Help Troubleshooting Boiler Problem


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Old 12-26-11, 05:48 PM
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Unhappy Help Troubleshooting Boiler Problem

We have a Burderus gas boiler.

Built in 1997. Installed in 1999.

Model No on boiler is G 124K-25 II.

I can only find manuals online for G124X series.

Installation/Maintenance: http://www.buderus.us/files/20100122...I-SP042005.pdf

User Manual: http://www.buderus.us/files/20100122...sG124x_UIM.pdf

This is not a steam heat system.

Problem:

For the past few weeks, the gas has been shutting off, the pump stays on, temperature drops, the gas doesn't reignite.

First time: Water was low. Hubby added water. Hubby turned the thermostat off and back on. The gas ignited.

Second time: 24 hours later, same thing. Gas turned off, pump stayed on, temperature dropped, gas didn't reignite. I turned the thermostate off. Turned it on. Nothing the first time. Next time it worked.

Third time: 2 to 3 days later. Same thing. Gas turned off, pump stayed on, temperature dropped, gas didn't reignite. Hubby went down. Water was low AGAIN. (He has only needed to add some water a couple times in winter, never within a few days). Added water. Turned thermostat off and back on. Three times. Nothing. Fourth time, I heard an electric starter firing and the gas ignited.

Four time: 24 hour later. Same thing. Water okay. Can't get it to reignite at all this time.

ANY IDEAS?

I won't be able to afford to call a repair technician for a few weeks. We're do-it-yourselfers for almost everything whenever possible anyway.

Thanks!
 
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Old 12-26-11, 05:54 PM
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You say this is NOT a steam system? (just checking the typing...)

When you say the water was low... what exactly do you mean? How did you know the water was low? Was this conclusion based on the pressure gauge on the boiler?

I think you may have TWO problems... maybe related... maybe not...
 
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Old 12-26-11, 06:00 PM
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Not a steam system. Correct.

Hubby determined the water was low based on pressure gauge.

We're looking forward to hearing your ideas.

Thanks!


Edited to add:

It just ignited after we kept it turned off 20 minutes before trying again.

So we do have heat----UNTIL IT HAPPENS AGAIN---which we know will be certain sometime! lol
 

Last edited by Muffet; 12-26-11 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 12-26-11, 06:18 PM
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The fact that you are losing pressure is disturbing because it may mean that somewhere, something is leaking... it can be a small leak that you would never notice because with the pipes hot it would evaporate before you saw any water. Inspect all the piping for evidence of greenish/whitish 'deposits' at the joints.

Do you know if your system has a 'Low Water Cut Off' installed?

Inspect all of the 'ground' wiring terminals... these are wires (often green, not always) that connect to the sheet metal, and the burners... usually a screw with a wiring lug... make sure that there is no rust on these connections and clean them if necessary...

There is a 'flame rod' on the pilot assembly that senses when the pilot is lit and allows the main burner to fire. If there's a problem with the flame rod, the ignition control will think the flame went out. If this happens a number of times, the control will 'lock out' ...

Does your boiler have a 'Logano' control panel on it?
 
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Old 12-26-11, 06:18 PM
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Describe the color of the flames when the burners are operating.
 
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Old 12-26-11, 06:43 PM
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I'll quickly address the pressure issue first. We wonder if the water is escaping through the backflow. We had a problem last year getting our boiler to fill. A technician told us over the phone to do something with the boiler's backflow value and we were able to fill the boiler. Hubby says the backflor value still isn't working properly.

Maybe related. Maybe unrelated. We have been having this additional problem with our hot water heater since last year.

Here is a link to a thread I created on another forum about it with detailed information: [sorry, linking to other forums not allowed - NJT]

It leaks after we take a shower or use the washing machine. The hot water tank and the boiler are right next to each other. I think the piping in the house is all connected in some way. Well, that would be true of almost all houses. LOL

It seems we didn't have these problems until the township forced us to put a backflow valve at the entrance to the house. It just seems like everything in the house has been under pressure ever since. Don't worry. Not dangerous pressure. Just pressure to cause these various problems we have been having.

