Gas Furnace Keeps Cutting Out

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Old 02-09-11, 05:21 PM
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Gas Furnace Keeps Cutting Out

I have a Utica Boiler gas furnace. Every time the pressure inside reaches 5 psi the gas cuts off to and the flame stops boiling the water. There's a little box on the top labeled "cut in" where if I raise the screw a bit (past 5) then the flame comes back on. It's obvios to me that this is some sort of cut-off switch for when the PSI gets too high.

How can I prevent the furnace from kicking off all the time? Is 5 PSI a lot? It's very low on the dial, not even 1/4th of the max PSI the meter can go to.

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Old 02-09-11, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Spaceboy88 View Post
I have a Utica Boiler gas furnace. Every time the pressure inside reaches 5 psi the gas cuts off to and the flame stops boiling the water. There's a little box on the top labeled "cut in" where if I raise the screw a bit (past 5) then the flame comes back on. It's obvios to me that this is some sort of cut-off switch for when the PSI gets too high.

How can I prevent the furnace from kicking off all the time? Is 5 PSI a lot? It's very low on the dial, not even 1/4th of the max PSI the meter can go to.

Thanks
Can you give the guys a little more info, and some pic. would be nice.
I am guessing you have a low pressure steam system? Is it heating the house?
Take the cover off the pressure control, What is the make and no. on the control?
With the cover off is there a differential setting or a built in differential of 2 to 3 LB'S?.
Is this control mounted on a small pipe that makes a 180 degree circle? . Check your boiler tag and see what steam pressure it is rated to operate at?
Check that white round dial inside of the pressure switch to see if that is the setting for the cut in, if so what is it set at and what does this control say the differential is? Paul
 

Last edited by paul52446m; 02-09-11 at 07:31 PM. Reason: add on
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Old 02-09-11, 06:23 PM
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Not sure I understand 100% of what you're asking, sorry.

Here's a few photos of what I'm seeing:

The Cut-In panel


Cut-in panel with cover off


Back of the Cut-in panel cover


PSI Gauge


Side of Unit


When the flame is going, the heater is doing a fine job of heating the house, it's just that lately the heat refuses to kick on and when I go to the basement I see the flame is out and I have to open adjust the screw on the cut-in panel in order to get it to come on again.
 
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Old 02-09-11, 07:23 PM
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This boiler should heat at 5 lbs pressure. When it stops is the water in the gage glass at the proper level ? One thing i have run across is the 180 degree loop under the gage and control.
I have seen them plug up and then both the pressure control and gage will not read right. In side that pressure switch where the wires tie in you should find another adjustable switch.
I think on that control this would be the cut in setting and it tells you on the cover or pressure control that, the cut in setting plus differential is where it will restart. So if cut out is 5 lbs. and cut in is set at 4 lbs, and differential is is 2 lbs , that means that it should restart at 2 lbs . Check these setting and see if it will restart by itself. Paul
 

Last edited by NJT; 02-09-11 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 02-09-11, 07:49 PM
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For residential STEAM HEAT your settings are too high to start with. They heat the Empire State Building with only about 9 PSI... most residential steam is 1/2 - 2 PSI settings.

Paul is right about checking the 'siphon tube' for a blockage. That will send a false signal to your PRESSURTROL and it won't fire up when it should.

Any boiler pressure gauge is ALWAYS suspect too... but your system seems pretty new, and the gauge is mounted on top of the siphon tube, so it may be OK... but it may not!

Check the siphon tube first for blockage and roll back those settings to 1/2 and 2 (or maybe 2-1/2 ) but you definitely do not need FIVE !
 
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Old 02-09-11, 08:02 PM
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In other words, set the CUT IN at 0.5 PSI and the DIFF wheel inside at 2 PSI !

The DIFF is ADDITIVE in the PA404A control, so your BOILER (not a furnace) will fire when the pressure drops to 1/2 PSI and stop firing when it hits 2-1/2 PSI.

It appears that the way you have it set up now, the boiler will fire when it hits around 5 and will fire up to about 7 ... (it looks like the DIFF wheel may be set at 2 ? )
 
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Old 02-09-11, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
In other words, set the CUT IN at 0.5 PSI and the DIFF wheel inside at 2 PSI !

