Weil-McLain WTGO-4 not firing.


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Old 09-25-08, 01:18 AM
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Weil-McLain WTGO-4 not firing.

I'm brand new to boilers. I have a Weil-McLain WTGO-4 boiler and when it tries to fire, if runs for about 5 seconds and quits.

Also, we just moved into this house last Feb. and our fuel bill was huge. We have thought about going to an on-demand system, maybe a Toyo 180 that will run hydronic and on-demand water. I spoke with the guy who installed this system several years ago and he said it would be a bad move. The Toyo will burn itself out running a 1400 sq.ft. home with 1 bathroom. This didn't seem right. He said there is a regulator which can be installed for $1,000 that will make my unit more efficient. Any suggestions?
 
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Old 09-25-08, 11:23 AM
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Do you have a service contract with your fuel company? You might be able to add one, and have them come take a look. Don't touch anything until you are absolutely familiar with what everything does.

I would get a second opinion about that $1000 'regulator' too.
 
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Old 09-25-08, 12:46 PM
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Sounds like the boiler needs a qualified service tech. I don't know enough about oil-fired combustion to offer advice. Others will likely chime in.

By 'regulator' you might ask him if he means 'outdoor reset'. Outdoor reset would be adding a control that adjusts the boiler water temperature to match the heat loss, which is principally a function of outdoor temperature. Kodiak has an outdoor design temperature of 13F, which is actually pretty moderate by northeastern US standards. Outdoor reset would do well out there.

A thorough control and wiring overhaul to add outdoor reset and a piping bypass loop might run you a grand, depending on the control used and the extent of piping required. Depending on the particulars of your home's heat loss, kind of emitters, etc. it could pay for itself pretty quickly (2-4 years, maybe much less in a heating-dominated climate like yours).

The Toyo option is probably a substantial step backwards. Looking at the install manual, there's a telling diagram on page 9. http://www.toyotomiusa.com/products/...stallation.pdf

That's basically a full boiler installation, and uses a flat-plate heat exchanger on the domestic side, which is less efficient and which a boiler system wouldn't use (although you would probably be able to use a standard indirect water heater instead of the flate plate). The whole setup is probably not any more efficient over the course of a year than a well-maintained and controlled boiler like your existing one.

The Toyo componentry also appears to be Toyo-centric. If you don't have good Toyo parts and service available in Kodiak, that's another point against it.

How do you heat your domestic water now?
 
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Old 09-25-08, 01:31 PM
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What type of burner is installed on the boiler? Do you know the nozzle size? Considering your design temp in Kodiak, your boiler may be WAY oversized, and as such, will waste a lot of fuel. You probably want to do a heat loss calculation on your house at some time to figure out what the next step should be. Think of your house and boiler as one big interdependent system.

That doesn't help your immediate problem, but the more informed you are, the better off you will be.
 
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Old 09-25-08, 03:09 PM
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Excellent points, o_b.

Nate, get the boiler running properly (and don't give up hope for good advice here, the oil-boiler guys will chime in later today, I'm sure). Then, if you're game, let's figure out how to get the fuel bill down.
 
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Old 09-25-08, 04:31 PM
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I have experience with a very old oil-fired boiler. I'm not a professional, but I did what I could to keep my antique system running - that included cleaning the flues, rebuilding the firebox, rebuilding my Burnham burner with new parts, cleaning and changing nozzles, adjusting air input, cleaning filters and generally trying to figure out what was wrong.

If it runs for only a few seconds then shuts off, that probably means that it is not firing. The sound you hear is the pump and blower running - this should be followed by a whoosh as the oil ignites. There is a light sensor that looks to see whether the fire has started - if not it will shut off the oil and require to hit a reset switch to prevent pumping unburned oil into to your firebox. Things to check:

1. if the fire is starting but not burning well or if it is not starting at all it could be one of the following:
a. are you out of oil?
b. is the filter clogged so that not enough oil is getting to the burner?
c. did you run out of oil and then refill - if so there may be air in your line that has to be bled out.
d. is the nozzle clogged so that oil won't ignite or burns poorly?
2. is the fire starting but then being put out? - if so it could be a fire sensor problem. (this is the least likely, but possible)

Be very careful if you haven't spent time learning different parts of your system - in fact if you don't know what you're doing then you shouldn't do it. There is very high voltage and very hot flames; I learned by watching competent repair guys, and I wouldn't try things that I didn't have the tools for or that I knew I couldn't handle. If changing a nozzle wasn't enough to give me a good flame (and it took me a long time before I was willing to try changing a nozzle) I would call a competent repair guy. Since you are new to your house you should start there unless it is something simple like being out of oil or the oil line filter being clogged.
 
