Honeywell gas boiler not working after 2 yrs of no use


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Old 01-24-11, 06:59 AM
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Honeywell gas boiler not working after 2 yrs of no use

I'm in a duplex, and we have kept the heat off all this year and last year on the 1st floor because nobody lives there.

Being that the temps have really been dropping, I decided to pop it on for a while to warm things up. After lighting the pilot and then turning up the thermostat, the burner came on. I hung around for a few minutes to make sure there was no "disaster" (common to me, you can call me "Murphy"), and I left it alone. I went down about two hours later and it was still cold. Turns out the pump is pumping cold water through the pipes.

I checked, and the pilot was still lit. However, the burner will just not kick on. I had a similar problem before, so I took the flue damper (I think that's what it's called) off the 2nd floor heater and switched it, but that's not the problem.

I can't read any model number on the heater, because some genius put the big electrical cutoff switch boxes right on top of the label. About all I can do is take pictures.

I would like some ideas if possible. I'm just confused as to why it would work just the once and then stop. I've turned it off, obviously, but at the time the thermostat was turned up, the electrical was on, and the dial was set to "ON" and not "PILOT".

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-24-11, 07:18 AM
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The next thing to check would be the control board but if you don't know how to jump it or test it, you would be better off calling for service.
 
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Old 01-24-11, 08:23 AM
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I was thinking the aquastat. What if I were to jump the two wires going to the aquastat, just to see if the burner kicks on? I know it wouldn't be safe to leave it like that, but if the burner kicks on when it's jumped, I found the problem, correct? I'm 99% sure this would be safe to do for a few moments, but I want to double check before I blow my face off in an explosion.
 
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Old 01-24-11, 08:38 AM
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Yes for a moment!!!! If not the boiler will be in runaway mode and you will have bad things happen....

Mike NJ
 
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Old 01-24-11, 08:51 AM
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You're scaring me, lawrosa Ok, let me be more specific to that I can make sure I don't get myself in trouble...

The aquastat is designed to shut down the burner when the water reaches a set temperature. I'm thinking if this is faulty, it may be preventing the burner from coming on. If I jump the wires, all I have done is bypass the safety, which means everything will be fine UNTIL the water reaches too high a temperature. In other words, I have more than "a moment", but I don't have, let's say, 2-3 minutes. If I do this a few times, and the burner comes on each time, I've solved my problem, and the next task is to find a new aquastat and figure out how to remove this one. Right?
 
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Old 01-24-11, 08:54 AM
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Try it. Don't worry about runaway mode. The entire country is in runaway mode.
 
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Old 01-24-11, 08:54 AM
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You are correct sir.................................


Mike NJ
 
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Old 01-24-11, 09:14 AM
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WHICH two wires are you even talking about?

Youze guyz are saying, yeah, go ahead and try it and you don't have any idea which two wires he intends to 'jump' ~ ! that's crazy talk...

There's no idea what aquastat is installed, or even the make of the boiler...

Unless I missed something...
 
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Old 01-24-11, 09:19 AM
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Ok, so I pulled the wires from their connectors and jumping the wires made no difference, so that rules out the aquastat. I'm stumped. Am I actually going to have to call in a pro?
 
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Old 01-24-11, 09:22 AM
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Would'nt ya think the whole first floors pipes froze and burst if he has not had the heat on in two years??? PA??? Could have glycol though.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 01-24-11, 09:23 AM
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NJ Trooper, thanks for the concern

I'm going back and forth between my Time-Life Heating and Cooling book and this site which is where I got the idea for the aquastat. There was only two wires going to the boiler-mounted aquastat, so I didn't think that would cause much confusion I think I can rule out the thermostat (the pump turns off and on depending on the setting), the electricity and coupler (pump works), vent damper (switched with a known working unit), and now the aquastat. Sigh.
 
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Old 01-24-11, 09:26 AM
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Temperature on 1st floor is right about 48 degrees. We DO go down there, and so therefore use the water frequently, but nobody's living there.
 
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Old 01-24-11, 09:39 AM
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There's usually several safety related switches/sensors that will cut off the main burner; the ROLLOUT switch, and the SPILL switch.

Being that it hasn't been running in a couple years might logically say that neither of these are tripped, but ya nevah know...

What gas valve is installed?

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

Can you tell what aquastat is installed?
 
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Old 01-24-11, 09:53 AM
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Being that it hasn't been running in a couple years might logically say that neither of these are tripped, but ya nevah know...
-- Please note that it did run for at least 5 minutes yesterday before it finally shut off.

