Chimney Problem???

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Old 11-13-08, 05:22 PM
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Chimney Problem???

Hi All
I was hoping to pick your brains once again. I think I might be having chimney problems. Maybe a week ago I happened to check my chimney clean out door. There was about 3 or 4 cups of small ash like substance there. I thought maybe it was from when the service company came in Sept. I found out they still owed me a service visit that I already paid for. Anyway I am getting mostly small flakes and debris coming out of chimney.

I have an Old American Standard boiler with a Beckett AFG oil burner put on this summer. I also installed a Intellicon HW.
Old burner gave off lots more soot and had a 700 deg stack temp.

Some results I got from combustion tests.

Stack Temp 430 deg (on a long cycle)
C02 9.5 (taken from stack hole)
draft is going to -03 (over fire. No more adjustment on damper)
I am at 0 smoke
It seems to me if I decrease air shutter it makes my draft worse

Old boiler if you read this I did get more fire brick for the heat exchange area. It does bring draft lower. But in my case I can't lower stack temp. At least I don't think I should.

I will attach photos of blind shots of a digital camera shooting up the chimney from clean out door. Also some other photos. I had one big flake come down shown in photo. I stuck a pencil in stack from where I am testing from. Latest service tag, (not sure I believe these readings, not what I got). Also not exactly sure of everything on service tag .If anyone needs more info let me know.

Am I in trouble???? Should I get the chimney cleaned promptly. Any thoughts?? Just have a bad feeling about this. I never noticed anything in clean out door before.

Thanks in advance
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Old 11-14-08, 07:10 AM
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As for the draft and stack temperatures I have the same. Put a Carlin 100CRD in along with the boiler being clean (very clean). Currently there are 3 small pieces of brick in the boiler flue ways (4-1/2 x 2-1/2 x 1").

Net stack with 140 F water and running for a while (> 20 minutes) is 380F.

The OF draft goes to -.02 and lower as it runs longer (toward -.03). Which at about -.025 starts to pull on the flame.

Damper is basically fully open, out of adjustment.

This burner is running at 11% CO2 vs 8% with the Arco Flame. Between the low excess air and the cleanest flueways I've ever seen there is both high OF draft and low stack temperatures.

To control the draft I'm going to try a Neutral Point Pressure Adjuster. Received a pointer to it with a description in a Pensotti manual (http://www.pensotti-pna.com/Quatech%20Manual.pdf, page 19). Basically a piece of sheet metal that reduces the cross section of the flue passage. Placed in the flue between the boiler and the stack damper.

Hopefully it will be able to control the draft such that the damper can then be adjusted back to a better control area.

As for the chimney issue, I don't really know. I looked at the picture of the flake along with a shot up the chimney. The flake does look like masonry with soot throughout it. Lots of soot build up in the chimney (to be expected).

Al.
 
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Old 11-14-08, 04:24 PM
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These look sorta like the same thing, just bigger... note the size of the rings that the 12oz adult beverage containers left ...

I imagine these started as those, and grew ...

 
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Old 11-14-08, 04:47 PM
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That manual has some interesting reading at the bottom of page 7 of the manual, page 12 of the PDF ... BOILER REPLACEMENT AND SERVICE CAUTION ...

Was the 430 GROSS or NET ? i.e. flue temp - combustion air temp, or the absolute reading of the thermometer?

...to -.02 and lower as it runs longer (toward -.03)...
higher - lower number is higher draft.
 
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Old 11-14-08, 06:46 PM
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Hi OldBoiler, NJ Trooper

NJ, I have seen your photos posted before and that's whats got me concerned. Were you the proud owner of those chunks? How was problem fixed?
Could draft being high not help with condensation. Maybe air moving to fast and cooling in chimney. Just a thought.

Net stack reaches around 430. Thermometer reads around 492 minus unheated basement. I sure some shorter cycles are not as high.
What should temp be for mason chimney? I heard above 350, 400 and 450 F.

Should I try to get a good cleaning to at least get some soot out of chimney? Not sure how concerned I should be. Just never seen this before.

