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Joined on May 24, 2012

Last Post on March 10, 2014

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I believe the thermostats could be wired wrong

@ March 10, 2014 4:31 PM in Is this fixable?

as a possible cause of this.  I've seen where two thermostats were wired to the same two zone valves, so if either thermostat called for heat, both zone valves would open.  The third zone was wired properly and opened only when it was supposed to.  Correcting the wiring problem at the zone valves fixed the problem.

Is the ash shaken down?

@ February 28, 2014 2:02 PM in coal furnace burning out in back

We've been burning coal during the coldest weeks of every winter since the late 80s as a supplement to our oil fired boiler.  When that's happened to us, it's usually because when the ash is shaken down, the ash doesn't evenly fall into the bin, leaving a thick layer on the grate near the front or back edge (or both). 

This occurs especially after a few weeks, when there may be more clinkers that don't fall through the grates when the ash is shaken.  This, because it seems to burn a little cooler near the firebrick.  Then when you add more coal, there's less to burn in these areas, since it's sitting on the top of ash, so it burns out sooner than that in the middle.

I've used a long thin piece of steel with a notch cut near the end to reach underneath and through the grate to loosen the ash and cause it to fall through into the bin when this starts to occur.  Otherwise, I have to let it burn out and clean it, then restart it again, which is a pain in the ars.

That's been our experience, with a coal stove insert, and a free standing Vermont Castings stove.

Honeywell Zone Valve failure. Hydronic oil fired boiler

@ January 7, 2014 7:38 PM in Honeywell Zone Valve failure. Hydronic oil fired boiler

Thank you for your fast replies. 

The only numbers stamped on the zone valves are 9214, which,if it is a date code would indicate 1992, wouldn't it, because 2014 hadn't occured when the new boiler was installed in 2012.  The second zone valve had the numbers F6-9402, which if is a date code would indicate 1994.  The third zone valve, which I installed in 1999, has the number F3-9941.

I wrote the zone information in felt tip pen on the top cover part of the head assembly.  This part is attached to the head assembly and is not part of the removable cover.  The removable covers did indeed look new.  But they did not match the dusty stained look of the actual valve assembly itself.  The failure was in the gear shaft that connects a gear to the valve lever. (the shaft bearing that connects to the valve itself)

I did purchase the entire valve assembly.  But, only used the head and motor assembly because I didn't want to unbolt the valve ball part because this would entail draining the system.  I found the cost difference between just the valve head and the entire complete valve was only different by about five dollars, so I purchased the entire valve.  This way I have the part I didn'nt use for future use.

Honeywell Zone Valve failure. Hydronic oil fired boiler

@ January 7, 2014 6:51 PM in Honeywell Zone Valve failure. Hydronic oil fired boiler

The about two weeks ago, we came back from being out for the day and found the house was 80 degrees.  After checking the thermostat to see that it wasn't the cause, I found that the Honeywell V8043 zone valve was stuck in the open position.  With a screwdriver and force I was able to start moving the valve so it would at least move.

Since I'd read that the motors were commonly the reason for failure, I replaced the motor from one of the zones that is unused at the moment (thanks to a coal stove).  The motor didn't help because the resistance to move was too high, so I switched out the whole gearbox head assembly from that unused zone and reinstalled it's motor.  That fixed the problem long enough to order and receive a new valve from Amazon.  It's head has been installed on the failed location.

It seems that the company that installed our Weil McLain WTGO boiler during the summer of 2012 reinstalled the old zone valves that were taken off the 17 year old boiler.  These three Honeywell V8043 valves were supposed to be new according to the contract we and they signed.

I noticed they used the old zone valves and placed sparking new covers on them, because after the original boiler was installed in 1995 with two zones, I installed a third zone in the basement to prevent freezing pipes if it should get cold enough.  When I did this, I marked the top of the valves with a zone number in my handwriting, except, on one, I made a mistake and crossed it out and wrote it again.  This, because they were near the ceiling and were hard to write on.

So, when I removed the failed zone valve, there was my handwriting on it.  I had to use a mirror to check the others, because they were installed even closer to the ceiling on the new boiler.

My question is, does the ball valve inside the valve fitting wear out as well?  It appears to be a round plug covered in rubber that opens and closes.  The seal is not leaking at this time and currently the valve is working.  But, if it's near failure, too, I'd just as well replace that part of it, too, since I did receive that part when I ordered the new one.

I don't want this company to come near our boiler.  There were other issues that were red flags, too, such as installation of obviously old used shutoff valves, and failure to set up the burner after installing it.  Assemble it… see if it starts… it does… clean up and go home.  I had to call them back to adjust the efficiency and check co, co2, smoke, etc.  They told me the manufacturer knows best how to set them up, and they usually don't need any adjustment.

