I have a similar problem as Blishy Slant fin S 34

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Old 01-04-13, 09:50 PM
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I have a similar problem as Blishy Slant fin S 34

Hi All,

I am new to this forum and came across trying to troubleshoot my furnace. I have a Slant Fin S-34-dp, which is very similar to the one that people helped Blishy get working. I do not expect to fix this problem myself, I just want to try to figure out what the problem is before i call someone to fix it so they do not try to rip me off.

So here's the problem: Our furnace was working yesterday and has been okay since it came with our apartment 3 years ago.
It has been very cold out recently, and today I noticed that the thermostat is working and the pilot light is on, but the furnace is not really heating the water. When the furnace receives the Call for Heat, it appears that the damper is working properly (This is my belief because the damper control has a light that indicates when the damper is open, and also there looks to be an axle with a line on it,which physically rotates when the damper is open - however I cannot actually see that the vent is open for air to flow through.)

Also it feels like the water is flowing through the pipes - although,I actually can hear what sounds like a dripping noise which I think is inside the pipes. I do not recall previously hearing that.

And finally, the flame size is not increasing as it should be once the furnace is engaged and creating heat for the home.

I'm hoping that someone can just point me in the right direction on this- if there is something that may need to be replaced, or if this is just a maintenance issue. To be honest, we have not had any maintenance done on the furnace over the past 3 years - this was probably not the best decision.

Thanks in advance!

See below for thread that I was following.


http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...lot-being.html
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 01-07-13 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 01-04-13, 10:33 PM
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Hi Andrew

You may have a similar boiler and problem but it's very confusing when you piggyback onto an existing thread. Each case needs to be addressed on its own to eliminate confusion. To that end a moderator will probably move this to its own thread.

Ok...that aside. You've read thru this thread. You saw what his problem was and that a voltmeter was required for diagnosing the problem. You will need the same for us to help you thru your issues.

Do you have a standing pilot unit....in that the pilot light is always lit ?
 
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Old 01-04-13, 11:03 PM
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Thanks for the quick response.
I do have a voltmeter although I may not in hand until Monday - unless it gets too cold in here, in which case I'll buy another one.

Yes it is a standing pilot light. What voltages would you have me measure?
In the meantime, are there any mechanical checks that I can do?
 
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Old 01-04-13, 11:23 PM
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You need to make sure the damper is all the way open because if it's not the boiler wont fire.
Be careful.....you don't want to force it open.

Using a voltmeter you would see 24 vac on terminal 1 and 4 on damper control.
Since your damper is opening....you probably have those voltages.
Now after damper is open....you should see 24 vac on terminals 1 and 3.
 
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Old 01-07-13, 04:43 PM
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Using a voltmeter you would see 24 vac on terminal 1 and 4 on damper control.
Since your damper is opening....you probably have those voltages.
Now after damper is open....you should see 24 vac on terminals 1 and 3.


Hi PJ,
Thanks for your help with this so far.

Okay I have my voltmeter in and and am checking this out. I was able to visually see the damper opening and closing from underneath so I don't think it is a mechanical problem.
It's taking me some time to figure out the wiring, but I'm starting to understand this system. However, I was a little unsure what you meant when you said "terminal 1 and 4 on damper control." I am looking at page 14 in this manual:
http://www.slantfin.com/images/stori...entry_s_40.pdf

Did you mean the terminals listed as 1-2-3-4 near the boiler connection side, or the terminals listed 4-1-3-2 on the damper side?
ON the damper electronics itself, the terminals are further labeled W1-> W6, with W5 and W6 having no connections. The W-numbered terminals do not seem to match up with either the 4-1-3-2 or the 1-2-3-4 so I'm confused by this.
Blk/Y -> Green->W1
Blk->White->W2,
Wh/Yel->Red-W4
Wh->Bl->W3
(The damper is Johnson Controls Mizer Model M35BC-1.)

Also, I'm not sure if these were voltages you wanted me to measure, but I did find the following:

Constant 24VAC between B2 and Z whether call of heat is on or off.

24VAC on B1/B2 when call for heat is on, and 0V on B1/B2 when call for heat is off.

Thanks,
Andrew
 
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Old 01-07-13, 04:55 PM
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Moved thread. Here was the other thread for reference.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...lot-being.html
 
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Old 01-08-13, 01:29 AM
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Sorry to confuse the issue.
Yes.....you should see 24vac between B1 and B2 on a call for heat.

While calling for heat.....keep one probe on B2 and check the red path. That red path is the 24 vac line that supplies the burner with power. If you don't get that red path at the start then you have a venter issue.
 
