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Joined on March 3, 2010

Last Post on May 6, 2012

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Leak in indirect coil?

@ May 6, 2012 2:05 PM in Leak in indirect coil?

This is on a 15 YO Burnham hot water boiler zoned with circulators and a Amtrol indirect tank.Had to go back on a call yesterday where one of our techs replaced the fill valve and relief valve to remedy a problem of the relief valve dripping. Well, it was still dumping water. I got there and checked the pressure with my gauge and found it to be right at 30psi with the water around 170* F. Relief valve dripping slightly. Lowered pressure to 15psi and Checked P 60 tank, no evidence of water logging. Anyway, I taped a digital thermometer lead to the supply and upon firing up the boiler, I noticed the temp going up to 212+ with the aquastat set at 170 with 10 differential. I thought it must be a bad aquastat, so I checked the temp in well with thermometer and I got 210, so no problem with the well. Proceeded to change the aquastat, ran the boiler through a few cycles, noted no pressure increase or overheating. Seeing that there was a Lwco installed, i shut the ball valve to the feed and left the job. Got a call back this morning that relief valve dumping again. Got there, and pressure once again at 30 PSI with water around 170. Seeing as there could be no other way for the pressure to increase that much except for excessive temperature, I diagnosed that there must be a leak in the indirect coil allowing fresh water into boiler. Talked to the original tech, and he said the original call was for loud percolating noises and that the owner didn't know the relief valve was leaking. This leads me to suspect a makeup water problem. Any ideas?? Thanks!!

switched supply and return

@ October 11, 2011 12:18 AM in switched supply and return

for a Beacon Morris toe kick heater running on a monoflow system. I was helping a friend install one on his system using the existing monoflow tees, and the original installers used the monoflows "backwards" i.e. the monoflow tee is on the supply, and the standard tee is on the return (I've seen them done both ways).  I should have studied the system a bit more before I did the job, oh well.  Is there any sort of check valve in these heaters that would cause a major problem?  This is for supplemental heat only, and we have not tested it yet because we still have more work to do on the system.  Thanks!


g-115/4 is the boiler

@ July 26, 2011 8:04 PM in riello not firing

Thanks for the replies. So, if the air band is all the way open and I'm still getting a smoky fire, something else must be up, right? Specs on the burner for the boiler were a .50 gph 70 degree hollow, but when I got there there was a .60 80 degree hollow in there, and I had problems getting fire from a 70 degree nozzle(unless it was a DOA nozzle) I put in the 80 degree and it fired right up.  I'd appreciate any settings/ measurements. Thanks


got the right one

@ July 25, 2011 10:00 PM in riello not firing

Ok, got the right drawer assembly in there, electrodes to spec.  Still would not fire.  Disconnected oil line and took oil pressure reading, that was spec too.  While I had the oil line off dumping into a bucket, I opened up the boiler door to see what kind of spark I was getting.....looked real strong but it looked like the spark was getting blown away from the tip of the nozzle.  I thought I might have a DOA nozzle, and I remembered when I first got there, there was a 80 degree nozzle instead of the spec'd 70 degree hollow nozzle.  I threw in an 80 and bingo it fired right up.  Now, I'm wondering if I had a bad nozzle or if that extra 10 degrees made the difference. 
   Something else is up with this burner/boiler because the air shutter is all the way open(like that when I got there), but I'm still getttting between a 4-5 smoke spot. I thoroughly cleaned the heat ex. and smoke pipe.  Spec'd nozzle is a .50 GPH, but it had a .60 in there so I stuck with that.  Any ideas? I was thinking maybe there was too much air, and it was blowing the spark away from the nozzle and not allowing ignition.  Can too much excess air cause high smoke? Thanks



@ July 24, 2011 11:58 AM in Inefficient compressor

I've been told not to pump down using scroll compressors. 