Hubby just read your response and told me to ask you this: "Ask him if we have expansion tanks, if they are under pressure, could that cause a problem? It's blowing water out the pressure relief value."

He said we will start looking all through the house for leaks over the next few days. He knows were all the joints are located. The grounding wires and the flame rod investigation won't happen until Wed & Thurs because hubby will be working 24 hour shift tomorrow. We'll definitely provide updates ASAP on those suggestions.

Your question about a Logano control panel. I've looked around online and I'm determining that the answer is no.

Here's an online picture of a boiler like ours:


Here is a picture of what I think is a Logano control panel:


It is shown sitting on top of boilers like ours:


We do not have one of those things sitting on top of our boiler. (These pictures are not of our boiler, just representations.)

THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH for helping us troubleshoot!
 
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Old 12-26-11, 06:52 PM
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We're really not supposed to link to other forums here, the boss don't like it so I'm going to have to edit that part out... sorry bout dat.

I guess you could have weeping from the 'vent' on the backflow preventer, but you would see that, wouldn't you?

we didn't have these problems until the township forced us to put a backflow valve at the entrance to the house.
They forced you to put that valve in, and they didn't inform you that you should install an expansion tank on the cold inlet to your water heater at that time? Shame on them...

What happens normally when a home does not have a backflow on the domestic service entrance is that when the water heater heats the water, and it EXPANDS, the pressure increase is absorbed by the city supply system.

When you have a backflow preventer, that expansion has no place to go... so the pressure in your water system goes UP UP UP ... and in some cases, it COULD be dangerous pressure.

Sorry to say that you DO need to install an expansion tank on your water heater now.

more...
 
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Old 12-26-11, 06:58 PM
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"Ask him if we have expansion tanks, if they are under pressure, could that cause a problem? It's blowing water out the pressure relief value."
Is hubby talking about the BOILER now? or the water heater? or both?

You DO have an expansion tank on the boiler, and if your BOILER is blowing out the relief valve, it's certainly the reason that you have the pressure problem losing water in the boiler!

Your expansion tank may be defective, or it may need an air charge... here are some instructions:

============================================================

1. Shut off boiler and allow to cool to under 100F.

2. Shut off water supply line to boiler.

3. Drain only enough water from the boiler drain to drop the system pressure to ZERO. REPEAT: DO NOT COMPLETELY DRAIN THE BOILER! ONLY ENOUGH TO DROP THE PRESSURE TO ZERO!

4. With an ACCURATE tire pressure gauge, check the air charge in the tank on the air valve opposite the end of the tank that's connected to the system. If ANY water comes out of the air valve, the bladder inside the tank is shot and the tank needs replaced. If no water comes out the air valve, and the pressure is less than 12-15 PSI, continue to step 5. If the pressure is OK, turn the water supply to the boiler back on and repressurize the system, turn the power back on to the boiler, no service is necessary.

5. Using a bicycle pump, or a small air compressor, add air to the tank until you have 15 PSI air charge.

6. Check the boiler pressure gauge again, and if it has risen off ZERO, drain some more water from the boiler drain until it is again at ZERO.

7. Check the air charge on the tank again. If it is below 15 PSI, add air to the tank until it is at 15 PSI.

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until the boiler stays at ZERO and the tank stays at 15 PSI. At this point, the tank is properly recharged and the water supply can be turned on to re-pressurize the system, turn the power on to boiler and return to service.

==============================================

I've gotta get outta here for the night... this should keep ya off yer Tuffet for a while!
 
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Old 12-26-11, 06:59 PM
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Sorry about the link. It was just easier to provide than to re-explain the hot water tank problem. I hope you had a chance to quickly glance through the thread.

Hubby said he found a big leak. BRB. He wants to show it to me. I'll explain the expansion tanks when I get back too.

Thanks!
 
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Old 12-26-11, 07:07 PM
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OK, I'll leave the computer on, and come back in about an hour to see what he found...
 
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Old 12-26-11, 07:16 PM
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Expansion tanks: We do have two. While I was in the basement looking at the leak, I was able to verify that the expansion tank for the water heater is properly on the cold water line, not the hot water line. It's substantially smaller expansion tank than the one on the boiler. Maybe it's too small?

