Circulator Pump Won't Kick In?!?!?!?!?!?


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Old 03-19-07, 08:00 AM
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Circulator Pump Won't Kick In?!?!?!?!?!?

I have a Weil-McLain Oil Fired Boiler, approx. 17 years old. Just had furnace serviced a month and a half ago. About 1 1/2 years ago, our radiant heat went and I replaced it with hot water base board... has worked great since then. My latest problem seems to be the circulator pump. We noticed that the house was getting pretty cold, furnace is kicking in to heat the water (we have a coil) but is not going through the base boards.

I took a look, I took the wires off the circulator pump and tested them with the thermostat turned all the way up. Sometimes I have power to the circulator pump and sometimes I don't. When I put a test light on the wires to the pump, sometimes the light is really bright and other times it's really dim. This started on Friday and I took the box off( to the right side front, that goes into the domestic hot water), it has a three dials on it.. high, low and dif. I took the box off to check and see if there were any loose wires and then put it back on. I noticed when I turned the dial for the "high", the heater kicks on. When I turn the "low" one, I'll get power to the circulator pump, the test light shows I have power but the light is very dim. If I turn the dial down and up, I can hear it click and the light gets brighter but, then when I go to hook the wires back on the circulator pump, it gets dim again or no power.
Am I supposed to adjust the dials, and if so what to? What are they used for and what do the settings mean?
After fiddling around with it on Friday, it worked fine until last night. We woke up to a cold house again. Redid everything I jsut mentioned and for the moment, it's working again. Want to get it fixed permanantly though.
Have ruled out that this is not a thermostat problem. The circulator pump does work and run. To me I think whatever turns the pump on and off is the problem.. not sure. If so, what is the part I would need?

Thanks for all your help in advance!!!
Bob
 
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Old 03-19-07, 05:36 PM
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You sound prety edept at what you are trying to look for. I'm almost surprised you haven't figured it out yourself. You can't see where the wires are coming from that are before the circulator pump? Do you have a wiring diagram, like on the inside of the front panel inside? Do you have one zone or more zones? If more than one, have you tested the stat function in every zone? Is this unit a combo house heat and dometstic water type boiler?
 
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Old 03-19-07, 06:19 PM
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Circulator Problem

Instead of using a test light, you need to be using a voltmeter. The box with the dials in it is the aquastat. As a general rule, set the low at 160, the high at 180, & the diff at 15. With the boiler up to temperature, turn up the thermostat to call for heat, you should get 120 volts between terminals C-1 & C-2 (or C-1 & L-2 if there is no C-2 terminal). If you do get 120 volts, the circulator should run. If it does not, check for 120 volts on the wires in the circulator junction box.
 
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Old 03-19-07, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Grady
Instead of using a test light, you need to be using a voltmeter. The box with the dials in it is the aquastat. As a general rule, set the low at 160, the high at 180, & the diff at 15. With the boiler up to temperature, turn up the thermostat to call for heat, you should get 120 volts between terminals C-1 & C-2 (or C-1 & L-2 if there is no C-2 terminal). If you do get 120 volts, the circulator should run. If it does not, check for 120 volts on the wires in the circulator junction box.
Okay, followed your advice to a tee! The settings that were on the "aquastat" were- low 140, high 170, and the dif at 20. Changed them to what you recommended, turned up the thermostat and checked with the voltmeter. The reading I got was 118.4... Is this an acceptable reading and if so, what next?!
Ever since I fooled aroung with this darn thing this morning, it's worked fine. Same as Friday when it first happened. Will see is these settings make any difference. If I wake up with the same problem, what should I check next?!
Also, in response to the other person who wrote in... There is only one zone and yes, this unit is a combo house heat and domestic hot water boiler.

Thanks so much for your help so far!!!

Bob
 
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Old 03-19-07, 07:59 PM
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Checking

Good job with the voltmeter. Yes the 118 volts is fine. Like anything else, it is going to be hard to fix when it isn't broke. If it fails in the morning, check the voltages again. If voltages are still present at the aquastat terminals & at the circulator, we have to presume a bad circ. Keep me posted on your progress. That "dim" test light kind of makes me think there might be a loose neutral somewhere. Make sure all wire nuts are tight by tugging on each wire going into the nut. Also check connections in the aquastat.
 
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Old 03-19-07, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Grady
Good job with the voltmeter. Yes the 118 volts is fine. Like anything else, it is going to be hard to fix when it isn't broke. If it fails in the morning, check the voltages again. If voltages are still present at the aquastat terminals & at the circulator, we have to presume a bad circ. Keep me posted on your progress. That "dim" test light kind of makes me think there might be a loose neutral somewhere. Make sure all wire nuts are tight by tugging on each wire going into the nut. Also check connections in the aquastat.
Will check for any loose connections now, then hit the sack while it's still warm in here! Let ya know how I made it through the ngiht tomorrow!!
Again, thanks for all your help!!! Keep your fingers crossed!!! LOL

Bob
 
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Old 03-19-07, 08:07 PM
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Fordman

Sleep well. I'm headed there very soon myself. Arms, fingers, legs, toes, & eyes all crossed.
 
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Old 03-20-07, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Grady
Sleep well. I'm headed there very soon myself. Arms, fingers, legs, toes, & eyes all crossed.
Well here's the update!! We woke up to a cold house again!!! Tested the C1 & C2 wires again, was no power this time.. with the thermostat turned all teh way up. After some fiddling around I happened to notice a spark behind the box where the dials are... Took that apart and noticed that, what I think is a solenoid, the solder had come loose. Resoldered it and now all seems to b e fine. Guess we'll find out in the morning huh? Seems to like to go, during the night!!! So cross those body parts again!! Will keep you posted!!!

Thanks,
Bob
 
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Old 03-20-07, 07:06 PM
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Bad solder joint

No need to cross said body parts. You got 'er. Bad solder joints are not at all unusual & easy to fix for anyone with any electrical soldering skill. Before the lawyers got so greedy we used to make such repairs all the time but now the customer has to pay for a new aquastat.
 
 

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