Steam Heat/Indirect DHW/Aquastat Wiring

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  #41  
Old 12-20-13, 08:30 AM
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I was going to reach out to Utica, then the contractor told me not to
I might have presumed a 'cover up' in progress too, but you should also know that Utica (or any other manufacturer for that matter) will not even speak to homeowners regarding any 'technical' aspects. All contact must go through the installer.

Seeing as how the headers were done in copper, there is no way that these are "swing joints" correct?
Correct.

confirmed that although he's a licensed plumber, he is not familiar with the term "swing joint".
So then when he read that in the install manual, since he didn't know what it was, he deemed it 'not important' to research it and find out?

Oh.... what? .... you say he didn't read the manual? ... uh-huh... I understand now.

do you guys think there is any chance that the boiler was dry fired? There is even an auto feed & LWCO
I doubt it... you would have known it. Since it's been installed, have you had ANY evidence that the auto feeder was not working?

The UTICA rep will likely TEST the auto feeder and LWCO. If they work there's not much chance that he can claim dry fire in spite of anything you might have read on the internet. What you see could just be 'surface rust' on the cast iron (and probably IS).

Watch his face for reaction when he walks in and sees the copper though... that should be interesting!

By the way... I think it best that you don't 'offer' any information. Don't tell him that you've got all this internet advice. Don't tell him that you know it should not have been done in copper. Pretend he is the IRS auditor, and PLAY DUMB! Let him draw his own conclusions. Don't give him any 'bait' or 'low hanging fruit' to jump at.

Your position should be that you are ADAMANT that it's THEIR problem and not yours. If he senses any weakness in your position, he will exploit it, he does NOT have your better interest in mind.
 
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  #42  
Old 12-20-13, 09:13 AM
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Yes, not so long ago I tested the LWCO and auto feed and found them to be functioning. I spoke to the rep at the supply house and he's asking me to send more pictures of the castings. He said that either way it needs to be shipped back to Utica and they are going to run chemical tests to find out if it was dry fired.

I'm still concerned about the "red" rusty coloration in the pictures I took and that they are going to claim it was dry fired. It seems like if that's the case I will have no recourse whatsoever. He asked for pictures of between and underneath the sections as well so they could see the coloration. He did mention that the red color they are looking for is not so much of a "rusty" red, more of a bright red or something. Does anyone have pictures of a steam boiler section that has been dry fired? I don't know what I'm looking for.

I don't understand though. Would the block crack right on the top?
 
  #43  
Old 12-20-13, 09:46 AM
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Chris,
I went through the same thing when my brothers boilers(plural) cracked. One looked exactly like yours and the other worse. They sent people to check them and they took pics.
Fortunately for him I was the installer and it was done right so they had no recourse.

The ending of the story is boilers started cracking left and right.

A class action suit was filed and Burnham lost. I understand they tried making the sections a different way and it didn't work out.

They sent him $500 for each boiler for labor and a new block that had to be put together and reinstalled.
Even after finding it was there fault it still cost the people a bundle to replace a defective boiler.
They don't make it easy.

About Utica. I think I mentioned this before to someone.
I installed the boiler and it eventually cracked. They sent someone down and he said there's 2 things he looks for before anything else.
1) COPPER ABOVE WATER LINE
2) HARTFORD LOOP
If either one is present and not present respectively the visit ends right there.
Cause or not cause of crack. There looking for an out and that's it.

Listen to Trooper, DO NOT OFFER ANYTHING. You are the consumer and know nothing. That's why you hire the pros.with the licence.

Hopefully the plumber has insurance.
Good Luck.
 
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Old 12-20-13, 10:47 AM
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Ok. Just so you know, the first Utica rep I contacted said that copper above the waterline was a big problem and might void the warranty. However, the guy I spoke to today, who is the local rep who is actually supposed to come out to my house with the plumber next week says that over 50% of their steam products are piped above the waterline with copper. He said that's not their preference and it shortens the life of the boiler, but it's perfectly acceptable. He said the same about swing joints, even though the manual states they are required he seems to feel that they are optional. He also says that there is no possible way the block would crack as a result of how the boiler is piped.

Based on this different story, and the fact that this guy has a relationship with the supply house as well as my plumber, I am concerned that they are colluding in an effort to put the responsibility on me.

Perhaps I'm just being paranoid. Really stressed about this though and I just don't have a good feeling. Sorry for ranting.
 