@ July 23, 2011 10:12 AM in riello not firing

thanks for the reply....our service manager is not too bright.  Drove 45 mins to this job, opened the box and saw the wrong part.  thought i could make it work by just using the old electrode contacts with the new nozzle holder/turbulator.  You're saying that the nozzle holder is a different length for the F5 so even if I used the old electrode porcelains it still wont make good contact?   

riello not firing

@ July 22, 2011 11:41 PM in riello not firing

Had a riello burner on a buderus G115 boiler that had a bad drawer assembly, the parts that held the screw for the turbulator were warped so the nozzle was firing into the turbulator.....burning real smoky. Replaced the nozzle and cleaned it and got it going temporarily.  So, we ordered the assembly and I drove out again to install it.  It appeared to be a different part when I opened came with a really long airtube fuel line and long electrode contacts.  No problem I thought, I just used the old electrode contacts and didn't use the airtube.  Now, I went through and really cleaned the boiler flues like usual, cleaned the smoke pipe as well, very sooty. Put new OEM nozzle on as well. Replaced the spin on filter and bled the air out, about a pint of oil, no bubbles.  Tried to fire it a few times, heard the electrodes buzzing and solenoid open, but no flame.  Bled it more, still nothing. Opened up the boiler and dried up all the unburned oil. Double checked electrode setting.  Tried to fire it again, still nothing.  Turned the oil off and took off the air tube cover to see if I could view the electrodes sparking and bam it fired up for a second then stopped due to no oil. Put things back, still nothing.  Is it possible that I have the wrong turbulator on the drawer assembly?  It looked the same as the old one.....but the old one was a bit deformed so it was hard to tell. When it fired with the air tube cover plate off I was pretty surprised.....only thing I could think of was not getting enough air, but the air shutter was open. Any suggestions are appreciated.....I have had good luck with the few riello burners I've serviced up to now so I'm a bit stumped as to how there could be no flame at all when there is oil and spark present!  Thanks!

reversing valve neutral

@ July 18, 2011 7:49 PM in reversing valve neutral

  Just had to bypass a bad control on a 20 year old York heat pump to get it to work in A/C only mode......replaced the integrated thermostat etc.  Homeowners have a newer natural gas furnace so they don't need the heat pump.  Anyway, I have the reversing valve energized through O terminal but I wasn't sure where to complete the circuit.  I have the contactor energized through high pressure switch and Y and C off the furnace control board like usual.  Can I use the C on the furnace to complete the reversing valve circuit, or will that interfere with the contactor operation?  I'm pretty sure it won't, but I just want to be sure.  Thanks.



@ June 4, 2011 10:40 PM in no 24 volts

Just like the old one. I determined that the new transformer I put in was fried due to a short in the low voltage line to the condenser. When I put another new one in, I pulled off all the 24v wires from the board and jumped out r-g and the fan started, and I was getting 24v from the transformer. Whenever I hooked the condenser control wires back up, the transformer voltage would drop to 4--5 volts and nothing would
work. This led me to believe there is a problem either with the condenser contactor, or the 24v wires. This is an older goodman AH and there is no 3A fuse on the board. I checked all the thermostat wires for shorts, none found. Anyone else have any ideas?

no 24 volts

@ June 2, 2011 6:23 PM in no 24 volts

Hi everyone-
  Had a goodman air handler with electric heat coils/evap coil go down.  Wasn't getting any control voltage out of the transformer----208>24 volts.  Had 208 going into the transformer, checked voltage at breakers and all safeties/switches.  Replaced with a brand new transformer and same thing, no 24V coming out of transformer but I noticed the transformer got warm to the touch.  Talked to the tenant on the way out, and he said he recently installed a wall mount TV near the thermostat.  Would a short in the thermostat wire cause the transformer not to give off 24V?  There is no neutral hooked up to this unit, just ground.  When I go back tomorrow, I'm going to disconnect all thermostat wires and see if I get anywhere.  Any other ideas?


pipe sizing

@ March 17, 2011 11:50 PM in Weil Mclain Ultra constant problems

on these ultra boilers, I've noticed that the supply and return pipe stubs are 1", but depending on the size of the boiler, they want you to use 1", 1 1/4" or 1 1/2" for the primary loop.  Why aren't the stubs out of the boiler the proper size as well?  Is the size of the primary loop just to provide more water for the system circs to draw off of?


good push/pull pump

@ February 27, 2011 8:37 PM in good push/pull pump

Hi-I'm looking for a good push/pull hand pump for cleaning/testing oil lines. Anyone know of a good quality one?  Does Sid Harvey's carry them? There is one a few towns away.  Thanks.

another weil mclain gold!

@ February 23, 2011 12:58 AM in another weil mclain gold!