The DIFF is ADDITIVE in the PA404A control, so your BOILER (not a furnace) will fire when the pressure drops to 1/2 PSI and stop firing when it hits 2-1/2 PSI.

It appears that the way you have it set up now, the boiler will fire when it hits around 5 and will fire up to about 7 ... (it looks like the DIFF wheel may be set at 2 ? )
How do I know what the "2" setting on the diff wheel is? Is it the number facing me? I don't see any line or anything to align it up with.

As for the water gauge level, it's often completely full. Sometimes if I drain some water from the boiler then the level will drop to the "recommended" setting, and I do see a lot of brown sediment in there. I'm having someone come over in a week to clean it with some chemicals.
 
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Old 02-09-11, 08:06 PM
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Here is information on your control:

http://customer.honeywell.com/techli...it/60-2341.pdf

An EXCELLENT book for homeowners with steam heat is:

Heating Help

It is absolutely hands-down the best $25 you will spend on your heating system.
 
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Old 02-09-11, 08:10 PM
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Thanks for the links.

I've adjusted the Cut In to 0.5 and the Diff to 2. How do I get the pressure in my system down? Right now the gauge is still reading around 5.
 
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Old 02-09-11, 08:14 PM
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How do I know what the "2" setting on the diff wheel is? Is it the number facing me? I don't see any line or anything to align it up with.
On the front of the brown switch thingy there is an ink line coming down from the right hand screw, that's the pointer.

As for the water gauge level, it's often completely full.
This indicates some problem... could be a number of things... there is probably an 'automatic water feeder' on the system... that could be malfunctioning... OR, you could have a problem with 'slow returns' which means the condensed steam isn't draining back to the boiler fast enough. When this happens the water feeder will add water when it doesn't need to... and then the condensate slowly drains back to the boiler and raises the level above where it needs to be.

There's certain routine maintenance that steam operators need to be aware of and do on a regular basis. That book I mentioned will explain it all in very easy to understand terms... it's actually FUN to read that book, the guy's writing style is even amusing at times... by the way, I have no financial interest in the book, just FYI ...
 
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Old 02-09-11, 08:17 PM
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How do I get the pressure in my system down? Right now the gauge is still reading around 5.
The pressure should drop off as the boiler cools. What is the temperature reading right now?

If the pressure doesn't drop, it's a real good bet that the 'siphon tube' or 'pig tail' (the circular pipe that the control and gauge are mounted on) is blocked with crud. Especially likely if the system hasn't been maintained...

Have you lived with this system for a while? or is it new to you?
 
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Old 02-09-11, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
The pressure should drop off as the boiler cools. What is the temperature reading right now?

If the pressure doesn't drop, it's a real good bet that the 'siphon tube' or 'pig tail' (the circular pipe that the control and gauge are mounted on) is blocked with crud. Especially likely if the system hasn't been maintained...

Have you lived with this system for a while? or is it new to you?
I've been in the house for about 2 years now. The boiler I believe was put in in 2002. I haven't done any maintenance to the unit but ever since seeing the water get brown in the glass tube I am having someone come over this weekend to clean it out.
 
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Old 02-09-11, 08:29 PM
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If you remove the gauge you may be able to push a piece of wire down and through the tube... but don't take the gauge off until the temperature of the boiler has dropped to under say 100F ! 5 PSI don't sound like a lot but when it's superheated steam it could put ya in the hospital!
 
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Old 02-09-11, 08:32 PM
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I am having someone come over this weekend to clean it out.
Make sure you tell them about the high water in the sight glass and ask them to check the water feeder. Hopefully they will know about steam systems... there aren't many guys left that do... most of the new guys are knuckleheads... if they tell you that 5 PSI is a good setting, trust me, they are knuckleheads.
 
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Old 02-09-11, 08:38 PM
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By the way, there's some Q&A questions on this page that might be useful info for ya...

Steam FAQ
 
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Old 02-09-11, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
By the way, there's some Q&A questions on this page that might be useful info for ya...

Steam FAQ
Thanks for all your help. Hoping that the pressure will go down soon so I can see if these adjusted settings do the trick.
 
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Old 02-09-11, 09:17 PM
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If that siphon tube is clogged, the only thing that will help is clean it or replace it!
 
 

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