OldBoiler please let me know if you try this soon and have any luck. I never seen that fix before. Seems like it might lower stack temp though? Hopefully I am wrong? I do have to go back and read your link to check the details. I just looked at the pic.
I was wondering if it is the same as me putting a fire brick right before the stack entrance. I will go back and read it. Still best info so far on a fix for draft.. Thanks good find on that info!!!
 
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Old 11-14-08, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
That manual has some interesting reading at the bottom of page 7 of the manual, page 12 of the PDF ... BOILER REPLACEMENT AND SERVICE CAUTION ...

Was the 430 GROSS or NET ? i.e. flue temp - combustion air temp, or the absolute reading of the thermometer?

...to -.02 and lower as it runs longer (toward -.03)...

higher - lower number is higher draft.
Understand what you mean by quoting the draft number. More draft (higher draft) is a lower number. Usually don't think of more as a smaller number. Which -.03 is smaller then -.02, but a higher draft. So as the boiler and chimney heats up the draft increases, giving a smaller number.

Riddle: what gets larger as more is taken away?

Interesting read about the replacement & service cautions. Although unless near the shore I wonder about the chlorides in the combustion air. My thinking may not be correct, but this boiler has been running for 50-some years (I just know it is going to start leaking soon after posting this!) as a cold start setup.

Maybe ODR isn't such a good idea? I dunno.

Although on another train of thought, it may be that the soot & oil from the Arco Flame protected the cast iron. It would be interesting to find that out. Not sure if it is true. But, what if it was? That the inefficient burner protected the boiler.

Answer to riddle: a hole...

Al.
 
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Old 11-14-08, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mikeevan View Post
Hi OldBoiler, NJ Trooper
...
OldBoiler please let me know if you try this soon and have any luck. I never seen that fix before. Seems like it might lower stack temp though? Hopefully I am wrong? I do have to go back and read your link to check the details. I just looked at the pic.
I was wondering if it is the same as me putting a fire brick right before the stack entrance. I will go back and read it. Still best info so far on a fix for draft.. Thanks good find on that info!!!
Mike, I'll let you know how this affects the draft. Right now the weather has warmed up, so the boiler isn't running. I did take the opportunity to set up a nifty thermocouple probe.

As for proper stack temperature some of it depends upon the length of, and whether it is an indoor or outdoor chimney. By indoor it would be one that goes up the inside of the house. Versus one that goes up the outside of the house. Basically, how much heat does the chimney hold.

I will be trying out the draft control as outlined in the above link. Otherwise I'll need to go back to the original burner (the 'New Arco Flame', was the original Arco Flame a coal feeder?). As it is the draft is barely under control and the stack temperature is low.

No smoke and high CO2, but the other factors need to be taken care of.

Al.
 
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Old 11-15-08, 03:27 AM
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One thing Pensotti did not mention in their instructions is the draft regulator adjustment. Close the draft regulator down at least 3/4 closed before you begin. Therefore the draft regulator can still do it's job as weather conditions change. I usually have it open only about 1/8 to 1/4" but a little more is OK. I always want to leave as much movement as possible if conditions arise.
The other thing to remember is the drat regulator must be at least 18" from the boiler. I usually install the diverter plate about 12" from the boiler. The diverter plate should be at least 1 pipe diameter on the boiler side of the draft regulator for best control
I have used these many times on the Burnham LE's as they want a "0" draft at the breech to maintain the a positive pressure in the combustion area. The baffles burn the ends off pretty quick when they are neg. draft.
Trooper, did you notice that drawing on page 11 of the linked manual. I have never seen an indirect conneted where the boiler bypass affects the water temp to the indirect.
 
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Old 11-15-08, 03:48 AM
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There are companies that offer annual boiler and chimney maintenance. The real pros offer tuck pointing, exterior cement repair, water leak repair, blockage removal water proofing brick laying/repair, chimney caps, chimney and boiler cleaning, chimney relining, photos, lock top dampers, flashing, and clean out doors. Most offer service contracts. It is important to have units professionally serviced on an annual basis.

To post photos here and query about what and why about deposits in chimney or ash cleanout is a waste of time. Contact a licensed and professional chimney pro. We can discuss condensation in the chimney as well as moisture penetration, both of which are evidenced by photos. It takes a chimney pro to address these issues as well as a pro to assess the operation of your heating system.

