%, but this setting induced an increase in burn rate of over 25k BTUs! This probably  means that even within the allowable specs for CO2, a range of 8.5% to 10% , a span of  1.5%, there is  some variability as to what the burn rate will be, perhaps even around the same  25K worth of BTUs across the in-tolerance range. So, even with CO2  is set somewhere within the allowable range, your burn rate may be off.
    From a procedural perspective, to properly tune this boiler one needs to ensure the CO2 is set in the allowable range to start with and then go to the meter and carefully calculate the gas flow, adjusting the throttle screw such that the gas usage is also correct for the boiler size, while maintaining a CO2 in range.  It takes both CO2 and gas flow to tune the thing properly and it takes one or two iterations back and forth between the gas meter and the CO2 meter to get both the CO2 levels and the gas flow usage correct. You must measure both. While this may seem obvious to some of you reading this, it escaped the heating contractors who installed and worked on my unit.
    My boiler was over fired, that is bad, but didn’t necessarily explain the intermittent shut downs. We then measured the gas pressure. The static pressure was 6.9 inches, but with the burner on it dropped to 2.5 inches which is below the 4 inch minimum pressure spec. This is very bad and could cause a flame failure which would manifest as a random, intermittent shutdown problem! How about that! Suspecting a bad gas regulator, I called the utility that came and changed my meter and pressure regulator. Now I have 7 inches static and 4.5 inches at the boiler, which is in spec for the boiler when the burner is on. However, I was unsatisfied with such a large unexplained pressure drop. With the help of the utility company person we measured the gas pressure on some piping near the boiler, but not on the feed to the boiler and it was about 6 inches, turning on other appliances such as the stove and gas dryer and it maintained 6 inches. Therefore, the piping to the boiler is too restrictive. Looking at the configuration feeding the boiler consisting of a 5 foot section of ½ inch pipe, with two ball valves, 1 “T” and about 4 elbows, we surmised that this stuff would be better if it was ¾ inch for less drops when the boiler is on.
    What caused my shutdowns? The current theory the gentlemen from ECR are going with and for now one which I concur with is that the lower gas pressure may have caused the burner flame to fail. If the gas pressure off the street went down, like in the dead of winter and when everyone’s boiler on the block going full blast, (I’m at the end of the line) the pressure may have dropped low enough to cause a failure. Given that the burner only seemed to fail when it was very cold out, and quite often on a Saturday night or weakened (when people are home using heat?) this low pressure gas theory does fit the symptoms, the fact that my boiler was using an extra 25K BTU’s probably didn’t help the situation.
    For now I am satisfied that the failure theories, troubleshooting discoveries and recommended fixes all seem to fit the symptoms which I have been experiencing. I hope my detailed explanation of this situation serves to help someone else who may be having similar problems.
    However, I am deeply disappointed in some of the heating professionals who came to my home and have worked on this boiler with only a casual understanding its fundamental operating characteristics and obliviously not enough training to properly adjust the system and diagnose the issues. These new HF boilers are nothing like old cast iron ones, previous assumptions of what a good or bad flame looks like may not apply. By the time a flame looks questionable, the unit is probably very far out of spec and unforgiving of the condition. After adjustment, the change in my flame was barely noticeable! These systems are particular, finicky and demanding, they need to be set up perfectly for reliable operation and “perfect” is defined as the sum of a combination of measurements which converge on an optimum setting. It has cost me over a thousand dollars in service calls over the years and many hours of personal learning to find what turned out to be a very basic problem which should have been easily recognized by any heating professional.  It is clear to me that they wanted to get in and out of my house as quickly as possible and really didn’t understand the sensitive set up points of unit.
    There is also a discussion to be had about cleaning and flushing the unit, and if the unit is in condensing mode or not which tends to have a flushing effect on the oxides if it is, but I’ll leave that discussion to someone else.
    In conclusion, I would apologize to the folks at ECR for some of the abuse I have dished out in this post about the unit, even though these posts are what it took to get enough attention and people here who knew what they are doing. Understand my frustration had reached the breaking point because I believed the heating professionals I was working with understood the unit. In the end their knowledge was only casual and insufficient to see the “big picture” or even the little details.  The good folks at  ECR came through with an onsite visitation from two very qualified people, Don DeCarr from Technical service and Robert Shea, the Regional Sales Manager (here in NY), both of these gentlemen went out of their way to come to my home, were very professional and knowledgeable as was Scott and I appreciate their time, effort and expertise.  Thank you to EC for allocating the necessary resources to get my problems resolved.
     I’m very optimistic that we have identified and corrected the root cause of the random shutdown issue, that there are no latent engineering or design problems with the unit and there will be no more problems.
    Farewell and good heating to all,
    On to Air-conditioning season! J
  • Ironman Ironman @ 9:06 PM
    Contact this user

    Glad to Hear...

    That it seams like you've gotten your problems solved. As I stated in my earlier posts, the folks at ECR are good people and usually go out of their way to help.

    And as I also stated, and so many of us here know all too well, the problems are almost always installer/servicer related. Too many in this trade don't put the time, effort and $$$ into getting proper training, tools and equipment or staying abreast of the latest technology so they can do the job right. Then when they can't fix it, they tell the customer there's something inherently wrong with the appliance and the manufacturer should do something about it.

    Hope you have many trouble free years of service from your boiler.
    Bob Boan



    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Mark Eatherton Mark Eatherton @ 9:11 AM
    Contact this user

    Unfortunately...

    very few technicians have the equipment necessary to properly diagnose combustion equipment. Even sadder, those that do have the proper equipment either don't know how to interpret the readings, focusing only on the efficiency numbers and ignoring the critical numbers, and in most cases, wouldn't know what to do if the numbers were incorrect.

    This is a case of technology outpacing the service industries ability to handle demand.

    TIme for contractors to buck up and learn how to handle this technology, or don't attempt to work on the fireside of the equipment,,,

    A smart contractor will specialize in this area and get his employees trained and properly equipped. You are allowed to charge a premium for specialty services...

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • EddieG EddieG @ 8:34 PM
    Contact this user

    Good News!!!!

    Glad to hear you have solved your issues. Hopefully you can enjoy the rest of winter and look forward to spring. Keep us posted!  
  • Tim McElwain Tim McElwain @ 7:55 PM
    Contact this user

    I really am not

    convinced that a correct total diagnosis was done.
    I AM CONCERNED ABOUT SOME OF WHAT YOU POSTED ABOUT YOUR BOILER AND THE FINDINGS. SEE MY COMMENTS IN BETWEEN YOUR POSTING. Maybe not so bad Q90
    Final chapter:
     
     MAYBE NOT
     

    Since my last post, I had a lengthily conversation with Scott Dam at ECR about the operational characteristics of the unit which was very enlightening. Scott is very knowledgeable and arranged a visit to my home by their Regional Sales Manager a person from their Technical Service department. Both of these gentlemen were professional, knowledgeable and I want to thank them for taking time out of their busy schedules to address my boiler issues. Also present was my heating contractor.Since my last post, I had a lengthily conversation with Scott Dam at ECR about the operational characteristics of the unit which was very enlightening. Scott is very knowledgeable and arranged a visit to my home by their Regional Sales Manager a person from their Technical Service department. Both of these gentlemen were professional, knowledgeable and I want to thank them for taking time out of their busy schedules to address my boiler issues. Also present was my heating contractor.



