Can open vent damper extinguish pilot light?

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Old 11-15-12, 07:57 PM
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Can open vent damper extinguish pilot light?

Hi,
My gas fired steam boiler occasionally does not fire because of auto vent damper. I did verify that the motor (model GVD-8) does turn vent damper open when thermostat requires heat, but sometimes apparently it does not activate a button (when I slightly shake the dumper blade the boiler fires). I moved vent damper switch to "hold open" position, so it always stay open, which seems to work for me. However, my plumber said that when vent is always open it can extinguish the pilot light. I wonder if anyone experienced this? The manual says the auto vent damper is just for better boiler efficiency. Are there any negative effects of keeping vent damp always open?
 
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Old 11-15-12, 09:08 PM
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Keeping that vent damper on hold open is allowing your heating dollars to float up the chimney. When the damper opens it hits a switch that tells the burner that since the vent is fully open it can fire. It could be out of mechanical alignment or that microswitch is shot, I'm not sure if keeping the damper open will cause the pilot to extinguish.... I wouldn't think so.
 
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Old 11-15-12, 09:27 PM
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Keeping the damper open will not extinguish the pilot. Boilers ran for years without vent dampers.
 
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Old 11-16-12, 06:14 AM
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Thanks everybody for the replies.

@PJmax >>... When the damper opens it hits a switch that tells the burner that since the vent is fully open it can fire. It could be out of mechanical alignment or that microswitch is shot...<<

Where is this microswitch located-- inside the vent pipe or inside the motor assembly?
 
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Old 11-16-12, 01:21 PM
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I think your plumber is misinformed. But, sometimes a very strong wind can blow out a pilot on a unit not equipped with vent damper, so I guess it could with a vent damper held open. You need to get the vent damper fixed or, better yet, replaced.
 
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Old 11-16-12, 02:42 PM
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I would probably also recommend replacement rather than repair. That's something you don't want 'messing up' on you.

But, if you feel you have the skills to do a proper repair and can locate a replacement microswitch, well, that's your call.
 
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