Oil Fired Furnace Hot Water BB Dom. Coil


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Old 01-21-07, 09:06 AM
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Oil Fired Furnace Hot Water BB Dom. Coil

I'm a first time poster to this site and found it searching around for answers.

I'm pretty handy but when it comes to this furnace I don't know everything and I'm running out of ideas.

I have a Columbian Boiler. Came with my house and is probably around 35-40 years old.

It was originally a one zone system but we converted it to a two zone to utilize our upstairs which was originally electric baseboard.

The system has worked very well for the past 10 years since the conversion until as of late. I have hot water in the house. I have proper heat in the upstairs zone. However, I don't have consistant heat in the downstairs.

About 3 weeks ago I started noticing a smell in the house especially when my daughter takes her shower. The smell of cooking anti-freeze coming from my boiler room. This only occurs when the shower is working (I'm thinking when the hot water demand is being met as well as the house trying to generate heat for the 2 zones.) The furnace is set to provide hot water first and foremost and than heat.

The downstairs circulator (Taco 007) started making strange whining noises. I figured the circulator was going so I replaced it with a new one. Still no heat downstairs. I than thought that the downstairs Honeywell Merc. Thermostat was on the fritz as it was 40 years old also. Replaced it with a programmable digital Honeywell and it seems to be working fine.

Now I'm starting to get noise out of the new 007. When I check the boiler, I find that the boiler temp is 180 degrees. The boiler pressure is only 2 psi (and that's assuming that the gauge isn't a bit off).

I also noticed as of late that the baseboard sounds like it had alot of air in the system. I bled the upstairs and literally had the bleeder pushing out air for about 10-15 seconds before pushing out fluid.

A few other bits of info. The low pressure regulator for the water feed into the system is reading very high. Usually anywhere between 20psi - 40psi which is entirely to high. I have tried turning the screw on the top of the regulator counter clockwise to get the pressure down but it doesn't seem to respond. The reg. is only 10 years old and was replaced during the installation of the new zone.

There is also an extrol tank mounted underneath an American Air Purger. The air purger has a tiny cylinder on top with a bicycle valve relief on it. That is pumping out water when the valve is depressed.

My biggest concern is that one of the coils inside the boiler is cracked and leaking. But again, I'm not an expert. I may be in the market for a new boiler shortly but would like to exercise all possible solutions before taking the plunge.

I called a heating company locally and they sent a younger guy over to look at it and he didn't see anything wrong. At least they didn't charge me for stopping by. Something is wrong. I hope someone can offer some solutions.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 01-21-07, 03:57 PM
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Boiler Pressure

An easy way to check the pressure on the system is to use a tire gauge on the bottom of the extrol tank. It will read the higher of the system pressure or the air pressure in the tank (normally 12#). If your tire gauge shows, for example, 25#, you need to shut off the feed water to the system & drain some water. Pictures of the boiler & nearby piping are always a help. You can post them on photobucket or other photo hosting site & provide a link here.
 
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Old 01-21-07, 06:43 PM
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Thanks Grady, I'll get some pic's posted. I have a friend who installs boilers whose going to stop over and look at it also, just like having feedback from more than one source.

Mike
 
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Old 01-21-07, 07:21 PM
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>>Limabee said:

... The boiler pressure is only 2 psi ...

...The low pressure regulator for the water feed into the system is reading very high. Usually anywhere between 20psi - 40psi which is entirely to high...

I'm confused. The boiler is WAY low (if as you say the gauge is correct),
but where are you reading the 20-40 pressure ?
 
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Old 01-22-07, 06:57 AM
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The water inlet flow regulator, just after this we installed a pressure gauge to determine the psi for the incoming water inlet.
 
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Old 01-22-07, 03:19 PM
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Sorry Mike, still confused.

If you placed a pressure gauge UPSTREAM of the regulator, it would be reading city water pressure. DOWNSTREAM it should read roughly the same as your boiler gauge.

20-40 is not too high for city water pressure. In fact it's probably quite low.

If you are on well water, depending on your well, 20-40 could be right, but if it's a modern well (submersible) it's probably low as well.