Leak: The leak is on a pipe at the elbow coming out/doing into the boiler. Hubby and I are currently in disagreement over which direction the water flows on the pipe for the leak. I'll need to look at drawings. But it's the pipe where the pressure guage is located. Not the pipe where the pump is located. Hubby thinks it's the pipe for water leaving the boiler. I think it's for water entering the boiler. Not sure yet. Maybe you know from the pressure guage/pump description.

Edited to add: Now hubby is saying the leak is from the boiler's pressure relief value, not the elbow. That the water is dripping down the pipe and just looks like it's leaking at the elbow. I'll get dishsoap and check the elbow for a leak.
Pressure risk: I'm forwarned and aware. Hubby wants a plumber to work on the leaking pipe near the boiler. He has worked on all of the pipes in the house, but he's not as comfortable with the boiler pipe because it's right next to the boiler, just an inch away. I first want to determine if other work needs to be done to the furnace. If not, I'd rather call a plumber, not a heating technician, because a plumber could evaluate our hot water tank expansion tank issue and our overall house pressure too.

Question: Is it possible that this pressure issue is the cause of why our gas is shutting off and not restarting? We will continue to check the ground wiring and the flame rod, I'm just wondering if the pressure COULD be the root of all of our problems.

Forgot to answer: We do know now if the system has a 'Low Water Cut Off' installed?
 
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Old 12-26-11, 07:27 PM
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OK, I'm back for a few minutes...

The cool water from the house flows back into the BOTTOM of the boiler, and the hot water comes out the TOP of the boiler. I believe the pressure gauge is on the TOP ... so that would be the HOT out of the boiler.

It's substantially smaller expansion tank than the one on the boiler. Maybe it's too small?
I don't think too small... the ones for the water heater don't have to be as large. It may have lost it's air charge, or not be properly charged.

The air charge pressure in the water heater tank is different than in the boiler tank... the water heater expansion tank needs to be charged to whatever your 'nominal' city water pressure is. If you have say 60 PSI city water pressure, then the water heater exp tank gets charged to 60 PSI. Expansion tanks do lose pressure over time normally so they should be maintained.

I'm just wondering if the pressure COULD be the root of all of our problems.
Probably not... very rarely does a boiler system have a control that will shut down the boiler for a pressure related issue. VERY rarely... and I am pretty sure that the Buderus does NOT have a pressure switch.

How long has it been since the boiler flue passages were cleaned, and the flue pipe and chimney were checked?

Another possibility is that your 'Roll Out Switch' has tripped... and this could be because of partial blockage in the boiler flue passages...

IF it's this problem, I want to know that you have CO DETECTORS in the home and that they have fresh batteries!

This is also the reason I asked to describe the flame color...

OK, this time I really gotta git... I'll check in on you tomorrow morning.
 
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Old 12-26-11, 07:29 PM
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I just noticed your previous post with the red writing. I'm going to read that one and your most recent post.
 
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Old 12-26-11, 07:47 PM
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Just read your post about the expansion tank for the boiler. I had hubby come up and read your posts. He will check the pressure in the expansion tank as you described. He will also check the flue, ground wiring and the flame rod.

Wednesday is dedicated to doing all of what you suggsted. There's no time tonight and he's leaving tomorrow.

I will buy a CO Detector at Walmart tonight, as soon as I get off here. Fear not, I understand the severity of what you're describing. Since Hubby isn't in agreement that we should open the basement windows until we have this resolved, I'm buying that CO Detector right now! LOL

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
 
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Old 12-26-11, 09:44 PM
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Plug in CO Detectors with fresh backup batters are installed on all levels of the house now!
 

Last edited by Muffet; 12-27-11 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 12-27-11, 12:40 AM
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Just noticed you asked for the color fo the flame. Hubby won't be home again until Wed. I'll try to check it myself tomorrow. I just need to figure out which tool can take off those little weird nuts that holds the panel on the sides. Don't worry, I know how to not make matters worse. I'll just take the panel off and look. I won't touch anything.
 
 

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