You can post all the pictures you want, but without the pro's webcam of the interior inspection of the chimney and one of the exterior, and one of the crown and chimney cap, it's like driving in the dark.

If you got your unit inspected and did not spring for the the chimney inspection, then you have probably set yourself up for trouble. You set yourself up for an unsafe chimney.

Sweeping

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Old 11-15-08, 12:57 PM
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As I say chimney vented products are going to go away. Too many problem with older chimneys but even bigger problem will be continuing to meet minimum government AFUE standards.
 
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Old 11-16-08, 12:06 PM
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Looks like the Neutral Point Pressure Adjuster (NPPA) is a winner. And just in time for the change in weather. It is windy today with cooler temperatures (40's F), the barometric damper is dancing. Chimney is straight up, 2 stories, clay lined, open topped (about 8 x 8 ").

For an initial installation the OF and FL draft is under control. At this time the NPPA covers about 5/8's of the flue (9" flue diameter, 8" wide adjuster, down about 5/8's of the flue diameter). It is currently clamped in place so that it can't move. Once the wind settles down and it gets colder out I'll do a final adjustment on it. Then sela and lock it.

The adjustment doesn't seem to be critical. A fair amount up or down change and the draft changes a bit. Can then change the baro-damper as a fine adjustment. I'll post back on how it works out with colder weather and less wind.

Al.
 
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Old 11-16-08, 02:09 PM
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Twelvepole You right that I need a professional and that's what I am going to do and should have done. You don't have to rub salt into it though . I was just kinda looking for some input. Somebody might make suggestions on certain repairs, costs, what works what doesn't, what questions to ask a pro, etc.... You never know unless you ask. Pictures are always better than nothing. Thanks for posting those links. I am looking into using someone from there list.
 
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Old 11-16-08, 02:46 PM
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Nppa

That's great Oldboiler. I just was checking my draft and getting frustrated. Windy by me today also and my draft was all over the place. Would like to get it down before winter. You give me hope. I was looking for a solution and kept coming up empty handed. If you can, do you mind posting a picture of installation. Do you think it effects stack temp? Just wondering if taking a stack temp reading below the NPPA do you get a true stack temp? I have no idea just asking.
Did you use anything special or just any old piece of sheet metal? What did you use to cut the stack pipe?
You mentioned before "I did take the opportunity to set up a nifty thermocouple probe". I am not sure what that is?
My chimney is outside straight up, clay lined one story home.

Glad it worked for ya
If you have anymore details I would love to hear them.
 
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Old 11-16-08, 05:35 PM
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Mike, with the NPPA I haven't seen any real change in stack temperature. Maybe a little lower if at all. I check all parameters between the breech and the NPPA (FL draft, temperature, smoke, CO2...). This boiler has a full cabinet on it with the test port(s) within the cabinet area. The NPPA is just outside of the rear of the cabinet.

For sheet metal I used a piece of HVAC duct. About 1/32" thick, galvanized. Used a hacksaw with a 24 (maybe 32?) TPI blade to cut the slot. In the picture you can see the rear of the cabinet and then on the left the 90* ell to go vertical.

The thermocouple is used for stack temperature measurements. In the one pic it shows a raw thermocouple with the bead at the end. This is where the dis-similar metals are joined. It's tough to hold it properly in the stack, too flimsy.

The probe is 1/8" brass tubing, plugged at the one end. Has heat sink compund in the lower 1/2" or so. Then the beaded end is inserted into the tube (first insulated). Some heat shrink holds it in place.

The larger section is built up from tubing soldered up. The fitting in the stack is a 1/8" NPT into the stack. With a 1/4" compression fitting to slip the probe into. The compression fitting isn't closed up. It is left as delivered to hold the probe in place, but allow a slip fit. I looked for 1/8" or 3/16" compression fitting but the 1/4" was all they had. Needed to build up the probe to a larger diameter for it, that's all.

With the thermocouple probe and O2 probe those items can remain in place. Only need to insert the smoke pump and the draft gauge. Although I am planning on a mount for the draft gage too. Makes it so much easier for setting up. Can look at the readings at any time, no need to keep swapping instruments.