This one won't fire on the first attempt ever, and sometimes will fire on the second attempt.  It also fails to fire at all, which is why the homeowner called...tired of resetting it.  These are the negative pressure gas valves.  Incoming pressure was 8", now when I tested the manifold pressure, it was supposed to be -.1 to -.2, but I was getting a -1.5" to -2.5" reading on my digital manometer, and it would not fire. I then noticed on the second ignition attempt, the pressure would go back to -.1 or -.2 and it would fire.  Tried that sequence a number of times, and it was consistently missing the first attempt with the higher vacuum, and then firing on the second attempt when the pressure was correct.  Got the boiler going for the night, was looking for any ideas you guys may have.  I was planning on pulling out the blower and cleaning, and having a new gas valve and ignitor on the truck.  Is it possible the burner cone is clogged?  Usually when I have seen that the pressure switch trips intermittently.  Would the cone have any effect on the gas pressure?  I would think it would cause a higher pressure (in the +) if the screen was clogged because it wouldn't be able to create the vac in the manifold but I seem to be having a higher than normal vac created which led me to believe the gas valve was the problem.  Thanks!



American 50 Gal Powerflex

@ February 7, 2011 9:17 PM in American 50 Gal Powerflex

water heater, 6 months in service. HSI ignition with flame sensor, white rodgers gas control.  This unit is intermittently going into lockout with the error code for faulty hot surface ignitor circuit. One of our other techs replaced the gas valve because he could find nothing wrong with the hsi or flame sensor, I did not find anything wrong with it either....I tested room temp resistance, continuity through HSI, continuity through the flame sensor and tested for shorts to ground.  I called tech support, they suggested replacing the HSI/flame sensor assembly which I am going to do tomorrow.  Anyone have any ideas/similar experiences with these P.O.S? We stopped selling these when they had those issues with the gas valves a while back.....must have changed 25 gas valves on the chimney vented standing pilot units all less than 1 y.o.    

Thanks tim

@ January 31, 2011 9:54 PM in aire flow

I wrote the model down, but gave it to my manager. I checked the website. We don't generally service lennox units as there are Service Experts franchises around here, but we have a few big customers(landlords) that have some lennox units. It is always tricky getting parts around here (Albany ny) sometimes we end up geting them through a competing company (at their markup). Does anyone know a good place to get wholesale parts for them? I've been to cozyparts, but their prices are pretty high.

aire flow

@ January 29, 2011 11:08 AM in aire flow

Anyone know where to get parts for these P.O.S furnaces.  A lot of the cheapo builders have put them in houses in my area (Albany/Saratoga NY) and none of the supply houses seem to have parts.  I need an inducer motor assembly.....shot after 3 years!  

good idea

@ January 11, 2011 12:03 AM in pilot light problem

 It seemed to me that the pressure was having a hard time coming back up after the burner ran for a while, and only after the burner ran for a while (over 10 minutes). Once I let it sit (build up pressure) it worked fine.  Also, I could not raise the pressure of the pilot light, and the orifice was clean.  I usually see problems like that in the morning after a cold night.....the gas meters freeze up.  Is that something the utility would deal with?  I'm near Albany NY, National Grid territory. 

pilot light problem

@ January 10, 2011 10:32 PM in pilot light problem

Hi everyone-was on a call earlier today where the pilot would not stay lit. Unit was an older Utica boiler with the pilot burner in the center of 2 burners.  The pilot burner has a left and right outlet...the right side hits the thermocouple, and the left hits the main burner. Seems to be a bad design, as it is hard to get it to hit the thermocouple due to the flame wanting to lift.  After testing the thermocouple and cleaning the orifice, I replaced the gas valve (honeywell 24V) and everything seemed good to go.  Tested ignition 3 or 4 times, then let the boiler heat up to 180F.  Right when the main flame went out, the pilot was still lit, but it got very small to the point where it would not hold the valve open and the pilot went out.  After cooling down for a few minutes, I lit the pilot again and it was a good steady flame, enough to hold the valve open. I Tried to adjust the pilot to get a bit more flame, but was unable to get the flame to grow much.  I then tested the manifold in/out pressure, and everything was within tolerance (3.5", 8.5").  It would appear to me that the gas valve I put in is defective, as it is not letting the pilot gas through fast enough when it closes the main valve.  My other thought was that the pilot burner might be constricting when it heats up, then opening as it cools off, but I doubt it.  The plan for tomorrow is to try another pilot burner quick, and then try another gas valve.  Anyone have any other ideas?  Thanks!


way off

@ December 31, 2010 3:56 PM in Major problems since new boiler install single pipe steam. Need recommendation for plumber. PLEASE!

