Starting gas-fired steam boiler

Old 10-10-04, 11:05 AM
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Starting gas-fired steam boiler

A friend asked me for help in getting the furnace started for the first time this season. A deceased elderly relative used to do this, he was unfamiliar with it. The thermostat was turned up to 75 (more than warm enough to fire the burners) and the pilot light was lit - nothing happened. It is a 50 + year old unit converted from coal burning. His relative had been using it last season with no problem. I looked for a switch that might turn the themostat on and off for the season. The only possible switch for this I found was in the on position. I found something which was marked in faded letters as the(manual) gas control valve. I pushed up a lever on this and the burner came on for about 30 seconds and then kicked out. I did this several times with the same result. Opening up this unit I could see a gear wheel engage something and turn around a revolution before the burner would conk out. The thermostat setting had no effect and would not trigger the burners on even for a second. Might the problem be the thermostat, the burner control, or maybe both? Is there some trick for starting this thing we may be missing or does it need repair? What are some likely causes for the failure. Thanks for any help.
Old 10-10-04, 04:40 PM
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The most likely reason is that the boiler is low on water. Make sure you can see the water level about in the center of the gauge glass. If it is low, you will have to figure out how to add water. Don't raise the level past the middle of the gauge glass. When it gets to the minimum level, the burner should start.

Old 10-10-04, 07:03 PM
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Starting gas-fired steam boiler

Thanks Ken. As I recall the site glass looked clouded so I hope I can gauge the water level.

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