Honeywell Aquastat - Circulator Control Relay Malfunction

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Old 10-04-10, 03:41 PM
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Question Honeywell Aquastat - Circulator Control Relay Malfunction

This morning my oil fired home heating boiler (the Liberty Slant/Fin L-30-P) was down again. Instead of 70 degrees F, the thermometers of the thermostat and elsewhere were reading 65 degrees F.
Raising the thermostat setting (already set at 70 degrees F) did nothing. Manually opening the zone valve for that thermostat did nothing. Pushing the red (fuel pump activator) button did nothing. Checking the oil tank's fuel level gauge verified that we have fuel.

I took the cover off the (horizontally mounted) Honeywell Aquastat and noticed the relay below the temperature limits setting wheels. When I lifted the relay's lever, everything started up. When I released the lever, everything shut back down.

I fear that putting something under the lever may defeat some critical safety provision and wonder if I might be able to replace only the relay or must replace the Aquastat.

The only identification decal or label still on the Aquastat is the Honeywell tag. An internet search showed the Aquastat set-up is very similar to that in the Honeywell L8124 series. One difference is that the circulator relay lever on our ancient unit is mounted to lift from left to right rather than upward or downward.

While I was searching for means to start this enquiry as a new thread, I heard the boiler up and running.

Rather than wait for the unit to fail again (and probably at a worst possible time), I am seeking to be ready to replace whatever it is that will need to be replaced.
 
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Old 10-04-10, 05:59 PM
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I fear that putting something under the lever may defeat some critical safety provision and wonder if I might be able to replace only the relay or must replace the Aquastat.
Good that you have fear! Whether or not it defeats any safety provision, it is absolutely the wrong approach. Don't do it.

Before you go replacing anything, you have to have at least some assurance that what you replace was in fact defective. I call ppl that just start throwing parts at a problem before doing any diagnosis "Tinkerticians".

Tell us if you only have one thermostat (one zone).

Is the thermostat digital? Does it have batteries that need changing?

Do you own and know how to use a multimeter?
 
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Old 10-05-10, 03:09 PM
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Honeywell Aquastat - Circulator Control Relay Malfunction? - Re to NJ Trooper

My home has two zones. Each has its own Honeywell CT87K
thermostat and zone valve. The zone valves have Honeywell V8043 type heads. The motor in the valve head for upstairs tends to burn out over time and become unable to function. When this happens, I go out and get a replacement motor. Once the motor is replaced, the zone valve resumes ability to function reliably. This time, that problem was negated by the motor being cool and the ease with which I was able to manually open and later release the valve.

"Is the thermostat digital? Does it have batteries that need changing?"

I am reasonably certain that the Honeywell CT87K thermostats are not digital and do not contain batteries.

"Do you own and know how to use a multimeter?"

I own and am familiar with the use of a multimeter.

P.S. My household hot water is provided via a coil in the boiler. That coil is encrusted with hard water residual to the extent that only a trickle goes through. I have been unable to improve flow with acid products intended for that purpose. The hard water issue also increases the frequency of need to replace air vents. I am currently using Honeywell YHFV180's.
 
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Old 10-05-10, 03:50 PM
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I own and am familiar with the use of a multimeter.
Great... Set up the meter to read AC VOLTS. When the zone valves are BOTH closed (not calling for heat), you should read appx. 24 VAC across the thermostat terminals in the aquastat. With EITHER or BOTH zone valves OPEN (calling for heat), you should read ZERO volts across those terminals.

If you see 24 VAC at the thermostat terminals in the aquastat when either or both valves are open, it means that either or both ENDSWITCHES in the zone valves are not 'making'.

It wasn't clear whether you tried both thermostat circuits? You might find that one thermostat fires the system, and the other doesn't... means one zone valve has a bad endswitch (or motor, or broken wire)

If you see ZERO volts at the thermostat terminals in the aquastat when BOTH valves are closed, it means that there's a problem inside the aquastat. (yours seems to be intermittent, so you might best check for this while it is malfunctioning. Obviously checking it while it is working is kinda pointless! )

One other quick test would be to temporarily jumper the thermostat terminals in the aquastat. The relay should pull in and the boiler fire up.

