Boiler starts with loud boom


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Old 12-07-10, 05:45 AM
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Boiler starts with loud boom

Hi All,

I have a gas fired boiler with an always-on pilot which runs a forced hot water baseboard heating system for my house. It is ancient (probably more than 50 years old) but has worked reliably over the years.
I am a fairly competent do-it-yourselfer (I used to be a mechanic) and have been pretty much on the ball about fixing things when they needed fixing (I recently serviced the circulator pump).
The problem is that it has recently been making a very loud boom when firing up - not every time it starts up, but often enough to tell me that it is a problem that needs fixing.
My guess is that the burners and/or pilot may need cleaning. I did take the front cover off as well as the cast iron shield, and the pilot light looks fine. Which leaves the cast iron burners as the probable reason for my problem.
So here is my question - What is involved in cleaning the burners? Will using a hand vacuum to clear any accumulation of dust/rust from around the orifices be enough? Do I need to use 'pipe cleaners' on the actual orifices to ensure that they are clean? What else do I need to look for or do? I would like to do everything I need to do to get it up and running properly when I shut it down for service. I am open to suggestions.

Thanks.

Mo
 
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Old 12-07-10, 06:31 AM
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Greetings fellow Marylander!!

While I don't have an answer for you, I just wanted to drop note to the other experts here that I too would like information on proper burner cleaning procedures/techniques.

Thanks
 
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Old 12-07-10, 06:44 AM
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You've got delayed ignition. More than likely due to a spider web in the gas trane. What needs to be done is to remove all the burners and crossovers and blow them out good with compressed air. Pipe cleaners will help out also.
 
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Old 12-07-10, 03:22 PM
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While you've got the burners out to clean, get in there with a vacuum cleaner and vacuum the whole thing out... if you can access the heat exchanger from the bottom, run a brush up and down the flue passages. Take a mirror and have a look up inside and see what it looks like. Also might wanna inspect the flue pipe and chimney...
 
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Old 12-07-10, 06:23 PM
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Thanks a lot, Mattison & Trooper!
Sounds simple enough. Unless of course my old buddy Murphy rears his ugly head and messes things up.
One more thing - Exactly how dangerous is this 'delayed ignition' problem? What sort of damage can it result in? Does it have to be taken care of urgently or can I let it wait a week or 2 until the weather warms up some?

Thanks.

p.s. Nice to meet you, Batman.
 
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Old 12-07-10, 07:24 PM
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Myself... I don't think I would wait... most gas fired systems the burner tubes themselves just lift up and out, so it's not that hard a job.
 
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Old 12-07-10, 08:22 PM
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Lightbulb Boiler starts with a boom

I moved into a rental home that had a furnace that started with a boom. It would shake the floor so hard, it would toss you 3 or 4 inches into the air. I thought the furnace was going to explode and kill me. The owners contractor came out and found out that the pilot light was just not quite in the right position, it was over/off/too low from where the gas would shoot out of the burners. He just bent (for techies, that is "reformed") the pilot light so that it's flame was closer to and more actually in the very spot where the gas would be when the burner turned on. After this, the gas didn't have to build up to such a high unsafe level before it finally found the pilot light flame. Maybe your issue is something like this???
 
 

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