Having trouble... hydronic system burner keeps running

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Old 12-11-07, 03:18 PM
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Having trouble... hydronic system burner keeps running

Folks,

We have an old Burnham gas boiler and baseboard heat to three zones of our tri-level house. The boiler is on the lowest level. The system is around 25 years old, as is the house.

It has been very cold here in WV lately and the system was running perfectly. However, it warmed up near 60 today, and although my thermostats (I replaced the old mercury system with Honeywell programables two years ago) show that there is "zero" energy usage today, the burner lights up, runs for a couple minutes then shuts down. It will repeat this every ten minutes or so, and it is over 80 in my lower level (usually stays 62-65). I went so far as to turn the heat "off" on the two thermostats, but it is still doing this. The baseboard radiators on level 2 and 3 are cold, but the ones on level one are hot as can be. Usually, these don't even get warm when we are running the heat. I'm confused.

I haven't had any problems with this system since we bought the house in Jan 05, but I know NOTHING about this kind of system, or why it's running on a day like today, or why it's running after I shut off the thermostats!
 
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Old 12-11-07, 03:33 PM
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It sounds as though there may be a zone valve or the aquastat on the boiler 'sticking' in the on position.

Can you tell us a bit more about the system ? Is it using zone valves for the zoning ? what type ?

What model burnham boiler ?
 
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Old 12-11-07, 04:24 PM
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I'll answer the best I can.

The boiler model is P5-w-22AN. There are three zones, each has a shut off valve. The main level of the house (level 2) and the upstairs (level 3) supply lines have electronic valves right behind the manual shut off valves. The basement level (1) has no electronic valve.

The electronic valves don't have much on them, but do say V8043F 1036, followed by some voltage ratings.
 
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Old 12-11-07, 05:20 PM
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The basement zone is the one without the electric valve, and that's the one that's getting hot as hades...

The two upper zones with the electric valves are OK heatwise, right ?

That tells me that the zone valves are closing... but, there still could be a sticking 'end switch' in the electric zone valve.

It could also be the aquastat on the boiler sticking too.

On the boiler, there should be a gray box, about 5" x 7" and most likely says HONEYWELL on it. Try 'knocking' on that box and see if the boiler shuts off. If the relay inside that is stuck, it might open. If this is the case, don't declare it 'fixed' yet, as it will probably stick again.

Do you want to try and troubleshoot this yourself ? or would you feel more comfortable calling a tech ?
 
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Old 12-11-07, 05:25 PM
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You are correct re: the temps on different levels.

I am willing to do some basic troubleshooting prior to calling a tech. I don't own a voltmeter or anything, though.

I knocked on the aquastat (5 x 7 grey box on the boiler) and will see if the boiler stays off for a while.

Will check back in later in the evening and tell y'all what's going on.
 
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Old 12-11-07, 07:27 PM
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Well, it appears that whanging on the aquastat was just the ticket, at least in the short term!

The boiler is off and cooled down, and the temps on that level have dropped down to a much more palatable 75.

So where do I go from here? Do I need a new aquastat? I'm fixing to leave for almost 2 weeks for christmas... don't really want the furnace running away with itself while I'm gone... I'd planned to turn it down to 60 while we were away.
 
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Old 12-12-07, 02:31 PM
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The thing is, it might never stick again... but chances are that it will, and it will happen at the worst possible time.

Depending on the aquastat, the part might cost $150 or so, but if a tech does the work, you will probably pay a bit more in markup. Figure an hour labor tops... might be cheap insurance!

If you have any good neighbors who could stop by while you were away, you might have some peace of mind too...
 
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