Jeff
 
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Old 01-23-07, 02:51 AM
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Cool Circulator noise

Circulators usually only make a lot of noise when they are air bound (unless they are the old type that has a coupling in them). This is not healthy for the circulator. Might need to purge the loop. Pictures would be nice. If you want to verify the pressure gauge, you can pick up a Watts brand gauge at home depot that has a female hose connection and it will also tell you if the pressure has spiked at any time. You will find it near the water heater installation kits. Put it on the purge valve. Do you have antifreeze in your system? Have you checked for leaks? When was it last tested for pH/effectiveness?
 
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Old 01-25-07, 05:59 AM
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Ok, new updates. I just had a Heating and Cooling group come in yesterday to look at my system.

They replaced the Filtrol Fill Valve, Replaced a coin vent bleeder and added 1/2 gallon of glycol.

When they added just a bit of the glycol the pressure shot up and maintained at 12lbs. Heating was working great downstairs until around 9pm last night I noticed it was getting cooler. Boiler pressure dropped to 2psi and maintains 2psi till now.

My house is on a slab and they are thinking that perhaps a heating pipe under the slab developed a leak as we can see no signs of leakage. They want to isolate the downstairs zone, pump it up with liquid and see if it loses pressure.

On a side note, when hot water for shower or dishes or laundry is used for a long period of time, the furnace area develops an anti-freeze odor. Yet I cannot find any signs of leakage or where the source of the smell is coming from. I smelled at the chimney pipe going out while the furnace was running.. nothing. I smelled at the peep window for the fire itself with it open and running and no odor from there either.

It seems like there is a leak but I just can't track it down. Pictures of the 2 circulators as well as supply line pictures are at my yahoo360 at the following link:

http://new.photos.yahoo.com/limabee69/album/576460762386868097

The picture of the circulators, the left is the down stairs zone and the right is the upstairs zone.

The supply line picture shows the "T" coming out of the boiler going to the upstairs zone. After that is a flow check, which than follows into the next picture with is the well extrol tank, the new "T" valve they replaced. It doesn't feel like the fluid is passing the flow check. But the repairman said that it's because there is no pressure.

What is truly baffling the repairman is that the upstairs zone works fine. It would almost have to be the opposite but it's not. I have a nice warm 70 degrees in the bedrooms upstairs.

They won't be back until tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm going out to by electric heaters to keep the downstairs from freezing.

Thanks for any feedback.

Mike
 
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Old 01-25-07, 07:45 AM
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Any chance that the leak is *inside* the boiler?
 
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Old 01-25-07, 10:43 AM
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Update:

I believe I found the leak. The boiler drain/fill valve petcock is leaking heavily around the packing nut. The valve is old and is going to be replaced this afternoon.

Not sure if this explains the reason why I have heat upstairs and none downstairs..

Mike
 
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Old 01-25-07, 11:18 AM
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Well once you can maintain steady pressure, things should be as they were. Was it all fine beforehand?
 
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Old 01-25-07, 02:46 PM
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Yep. We replaced the boiler drain valve with a new one and refilled the entire system. System is currently running at 12-13psi and heating both zones. Spent about an hour pressure bleeding the air out of the system, there was quite a bit.

Already getting an estimate to replace this relic.

Let's pray that it continues as the weather is getting super cold.

Mike
 
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Old 01-25-07, 03:16 PM
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Good stuff!

What kind of fuel do you use?
 
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Old 01-26-07, 02:03 PM
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I have an enclosed outside 275 gallon vertical oil tank. I haven't put kero in it for a # of years (mainly because of the cost differentials, 50 cents more per gallon). But I add a bottle of Atomic Heat during the winter with ever fill up for the antigel factors.

Another nice thing the outfit did is they fixed it so that I can pressurize my boiler in less than 20 seconds. On the cold water line coming in I have a valve that fits a hose. I have a hose connected to it and into the boiler fill valve (that was just replaced. To pressurize the system all I have to do is open both valves and the cold water pressurizes the system.

I did it once after they left bringing the psi from around 12/13 psi up to about 18psi. It's currently running now for almost 24 hrs maintaining 16psi.

The preliminary quote I'm getting from them to replace my furnace with a Weil McClane or another type is around 2500 - 3000. Installed. Not to bad really. Any thoughts?

Mike
 
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Old 01-26-07, 02:20 PM
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It would be far better for you to get 5 references from the heating contractor and ask those people lots of questions. Never expect to get more than you pay for.
 
 

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