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Old 09-25-08, 04:31 PM
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Nate Danger ... I think I know your brother, Nick Danger, Third Eye ... (if you don't know 'Firesign Theater', you won't get this)

How long do you suspect it's been since the system has been properly serviced ? i.e. filter changed, nozzle changed, electrodes set, combustion chamber and heat exchanger brushed and vacuumed, fuel pressure checked/adjusted, air adjusted with proper instruments for proper combustion ?

I would urge you to find a competent technician to do this required yearly service ...

Is there fuel in the tank ?
 
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Old 09-25-08, 05:34 PM
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Weil-McLain

You say it runs for about 5 seconds. Any burner I'm familiar with should run for at least 15 seconds even it it does not fire.

Does it actually fire or just the motor runs?
Do you have fuel & if so how much?
When was the boiler last serviced?
A WTGO has a domestic coil. Does the boiler run all year or just for heat?
 
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Old 09-25-08, 06:38 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I did run out of fuel, added 15 gallons. I was told, but am not sure, that the line out of the tank was moved up from the bottom. The tank is under the deck/house and I will be climbing down there this evening to get a better idea of how it is set up. As far as I know it is gravity fed.

The boiler fills an Amitrol hot water maker (this alone confuses me because untill I saw that it was called a hot water maker, that the boiler heated the water). It was set to 145 which I thought was too hot so I ran it down to 115, however, this was after the firing problem.

We have a wood stove also, so we have been heating with that instead of running the baseboards since about April. We have also only been running the boiler, for hot water, a few days a week since it was running almost $200/mo just to keep hot water in the tank. We've been mostly heating water on the wood stove since it's there.

As for the nozzle size, I have no idea, but if what I was looking at was the burner, it's a Weil-McLain QB-180.

It is actually firing initially. The viewing plate gets hot and I have looked inside and seen the flame. There is one filter I can see very easily inside the boiler room. It is clear and I can see that there is fuel in it, as well as a bunch of gunk at the bottom of it. I don't know if this is my only filter. Am I correct in thinking that there should be one coming out of the tank at the beginning of the fuel line? That's on e of the things I am about to go out an check.

What I'm trying to do, if possible is get through this winter for under $2500-$3000 including fuel, wood/oil, and any new equipment I might be better off installing - on demand water, Toyostove insulation, or whatever will give me a more reasonable fuel bill for next winter.

We just bought the house in February, so I don't know a detailed history of the unit, but the pipes froze the year before we bought the house and they were replaced with those expanding pipes whatever they are called (sorry, I'm really new to this), and filled with something other than water so they won't freeze again.

The way the technician described the regulator to me was that normally the unit keeps the cast iron (is that the heat exchanger?) at some temperature (100?) whether there is a call for heat or not. The regulator is supposed to either let it go lower, or it excludes that process altogether, so that the boiler only fires when there is an actual call for heat.

Is my unit a good one? I realize it might not be the right size match, but am I just dealing with a generally inefficient system, or is there hope?

Thanks, I know this is very long.
 
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Old 09-25-08, 07:24 PM
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Can you take some pictures of the boiler and near-boiler piping (valves, drains, venting, the Amtrol water unit, etc.) and host them on a free service like www.photobucket.com? Provide links them here. It would be good to see.

The antifreeze in the system is (or should be) propylene glycol (non-toxic, food grade. Not the toxic stuff in your car).

The Amtrol sounds like an indirect water heater. If so, that's good. Properly set up, it's a very efficient way to make hot water.

I'm totally confused about the regulator now. Can't guess what he's really talking about.

Let's get the boiler running like it should, then pursue making it more efficient. Pictures will help a lot.

The WTGO is a good, solid boiler. Much can be done to improve overall system efficiency before you have to even think about ripping it out and starting over.
 
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Old 09-25-08, 08:03 PM
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Maybe the 'regulator' is the aquastat, since it sounds like he's talking about warm versus cold start? Shouldn't be $1000 though.
 
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Old 09-25-08, 10:18 PM
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Thank you very much. I will try to get the pictures up. I have some issues I need to deal with on my wife's car, so I don't know that I'll be able to get under the deck to check out the tank or get the picture's tonight, but I'll do what I can. I have an appointment to have it serviced tomorrow afternoon. I'll try to get as much info as I can.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 09-26-08, 12:39 AM
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Here are the pictures. That was all I was going to say for now, but it wouldn't let me post unless I lengthened my message. Now it's longer.
 

Last edited by NJT; 09-26-08 at 06:24 AM. Reason: fixed link to pictures
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Old 09-26-08, 06:23 AM
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Nate, cut the power to the boiler, and remove the gray cover that says Honeywell on the upper right front of the boiler. There is a screw on the side of the box, loosen that screw and the cover slides straight off.

How many temperature dial settings are inside that box ?

Replace cover and restore power.

This will tell us if it's currently set up for 'warm start' vs 'cold start'.