I just want it to be reliable.  I'm already going to change out the heads on the  other zone valves.  But, I just wonder if it's really necessary to change the ball valve part, too, which will require draining the system.  Other than the failed zone valve, it's worked well for the year and a half it's been running.


@ November 18, 2013 9:15 AM in One Thermostat To Heat With Heat Pump or Boiler?

I have thought of cobbling something together like that.  I love tinkering with electronics, and have ever since building my first Heathkit Stereo Amp back in the mid 60's (that I still use, by the way).  But, I would prefer finding a controller/thermostat that's already designed and tested.  Also, I'd rather have one controller on each floor (zone), than two connected together with a third small box for the switching circuits between them.

I'll be writing  an email to, or calling our local Daikin supplier first, to see what they say, and see if their new ENVI controller would work for what I want it to do.  The Daikin outside unit already has temperature sensors designed into the system.  If their unit will work, that's the route I'll take.

That could work

@ November 16, 2013 12:03 PM in One Thermostat To Heat With Heat Pump or Boiler?

Thanks for your comment.  I've looked at tying two thermostats together with an outside thermometer like that.  I'd have to have it switch between the two depending on the outside temperature.

I've found that Daikin makes a thermostat called the ENVI that could switch off the Heat Pump at a designated outside temperature, and close an AUX switch within that thermostat.  From this I could probably have a regular thermostat that would only get power when the AUX switch closes for the oil boiler.  I'm trying to determine if that AUX connector within the ENVI simply closes at the specified outside temperature, or it it also opens and closes based on the inside temperature set.  If it does, I could just have it control the 24 volt zone valve on the oil fired boiler.

I guess I'll be contacting Daikin for some answers on their ENVI thermostat.

One Thermostat To Heat With Heat Pump or Boiler?

@ November 14, 2013 12:07 PM in One Thermostat To Heat With Heat Pump or Boiler?

My question is whether there is any thermostat or controller that I could connect both my Daikin Heat Pump (3MXS24JVJU) and oil fired boiler to that would choose one or the other based on outside temperature.

We have a two zone hydronic baseboard oil fired boiler that uses the standard Honeywell 24v zone valves.  The Daikin has two wall units within one zone, and a third wall unit in the second zone. (1400 sq/ft cape)

We'd like a controller that would switch, within each zone, from the heat pump at between 20 to 25 degrees F outside temperature, over to the oil fired heat when it get's below that.  If the outside temperature rises above 25 degrees F, it would switch back to the heat pump.

We already do this manually and have saved a bundle of money over strictly heating with oil.  Usually, though, by mid December, January and February, we just go with oil only.  But, here in CT, even in January, the temperature often rises above 25, and could save even more if it would automatically switch between both systems.  A true hybrid heating system.

firebox cleanout

@ May 29, 2012 4:37 PM in Possible Leak in Residential Boiler

As a follow-up to this issue, I did talk to the owner of the company.  He stated they don't routinely clean out the firebox unless it's full.  And then, they don't like to take the bolted firebox plate off because it can be difficult to place back on without damage.  He said they can usually clean it out through the viewing port, or by removing the burner flame tube if it's necessary.

Still not sure if this boiler needs replacing.  It still hasn't lost pressure for almost two weeks now with the feed water valve turned off.  The red powder is definitely rust because it globs onto a magnet, and it (the red powder) is still puffing slightly out around the stack connection when it starts up.  So, it's still blowing around in there.

I'll be having someone else out to look at it for a second opinion.

inability to communicate

@ May 29, 2012 11:40 AM in Is profanity necessary in order

To me it doesn't "demonstrate their passion and commitment."  It just shows someone who is unable to communicate very well and lack of higher learning.  I'm surprised it would be tolerated in positions of authority.  They would quickly lose credibility with me.

some pictures of the red stuff

@ May 25, 2012 2:48 PM in Possible Leak in Residential Boiler

Thank you.  I was wondering if anyone would be able to chip that cement stuff off in a year or so.

I've got a few (not very good) pictures that may show some of what I've been trying to describe.  The first is taken through the viewing port while the boiler is firing, so it's hard to really determine the color.  That red crusty stuff is what is coming down that one side of the boiler on the side where the tankless water heater is.  The other side of the firebox looks like the back... fairly clean.  The second picture is taken with a flashlight and mirror, mostly so the real color can be determined.  The red powder is also seen on the second photo just inside the viewing door, on top of the insulation.  It sticks to a magnet.  You can also see some of the white staining in the second photo also.

