Triangle Tube Soft Lockout -- how to fix

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Old 05-16-12, 11:07 AM
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Triangle Tube Soft Lockout -- how to fix

We had Triangle Tube Prestige installed 1 and 1/2 years ago. This month, we had no hot water. Digital readout says "b 26" which according to the manual was a soft lockout. PSI on the boiler is around 12 or 13.

We called the company that installed it. A plumber came and shorted the LWCO (low water cutoff). We had hot water again. I asked if it's dangerous. He said they actually installed a second low water device and pointed it to me. I read the label on the cylindrical thing mounted on the wall which says,"Niveau D E an Bas" (that might be incorrect -- I can't read my own handwriting, sorry) and "Low Water" and "self cleaning probe".

The plumber said the LWCO needs to be replaced. Fee was 700+ dollars.

I said I saw online the LWCO part for $51 on one site and $70+ on another. (I was googling before he came.) At +$700 I said I needed a second opinion. He left and took the shorting wire with him.

About two days later the company called me and said now that they know the actual cost of the part, the fee was reduced to $320.

I said I didn't want to repair now because it's working. I'll observe if it happens again.

Last night, 4 days later, it happened again. I shorted the LWCO until the boiler's "b 26" soft lockout code was gone and we had hot water running again. I removed my shorting wire. (I only had it shorted for the duration of the 150 second cycle time plus about a minute.)

This morning, it happened again.

Question: I'd like to order the LWCO part myself, perhaps from Triangle Tube. Can any plumber install it? Can I -- a fairly good handyman (I fixed our dryer's solenoid once and replaced a couple of faucets and one sink in the house) install it?

Thanks a lot.
 
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Old 05-16-12, 03:07 PM
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they actually installed a second low water device and pointed it to me.
Tell us make model on BOTH of the LWCOs ...

... and which one it was the he 'jumped' out ...
 
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Old 05-16-12, 04:58 PM
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They are easy enough to replace, "PROVIDED" the installer actually installed isolation and drain valves at the boiler.
Once can actually do the repair with water, but no pressure in the system will little spillage if your quick.

Just make sure that the pressure in the boiler is actually above 7.5 PSI .

If the pressure is dropping intermittently, then it is doing its job. Find the real problem.
 
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Old 05-16-12, 06:36 PM
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Thank you, NJ Trooper.

I drew a (crooked) red circle around the LWCO inside the Triangle Tube Prestige Model 110 below...


...and this is the closeup picture. The plumber put a jump wire on the 2 terminals where I drew the red wire:


This is the URL where I saw the LWCO part: PGRKIT20 Triangle Tube Low Water Cut Off (LWCO) Pressure Device, For Solo 110

Below is the second LWCO according to the plumber. It reads "GuardDog Model RB-24 Low Water Cut-off for Hot Water Boilers":
 
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Old 05-16-12, 06:44 PM
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Thank you, TOHeating. The PSI was at 12 before we started having the problem. Today it is at 16.

From the picture above, I can't tell if the LWCO inside the unit is soldered. I couldn't find a video online on how to replace a LWCO so I'm thinking of hiring a good plumber.

I'm losing confidence in the company that installed our boiler. They just don't make me (and my wife) feel at ease. It's like the plumbers seem too careful of what they say and they always go out to their truck to make phone calls back at the office, I'm guessing to be coached to make the most money. Their policy is to ask for a downpayment of half the price after they make their diagnosis. I'm not sure if that's standard practice but it feels a lot like being in an auto dealer. I hope I'm wrong.

I'm saying this in contrast with my auto mechanic who would never fix anything in my car that's not broke and if it is is always way below in price compared to other shops. I'm hoping there's a plumber nearby like him.
 
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Old 05-16-12, 06:46 PM
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That is an Excellance (triangletube).
Might be a bit harder to do with out draining the heat exchanger and boiler lines.

I think personally I would replace the Triangle Tube pressure switch, and enjoy the fact it is backup up by a proper LWCO device.
Take some pics under the boiler showing the pipework and any valves
 
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Old 05-16-12, 06:49 PM
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It's threaded in.
Standard threads, I just can't remember if it's sealed by an o ring or not
 
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Old 05-16-12, 07:24 PM
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Thank you, TOHeating.

Below is a picture of the underside of the boiler.


Would the "Triangle Tube pressure switch" be the round black plastic or rubber cap with the terminals that are shorted? So I guess they can be pried off?
 
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Old 05-16-12, 07:33 PM
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follow the pipes t the left and try to find some shut off valves.
Yep, the are just push on spade terminals.
 
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Old 05-18-12, 11:55 AM
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Thank you, TOHeating.

I called an online parts store who said they don't have the LWCO device in stock but will e-mail me when they have it. I asked if it's specifically for my TT Prestige 110 -- she said only one LWCO device shows up for the TT so she's guessing it's a standard part across all TT models.

This is the one I'm looking at: Parts4heating.com: Triangle PGRKIT20 LWCO Device

It looks very identical to the one my TT has.

I guess if I may ask, can I pry off the top (the black cap) and only install only that so I don't have to shut off any valves?

The TT pressure switch I'm seeing is different:

Parts4heating.com: Triangle PGRKIT11 Pressure Switch w/1.84" w.c.

Thanks a lot.
 
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Old 05-18-12, 02:21 PM
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No... don't try to pry off the black cap... you'll either 1. break something or 2. hurt yourself.

I believe those push on terminals are the 'locking' variety. The plastic housing pulls back about an eighth of an inch and pushes a little spring clip inside. Don't try to pull by the wire. when they go back on you should hear a 'click'... if they are the locking type (they look like it).

Check other parts houses as well...

Some members like these guys:

PGRKIT20 - Triangle Tube PGRKIT20 - LWCO Device

(and you'll save $20 ... hopefully they have in stock, but don't be surprised if either place has to order it)
 
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Old 05-18-12, 06:40 PM
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Thank you, NJ Trooper. Thank you, too, for the link. I actually found one for the same price online and ordered it. A few minutes later they e-mailed me saying it has shipped. That was fast.

So I guess I'll have the LWCO unthreaded and replaced with the new one when it arrives. I won't pry off the top. Since this is the first time for me (other than faucets and sinks) I think I'll look for a good plumber to do it for me. I remember seeing business cards on a bulletin board at Home Depot. I don't know what's involved in draining the boiler which I understand is necessary for switching LWCOs.
 
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Old 05-19-12, 06:14 AM
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I'm not sure I understand TT's logic behind placing that LWCO in that position inside the boiler.

Typically, LWCO are something whose maintenance requires removal and cleaning of the probe periodically, and this might be all that yours really needs. At $50 it might be something to think about - i.e. not throwing it away... but how would one get that 'warm fuzzy feeling' that it's NOT bad and only needed cleaning? TO, what you think?

What does the TT manual say about cleaning the LWCO probe, anything?

Ditto likewise for the RB-24 installation... knowing that periodic cleaning ( I think 5 years is recommended by the mfr ) is required, are there no isolation valves installed above/below that one either?

I can't tell from the pic... is the GREEN LED on the 24 ON ?

business cards on a bulletin board at Home Depot
Be wise, be careful! Check local BBB...
 
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Old 05-22-12, 04:35 AM
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We typically have found few that require anything.
Once replaced, I would not re use the switch.

If your water chemistry is poor, or your picking up particulate then this is something to look at.
While we have not found any corralation between bad pressure switches and blocked heat exchangers, you should investigate what is wrong with the switch and then decide if it's prudent to look at the heat exchanger waterways.
There are cleaning products you can run thru (reverse direction) thru the waterways to flush out any buildup
 
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