Ah, almost forgot the link to the pictures:

http://www.dynamicefi.com/%7Eal/IMG_0476_a.jpg
http://www.dynamicefi.com/%7Eal/IMG_0477_a.jpg
http://www.dynamicefi.com/%7Eal/IMG_0478_a.jpg

Al.

{edit: I felt it was important to add to this post that the pictured installation of the NPPA is temporary. With the high gusty wind I didn't feel as though a permanent adjustment could be made. Once the winds calm down a final adjustment will be made and the NPPA will then be secured. }
 

Last edited by OldBoiler; 11-16-08 at 06:53 PM. Reason: Additional important information
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Old 11-16-08, 07:36 PM
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Looks good. Not sure where I should put mine. My pipe goes into a bend as soon as it comes out of the boiler.

Whats your draft reading now? Where you able to get lower than -02.

Thanks a bunch Al
 
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Old 11-17-08, 05:29 AM
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Keep it close to the boiler right after the elbow but you need to keep it at least one vent pipe diameter from the draft regulator. Also make sure you almost close the draft regulator when testing draft so the draft regulator has plenty of movement in the future for windy days.
Also bear in mind if the nozzle size changes the plate will need to be re-sized.
 
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Old 11-17-08, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mikeevan View Post
Looks good. Not sure where I should put mine. My pipe goes into a bend as soon as it comes out of the boiler.

Whats your draft reading now? Where you able to get lower than -02.

Thanks a bunch Al
It was easy to get the OF draft below -.02, right now it averages -0.014". With the heavy gusty wind it would vary from about -.010 to -.018 (or so). Today is calm but the sun is out. So the burner probably won't run again until tonight. I think I'll shoot for -.01" with the damper nearly closed.

Also opened the flame head a 1/32 of an inch (Z dimension). With the reduced draft less air was being delivered. Fire took on a little smoke which cleared right up with the increased air.

Have you noticed with the AFG that the boiler takes longer to cool off? With the Arco Flame it was easy to feel the air going into the burner band openings (burner off). The draft was so high it could have sucked mice through.

With the Carlin the openings are small, and can't really feel a draft either. Looks like a good deal in more then one way.

Al.
 

Last edited by OldBoiler; 11-17-08 at 06:48 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 11-17-08, 07:23 AM
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Sounds like you nailed it. Yes, the newer burners will move less air through them in the off cycles.
 
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Old 11-27-08, 06:19 PM
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Hi All

Thanks Oldboiler and rbeck the NPPA worked great. Was able to get draft to a steady -.01 with damper open a pinch. Lots of adjustment left. I put it in a few days ago. I still have to tack it down. Oldboiler thanks for posting all that extra info.



Unfortunately my victory was short lived. I had the chimney inspected and was told I need a SS liner. Also some Mason work up top of the chimney. My first concern is spending all this money on a liner that will match my old American Standard Acroliner boiler and it then being the wrong size for a new boiler down the road. I have 8 in pipe and chimney. Can anybody tell me if I am better off trying to get a smaller liner like a 6" or get an 8" to match original size? Any help about liners or chimney's would be greatly appreciated.



I will get a second opinion on work and price before doing anything.



Happy T-Day
 
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Old 11-27-08, 07:36 PM
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I've been following the NPPA thing ... this is a question, not an answer ...

I'm not a chimney expert ... but wouldn't having to install the NPPA indicate that the flue is already too big?

This would seem to indicate that you _might_ be able to get by with a 6" liner on the current system?
 
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Old 11-27-08, 08:02 PM
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Hi NJ

I would think so to but I am no expert either.
 
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Old 11-27-08, 08:37 PM
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mike, you asked me this a long time ago:

Were you the proud owner of those chunks? How was problem fixed?
They owned me! The problem was 'fixed' by undoing something someone who didn't know any better at the time did. It was for a good cause though.

There was once an old dog who lived out by that boiler, and someone thought it would be a good idea to give the poor old pooch some heat in the wintertime by removing all the sheetmetal and insulation from the boiler. Even pushed his bed right up next to it. He was deaf, so the roar of the burner didn't bother him one bit.

Once the machine was restored to it's previous condition, all was well in Whoville ...
 
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Old 11-28-08, 06:18 PM
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Talking

Hey NJ
I knew you were a nice guy. Sounds like that dog was the warmest one in whoville.
 
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