Wow, it look like whoever did that does not know anything about piping a steam boiler.  It also appears that he does not own a pipe threader due to amount of couplings he used.  This is minor, but there should be more boiler drains installed so that you can flush the system periodically, especially on the return line.  In addition to referencing the manual, here is a link to a site with some steam piping basics so you can educate yourself! He probably did not skim the boiler, so there is oil and other crud in the water....not good for a steam system. I hope you can work something out with the original installer, but I think your best bet would be to hire someone who knows steam so it will be fixed the first time.

fenwal 05-21 HSI ignition flame sense

@ December 21, 2010 7:32 PM in fenwal 05-21 HSI ignition flame sense

Tim-Was on a call on one of these boilers, ended up being a bad pressure switch as the boiler got hot, but at first I thought it was a flame sense issue.  The way the flame sensor is hooked into the wiring with a T tap connector threw me a bit and I'm wondering how this particular control senses the flame since the flame sensor is tied into the neutral of the ignitor leads.  Does the control send voltage back through the neutral somehow, or does the ignitor itself do anything in the process?  I know there are some that sense through the ignitor. thanks again.


@ December 21, 2010 7:21 PM in Heat Pump problem?

for the info Tom, its helping to fill in the gaps in my knowledge.  Another question, and probably one I should have asked first, is what are the design temperatures for the 2 coils in a heat pump, lets assume standard efficiency.  I know in A/C the evaporator is around 30-35F below the return air, and the condenser is 25-30F above the outdoor air passing through it.  It would seem to me if the outdoor coil were to be that far below the outdoor ambient, it would absorb quite a bit of heat from say 25F air, but I would think it would frost up rather quickly and be spending a lot of time in defrost, but I'm not sure.
Thanks again!



@ December 15, 2010 12:14 AM in Heat Pump problem?

for the replies. The client decided he didn't want to fix the heat pump as it only heats an entrance area of a commercial building, so he is leaving it on emergency heat for now.  I'm sure he'll call when he gets his electric bill. In the meantime, I'm trying to learn all I can about heat pumps, I've got my Modern Refrigeration and A/C book out, and I understand the mechanical end of things, but need some help on the application.  Are there any good books....maybe titled "heat pumps for the A/C technician?" ; )
    Anyway, sorry for my confusing description. To clarify: Indoor temp was 65F, outdoor temp 36F.  The compressor discharge line temp after the service valve was 136F, and the liquid line temp (before the piston/service valve) was 76F.  Pressure readings were 55PSI (30F) on the low side (Carrier, so after the piston) and 168PSI (90F) on the
high side. First thing I checked was airflow, cleaned the filters and checked the indoor coil, all clean.  Took static pressure readings, airflow is fine....around .4" and 1172 CFM on a 3 ton system.  I didn't do a temperature rise calculation though.  Also, the defrost mode is working fine, all frost is cleared from the coils when it runs. It is set at
30 minute defrost intervals.  From the looks of the unit, I thought the piston would have been right before the distributor.  This explains why the frost began right at the service valve, and the pressure was so low.  Is there a way to check the pressure right before the outside piston?  What is the function of the 3rd schrader service valve?  It looked like it was connected to the suction line near the accumulator. 
    I know the refrigerant has to be below the outside temperature to absorb the heat from the air, so if the air is 36F, that means the refrigerant passing though the piston will have to be saturated below freezing, and then gain some heat/ superheat as it moves through the outdoor coil before heading to the compressor. What would be ballpark readings for these temps?  If the refrigerant has to be that cold entering the piston/outdoor coil, how could it not freeze up right away? I'm used to A/C where any frost or ice is a bad thing.  Since the liquid line has to be well below ambient, is it normal, depending on the outside temp, for the liquid line to be frosted before it heads through the coil where it will absorb heat?  Like you pointed out, the temperature leaving the outside coil after the heat absorption seems more important.   Since I had 168PSI high side pressure, and a 76F liquid line temp, would that put my subcooling around 14F or am I calculating this the wrong way?
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