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Old 01-08-13, 04:21 PM
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Thanks for the clarification and helpful image. After some investigation I determined that the 24V is not getting all the way to the burner power, although it is being output by the damper control. I did measure that the 24V was connected across the switch/button on the outside of the damper. I believe that this is the "roll-out button" (top image)? It is not a button that I am able to do anything with.

However the 24V signal does not travel across the sensor which is vertical above the flame area. I'm guessing this is a temperature sensor which is broken and acting as a broken circuit (bottom image)

Am I on the right track here?

Thanks,
Andrew

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Old 01-08-13, 06:16 PM
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No, the one with the red wires appears to be the 'blocked vent switch' and the one with the 'torpedo' looking think is the 'rollout' safety (it's actually a thermal FUSE).

What I am most concerned about though is what appears to be black SOOT being forced out of all the cracks and crevices around that rollout switch device.

Pull back with the camera and take a wider angle view of that area so we can get a better look.

I believe that rollout switch opened because you have a plugged up boiler based on all that sooty stuff.

PLEASE check the batteries in your Carbon Monoxide detectors and make sure they are working!
This is the kind of thing that kills people in their sleep ... if I'm seeing what I think I'm seeing.
 
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Old 01-08-13, 07:08 PM
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Hi,

Thanks for the explanation. A thermal fuse makes more sense....
Yes, there appears to be a lot of soot on the front part of the boiler.
I took some more photos - hopefully they will help to clarify things.

I haven't been running the furnace since it stopped working (except the pilot is on) and I checked the batteries on the CO detector last night just to be safe..

Thanks,
Andrew

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Old 01-08-13, 07:27 PM
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Andrew, you definitely have a problem there. Please don't try to use the system again (well, obviously you can't because it won't run) until you have someone come in and investigate the reason it was burning like that and the flame was rolling out to trip the rollout switch.

When a gas appliance is running properly, there should be nil to none soot. Where there's soot, there's Carbon Monoxide, and you can bet that at some point there were elevated levels in the home. I've heard that most detectors wait too long to trip...

No one was hurt thankfully... the outcome could have been much worse!
Thank God for rollout switches!

I have to recommend that you call a technician...
 
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Old 01-09-13, 04:06 AM
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I have to recommend that you call a technician...


Thanks for your help. At least this was a good learning experience for me. Perhaps next time it will be something that I can fix myself.

I do have two last questions though, as I am concerned about getting ripped off.

What do you think would be the actual cause of something like this?

And it is possible to provide a rough estimate of what it might cost for someone to come fix and investigate (also I live in Upper Manhattan)?

Thanks.
 
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Old 01-09-13, 05:56 AM
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Probably need to check the gas pressures, static and dynamic.

Then you need to remove the jacket and burners and clean that thing. Passages are most likely caked....

 
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Old 01-09-13, 08:32 AM
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Thanks for your help. At least this was a good learning experience for me. Perhaps next time it will be something that I can fix myself.
Actually, it's not inconceivable that you could clean the heat exchanger passages yourself, but the problem is the vacuum cleaner that you would need.

If you try to use a standard house vacuum for this, not only will you probably ruin the vaccum, but you will have airborne soot and dust all over the place! Standard vacuums are not designed to contain this very small particulate from soot.

In the photo Mike posted, you see the top of the heat exchanger area. This is where the hot exhaust gases pass through and heat the water inside the cast iron. That 'tube' next to the brush is the vacuum hose.

The white 'fluffy' stuff is a high temp fireproof material that seals the draft hood (obviously removed in this picture) from leaking flue gases. In this pic it needs to be replaced, and probably does on your boiler also.

What do you think would be the actual cause of something like this?
All boilers eventually get crudded up inside the heat exchanger area. Pin boilers like yours may be slightly more susceptible because of the many places for 'stuff' to collect inside. Rust flaking off the cast iron probably has blocked the narrow flue passages. Once the blockage was in place, the burners started sooting because of improper flue gas flow through the boiler...

Probably need to check the gas pressures, static and dynamic.
As Mike has mentioned, this needs also done. A problem with the gas supply pressures can also cause sooting. It is somewhat possible that this problem has existed for some time and the blockage inside may be more soot than rust flakes.

(also I live in Upper Manhattan)
NYC has some pretty tough laws about non-licensed persons working on heating equipment. It may actually be ILLEGAL for you to do so. Best to check this out... because God forbid something awful happens... it's that liability thing that our courts love so much.

Down here in Joisey, I would think a couple/few hundred to get her cleaned up and checked out. I'm sure prices in Manhattan are going to be higher... sorry to say.

Let us know the outcome!
 
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Old 01-15-13, 07:28 PM
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Thanks for all the prior help. after contacting 3 heating specialists, one of them actually followed through and returned my calls and arranged a visit.