I believe it says in the 8043 lit that manually opening the zone valve will NOT activate the boiler, so don't expect that to happen.
 
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Old 10-08-10, 04:41 AM
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RE to NJ Trooper & More about Honeywell Aquastat

"(yours seems to be intermittent, so you might best check for this while it is malfunctioning. Obviously checking it while it is working is kinda pointless! )"

Not so. I need to know which terminals in the Aquastat are the thermostat terminals. Checking while system is working will provide a baseline to contrast with during the malfunction, which I hope never reoccurs.

"It wasn't clear whether you tried both thermostat circuits? You might find that one thermostat fires the system, and the other doesn't... means one zone valve has a bad endswitch (or motor, or broken wire)"

To manually "OPEN" the zone valve (which I am certain is a V8043E1012 on 3/4 inch piping) for the main floor thermostat circuit, I only moved the ENDSWITCH to the MANUAL position. I did nothing with the thermostat or Honeywell zone valve (model # unknown) on the 1/2 inch piping for the basement circuit.

"I believe it says in the 8043 lit that manually opening the zone valve will NOT activate the boiler, so don't expect that to happen."

I also pushed the oil demand RED button intended to activate the boiler. Nothing happened. Not even a sound from the oil pump. Only the lever over the CIRCULATOR RELAY had an effect. With the lever raised, the oil pump, water pump, Beckett Burner and boiler all functioned as if no problem existed. Upon that lever's release everything became silent and stayed that way until much later, while I had been searching for means to start a new thread (not easily found)

I had already spent considerable time trying to identify my Aquastat before even opening the forum. The internet search eventually took me to http://www.exqheat.com/images/aquatatL8124_honeyw.pdf where pages 4 and 5 showed the Aquastat set-up is very similar to the pictures of those in the Honeywell L8124 series.

Yesterday (Thursday, 10/7), I sent Honeywell the following enquiry and am awaiting a response:

I am trying to identify the aquastat on my oil fired boiler.

It may be an L8124x????.

Its only remaining identifiers are the Honeywell tag on the cover and the part number 125026AAE on the Aquastat Assembly inside.

The Aquastat Assembly also bears the number 9952. The circuit board to which it is screwed bears the number 9005.

As shown on http://www.exqheat.com/images/aquatatL8124_honeyw.pdf pages 4 & 5, Circulator Relays have levers that will lift toward Aquastat Assemblies.

The lever of the Circulator Relay in my Aquastat lifts toward the Transformer for the Thermostat Circuit.

The Transformer in my Aquastat is similar to those in the L8124A, C, B and M pictures but is also rotated 90 degrees clockwise from the pictured orientation.

The L8124B depicted has less terminal connection screws than my unit.

The black wires in my Aquastat enter the right end of the 125026AAE through round holes rather than through what appears to be "tunnels" atop the Aquastat Assemblies.

If you can provide an identification, please advise me of anything I can check to assist.

Thank you.
 
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Old 10-08-10, 03:45 PM
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There's lots to comment on in your last post, and I think there might be some issues between what I am calling stuff, and what you think I mean... so, let's do this:

Have you got a digital camera? Take a bunch of photos. Please make them large enough, well lighted, and clear so that old dudes can see them. Set up a free account on Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket and upload the photos there. Come back here and drop a link so we can see what you are working with.

Some of the questions I can address without pics...

To manually "OPEN" the zone valve (which I am certain is a V8043E1012 on 3/4 inch piping) for the main floor thermostat circuit, I only moved the ENDSWITCH to the MANUAL position.
Unless you have very tiny fingers, and reached inside the guts of the zone valve to do so, you didn't "move the endswitch".

If you moved the lever on one end plate of the zone valve labeled probably "AUTO" and "MAN", then you were moving the manual opening lever.