What gas valve is installed?
-- No idea what you mean

Do you own a multimeter and know how to use it?
-- Yes, for the most part. I know the basic functions.

Can you tell what aquastat is installed?
-- Other than telling you it's a burner-mounted model, with two quick-disconnect wires going to it, no.
 

Last edited by NJT; 01-24-11 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 01-24-11, 11:39 AM
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hi Critical Mass

Im no expert like the guys here who have been directing you. Im just a newbie (from Philly, living not far from there). Ive been helped immensely from this forum.
Originally Posted by Critical Mass View Post
...

Can you tell what aquastat is installed?
-- Other than telling you it's a burner-mounted model, with two quick-disconnect wires going to it, no.
I think you probably meant boiler-mounted as you said previously.

I think most of the Aquastats are gray boxes (not sure). You should be able to take the cover off and read the model number inside the box if it isnt printed on the bottom or the back of the box. Should be easy to get the cover off. Then if these guys know the Aquastat model they can possibly help you test if you have a meter and know how to use it- even if they dont know the exact boiler make/model.

But obviously you have to be very very careful. YOU CAN GET KILLED THERE ARE HOT WIRES IN THE AQUASTAT BOX.!!! But it looks like you know where to turn the power off. Would be best to do that before you open the box. But as Trooper indicates it could be safety components that are inhibiting the burner-not the Aquastat.

Looks like a little relief around here tomorrow all the way up to 40!

Good luck!
 
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Old 01-24-11, 12:57 PM
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Yes, zoesdad, I hear ya. People on this and other websites have proven to be invaluable, whether plumbing, electrical, tile laying, etc. I try to answer questions when I can, but usually people more knowledgeable and faster than me handle it first.

There's no cover on either of the aquastats. All I can do is show a picture. Hope I'm not breaking any rules by doing so. I don't know why it's so small, since the resolution of the original is so large.

Direct link: http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/g...8/IMG_2536.jpg


As you can see, it was virtually no effort at all to pull the wires off the connectors, stick a 12 gauge wire in between the two connectors, and turn it back on, which didn't solve the problem.
 
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Old 01-24-11, 03:15 PM
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While that IS an aquastat of sorts, we usually refer to those as 'high limit' controls.

The 'aquastat' we usually talk about is an integrated control box that has the above high limit control and circulator relay and thermostat circuit built in to it.

If you have one of those high limit controls, you almost certainly also have another control with a relay on it to run the circulator. Most likely a Honeywell R8285 'control center'.

This circuitry is mostly 24VAC so there isn't much danger touching THAT part, but please do understand that there IS 120VAC in various places inside the boiler and that CAN AND WILL KILL YOU !

You said this boiler is a Honeywell boiler? Where do you see that?

Why not take a bunch more pics and we'll look and see if we can give you some direction to troubleshoot. Or maybe you already did? going to check the album now... nope... just two of the same... and some crazy a55 pics of signs!
 
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Old 01-24-11, 03:30 PM
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Here's my theory...

Since the system wasn't running for a period of time, and it ran for five minutes before shutting down, I'm going to take a WAG and say that the ROLLOUT switch has opened. It's possible that the burners have rust on them and possibly the flue passages inside the boiler are clogged up with rust. This would cause bad combustion and bad draft, and cause flames and hot flue gases to exit from the front of the boiler where the rollout switch is located.

Was the pilot light lit the entire time the boiler was not operating?

Are there CARBON MONOXIDE detectors in the home? Do they WORK?
 
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Old 01-24-11, 04:21 PM
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Oh gees, HELL NO it's not a Honeywell! How the heck did I screw that up? It's a Weil-McLain!

So okay, I know enough to see the electrical coming over, and down the conduit into the big box with the switch and the red faceplate that says "EMERGENCY SHUTOFF", so yes, I'm aware enough to turn that off while I'm inside the heater, but thanks for the warning!

Knowing this is a WM and not a Honeywell heater might change what you said about the relay, but if not, you can tell me where I can find it and what I can do with it.

I can take more pictures, certainly. Anything in particular I can photograph?

It's true that when it was running for those few minutes, it did smell a little bit, but I thought that would be somewhat normal, considering the length of time it's been sitting, and assumed it would go away. The CM detector did not go off. And no, the pilot was not lit the whole time. I just lit it yesterday.

I Googled "rollout switch" and found a previous post on these forums regarding it. If I understand, that switch would reset itself after the boiler cools down, which obviously it's not doing in this case.