    My boiler was manufactured in 2005 so the first thing I wanted to know, was are there any parts or configurations of parts in my boiler now which were suspect, out dated, in need of modification or replacement or are there any components which ECR had found to be suspect or marginal in function either due to design or manufacture supplier issues? After review and taking lots of pictures, the answer was no, all parts were OK.  I had already had the burner upgrade (I’ll get to that in a moment) so there was nothing else from a component perspective in need of updating or which would have caused the random shutdowns.
    With regard to the combustion mix, the spec calls for a max limit of 10% CO2, I rechecked it myself after the last visit from my heating person who said it was OK, and it turned out to be about 11.3%,

    My boiler was manufactured in 2005 so the first thing I wanted to know, was are there any parts or configurations of parts in my boiler now which were suspect, out dated, in need of modification or replacement or are there any components which ECR had found to be suspect or marginal in function either due to design or manufacture supplier issues? After review and taking lots of pictures, the answer was no, all parts were OK.  I had already had the burner upgrade (I’ll get to that in a moment) so there was nothing else from a component perspective in need of updating or which would have caused the random shutdowns.
    With regard to the combustion mix, the spec calls for a max limit of 10% CO2, I rechecked it myself after the last visit from my heating person who said it was OK, and it turned out to be about 11.3%,



    THIS FIGURE OF 11.3% IS ALMOST STOICHOMETRIC (PERFECT COMBUSTION) AS THE ULTIMATE CO2 FOR NATURAL GAS IS 11.7%. THE 11.3% IS VERY HIGH. WHAT WAS THE CARBON MONOXIDE READING AT THAT LEVEL?

     
     guess he thought that was close enough.  I adjusted the throttle screw down till the reading was 9.2, right center in the allowable range. This took about 6 turns of the throttle screw from where it was. It also reduced the burn rate from 200KBTUs to 175K BTUs as measured by the gas meter. There is no trail to figure how my 175K boiler got set to exactly 200K, so that still bothers me a bit, but it is correct now and will remain a mystery.

     
    AS YOU ARE ADJUSTING THE THROTTLING SCREW TOWARD THE HIGH END OF CO2 THERE IS MORE GAS BEING PULLED INTO THE CHAMBER AND THE O2 (OXYGEN) IS GOING DOWN, I WOULD VENTURE THAT THE O2 WAS AROUND 2%, DID YOU TAKE AN O2 READING? THIS WOULD EXPLAIN THE INCREASED INPUT TO THE UNIT.


    forever more.
    So, with regard to the comment made that because of the burner upgrades “I now have a 200K boiler”, that is an incorrect statement. Scott at ECR said that the 175 and the 200 use the same burner part to make it easier on people who have to stock parts, but that alone does not change a 175K into a 200K boiler.

      
    I  AGREE WITH SCOTT!



    The throttle adjustment screw not only changes the mixture, but it also has a significant impact on the burn rate, enough to easily make my 175K burn at a 200K, and probably has enough range in it to go even higher, or lower I would suspect, all this while the flame “looks good”. The throttle adjustment screw not only changes the mixture, but it also has a significant impact on the burn rate, enough to easily make my 175K burn at a 200K, and probably has enough range in it to go even higher, or lower I would suspect, all this while the flame “looks good”.


    A FLAME LOOKING GOOD (NICE SOFT BLUE FLAME NOT LIFTING OR ROARING) IS NO INDICATION OF PROPER COMBUSTION/


     
      My CO2 was over the high limit by only 1.3%, but this setting induced an increase in burn rate of over 25k BTUs! This probably  means that even within the allowable specs for CO2, a range of 8.5% to 10% , a span of  1.5%, there is  some variability as to what the burn rate will be, perhaps even around the same  25K worth of BTUs across the in-tolerance range. So, even with CO2 is set somewhere within the allowable range, your burn rate may be off.


    ACTUALLY THE BURN RATE IS NOT THE BIGGEST CONCERN BECAUSE AS YOU TUNE THE UNIT IN TO THE CORRECT READINGS THE CO2 WILL BALANCE OUT WITH THE O2 AND CARBON MONOXIDE SHOULD GO DOWN ALONG WITH FLUE GAS TEMPERATURE. THIS WOULD IN TURN INCREASE EFFICIENCY INDEPENDENT OF THE ACTUAL FINAL BURN RATE. YOU WOULD NOT REALLY SEE THAT INPUT ALL THE TIME AS THE UNIT WILL MODULATE THROUGH THE STEPS.



    From a procedural perspective, to properly tune this boiler one needs to ensure the CO2 is set in the allowable range to start with and then go to the meter and carefully calculate the gas flow, adjusting the throttle screw such that the gas usage is also correct for the boiler size, while maintaining a CO2 in range.  It takes both CO2 and gas flow to tune the thing properly and it takes one or two iterations back and forth between the gas meter and the CO2 meter to get both the CO2 levels and the gas flow usage correct. You must measure both. From a procedural perspective, to properly tune this boiler one needs to ensure the CO2 is set in the allowable range to start with and then go to the meter and carefully calculate the gas flow, adjusting the throttle screw such that the gas usage is also correct for the boiler size, while maintaining a CO2 in range.  It takes both CO2 and gas flow to tune the thing properly and it takes one or two iterations back and forth between the gas meter and the CO2 meter to get both the CO2 levels and the gas flow usage correct. You must measure both.



    YOU CAN DO THAT RUNNING BACK AND FORTH BUT WITH CORRECT GAS PRESSURE TO THE UNIT THIS SHOULD BE ABLE TO BE DIALED IN WITH THE THROTTLING SCREW AND THE COMBUSTION ANALYZER.


     
    While this may seem obvious to some of you reading this, it escaped the heating contractors who installed and worked on my unit.


    AS ONE WHO SPENDS A LOT OF TIME INSTRUCTING CONTRACTORS IT IS SAD THAT MOST OF THEM DO NOT KNOW THE BASICS AND THE FUNDAMENTALS OF GAS AND COMBUSTION AIR. MANY WHO POST HERE ON THE SITE ARE VERY WELL VERSED ON THIS BUT THEY ARE THE EXCEPTION BELIEVE ME; A LICENSE ONLY MAKES YOU LEGAL IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING! THEN THEY ACTUALLY COLLECT MONEY FOR NOT KNOWING WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

     

    My boiler was over fired, that is bad, but didn’t necessarily explain the intermittent shut downs. We then measured the gas pressure. The static pressure was 6.9 inches, but with the burner on it dropped to 2.5 inches which is below the 4 inch minimum pressure spec. My boiler was over fired, that is bad, but didn’t necessarily explain the intermittent shut downs. We then measured the gas pressure. The static pressure was 6.9 inches, but with the burner on it dropped to 2.5 inches which is below the 4 inch minimum pressure spec.



    THIS IS WHERE I START TO HAVE SOME CONCERN. FROM READING THIS POSTING YOU HAVE A GAS METER AND A REGULATOR SO YOU ARE IN A HIGH GAS PRESSURE AREA. THE MAIN IN THE STREET PROBABLY HAS 50 TO MAYBE 100 POUNDS PRESSURE. THERE IS NO WAY YOU SHOULD EVER HAVE INSUFFICIENT PRESSURE. NOW GRANTED YOU MAY HAVE HAD A BAD POUNDS TO INCHES HOUSE REGULATOR BUT SOME OF THE NUMBERS YOU REPORT ARE A PROBLEM TO ME. I ASSUME WHEN YOU SAY STATIC PRESSURE THAT WAS TAKEN WITH NO EQUIPMENT OPERATING? THE PRESSURE AT THE EQUIPMENT SHOULD BE EXACTLY THE SAME AS IT WAS AT THE OUTLET OF THE REGULATOR WITH NO DROP IN PRESSURE!


     
    This is very bad and could cause a flame failure which would manifest as a random, intermittent shutdown problem! How about that! Suspecting a bad gas regulator, I called the utility that came and changed my meter and pressure regulator. Now I have 7 inches static and 4.5 inches at the boiler, which is in spec for the boiler when the burner is on.