Moving this lever manually should not operate the boiler.

The ENDSWITCH is a part inside the zone valve. A small rectangular 'microswitch' device. There should be red wires soldered to it.

When the valve opens under power from the motor, the gears turn, and a lever inside pushes the switch. This ENDSWITCH is what tells the boiler to fire.

So, unless you turn up the thermostats, and the zone valve opens under power, and the endswitch closes, the boiler won't fire.

EITHER or BOTH ( "OR" logic ) zone valves will fire the boiler.

The RED wires from the zone valves (assuming that yours are the model with two yellow, and two red wires coming out) are wired in parallel, and those two wires will go into the aquastat to the THERMOSTAT connections on the aquastat. The terminals in the aquastat should have letters next to them. Thermostat connections almost always start with the letter T . Many have two terminals labeled just that... T and T . I believe yours will have T and TV . ... maybe... but in any case, if you follow the red wires to the aquastat, you will find the thermostat connections.

I also pushed the oil demand RED button intended to activate the boiler.
Are you referring to the red button on the top of the control box that is attached to the oil burner? If so, that is a RESET button. That button will only have an effect if the burner tries to fire up and fails. If there is no fire in like 30-45 seconds, the burner 'locks out' and must be manually reset via that red button.

If we are talking about the same red button, then it is normal that it would have no effect, because the problem is not with the oil burner.

Yesterday (Thursday, 10/7), I sent Honeywell the following enquiry and am awaiting a response:
Don't be surprised or disappointed if you don't get an answer... I will be surprised if you DO!

Bottom line is that we NEED pictures so that we all know we are talking about the same thing... and go from there.
 
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Old 10-09-10, 09:09 AM
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Malfunction Update & RE to NJ Trooper

Yesterday (Friday, 10/8) I awoke feeling chilled. The thermometer of the Honeywell CT87K thermostat located in the upstairs hallway was reading 67 degrees F despite that thermostat being set at 70 degrees F. The bedrooms felt even colder. The boiler was still warm and the outlet pipe was hot. The return pipes were cool. I set up a portable electrical heater in the kitchen and went out shopping at ~10 AM. I returned home at ~3 PM and the upstairs hallway CT87K thermometer was reading 69 degrees (which is normal with my heating system operating properly).

"Have you got a digital camera?" > NO

"Bottom line is that we NEED pictures so that we all know we are talking about the same thing... and go from there." >

When I clicked on http://www.exqheat.com/images/aquatatL8124_honeyw.pdf in an earlier response to you I got "Page Not Found
We cannot locate the page you're looking for. Please check the address and make sure all letters are lowercased with no spaces. You may also move to a different page by using the links in the menu bar above."

The correct URL is:
http://www.exqheat.com/images/aquastatL8124_honeyw.pdf
I had lost the "s" in aquastat, in the link I had provided.
All the Aquastats pictured on pages 4 and 5 are in what I call a vertical orientation. A table on page 3 designates which ones mount or may be mounted in what I designate as horizontal.

"Checking while system is working will provide a baseline to contrast with during the malfunction.". Am I wrong?

In my enquiry to Honeywell I wrote:

"The Transformer in my Aquastat is similar to those in the L8124A, C, B and M pictures but is also rotated 90 degrees clockwise from the pictured orientation.

The L8124B depicted has less terminal connection screws than my unit."

The response from Honeywell was:
**************************************************
Thank you for contacting Honeywell.

Since the Aquastats are Trade or contractor products, we unfortunately do not have access to any information on these. All troubleshooting and technical assistance has to go through a licensed contractor. I apologize for the inconvenience.
************************************************
"Unless you have very tiny fingers, and reached inside the guts of the zone valve to do so, you didn't "move the endswitch".

If you moved the lever on one end plate of the zone valve labeled probably "AUTO" and "MAN", then you were moving the manual opening lever."

My confusion was caused by page 2 at: http://customer.honeywell.com/techli...0s/63-9367.pdf
It makes it appear that the manual opening lever is designated as the "Auxiliary End Switch".