First he advised me over the phone to bypass the roll out switch to ensure that this was the problem. When I did that the heater came on, flames licked up the front of the boiler, and there was a strong gas smell. Obviously not working properly.

For the visit, he charged $120 which basically confirmed the problem that I had discovered. He offered to take apart and clean the heat exchanger, and change the roll out switch and thermocouple for $400, minus the $120 I already paid. He later dropped this to $350 (after my poor teacher sob story) if I purchased the rollout switch fuse and the thermocouple.

The odd thing was that he strongly encouraged me to do the project myself, even offering to rent me a CO2'tank for blowing, provide assistance over the phone, and even to come back and check CO levels afterwards.

Anyways, after some thought I think it would just be worth paying for it to be done. Will try to bother them as much as possible during the cleaning to try to learn.

So I was wondering could someone help me out with figuring out how to buy the proper replacement thermocouple and rollout switch?

Thanks
 
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Old 01-15-13, 08:25 PM
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Roll out switch 411-883-000
Thermocouple 410-539-000

Those are the two part numbers for your boiler.
The thermocouple is bad too ?

I found the part numbers and parts distributors to the trade but no parts retailers that had parts listed on their site.
 
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Old 01-15-13, 08:55 PM
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I'm wondering the same about the thermocouple... unless the guy was saying to do this as a precaution... maybe it got overheated in the process?

Problem with SlantFin is that you can't really get the parts on-line.

I'm certain that if you took out the rollout switch and headed over to Plainview L.I. ( Patriot Supply - Industrial, Commercial & Residential HVAC Parts & Equipment ) they would be able to match it up for you... the rollout switch is likely a standard part, with SlantFin's part number on it... or you might have a plumbing/heating supply closer to your island...

I don't know if they will help you... but you could try calling SlantFin directly

SLANT/FIN CORPORATION, Greenvale, N.Y. 11548 Phone: (516) 484-2600
 
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Old 01-16-13, 04:18 AM
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Thanks for the info and for looking into this Trooper and PJ

Thermocouple change was just as a precaution.
 
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Old 01-16-13, 11:14 AM
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The slant fin

It looks like you have some rust also. A steam, or water leak especially steam can disrupt the combustion process, causing sooting.
Sid
 
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Old 01-24-13, 04:21 AM
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Glad to report that that the heat was fixed kind of...

The guy came and opened up the boiler, and showed me large layers of hardened soot covering up the heat exchanger. It was crazy and looked like charcoal. He cleared it out with compressed air and vacuuming.

He was concerned that so much soot was probably caused by lack of adequate oxygen, and recommended that I put a vent on the door to the furnace room. The way it is set up now, there is a duct whch is supposed to provide extra gravity fed fresh air intake into room. However, this appears to be pulling air out of the room, rather than providing it to the room. I'm not too sure about this ventilation issue...I know that buoyancy forces would cause the air to rise in the duct since it so much hotter in my apartment than the roof - I'm just not sure why the flow would reverse itself unless the pressure pulling air into the boiler was greater - which it does not appear to be. For now I'm leaving the door to the room cracked open a little bit.

Coincidentally my next-door neighbor called the same guy and reported the same exact problem - although their issue was worse with flames coming out the side of the boiler. They should have the same boiler model as they came with the condos. I'll have to contact the condo board since probably most people in this building will have the same problem this winter.

More importantly though, right now the highest temp I could get the apartment to was 60 deg F. The aquastat had been previously set to 220 (not by me), and the guy lowered it to 180. Right now I raised it to 210 this morning to see if it helps to raise the maximum temperature, and I know that I have some thermal leakage issues which I need to patch up. However, I was wondering if it is problematic for me to keep the aquastat set at such a high level if the apartment really needs it in order to provide enough heat?

Thanks
 
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Old 01-24-13, 09:00 AM
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More than likely the need to raise the boiler temperature is that you have a lack of heating emitters.

Is it good to leave it there......probably not.

I'll let Mike comment.
 
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Old 01-24-13, 09:12 AM
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Could also be some air in the water piping partially blocking the water flow...

Very possible that the boiler does not produce enough draft to pull back down the supplemetary air pipe... that sounds like a design fubar from day one.

You might want to verify that this air pipe is actually going up to the roof, or coming in the side, and check that someone didn't do something dumb, like block the inlet.

If you can verify that it is open and actually communicating to the outdoors, take a google at "Fan In A Can" ... you may be able to provide some 'forced air' into the room.

I wouldn't turn it above 200, and that would be pushing it.

Make sure that all the fins on the baseboards are brushed and vacuumed of dust build up. You would be surprised how much heat can be stopped by even a thin layer of dust.

Also, if there is any WTW carpeting, ensure that it is not pushed up under the baseboard and blocking the air flow through them. Cut back the carpeting if necessary.
 
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