    THE 7 INCHES IS THE STANDARD SETTING FOR A HIGH PRESSURE POUNDS TO INCHES REGULATOR. THE 4.5 INCHES AT THE BOILER IS A PROBLEM AS YOU HAVE A 2.5 INCH W.C. PRESSURE DROP WHICH IS WAY TOO MUCH, YOU SHOULD HAVE 7 INCHES AT THE BOILER.


     
     However, I was unsatisfied with such a large unexplained pressure drop. With the help of the utility company person we measured the gas pressure on some piping near the boiler, but not on the feed to the boiler and it was about 6 inches,


    STILL A PROBLEM IT SHOUD BE 7” EVERYWHERE YOU ARE LOSING PRESSURE SOMEWHERE.


     
     turning on other appliances such as the stove and gas dryer and it maintained 6 inches. Therefore, the piping to the boiler is too restrictive. Looking at the configuration feeding the boiler consisting of a 5 foot section of ½ inch pipe, with two ball valves, 1 “T” and about 4 elbows, we surmised that this stuff would be better if it was ¾ inch for less drops when the boiler is on.


    YOU NEED TO HAVE AN UNINTERUPTED ¾” PIPE ABOUT 10 FEET LONG GOING DIRECTLY TO THE BOILER AT LEAST. THE GUY FROM THE GAS COMPANY NEEDS TO DO A PIPE SIZING CALCULATION FOR YOUR ENTIRE SYSTEM.


     
    What caused my shutdowns? The current theory the gentlemen from ECR are going with and for now one which I concur with is that the lower gas pressure may have caused the burner flame to fail.


    I AGRRE BUT WHAT FOLLOWS I DO NOT AGREE WITH.



    If the gas pressure off the street went down, like in the dead of winter and when everyone’s boiler on the block going full blast, (I’m at the end of the line) the pressure may have dropped low enough to cause a failure. Given that the burner only seemed to fail when it was very cold out, and quite often on a Saturday night or weakened (when people are home using heat?) this low pressure gas theory does fit the symptoms, the fact that my boiler was using an extra 25K BTU’s probably didn’t help the situation.



    IN A HIGH PRESSURE AREA IF YOU HAD THAT TREMENDOUS A PRESSURE DROP IN THE DEAD OF WINTER ON THE COLDEST NIGHT THEN THE PIPE IN THE STREET IS DRASTICLY UNDERSIZED THIS IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE WITH HIGH PRESSURE GAS SYSTEM. I JUST DO NOT BUY THAT FINIDING AT ALL.
     


    For now I am satisfied that the failure theories, troubleshooting discoveries and recommended fixes all seem to fit the symptoms which I have been experiencing. I hope my detailed explanation of this situation serves to help someone else who may be having similar problems.
    However, I am deeply disappointed in some of the heating professionals who came to my home and have worked on this boiler with only a casual understanding its fundamental operating characteristics and obliviously not enough training to properly adjust the system and diagnose the issues.

    For now I am satisfied that the failure theories, troubleshooting discoveries and recommended fixes all seem to fit the symptoms which I have been experiencing. I hope my detailed explanation of this situation serves to help someone else who may be having similar problems.
    However, I am deeply disappointed in some of the heating professionals who came to my home and have worked on this boiler with only a casual understanding its fundamental operating characteristics and obliviously not enough training to properly adjust the system and diagnose the issues.


    I HAD A ONE WEEK CLASS THIS WEEK ON ALL THIS TYPE OF IMPORTANT FUNDAMENTAL TRAINING. THE CLASS WAS ATTENDED BY ONE MAN. MOST TECHS COULD CARE LESS ABOUT LEARNING THEY ONLY WANT TO GET PAID AND GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. SORRY YOU HAD TO EXPERIENCE THIS. IT WILL EVENTUALLY RUIN THE HYDRONICS BUSINESS IN AMERICA.


    These new HF boilers are nothing like old cast iron ones, previous assumptions of what a good or bad flame looks like may not apply. By the time a flame looks questionable, the unit is probably very far out of spec and unforgiving of the condition. After adjustment, the change in my flame was barely noticeable!



    A GOOD COMBUSTION MAN DOES NOT NEED TO LOOK AT THE FLAME HE NEEDS TO LOOK AT THE INSTRUMENT TAKING COMBUSTION READINGS AND THEN KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN THEY ARE NOT CORRECT.



    These systems are particular, finicky and demanding, they need to be set up perfectly for reliable operation and “perfect” is defined as the sum of a combination of measurements which converge on an optimum setting. It has cost me over a thousand dollars in service calls over the years and many hours of personal learning to find what turned out to be a very basic problem which should have been easily recognized by any heating professional.  It is clear to me that they wanted to get in and out of my house as quickly as possible and really didn’t understand the sensitive set up points of unit.


    There is also a discussion to be had about cleaning and flushing the unit, and if the unit is in condensing mode or not which tends to have a flushing effect on the oxides if it is, but I’ll leave that discussion to someone else.
    In conclusion, I would apologize to the folks at ECR for some of the abuse I have dished out in this post about the unit, even though these posts are what it took to get enough attention and people here who knew what they are doing. Understand my frustration had reached the breaking point because I believed the heating professionals I was working with understood the unit. In the end their knowledge was only casual and insufficient to see the “big picture” or even the little details.  The good folks at  ECR came through with an onsite visitation from two very qualified people, Don DeCarr from Technical service and Robert Shea, the Regional Sales Manager (here in NY), both of these gentlemen went out of their way to come to my home, were very professional and knowledgeable as was Scott and I appreciate their time, effort and expertise.  Thank you to EC for allocating the necessary resources to get my problems resolved.There is also a discussion to be had about cleaning and flushing the unit, and if the unit is in condensing mode or not which tends to have a flushing effect on the oxides if it is, but I’ll leave that discussion to someone else.
    In conclusion, I would apologize to the folks at ECR for some of the abuse I have dished out in this post about the unit, even though these posts are what it took to get enough attention and people here who knew what they are doing. Understand my frustration had reached the breaking point because I believed the heating professionals I was working with understood the unit. In the end their knowledge was only casual and insufficient to see the “big picture” or even the little details.  The good folks at  ECR came through with an onsite visitation from two very qualified people, Don DeCarr from Technical service and Robert Shea, the Regional Sales Manager (here in NY), both of these gentlemen went out of their way to come to my home, were very professional and knowledgeable as was Scott and I appreciate their time, effort and expertise.  Thank you to EC for allocating the necessary resources to get my problems resolved.

    THE TRUTH IS MOST OF THESE FACTORY PEOPLE ARE TOP OF THE LINE CONCERNING THEIR OWN PRODUCT AND ARE TO BE COMMENDED. IT IS ALWAYS INTERESTING TO ME WHEN I READ A POSTING AND THE TECHS AND HOME OWNERS WANT TO BAD MOUTH THE PRODUCT. MOST REPS I TALK TO TELL ME THAT 90% OF THE PROBLEMS THEY FIND WHEN MAKING A CALL IS THAR EITHER THE INSTALLER, OR SERVICE TECH DID NOT FOLLOW PROCEDURE. THE NSTALLATION AND OPERATIONS MANUAL IS TO SET THE COFFEE AND SODA ON!



     I’m very optimistic that we have identified and corrected the root cause of the random shutdown issue, that there are no latent engineering or design problems with the unit and there will be no more problems.
    Farewell and good heating to all,
    On to Air-conditioning season! J
     
     
                               
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 12:15 PM
    Contact this user

    Final chapter

    Hi Tim, Thanks for your excellent feedback, Ill respond to some of it here.
    Regarding
    THIS FIGURE OF 11.3% IS ALMOST STOICHOMETRIC (PERFECT COMBUSTION) AS THE ULTIMATE CO2 FOR NATURAL GAS IS 11.7%. THE 11.3% IS VERY HIGH. WHAT WAS THE CARBON MONOXIDE READING AT THAT LEVEL?
    The manual calls for 8.5% - 10% CO2 so I guess they want set at a non Stoichometric level. I set mine in the middle to 9.2%, CO at this setting was 37ppm and. The CO before reducing the setting was much higher; I don’t recall what it was.
     