"assuming that yours are the model with two yellow, and two red wires coming out" > Both of my zone valves have heads with 2 yellow and 2 red wires coming out.

"The RED wires from the zone valves (assuming that yours are the model with two yellow, and two red wires coming out) are wired in parallel, and those two wires will go into the aquastat to the THERMOSTAT connections on the aquastat. The terminals in the aquastat should have letters next to them. Thermostat connections almost always start with the letter T . Many have two terminals labeled just that... T and T . I believe yours will have T and TV . ... maybe... but in any case, if you follow the red wires to the aquastat, you will find the thermostat connections." > GOT IT The red wires are joined with very fine wires contained in a brown wire. One pair is pigtailed with a white very fine wire. The other pair is pigtailed with a red very fine wire. (The pigtails are capped with blue barreled wire connectors.) At the Aquastat the very fine white and red wires are connected to the circuit board via screw down connectors.

If my Aquastat were rotated 90 degrees (COUNTER-CLOCKWISE) to a vertical orientation:
The letter T would then be upright above each of the two screw down connectors;
The word THERMOSTAT that spans the space below those connectors would be upright;
The Thermostat connection area would be in the upper right corner;
The Transformer would be below the Thermostat connection area; The Circulator Relay would be below the Transformer; and,
The 125026AAE Aquastat Assembly would be on the left as in the pictures on pages 4 and 5 of http://www.exqheat.com/images/aquastatL8124_honeyw.pdf.

"Are you referring to the red button on the top of the control box that is attached to the oil burner?" > Yes, the one with the CAD Cell in it.
 
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Old 10-09-10, 03:40 PM
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OK, I'm very familiar with the 8124 aquastat series, but you said that yours was 'similar', but not exactly the same, that's why I was hoping to get a pic of it and help to identify. Thing is, chances are, that the 8124 would plug and play replace yours. Another reason that I was hoping to get a pic of it to tell you for sure that you don't have to hunt and hunt for the exact replacement and pay bazillions of bux for it when you do. You can pick up an 8124 for probly around $150 or so... there are other newer models that will also replace yours... BUT, I doubt that there is a problem with the aquastat. I'm still leaning toward a problem with your zone valves / wiring, etc...

And this leads us back to a post a while back where I gave you some info on troubleshooting... with your multimeter... what you need to do next is start isolating the problem so you don't have to 'throw parts at it' until it starts working.

GOT IT The red wires are joined with very fine wires contained in a brown wire. One pair is pigtailed with a white very fine wire. The other pair is pigtailed with a red very fine wire. (The pigtails are capped with blue barreled wire connectors.) At the Aquastat the very fine white and red wires are connected to the circuit board via screw down connectors.
And those 'screw down connectors'... those are the ones that should be labeled on the circuit board... T and T or T and TV ... those are the thermostat connections to the aquastat. Those are the ones that the zone valve 'makes' connection when there is a call for heat. If a temporary jumper across them causes the relay in the aquastat to pull in and the system to fire up, then the aquastat is NOT your problem, and you need to start looking at the zone valves or the 'very fine' wiring as the culprit.

Mandatory safety disclaimer:

Be careful when working inside the aquastat! You know that there is 120 VAC inside, and it can KILL YOU! KNOW where those connections are and don't touch them!

The zone valve wiring is all 24VAC and not dangerous, but if you short circuit a transformer you may get a spark, followed by a non-working transformer.

"Checking while system is working will provide a baseline to contrast with during the malfunction.". Am I wrong?
No, not really... knock yourself out... wait, don't do that... it hurts.

Sure, if you want to develop a baseline for your own satisfaction, go right ahead. All helps the learning experience. The info I gave previously is how it should work, and what you should see if all is working. Then after that, I gave you a couple what you shouldn't sees as reference on a defective system. Below is what I posted about that. Re-read and follow... let us know what you get.