And incidentally, there are wires going to something on the panel that I removed to get to the pilot, and I noticed what appeared to be a diode of some sort. I assumed this is a thermal fuse of some sort? It's still intact, if it is.

As for the pictures, they've been there for years! They're funny anti-Pittsburgh Penguin signs that were made up on some website somewhere back when the Flyers & Penguins were in the finals I only use Photobucket for situations like this, and so never deleted anything off it
 
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Old 01-24-11, 04:30 PM
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Let's start with pics of the whole boiler. We can probably ID the model from that. Once we know what model we are looking at, we can go from there. Take as many pictures as you think we need... and the more the better... since it's in place of us 'being there', the more we can see...

If the pilot wasn't lit, it's actually more likely that there may be some blockage inside the boiler that needs to be cleaned out. This cleaning may be more than you want to tackle though as there is 'some disassembly required'.

SOME rollout switches will automatically reset, but some are ONE TIME ONLY thermal fuses that must be replaced. This is part of the safety thing... if a rollout switch opens, it means something SERIOUS is wrong and needs to be corrected before starting the boiler back up again.
 
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Old 01-24-11, 04:43 PM
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there are wires going to something on the panel that I removed to get to the pilot, and I noticed what appeared to be a diode of some sort. I assumed this is a thermal fuse of some sort? It's still intact, if it is.
That sounds like the rollout switch. It 'looks' like a diode, kinda silvery, perhaps one end might have some possibly reddish ceramic looking material on it... and if it's bad, you can't tell by looking.

You can check this 'fuse' easily with your meter. Of course, turn the power off and remove the two wires from it. Set your multimeter to the OHMS scale and measure across the two terminals. If it's OPEN, it's BAD. If it's ZERO OHMS (shorted), it's good, just like an electrical fuse.
 
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Old 01-25-11, 08:35 AM
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Ok, here are some pictures for you to enjoy. I did the best I could considering my wife's clutter and "storage needs" was all around me.
It definitely needs a good vacuuming, I'll give you that. How the insides of the pipes & exhaust look, I'm not sure.
One thing to consider that I failed to point out was that the bleed valve on the other unit was leaking a month ago, and water ran underneath this unit. It may also be possible that some water may have tripped a safety switch as well, even though it appears that the water is all gone.

http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/g...8/IMG_2537.jpg
http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/g...8/IMG_2538.jpg
http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/g...8/IMG_2539.jpg
http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/g...8/IMG_2540.jpg
http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/g...8/IMG_2541.jpg
 
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Old 01-25-11, 08:53 AM
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I will ask why did you switch the vent damper out from your first post???

Answer this, does or is the vent damper open on a call for heat?
There is a black wire going to the draft hood. There is a spill switch there under the damper. It has a small button between the wires attached to it. Is it tripped???

Now there is a series of events that allow your boiler to light. This is just one of them. If this is tripped I would advise not running the boiler until you figure out why.
Do you have CO detectors?????? Its very dangerous and someone in the house can wake up dead if the problem is not addressed ASAP.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 01-25-11, 09:20 AM
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No, the damper is not opening now, although it did work fine the one time the boiler worked. Being that I've had this problem before, I switched the dampers, and the one from the "defective" heater worked fine on the "working" heater, so I was able to rule that possibility out.

As for the CO2 detectors, we do have one in the basement, but nobody is down there to hear it if it should go off. Maybe I should move it to the top of the cellar steps?

I will go check out the button. Again, if it's tripped, and I can get the burner to come on, I will turn it off immediately and come back for further assistance.
 
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Old 01-25-11, 09:29 AM
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GOOD NEWS! Thanks, Mike, that did it. Yes, it was tripped. I turned power back on, the damper opened, and the boiler kicked on. Then I turned it off.

I guess now we have to figure out what caused it. I can safely assume that the problem is somewhere in the exhaust pipe and not in the heater itself? The two heaters share the same pipe, so it shouldn't be too hard to find. I'll wait for advice anyway.
Greg
 
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Old 01-25-11, 09:39 AM
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It may be the flue is blocked but if the upstairs is tied in then(and thats drafting) it would be somewhere from the 1st to 2nd floors. The vent damper could of got stuck and caused a spill switch situation. There is a switch on the side of the vent damper that allows you to keep in open. Switch this from auto to manual and leave it there. You need to absolutly make sure the boiler is drafting properly before putting it in service.