    AS YOU ARE ADJUSTING THE THROTTLING SCREW TOWARD THE HIGH END OF CO2 THERE IS MORE GAS BEING PULLED INTO THE CHAMBER AND THE O2 (OXYGEN) IS GOING DOWN, I WOULD VENTURE THAT THE O2 WAS AROUND 2%, DID YOU TAKE AN O2 READING? THIS WOULD EXPLAIN THE INCREASED INPUT TO THE UNIT.
    The O2 is now 4.7% which is between the 2% - 5.5% recommended.  I didn’t take the “before” reading on O2 .
     
    A FLAME LOOKING GOOD (NICE SOFT BLUE FLAME NOT LIFTING OR ROARING) IS NO INDICATION OF PROPER COMBUSTION
    Exactly correct, and a very important point, these things aren’t your grandfather’s boilers, as I said, barely a noticeable difference in fame characteristics between before and after conditions.  I’m no expert, but based on my limited experience that if one noticed  the flame is out of whack on one of these things then the unit would most likely be very, very far out of combustion spec.
    ACTUALLY THE BURN RATE IS NOT THE BIGGEST CONCERN BECAUSE AS YOU TUNE THE UNIT IN TO THE CORRECT READINGS THE CO2 WILL BALANCE OUT WITH THE O2 AND CARBON MONOXIDE SHOULD GO DOWN ALONG WITH FLUE GAS TEMPERATURE. THIS WOULD IN TURN INCREASE EFFICIENCY INDEPENDENT OF THE ACTUAL FINAL BURN RATE. YOU WOULD NOT REALLY SEE THAT INPUT ALL THE TIME AS THE UNIT WILL MODULATE THROUGH THE STEPS.
     
    Interesting point Tim, but in adjusting the throttle screw to modulate the CO2 / O2 readings does effect the burn rate, and quite significantly. In my case dropping from 11.3% to 9.2% reduced burn rate by 25K BTU’s.  I understand your theory, but based on the instructions I disagree with you on this point. The instructions clearly say  to set it up such that the CO2 / O2  are  within the allowable ranges at  the correct burn rate level for the unit, which in my case is 175K BTU’s. Based on these instructions the calibration is keying off of the burn rate as the “fixed” reference and asking for adjustment of  the other settings to be within  spec while converging them at the specified burn rate. What did you mean by “Modulate through the steps”?
     
    YOU CAN DO THAT RUNNING BACK AND FORTH BUT WITH CORRECT GAS PRESSURE TO THE UNIT THIS SHOULD BE ABLE TO BE DIALED IN WITH THE THROTTLING SCREW AND THE COMBUSTION ANALYZER.
    That’ s a great idea,  I’m not an heating expert as you may have guessed, so please explain how to measure input BTU’s  with the combustion analyzer, cause I’m tired of running back and forth!
     
    THE 7 INCHES IS THE STANDARD SETTING FOR A HIGH PRESSURE POUNDS TO INCHES REGULATOR. THE 4.5 INCHES AT THE BOILER IS A PROBLEM AS YOU HAVE A 2.5 INCH W.C. PRESSURE DROP WHICH IS WAY TOO MUCH, YOU SHOULD HAVE 7 INCHES AT THE BOILER.
    Yep, the pipe is too small from the main feed to the boiler, “they” used ½” pipe, hence the pressure drop. I’m going to change the pipe even though I now have above the min of 4in of gas pressure to the boiler.
    IN A HIGH PRESSURE AREA IF YOU HAD THAT TREMENDOUS A PRESSURE DROP IN THE DEAD OF WINTER ON THE COLDEST NIGHT THEN THE PIPE IN THE STREET IS DRASTICLY UNDERSIZED THIS IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE WITH HIGH PRESSURE GAS SYSTEM. I JUST DO NOT BUY THAT FINIDING AT ALL.
     
    Yep, I know, but lowered pressure fits ALL the failure symptoms, could have also been my regulator where even a small pressure change in the city pipe would result in a sympathetic change in the house pressure. Remember, I only had 2.5 at the boiler on a warmer day, which is already below the minimum of 4 required by the boiler and that didn’t take into account if the dryer or oven was also on so it may have dropped even lower at times. At some point the boiler will start to have issues, and without testing for it at various pressures I don’t know exactly what that min level is. So, if you have another theory to fit my failures, I’d love to hear it but for now, and certainly after I replace the pipe, this is all I got. Believe me brother, if after I change the pipe and it fails again, you’ll be the first to hear about it and I’ll be glad to accept your “told you so”…!


    THE TRUTH IS MOST OF THESE FACTORY PEOPLE ARE TOP OF THE LINE CONCERNING THEIR OWN PRODUCT AND ARE TO BE COMMENDED. IT IS ALWAYS INTERESTING TO ME WHEN I READ A POSTING AND THE TECHS AND HOME OWNERS WANT TO BAD MOUTH THE PRODUCT. MOST REPS I TALK TO TELL ME THAT 90% OF THE PROBLEMS THEY FIND WHEN MAKING A CALL IS THAR EITHER THE INSTALLER, OR SERVICE TECH DID NOT FOLLOW PROCEDURE. THE NSTALLATION AND OPERATIONS MANUAL IS TO SET THE COFFEE AND SODA ON!
     
    Thanks for all your great comments Tim, and on the above I’ll add my own to yours. You said A LICENSE ONLY MAKES YOU LEGAL IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING!
    I spent more than a few years training people in electronic equipment, operation and calibration. This was very complicated and expensive gear ($100K+)  and what we learned is that if we allowed somebody to represent our equipment and company through selling and servicing our products  they had to know what they were doing.
    I will never buy an installed system again without first verifying the training credentials to the company/technician who wants to sell it to me.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 10:01 PM
    Contact this user

    The quote

    "I HAD A ONE WEEK CLASS THIS WEEK ON ALL THIS TYPE OF IMPORTANT FUNDAMENTAL TRAINING. THE CLASS WAS ATTENDED BY ONE MAN"

    scares me. Anyone else agree?
    "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.
  • Mark Eatherton Mark Eatherton @ 12:21 PM
    Contact this user

    Now THAT is one VERY fortunate student....

    I hope he was sponge like and soaked up all of TIm's knowledge. Talk about an opportunity of a lifetime...

    This echoes what I said in my post. Not many people interested or skilled in how to do it right.

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • EddieG EddieG @ 10:11 PM
    Contact this user

    Scary

    Scary indeed! I only wish Timmie's training center was closer!
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 10:15 PM
    Contact this user

    Well

    maybe we can get a few people together for a trip to Providence and split the driving.....
    "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.
  • Tim McElwain Tim McElwain @ 12:57 PM
    Contact this user

    I would love

    to have all of you come, we would have a ball!

    Might I say concerning only having one man in class, some have said they would not bother with one man classes. Well I have done many of them simply because one I really love what I do, two if that one person is willing to come and listen to me for 40 hours I will go out of my way to accomodate. I was blessed with my student this week who was very eager to learn and he pulled the information out of me with his questions and involvement. The one on one is great as I can give him my undivided attention.