Great... Set up the meter to read AC VOLTS. When the zone valves are BOTH closed (not calling for heat), you should read appx. 24 VAC across the thermostat terminals in the aquastat. With EITHER or BOTH zone valves OPEN (calling for heat), you should read ZERO volts across those terminals.

If you see 24 VAC at the thermostat terminals in the aquastat when either or both valves are open, it means that either or both ENDSWITCHES in the zone valves are not 'making'.

It wasn't clear whether you tried both thermostat circuits? You might find that one thermostat fires the system, and the other doesn't... means one zone valve has a bad endswitch (or motor, or broken wire)

If you see ZERO volts at the thermostat terminals in the aquastat when BOTH valves are closed, it means that there's a problem inside the aquastat. (yours seems to be intermittent, so you might best check for this while it is malfunctioning. Obviously checking it while it is working is kinda pointless! )

One other quick test would be to temporarily jumper the thermostat terminals in the aquastat. The relay should pull in and the boiler fire up.
"Are you referring to the red button on the top of the control box that is attached to the oil burner?" > Yes, the one with the CAD Cell in it.
Then what I wrote about that being a RESET button is true. It is NOT a button that you can push to cause the burner to fire. It will only have any effect after the burner has 'locked out' on flame failure. (when the CAD cell doesn't see flame for 30 seconds or so). So forget about that red button for now. Your problem is elsewhere.
 
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Old 10-10-10, 08:07 AM
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My confusion was caused by page 2 at: http://customer.honeywell.com/techli...0s/63-9367.pdf
It makes it appear that the manual opening lever is designated as the "Auxiliary End Switch".
I see what you mean. That pictorial is VERY misleading! That line should maybe have been pointing to the red wires....

[looking at it again, it appears that someone made a 'boo-boo' when they composed that diagram. If you reverse the text for the "Aux EndSwitch" and the "Manual Opener..." it will make more sense.]
 
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Old 12-20-10, 05:22 PM
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Aquastat Has Reversed Itself

When I wrote before the burner was not turning on even with the tank temperature below the 140 degree F min setting on the 125026AAE with the DIF set at 10. Now the problem is that the burner is not turning off when tank temperature exceeds the 180 degree F max set on the 125026AAE. If I leave the boiler on, the temperature and pressure increases until the pressure relief valve opens.

When I turn the boiler off at the switch, the water pump is also turned off. For now, I flip the switch to off and wait 1/2 to an hour before flipping it back to on. The water from the returns then brings the temperature below 140 and the pressure down to ~15psi. If left off until the boiler becomes cold, the pressure drops to ~10psi.

Is my problem with the 125026AAE module or with the probe? I personally monitor the temperature/pressure gauge but the aquastat should make that unnecessary once the correct solution is applied.
 
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Old 12-20-10, 06:19 PM
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I wrote before the burner was not turning on even with the tank temperature below the 140 degree F min setting
And what happened, that fixed itself? You dropped the potato...
 
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Old 12-21-10, 05:38 AM
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Angry Picking Up The Potato

The problem did not resolve itself. I kept trying to figure out what it was. I decided that it was the cad cell shutting down the boiler because the vents were blocked. I was still searching for my vent cleaning brush when we were hit with this cold snap. I was using a couple of portable electric heaters to keep temperature up in our living space until the Sunday morning I went through the boiler room and heard the pump sounding like it was running empty. It was. The hydronic line in a room being used only for storage had burst in two places and blown out a Sharkbite coupling end. It took me a week to get transportation, parts and some assistance from family. (My strength and grip being no longer what they were and I not trusting myself to sweat connections.)
We got the piping repaired with new Sharkbites and a Gatorbite. When I got the boiler up and running, the tank heated to the point of making steam which opened the relief at above 50psi. Since then the relief valve has been dumping at 30psi as per its correct setting. (Must have not operated correctly at first due to rust or something.)
I then realized that the burner was not shutting off when boiler tank temperature exceeded the 180 degree F max setting of the aquastat. It took me some experiences and thinking until I figured out how to disable the burner while keeping the pump operating. That is what I am doing now. I am going to reconnect the burner as soon as I finish this reply. It appears that there are few vendors of aquastat repair parts. I am not sure what the parts cost even if I can get them.