Go out and get some CO detectors for around the levels of the home also.

Oh and get that boiler cleaned... Its pretty dirty and dusty around the burners and such....

Mike NJ
 
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Old 01-25-11, 11:05 AM
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I thought about what you said, and I decided not to keep the damper in the Open position. If it's going to trip again, I'd rather have it do so than possibly cause trouble down the road.

I went down there and vacuumed out the exhaust duct. There was a layer of "rusty dust" in the duct, but I certainly wouldn't call it a blockage. It's possible the damper didn't open, causing the problem, I suppose.

I took a vacuum to the inside as well (power was off) and got especially around the burner tubes.

I'm surprised nobody caught it in the picture, but I didn't notice until yesterday that the conduit carrying the wired to the damper was going into the hole where the gas pipe is, and NOT the electrical knockout in the top of the heater as on the 2nd floor. I know enough about electricity to know that this is very dangerous. After all, the whole purpose of the metal conduit is to protect the wires from getting damaged, so having bare wires that close to a metal edge which also contains a gas pipe is absurd. I disconnected the wires and re-routed them through the cutout.

I just turned it on a few minutes ago, and I will closely monitor the situation. I will also need to perform the same maintenance on the 2nd floor heater when the weather warms up.

Incidentally, if you want to read a short story about why I don't trust these heater people, read on (no offense):

About five years ago, when the 1F heater originally broke (my grandmother was on the first floor), we had to call six different HVAC service people before we could find one that could make it within 72 hours. We finally had someone come out and tell us that it was the vent damper. I had NO IDEA what a vent damper was at this point. He called "his office" on his Nextel (so that we could hear him) and "his boss" told him it would cost a total (don't remember exact numbers) of $700, but that he had a special on some new heater, model blah blah blah which would only cost us $1,900 installed.

I knew at this point we were going to get raped in the dead of winter, but $700 was a bit much. I told him we'd get back to him after we got a second opinion. The guy says, "Look, my boss tries to do that to a lot of people. Most of that vent damper is labor. I'll tell you what I'll do. Let me see if I can get the part, and if I can, I'll come back after work today or tomorrow and do it for $250. All you have to pay me for now is the service call". Typical Good Cop/Bad Cop situation, but this was an offer we couldn't refuse, so I agreed and paid him the $95 (I think) service call fee. He said he would call us in about two hours and finalize it.

After he left, a second HVAC guy shows up. I told him it was "something called a vent damper" and the last guy wanted to charge us $700 to put one in. He said, "Let me go out to my truck and see if I can get one, then I'll let you know how much cheaper I can get it." Unfortunately, he came back and told us he couldn't get one, and blamed the high demand on the recent cold spell. He did not, however, charge us for the service call.

Meanwhile, HVAC guy #1 never calls back. We can't call the company and ask for his cell number, because I don't want the poor guy to get in trouble. Unfortunately, my grandmother still has no heat.

I hopped on the internet, and began calling HVAC supply companies. Within 20 minutes, I had five places that gave me quotes, and finally the last one was for $90 or so, which was more than $10 less than anyone else.

I took a ride down there, and they looked at me kinda strange. They asked if I was licensed rep and I said no. They then said that this part could be dangerous if I install it wrong, and they do not want to be held liable. I convinced him by telling him all I have to do is take the old one out, disconnect the wires, connect them to the new one, and install the new one in the same spot. He agreed that it seemed simple, but could still be dangerous. I told him I would take my chances and bought the thing.

I took it home, put on a pot of coffee, and read the instructions carefully. Even though it SEEMED simple, and I exuded confidence to the dealer and my wife, I was nervous, since I had never done this before. Anyway, after two cups of coffee and reading the manual twice, I had it installed in less than 10 minutes.

So my problems are these:
a) Why is it these two different entities couldn't find this part, but a "layman" was able to find five up them all within 10 miles?
b) Where do they get off charging $700 for this, even in the dead of winter?
c) How dare they offer me a new heater when I fixed the problem myself in under 10 minutes?
d) This "nice cop" who offered to come back, not only didn't call or stop by knowing a 92 year old had no heat, but he wanted to charge me $150 for only a few minutes' work OFF THE RECORD. More like Bad Cop/Worse Cop.

Well since then, that HVAC supply place no longer deals with the general public, but I've since found a place closer that does. I have decided since then not to be afraid to learn these things, even if it can kill you. Do it right, and you'll be safe.

I'm going to go check my heat now Thanks!
 
 

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