    I always say I may not make a lot of money but we sure are having fun. You really have to love this stuff.
  • Oil_Convert Oil_Convert @ 11:38 AM
    Contact this user

    About to purchase the Q90-200

    I'm about to replace my 25+yr NY oil boiler in my house. I'm at the crossroads to decide whether to switch to gas, or stay with oil. I'm leaning towards gas and have zeroed in on the Q90-200 model along with an 45 gal. SS indirect water heater. I've tried to read the various comments on this boiler and I think I'm basically where I was when I started...undecided! I'm looking at getting it installed through Sears, along with the master protection plan, so I'm hopeful that issues surrounding the install, follow-up service, shelling out addtional $$ will be a non-issue. So, I guess I'm looking for some confirmation about this unit and it's efficiency and reliability before I put out some serious $$. Based on what my current boiler's AFUE is (the guestimate is somewhere in the 50 or 60% range) whether I go with oil or gas, I'm saving money. I'd like to really maximize on the gas savings though, so I'm hoping the Dunkirk 90-200 is going to be a realiable boiler. Thanks for your thoughts.
  • Jean-David Beyer Jean-David Beyer @ 12:08 PM
    Contact this user

    I'm looking at getting it installed through Sears, ...

    "I'm looking at getting it installed through Sears, along with the
    master protection plan, so I'm hopeful that issues surrounding the
    install, follow-up service, shelling out addtional $$ will be a
    non-issue."

    Since I am not a professional, I cannot advise you on what boiler to get, or whether to convert to gas or not. What I can advise is that it is vitally important that the installer, and the follow-up services be provided by someone who is really competent and has the required tools to do the job. In my estimation, this is more important than the relative efficiency between one boiler and another. I imagine you would have a tough time rating the quality of workmanship from a place as large as Sears. You might never get the same technician two times in a row. You would certainly want to interview some of their customers after they have had their heating system for 5 years or more, and even then, that would just rate the subcontractor(s) they happened to get. It strikes me that it would be about the same as having the gas company do the install for you.

    A friend of mine used to be a tech for them. He got to work on everything: window air conditioners, washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, microwave ovens, ceiling fans. He was a clever guy, so for all I know, he did a good job on those. But he was not factory trained on any of that stuff. I doubt he did oil or gas appliances.
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 10:36 AM
    Contact this user

    Q90 Decision

    Q90 Decision
    I’ve had a long road with the Q90 and here is what I found out.
    These new High efficiency systems like your old unit.  In the past a boiler was lots  of iron, a big fire and let it rip.  If the combustion settings were even close you had fire,  heat and/or hot water and little or no intelligence in the system to know the difference or even care, fuel was cheap and the fire box was big!. Not so with the new high efficiency condensing systems, these  units  are pushing the envelope  of material design and control systems as such they  demand near perfect combustion parameters, sufficient inlet gas pressure and carefully laid out intake and exhaust venting.
     A failure to install the unit correctly which means giving the proper consideration to exhaust  vent  and intake pipe layout to balance pressures and ensuring there is proper gas inlet pressure as starters can lead to intermittent  shutdowns of the combustion system.  The unit is impossible to set up correctly without the use of a combustion analyzer. No amount of experience can yield the correct adjustment by looking at the flame, shape, size and color; it must be done with the instrument.
    I say this from my own experience. The plumber did a poor job of exhaust vent piping layout. It caused a standing pressure wave to set up an oscillation in the exhaust vent. This would cause the pressure switch to shut down the unit, sometimes, depending on among other things, weather!  He also didn’t check the gas inlet pressure; it was below the spec for min pressure and could have also caused my intermittent failures. He didn’t use a combustion analyzer to set it up; he used his “eye”. When I finally checked the combustion specs  using a combustion analyzer I found that  my 90%  boiler was running in the low 80’s,  CO was way off as was CO2, and  when checking the gas flow rate the unit  was over fired by 50K BTUs, it is a 175KBtu running at 225KBtu.! The thing was a mess. 
    All this took me over 4 years to get sorted out despite numerous and costly service calls to the heating person who I thought knew what he was doing, turns out he had no idea. As of half way through last winter, the system appears to finally be under control and ran fine for all the second half of the winter. I’m looking forward to my first COMPLETE winter of heat this upcoming season, year 5!
    So, the reason I took the time to say all this is if you buy the Dunkirk or other HF boiler, installation and setup is everything! Anybody can come to your house and charge you for changing parts after the warrantee is over, but only a few people really have the insight to install and set these things up correctly.  Finding a qualified, trained heating technician is your mission and given the cost of a service call, I would not worry about a few hundred dollars of price difference between the qualified person and the lower cost person who may not be as qualified/trained.
    I should also mention the people from Dunkirk who in the end were very helpful in finalizing the last few issues with my system and helping me to get them cleared up, all of which were installation and set up issues.  They took a lot of abuse in some of my posts and I thank them for stepping up to get it sorted out., even though my problems were not product related problems.  I’ll drop a post here  this winter to let you all know how things are going with the unit now that we believe all issues have been addressed, hopefully it will be a cheerful one!
  • washedup washedup @ 1:13 AM
    Contact this user

    washedup

    I am the sorry owner of 4 failed Lennox complete heat systems and two failed Dunkirk Q90 series boilers( my house is only 13 years old). I am not conversant in the techincal explaination for all this.  All I know is I'm cold, without hot water and needing to spend more money to fix something everyone else knew would never work anyway.If the Q90 boiler were a car, we would call it a lemon... SO...where is the sign up for a class action? I would like to join.
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 9:26 AM
    Contact this user

    Multiple problems

    Am I to understand that in 13 years you have had multiple boilers installed?
    Have they all been installed by the same installer?
    There seem to be several common threads running through your unfortunate situation:
    Flue venting
    Gas supply pressure
    Electric wiring
    Installer
    Could any of these when installed improperly have caused your problems?
    Sometimes if too much effort is put into blame, there will not be enough energy for problem analysis and correction.--nbc
    This post was edited by an admin on October 30, 2011 9:28 AM.
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 3:46 PM
    Contact this user

    It aint easy

    Hey "washed up",
    My experiences were similar, until l took matters into my own hands and worked to understand how the boilers work and to get it straightened out. Here is a brief summary of what I found out.
    First, don’t trust your heating contractor just because he is a heating contractor. My contractor had many years of experience on conventional boilers, but absolutely did not understand the subtleties of these high efficiency boilers And how important it is to pay strict attention to the set up specs.
    In brief, here is the list of installation problems in order of their discovery and some adjustment problems I resolved on my system over the course of 5 years. If you read my earlier posts you may be able to tell that I was a little teed off about the whole thing, I’m better now, so far. In retrospect, these should have been taken care of upon installation, with the exception of number one, as it turned out to be a little tricky and not easily perceived.
    1.     Exhaust venting was problematic even though the length and number of elbows was in spec. On the intake and exhaust there were two 90 degree elbows, the sharp kind, not the sweeping kind, located about 2.5 ft from each other. The symptom was my boiler would shut down for no apparent reason. A local field rep noticed my exhaust was “Puffing”, lots of little ones, and then a big long one, then the pattern would repeat. His theory was the two 90 degrees separated by such a short distance was setting up a pressure wave oscillation in the exhaust piping. Sometimes the pressure would build up to a point (the big puff)  and occasionally the differential pressure switch would trip and cause a shut down. We corrected the problem by installing the gradual sweep elbows and the intervals between shutdowns increased dramatically, but were not eliminated. The puffing went away.
    2.     Combustion set up. Rule number on these things is you cannot tell by the way the flame looks how well the combustion is set up. My flame looked great, not orange, beautiful little blue guys on the combustion tube, very nice. In reality by 200K boiler was over fired by close to 250K BTUs! It was over fired by 25%. I noticed this first by reading the manual and counting the meter as it describes. I put a combustion meter on it and sure enough it was way out of whack, so I adjusted it into spec. It took 7 full turns on the throttle screw to bring it down. This reduced the shut down interval still further, but did not eliminate it. My heating contractor used his eye to adjust the flame, at the time, what did I know? Silly me.
    3.     In year 5 or so the unit started shutting down due to a low water condition, except that there was no low water condition, but the sensor thought so and would intermittently shut down the unit until one point where it wouldn’t even start up any more. Turns out the sensor is the electrical type, a probe 2-3 inches long which senses the current and without water, there is no current flow so it shuts down. When we pulled it out, it was coated with some brown/black film effectively acting as an insulator and preventing the sensor from getting the correct signal. We cleaned off the sensor probe and that fixed the problem.
    4.     The high temperature switch caused a shut down twice, not sure why, didn’t happen again
    5.     Lastly, is the gas pressure, the unit requires a minimum amount of pressure to operate. My pressure measured at the main pipe feeding the down pipe to the boiler cabinet was fine. The pressure at the bottom of the down pipe was lower and the pressure and after the pipe goes into the cabinet and through the little piping that Dunkirk supplies there was another drop as measures right off of the valve. So, three pressure drops and the last one was below the minimum specification. We changed the drop pipe to a larger diameter, changed the elbow going into the boiler to a larger diameter and upped the pressure on the gas regulator a tad coming into the home. The result was a pressure, while the boiler was running which was above the minimum specification. Note: it is important to measure the pressure at the valve with the boiler running and some other gas appliances on. The combustion was re tested after the gas pressure was corrected
    The above tale is spread over 5 painful years, I had spoken to the factory reps near the end and had two of them come out to review the installation last March or so.  Since the last fix, which was the gas pressure issue, the unit has not shut down once. The factory reps reviewed the installation and it did not require any additional modifications. I am fully expecting this unit to operate without failure, with the exception of normal wear and tear on what is not a 7 year old boiler.
    In the end I received great support from Dunkirk and great input some of the people on this board, but as I said, don’t assume you heating contractor is taking the care required to properly install and set up these new high efficiency boilers, they are not like the “Old “ ones.
    Good luck
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 3:46 PM
    Contact this user