I had a weed wacker with a burned out motor and found the motor to be just as costly as buying a new weed wacker. The Taco pump in my boiler's system went and I replaced the entire pump because a replacement cartridge cost nearly as much as the whole pump purchased from my local Home Depot. I do not know if my local Home Depot carries an 8124. The website does not.

In an earlier response you wrote:
"You can pick up an 8124 for probly around $150 or so... there are other newer models that will also replace yours... BUT, I doubt that there is a problem with the aquastat."

If not the aquastat, the probe? It appears that aquastats are sold with probes already attached but then there is concern about those probes working in the probe well on my boiler.

The Lowe's website does not show any aquastats and tries to substitute AquaStar (water heaters). That website also failed to show slip-on &/or 3/4" compression couplings. When I called the local store, an employee told me it had Sharkbite fittings and 3/4" compression couplings. When I got to the store, I found it had GatorBites and the 3/4" compression couplings. The GatorBites came in removeable (could have been SharkBite being sold under a different label but there were no slip-couplings [i.e. Sharkbite U3016]) and permanent couplings. The permanent coupling cost almost as much as the fancier removable couplings. I figure simpler is better (had to cut out the pipe with the "removable" couplings anyway, because the slip collars had become stuck [maybe because the freezing had swollen the copper pipe]) so I am using the permanent.

Home Depot's website shows only the Honeywell Aquastat Controller
Model # L4006A1967/U which has a voltage rating of 250. The L8124 on my boiler is 120V.
 
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Old 12-21-10, 08:10 AM
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Old 12-21-10, 12:44 PM
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Exclamation The Aquastat or Whatever Keeps Yanking My Chain

Having gotten tired of tightening and loosening screws, I simply slipped the burner connectors into their mounts and flipped the emergency switch back to on. The burner worked.
I watched the pressure/temperature gauge as the boiler heated to almost 220 degree F but the pressure remained below 20psi. Just as I became concerned about the temperature, the burner shut off on its own. As I walked away to let the water circulate and bring the temperature down, the burner came back on briefly. Again it shut off before the pressure came to 20psi. It is as though there never was the problem that I have been writing about.
After reading hhornig's contribution to this thread, I clicked on the Pex Supply link he provided and compared the three L8124 thermostats. Of those I compared, only the L8124A1007 was listed as controlling the circulator. My aquastat controls the circulator pump for my hydronic heating system. The pump is wired to the connectors just left of the burner connectors.
The black wire of the circulator pump had been touching the black wire connection of the burner and the insulation looked as though it had melted a bit. That could not have accounted for the burner running until the pressure relief openned because the pressure was still openning the relief even after I had bent the clip (December 19) to keep that wire from touching the burner connection. It might have accounted for the failure of the burner prior to Sunday, December 19.
I certainly cannot confirm anything. Not even why the burner is now turning off a little later than it should but before the water turns to steam and the pressure builds above 20psi.
 
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Old 12-21-10, 05:13 PM
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Exclamation Just when........


In my last description of the status of my heating problems, I made no mention of my living area zone valve. That was because it was working, or at least I thought it was. After sending the update, I took a nap. When I awoke, my wife informed me that the living area temperature was dropping. Upon investigation, I found the zone valve closed despite the thermostat being set at 70 degrees F and its thermometer showing only 60. I used the manual lever to open it and the temperature resumed its climb.
When my wife informed me that the living area temperature was 72 degrees F, I released the manual lever and the zone valve immediately closed. The thermometer of the thermostat now reads 69 degrees.

I need to look up the proper resistance of my zone valve's motor and compare it to the resistance of that motor. Got to catch it while it is not working and test the current being fed to it as well. Will submit data when that is done.

Still no explanation for the burner continuing to run until the boiler tank water turns to steam. Hope to never again need to figure that one out.
 
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