Since you have an indirect water heater, the boiler can be run as a cold start.

Even if the tech charges you full retail for the control, $1000 is an excessive price to replace that part ... (the AQUASTAT) if indeed that _is_ the 'regulator' that he mentioned...

I have a couple other concerns after viewing your pictures:

I believe that your oil filter is not an oil filter at all. It appears to be a WATER FILTER to me. Any of you seasoned pros out there ever see an oil filter that looked like that ? If that's actually what I think it is, that needs to be dealt with immediately. If it IS a water filter, it definitely is NOT U.L. listed, and in the event of an 'accident' you won't be able to count on your homeowners insurance to pay off on any claim related to that.

There is a metal can next to the oil burner on the right side. Is that there to catch the drips from an oil leak ? That too needs to be dealt with immediately.

Was there a home inspection done before you bought the home ? And no mention of these issues ?
 
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Old 09-26-08, 06:32 AM
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Can you snap a few more pics showing the piping above the boiler ? and the flue piping ?

Can you read any of the lettering on that plastic tubing that they used ?
 
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Old 09-26-08, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
Can you snap a few more pics showing the piping above the boiler ? and the flue piping ?

Can you read any of the lettering on that plastic tubing that they used ?
More pics showing the whole setup, if possible, would help.

There is lettering on the domestic feed PEX piping, but I don't see any on the heating zone piping. It would be helpful to know both. It's essential, actually, to get the full information on what kind of PEX piping is being used for the space heating. Find a place with writing and tell us, please.
 
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Old 09-26-08, 05:02 PM
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Fuel Filter, Etc.

The fuel filter is made for use on a fuel dispenser such as one might have on a farm. At work, we have one just like it on our pump out trailer. It, I doubt, is approved for use on a heating system.

The "regulator" is most likely the aquastat (grey box mounted on the round black plate) & no way does it cost $1000, even in Alaska.

The boiler is not one of my favorites my any stretch but there are thousands of them out there. I would suggest replacing the burner. The QB burners were only made a few years, thank heaven.

I too question the plastic piping.

As to your immediate problem, I suggest changing the filter to one for oil burners such as a General 2A700, change the pump screen, & burner nozzle.
 
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Old 09-26-08, 08:25 PM
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I just had the servicing done. I was amazed at how little there was to it, but I learned from it. The tech didn't really like the filter either. He said the cartridge is more expensive and I should swap it out with a General, but for now, he just replaced the cartridge. He said he runs onto a few every now and then.

He also replaced the electrodes and the nozzle which he said was clogged. He told me it is a .85 GPH 70 deg hollow. I asked if it could be reduced. He said that it could, but that it was already low for the unit.

He said he serviced the boiler about a year ago. He indicated that it didn't seem like it was in such bad shape that it had been severely neglected, but it definitely was time for servicing.

He also said it needed to be brushed and vacuumed and that would increase efficiency. He explained breifly what was involved. It seems like a DIY type project, or do you think i should avoid it? The servicing was $170 (I think, they're going to bill me because of the non-standard filter cartridge), brush and vac is $225.

The 'regulator' is a Tekmar outdoor reset control.
 
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Old 09-26-08, 11:16 PM
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The soot is very fine and gets everywhere if you use an ordinary shop vac. Tho I think they make special filters for shop vacs that can capture most of the dust. You might want to pay for a cleaning to see whats involved, and then DIY if you are up to it.

The Tekmar outdoor reset makes sense. You might also look into its poor cousins, the Beckett HeatManager or IntelliCon-HW+, which delay burner firing based on the rate of water temperature change.
 
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Old 09-27-08, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by oil_boiler View Post
The soot is very fine and gets everywhere if you use an ordinary shop vac. Tho I think they make special filters for shop vacs that can capture most of the dust. You might want to pay for a cleaning to see whats involved, and then DIY if you are up to it.
I sure can atest to not wanting to use a shop vac. What a mistake. Only did it once though If you vac it should be with a HEPA filter.

What I do now is to make sure there is a draft up the chimney. Then gently brush out the boiler. The draft takes any light dust up and out. Then finish up by using a brush and a dust pan or piece of cardboard. Whatever fits into the space.

Nate, with the small nozzle you may want to put a spin on filter right before the burner. Such as a GAR-BER 11V-R.

Al.
 
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Old 09-28-08, 12:54 PM
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Thanks for the warning about the shop vac filter. The tech said that I should have a signal wire running from my tank to the boiler control. right now there is only a signal to start up the pump. My boiler low control was set at 120 and my tank was set to 145. With no signal wire to my boiler control, does that mean that my boiler was continually feeding 120 water to a tank that was never satisfied? It seems like this would be a tremendous efficiency issue.

I've also been thinking about adding a quietside on-demand DHW system. Do you know anything about those? Should I post that question elsewhere?
 
 

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