    It aint easy

    Hey "washed up",
    My experiences were similar, until l took matters into my own hands and worked to understand how the boilers work and to get it straightened out. Here is a brief summary of what I found out.
    First, don’t trust your heating contractor just because he is a heating contractor. My contractor had many years of experience on conventional boilers, but absolutely did not understand the subtleties of these high efficiency boilers And how important it is to pay strict attention to the set up specs.
    In brief, here is the list of installation problems in order of their discovery and some adjustment problems I resolved on my system over the course of 5 years. If you read my earlier posts you may be able to tell that I was a little teed off about the whole thing, I’m better now, so far. In retrospect, these should have been taken care of upon installation, with the exception of number one, as it turned out to be a little tricky and not easily perceived.
    1.     Exhaust venting was problematic even though the length and number of elbows was in spec. On the intake and exhaust there were two 90 degree elbows, the sharp kind, not the sweeping kind, located about 2.5 ft from each other. The symptom was my boiler would shut down for no apparent reason. A local field rep noticed my exhaust was “Puffing”, lots of little ones, and then a big long one, then the pattern would repeat. His theory was the two 90 degrees separated by such a short distance was setting up a pressure wave oscillation in the exhaust piping. Sometimes the pressure would build up to a point (the big puff)  and occasionally the differential pressure switch would trip and cause a shut down. We corrected the problem by installing the gradual sweep elbows and the intervals between shutdowns increased dramatically, but were not eliminated. The puffing went away.
    2.     Combustion set up. Rule number on these things is you cannot tell by the way the flame looks how well the combustion is set up. My flame looked great, not orange, beautiful little blue guys on the combustion tube, very nice. In reality by 200K boiler was over fired by close to 250K BTUs! It was over fired by 25%. I noticed this first by reading the manual and counting the meter as it describes. I put a combustion meter on it and sure enough it was way out of whack, so I adjusted it into spec. It took 7 full turns on the throttle screw to bring it down. This reduced the shut down interval still further, but did not eliminate it. My heating contractor used his eye to adjust the flame, at the time, what did I know? Silly me.
    3.     In year 5 or so the unit started shutting down due to a low water condition, except that there was no low water condition, but the sensor thought so and would intermittently shut down the unit until one point where it wouldn’t even start up any more. Turns out the sensor is the electrical type, a probe 2-3 inches long which senses the current and without water, there is no current flow so it shuts down. When we pulled it out, it was coated with some brown/black film effectively acting as an insulator and preventing the sensor from getting the correct signal. We cleaned off the sensor probe and that fixed the problem.
    4.     The high temperature switch caused a shut down twice, not sure why, didn’t happen again
    5.     Lastly, is the gas pressure, the unit requires a minimum amount of pressure to operate. My pressure measured at the main pipe feeding the down pipe to the boiler cabinet was fine. The pressure at the bottom of the down pipe was lower and the pressure and after the pipe goes into the cabinet and through the little piping that Dunkirk supplies there was another drop as measures right off of the valve. So, three pressure drops and the last one was below the minimum specification. We changed the drop pipe to a larger diameter, changed the elbow going into the boiler to a larger diameter and upped the pressure on the gas regulator a tad coming into the home. The result was a pressure, while the boiler was running which was above the minimum specification. Note: it is important to measure the pressure at the valve with the boiler running and some other gas appliances on. The combustion was re tested after the gas pressure was corrected
    The above tale is spread over 5 painful years, I had spoken to the factory reps near the end and had two of them come out to review the installation last March or so.  Since the last fix, which was the gas pressure issue, the unit has not shut down once. The factory reps reviewed the installation and it did not require any additional modifications. I am fully expecting this unit to operate without failure, with the exception of normal wear and tear on what is not a 7 year old boiler.
    In the end I received great support from Dunkirk and great input some of the people on this board, but as I said, don’t assume you heating contractor is taking the care required to properly install and set up these new high efficiency boilers, they are not like the “Old “ ones.
    Good luck
  • gennady gennady @ 9:19 PM
    Contact this user

    bad boiler

    I deal with so called bad condensing boiler on regular basis, and still have to find one bad boiler. i did not read this tread completely, but i did serviced those boilers which was giving homeowners problems for years, and i always see on problem: unqualified technicians not reading manuals and not having proper tools, All those condensing boilers are marvels of boiler technology  and fail due to poor installers.
    Gennady Tsakh

    Absolute Mechanical Co. Inc.
    www.AbsoluteMechanicalCoInc.com
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 11:37 PM
    Contact this user

    Thank you for bringing this thread to a meaningful conclusion

    Thank you mssrs. Badq90, and grennady for clearing up some of the misconceptions in this very long thread.
    As one has said,"you don't get what you didn't pay for". And professional expertise is one of those things which many supplicants here realise they have missed.
    We all need to realise that we are not buying blue jeans here when we buy a boiler, but rather a professional service of which the boiler selection is a minor part.
    Would we choose a doctor because he advertises kidney transplants for less? Would we choose a politician because he promises a Volkswagen in every garage?--NBC
  • Joe_Petruzzo Joe_Petruzzo @ 10:11 PM
    Contact this user

    Dunkirk Q90-100 Short Cycling

    I have a Q90-100 that is shutting off after reaching 120 degrees. I disconnected the air intake going outside, and now it shuts off after reaching about 150 degrees. The Boiler Control (IBC) is brand new. Igniter is about a year old. When it shuts down the power light on the IBC stays on, so it can't be the casting temperature safety switch. I've set the High limit Aquastat to 200 degrees instead of 180, but this did not work either. I've ruled out simple problems like the room thermostat.
    I'm looking for a technician in the New York City area familiar with the Quantum series gas boiler. This may seem like a simple request, but in the 10 years I've had this boiler it's never run right no matter how many service people came to look at it.
    Joe
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 11:15 PM
    Contact this user

    New thread?