Yes, I tried calling the owner of the company this morning.  He's gone for the weekend, so it will be next week when I bring my concerns to him.

Edited to add details.

That's the Stuff

@ May 25, 2012 8:01 AM in Possible Leak in Residential Boiler

That's the stuff.  That red residue is what it looks like inside my boiler.  I was wondering if the red could be from the dye.  The technician was sure it came from a leak, but couldn't show me any evidence of a leak.  So, I've been looking for one ever since.  There is extra red residue going down one side in mine, which I still should make sure isn't rust from a leak.

Now it looks like I need to have the cleaning completed since there is lots of red rubble in the bottom of the firebox.  All of what was brushed from the boiler fell to the bottom and it can be seen through the viewing port.  After this experience I will certainly be finding a new burner servicing company. This company is one of the largest in this area, and since I've been a customer for many years (18) I will be speaking with the owner of the company about this recent cleaning.

I also wondered if that cement that turns rock hard that was used when he put the boiler cover/flue collar back on will allow it to be removed when the boiler needs cleaning again next year.  It was smeared thickly around the entire connection, even though the cover fit back into the slots without problem.

I thank you icesailor for the comments and the pictures and also steve for your comments.  I will keep watching this boiler to be sure there are no leaks or other problems.  I certainly have learned a lot so far about my boiler.  I still will have another company to inspect it, just to be sure everything is functioning properly and there isn't some kind of leak.

Possible Leak

@ May 24, 2012 5:17 PM in Possible Leak in Residential Boiler

Thank you for your response.

The flue pipe had a thin layer of black soot. Although, there were signs that water could have come down the chimney at some point because there was some rust stains coming from a joint.  This has galvanized steel pipe connections to a stainless steel chimney that goes up the center of the house, and has a good cap.

The combustion results were as follows:
Net Stack Temperature 400º
Gross Stack Temp. 490º
CO2 12%
Breech Draft .04
Smoke 0
Efficiency 83 3/4%

He only cleaned from the top.  Removed the stack connector piping, and stack collar, and brushed it out, and vacuumed from the top.  He also cleaned or replaced screens, replaced the nozzle, and replaced the oil tank filter canister.  But, when reattaching the stack collar, he smeared the connection with the top of the boiler with this hard chimney paste, rather than just bolt it down like usual.  Does that stuff chip off easily?  Don't know why he used that, since, to me it seemed to fit into the slots OK.

He did not open the front of the firebox.  It has four bolts holding it on. Nor was access gained from through the flame tube.  Only once during an annual cleaning with this company with many different technicians over the years, was the interior of the firebox cleaned out.  And that was through the burner tube area that was removed.

Since I've been investigating this condition, Ive learned a lot.  I do plan on having the boiler inspected, certainly through a different company, with the firebox cover removed.  If a licensed contractor is in this area, please PM me with contact info.

I live in Plymouth, CT

Possible Leak in Residential Boiler

@ May 24, 2012 11:51 AM in Possible Leak in Residential Boiler

This is a general question about a possible leak in our residential boiler.

We have an oil fired Slant Fin Liberty L-30-PT with tankless coil that was installed around 1994.  We just had the boiler's annual cleaning done, and the service technician thought there may be a leak in the boiler and suggested replacing it.  This, because he noticed fine red (rust colored) powder that had "puffed" out of the stack where it connects to the flue collar on the top of the boiler.  He didn't remove the front of the firebox, where it would have been easier to see an internal leaking problem.

There is no obvious visible water leaking from the boiler.  After he left, I took a flashlight and mirror and looked into the firebox through the observation port.  There is some white scaling under a lot of fine, dust like, rust powder especially on one side of the firebox near the tankless water heater area. There is crusted rust with small white staining on the cast boiler directly above where the flame shoots out.

Inside the firebox in general, has a fine covering of this rust colored powder, mostly on the side nearest the tankless water heater area, where about 1/8 inch of dry, rust colored debris looks like its running down that side of the firebox.  This fine powder does stick to a magnet.

The boiler doesn't seem to lose pressure because I've turned off the water feed to see if it reduces over a few days.  Over a couple days it has not. It doesn't appear to be leaking currently, but has apparently leaked in the recent past. I have not noticed any staining or water on the floor.

I've never noticed this red staining in the firebox before.  I do check the flame and cleanliness of the firebox throughout the year.  Is this a likely sign the boiler may intermittently leaking and need to be replaced?  Is rust colored dust normal inside a boiler's firebox?  I've tried taking a few pictures through the viewing port but they only will show very small areas.

I'm now considering calling in a different company to fully inspect this boiler to see if it actually needs replacement.

Any comments would be appreciated.  Thanks