    If you get no replies today, then repost with a new thread, as your post may get lost at the end .--NBC
  • Hvactech Hvactech @ 9:24 PM
    Contact this user

    Q90

    Try clearing the furnace drain. I had to flush a q90 heat exchanger today.
  • Al Corelli Al Corelli @ 8:47 AM
    Contact this user

    Where in NY

    I'm in Westchester.
    Al Corelli, NY


    Agix Associates Inc.


    914-804-2234
  • BadQ90 BadQ90 @ 11:28 AM
    Contact this user

    early cut off

    Joe,
    I’m no expert, or a plumber, or a heating contactor, but have lived a bit with a Q90. Here is my theory: Removing  the intake pipe  changed the amount of flow restriction on the intake, lessening it most likely. Given that this had an effect on the shutdown temperature I’d suspect that the reason it is shutting down is due to the differential pressure switches exceeding their limits, and may have nothing to do with the actual temperature you are reading. This explains why the aquastat change had no effect and the reset switch doesn't trip
    This type of premature pressure induced shutdown can happen because the intake pipe is restricted, or exhaust side is restricted. Inclusive on the exhaust side of the equation is the exhaust pipe itself being clogged and the grate in the bottom of the boiler being clogged. If the grate gets clogged, it will increase the back pressure just as if the exhaust pipe was clogged, the pressure sensors detect this and shut down the  unit. From the human perspective, it looks like a random, unexplained shutdown.  When you removed the intake pipe you increased the airflow flow rate and therefore the pressures were a little more happy for a bit.  As “HVAC Tech” stated previously, if you haven’t had the unit serviced where they remove the burner and flush/brush the built up crud out the grate, you have to do that. The exhaust goes through this  grate and if it is clogged, it builds up back pressure and can trip the switches.
    Good luck
  • Kawboy Kawboy @ 8:11 PM
    Contact this user

    dunkirk Q95 problem

    I have a customer that purchased a dunkirk Q95-200 boiler in 2007.  He purchased it himself (bought it on-line), and installed it himself (are you scared yet?).  The boiler is fired on LP gas.  I don't want to sound like Mr. Obvious here, but he has had issues with the  boiler since installed.  He had a plumber come out and look at it a few years ago and according to the customer he (the plumber) replaced the draft inducer and the burner.  I met this customer a couple of years ago when we started to service the commercial HVAC equipment at the machine shop he owns.  The customer says the boiler will BOOM so loud occasionally that it will wake him and his wife up from a sound sleep.  We went out to the customers house today, looked through the installation manual and compared his install job to the manual and what we do when we install boilers.  He put unions in the 3" intake and exhaust pvc pipes, he put the expansion tank and city water fill on the supply side of the pump, and his zone valve wiring was fuctional but a little "cave" .
    We hooked a combustion analyzer up to the unit and ran it in low and high fire.  We made minor adjustments to the throttling screw to bring the unit within the specs provided in the book.
    We ran the unit through numerous cycles and it lit and ran very smoothly and quietly.  The customer said the "booms" seem to happen at night.  He also said his house has a hard time heating up on mild days (OK when very cold out).  I went into the parameters to check for outdoor air reset problems and when I exited from the parameters a E-38 fault code appeared (no E-38 code in the manual).  I called the factory for assistance and they said they never heard of E-38 fault code and said if I accidentally pushed a wrong button while in the parameters I could generate a fault code that could not be field repaired.  The factory recommended I replace the board.  I now have a new board coming. 
    I need to very clear here.  I am not a BPI (button pushing idiot).  I very slowly and methodically reviewed the parameters (I've run too many service calls mopping up behind BPI's).  If I did accidentally push an incorrect button, why can I not get back into the parameters to look for damage.  How can they (Dunkirk) build a product to these specs.  We are TRANE dealers and if TRANE were to do something like this they would send a new board under warranty and want the old board back to investigate the issue and make changes to future boards.  
    This post was edited by an admin on February 25, 2012 8:37 PM.
  • BobC BobC @ 9:06 AM
    Contact this user

    There is a lesson to be learned here

    I've followed this thread and what I get out of it is the Q90, and many other ultra efficient boilers, are extremely fussy about having all the I's dotted and T's crossed when it comes to installation and set up. They are unforgiving and should only only be installed and maintained by experienced factory trained techs who have installed many of them. Those type of people are apparently hard to find - chicken and egg thing.

    I'll be replacing my steam boiler this spring and I will not even look at something like this. If I were going to stay with oil I'd go with the Megasteam but because I'm probably going to go with gas I intend to use the Smith series 8 with a Carlin gas gun in it. Both boilers are top of the line and do not rely on electronic controls to achieve the last few percentage points on efficiency. Too many of these uber efficient setups are just to complex to work reliably so anything you save in fuel you will give away in spades on service calls unless you are extremely lucky.

    Someday these new systems will work just fine but I think that day is not here yet. I've been burned by adopting new technology to soon in other areas. Don't volunteer your house as a test bed for the latest and greatest, let others be the canary in the coal mine.

    Back when i used to design power supplies for a living I learned one VERY important lesson. KISS - keep it simple stupid.

    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
  • Jean-David Beyer Jean-David Beyer @ 10:21 AM
    Contact this user

    But what if?

    "Back when i used to design power supplies for a living I learned one VERY important lesson. KISS - keep it simple stupid."

    I designed stuff a little like that for government clients. They were extremely fussy. If you did not agree 100% with the specification, they would not even consider your bid, nor would they discuss it.

    So we would get an RFP for a DC power supply with 0.01% accuracy in output voltage from -55C to +85C at the load. Well, we might be able to do that if we could get a voltage reference that would do that, but we could not. And we would need to run two heavy wires to the load to deliver the voltage, and two smaller ones back to the power supply so it could see what the load was seeing. They would not tolerate the extra two wires, so we no-bid that job. But where would we get a mercury standard cell that would run over that temperature range? And that would not break when exposed to MIL-E-5400 Class H shock and vibration testing? (This was in the early 1960s.) Zener diodes would make more sense. Their loads did not require anywhere near the accuracy they demanded, but they would not hear that. So they probably got something very complex to solve their problem, if it did. Even though they proclaimed they had a K.I.S.S. program in effect. But they sabotaged it right at the beginning at the specification writing stage. We no-bid a lot of RFPs for things like that.
  • BobC BobC @ 9:31 AM
    Contact this user

    CYA trumps KISS every time

    Program managers are to concerned with CYA to pay any attention to KISS.

    We found that a face to face meeting could alert you to possible problems of this sort and you adjusted your bid accordingly. We always told them we could build just about anything they could afford.

    After my job went to China, I worked the last 8 years of my working career for the USPS repairing mail processing equipment. Every single machine was a prototype; the manuals and schematics were suggestions of how the machine could be built. One extreme to the other.

    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
  • Jean-David Beyer Jean-David Beyer @ 10:16 AM
    Contact this user

    I remember an especially bad RFP.

    The military really wanted an excuse to keep a computer they had, but did not dare say so. So they put out an RFP for a system to read a lot of strain gauges. They specifically did not allow signal conditioning amplifiers at the output of the strain gauges, but insisted on a multiplexor and specified a fancy signal conditioning amplifier after the multiplexor. That was not likely to work. We designed and built solid state multiplexors, but we could not use them on this job for two reasons: the noise in the multiplexors would be too high, and their specification specified a relay multiplexor.They did not name the multiplexor, but only one company made one that would meet most of the specification. It used reed relays with gold plated contacts. It just might work. The government specifciation was a copy of the relay multiplexor company's product, even the spelling error. But one line was added. It specified that the contacts be mercury wetted. Now the multiplexor company did not use mercury because that would make a battery (mercury on gold) that would spoil the noise level. Specifying mercury wetted contacts guaranteed that the noise level would be too high to achieve the other requirements. I tried to explain this to the contracting officor, but he said I did not know anything about government contracts. So another job we did not bid on.

    The funny thing is that after I left that company (on friendly terms) and worked for another company, I got a call from the former employer. They got another RFP from the same agency for the same system -- this was perhaps two years later. They wondered what they should do. I asked if the item about the mercury wetted relay contacts was still in there. They said yes, so I said not to bid on it again.

    The government obviously wanted a fancy noise generator that would keep the computer busy trying to rescue data from the noise that their RFP required.

    Your high taxes at work.
    .
  • Bea Bea @ 11:08 AM
    Contact this user

    Quantum 90 Junk

    The Quantum 90 is not a good boiler. We built a house 3 years ago and had one of these installed the first one sounded like a leaf blower in the basement, I was told that it was normal, after complaining about it enough it finally got replaced come to find out there was a hole in the casting causing this. The second boiler that was installed has stopped working at least a dozen times, I'm sick of service calls. For what I paid in service calls I could of paid for most of my next boiler. This unit is a piece of junk they should take it off the market. I have contacted Dunkirk and never got a reply, I will probably have to junk this and get another boiler. I will not go with a Dunkirk again, would not recommend them to anyone.
  • Ironman Ironman @ 11:39 AM
    Contact this user

    Did You Miss the Name of This Site?

    It's not "Consumer Complaints" or "Maligning Manufacturers" or "Ridiculous Ranting". It's "Heating Help". Its purpose is just that: to give help to people with their heating systems.

    It's apparent that you did not come here for that purpose since you haven't provided any particulars about whatever problems you may be having, nor have you ask any questions as to how to correct anything.

    I also doubt that you read the post that you linked onto because if you had you would have seen that all the others who complained about their Dunkirk boiler later came to find that the problems were the fault of their installer/servicer and not Dunkirk's.

    If you want help, then post what your specifics are and ask questions. If you only intend on bashing the manufacturer, move on. That is not the purpose of this forum.
    Bob Boan



    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • wouldlovesomeheat wouldlovesomeheat @ 9:13 PM
    Contact this user

    Lemon in da house

     Settle down francis. The question was- Has anyone had problems with Dunkirk Boilers? Absolutely!  Nothing but problems with Dunkirk for the last 5 years. I am thankful to see this thread so I know that I am not alone.We've had problems for 5 long years. The first 2 years it was replaced 2 times. Maybe three, I can't recall anymore. I'm over it.   I'm a mom of a little girl and a baby boy.  Currently we are  freezing  with snow in the forecast and this POS has taken a fall once again at 9pm at night.   I can and will say with complete certainy that Dunkirk sucks. End of story. I will never go another day nor night with having my children cold because I decided to use an inferior product and I hope this thread helps others decide to not go with this Dunkirk so they don't throw there money away as well. 
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 10:54 PM
    Contact this user

    What to do about the problem boiler

    Have you contacted the original installer?
    His work on the boiler, or a lack of maintenance may be more to blame than the manufacturer of the boiler.
    Is your boiler new to you in a new house, or was it installed by someone you chose?
    If you had your tire repaired, and it afterwards fell off, would you blame the tire manufacturer?--NBC
  • kylelou kylelou @ 3:41 AM
    Contact this user

    DUNKIRK PSB-4D

    I have purchased a new Dunkirk PSB-4D bas boiler at the end of September of this year oand had problems with it from day 1. I froze more days than I had heat. The contractor & Sears (whom I bought from) said there is nothing wromg. I called my local gas company and was told that the problem is a cracked boiler. I am still waiting for someone to come and repalce it,
  • kylelou kylelou @ 3:41 AM
    Contact this user

    DUNKIRK PSB-4D

    I have purchased a new Dunkirk PSB-4D bas boiler at the end of September of this year oand had problems with it from day 1. I froze more days than I had heat. The contractor & Sears (whom I bought from) said there is nothing wromg. I called my local gas company and was told that the problem is a cracked boiler. I am still waiting for someone to come and repalce it,
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 10:19 AM
    Contact this user

    Dunkirk-sears problem

    Why not start a new thread here with pictures of your installation, and a description of what seems to be wrong. This thread contains so many post, that yours will be lost.--NBC.
  • JSL JSL @ 5:08 PM
    Contact this user

    Dunkirk Q90 cracked block

    I fully renovated my house 5 years ago. Within a year I noticed a leak near my boiler, but I thought it was coming from somewhere else. Turned out it was a cracked block. Got a whole new unit sent to me, but I had to pay $1200 to install it! Now, less than two years later, the same thing has happened! Water on my basement floor and a wet spot on the block. I can not believe I am here again with this unit. Dunkirk clearly has a problem with their casting process. As an architect I will never recommend this brand to my clients. Fool me once. Once my Q90 is assessed by my HVAC consultant I will attempt to get a refund. I'm sure Dunkirk will deny me as they did in the past. I will need another boiler, just in time for the holidays. Any recommendations?
  • SWEI SWEI @ 6:32 PM
    Contact this user

    from the post above

    New thread would be a good idea here...
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 7:13 PM
    Contact this user

    cracked block

    i am assuming that your system is hot water since you posted on the wall, and not on strictly steam.
    definitely post some pictures in a new thread, so we can all offer our opinion as to how this may have happened. pictures of the piping into and out of the boiler will be important in pleading your case with the manufacturer. if you can compare these pictures with the original installation instructions, so much the better.
    it is usually the result of thermal shock, or dry-firing that cast iron boilers crack. these two situations are less likely to happen with a boiler which is full of water all the time, as opposed to a steam boiler whose water-line is about three quarters of the internal height of the section, and may be unstable for a variety of reasons, out of control of the boiler manufacturer.--nbc
  • dricker dricker @ 2:43 PM
    Contact this user

    Q90 Popping

    I have had my Q90 for 12 years, during this time the most I have ever done is change out the ignitor element and cleaned out the drain on the bottom of the boiler. It sounds like I should be real thankful for the installer after reading all these posts.

    In the last couple of years, especially during the winter and temperatures on the outside ranging from below zero to in the teens, the boiler has started popping. Sometimes one larger pop and other times many series of pops. At first this happened only randomly and not very often. Now it seems to happen all the time. It seems like this only during the startup or the initial igniting of the gas. Even though this popping occurs the Q90 continues to perform heating my home and water.

    Any suggestions on what I might look at Also I contacted the guy who installed it. He called Dunkirk. the rep there suggested that i update the burner etc. Something like a 200 dollar update/upgrade.
  • Tim McElwain Tim McElwain @ 5:26 PM
    Contact this user

    It is often the case

    when the outdoor temperature goes down that the air being drawn from outside being much colder, therefore heavier it will affect the ignition of the gas air mix, as long as it ignites it should be okay. Sometimes cleaning the burner and chamber will help or replacing the burner as the factory suggested.
  • SuzyQPA2 SuzyQPA2 @ 6:15 PM
    Contact this user

    Don't purchase a Dunkirk boiler

    We bought a Dunkirk boiler from Sears (and don't buy anything like that from Sears) in 2008. Find out in 2013 that it's defective. Sears doesn't want to live up to the Warranty so we had our contractor contact the Manufacturer - their idea of living up to the Warranty is we buy a new one and they *might* credit us after we spend thousands shipping the old one back to them....
    Exceedingly crappy service and meanwhile my elderly parents are freezing day in/day out....I'm sure it's going to shorten their lifespan but Dunkirk and Sears could care less.
    I should have bought a woodstove, and i should have bought Weill Mclean - when i bought the house the Weill Mclean unit was 24 years old....still going.
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 6:26 PM
    Contact this user

    no bad boilers

    what problems were you having with that boiler? i am sure that sears is going to find the cheapest installer to put the boiler in, and not the most expert.
    remember that the installation is more important than the boiler.--nbc
  •  
Post a Reply to this Thread