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Old 12-20-13, 04:21 PM
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As per the request of the gentleman at the supply house, I snapped some pictures of down in between the blocks, as well as from underneath by the burners. He said he wanted to see what they looked like and if they appeared to have been dry fired. I realize we can't know for sure, but I'm curious if you guys think these appear to have been dry-fired:






 
  #46  
Old 12-20-13, 04:50 PM
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I don't see ANYTHING that appears to be signs of overheating.

He said that's not their preference and it shortens the life of the boiler, but it's perfectly acceptable. He said the same about swing joints, even though the manual states they are required he seems to feel that they are optional. He also says that there is no possible way the block would crack as a result of how the boiler is piped.
He's full of himself... and 'five H one T' too.
 
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Old 12-20-13, 05:18 PM
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Phew! Thanks Troop. You made my evening. I know you're just looking at pictures and I won't hold you to it, but (as I think you know by now) I value your opinion tremendously. Your response comes as a huge relief and I will rest just a little bit easier tonight.

If this thing wasn't dry fired, and the piping is clearly not in accordance with the installation manual, then I feel like I have everything I need. No better piece of evidence than the installation manual itself - No matter what their rep says.

Supposedly it's going back to the manufacturer for "chemical testing" to confirm with 100% certainty that it was/was not dry fired. I'll be interested to see how that goes and I wonder what crackerjack methodology they use to try and avoid honoring the warranty.

I'll let y'all know how it goes when the rep finally makes it out to my house to inspect the boiler and installation job.
 
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Old 01-08-14, 03:38 PM
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Well - In a shocking turn of events, CopperKing showed up today to to install a new boiler at no expense to me!

A couple of "catches". First, he still refused to change the copper header back to black pipe, but reassured me he'll continue to come do whatever repairs are necessary. Secondly, He would only warranty his work if I agreed to remove the BoilerMate and replace with an actual hot water heater. No charge to install the water heater, and I think I should be able to get a few bucks for a second-hand BoilerMate, so I accepted this.

Well, I came home to find the boiler running at about 7.5 PSI which was interesting. The pressuretrol had been set to 8 PSI!!! Nice!

Anyway, I cranked that down and did some more looking around, and I have one pretty major concern. While the boiler was cooking, I reached my hand up under the flue and the air was VERY moist again. Pretty moist by the actual flue hood, but especially if I reached in a little further to the area above the blocks, it was really saturated.

This is what initially prompted me to stick a camera up the other one only to snap those pics of the cracked block. I can't see any cracks in the block, but shouldn't that air/exhaust be pretty much dry? I'm rather concerned. I shut it down, let it cool a bit, and slowly added water to just above the skim port. No signs of dripping down by the burners.

Here's a picture of the general setup:



And a closer shot of the piping between the water heater & boiler:



I did reach up and snap a picture of the top of the blocks, and I don't see anything that looks like a crack, but what's up with THAT stuff?:



Please tell me it's some type of standard packing/assembly glue/goo/cement! I was able to reach it and it felt like a waxy/plastic type substance, and I was pretty much able to rub some of it off with my finger.
 
  #49  
Old 01-09-14, 09:35 AM
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reassured me he'll continue to come do whatever repairs are necessary.
Better get that in writing and signed in blood.

only warranty his work if I agreed to remove the BoilerMate and replace with an actual hot water heater. No charge to install the water heater
I don't understand what his problem is with the boilermate, but you actually are better off with a stand=alone in my opinion... on a STEAMER.

No charge to INSTALL but he didn't give you a free water heater, did he?

I came home to find the boiler running at about 7.5 PSI which was interesting. The pressuretrol had been set to 8 PSI!!! Nice!
Figures.................

shouldn't that air/exhaust be pretty much dry?
No, not at all... watch your car's tailpipe when you start it... that's not smoke, it's STEAM. Burning HydroCarbon based fuels generates copious amounts of WATER VAPOR in the process. It's normal for the flue gases to feel 'sticky wet' when you stick your hand into them. Look at all your neighbors chimney tops... they're all steaming too, right?

what's up with THAT stuff?
Ummmm... no comment. nuff said... and you TOUCHED IT!

Probably some sealant of some sort.
 
  #50  
Old 01-09-14, 10:11 AM
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Ok cool. I did some more poking around after I'd posted and discovered what you mentioned about NG producing lots of water vapor during combustion. I should have known that, but didn't.

I did not get a free water heater, but I haven't been billed yet. Before he gets any payment, there is going to be some pushback from me after all I've been through - That's for sure. I've never defaulted on a financial obligation in my life, but am putting some serious thought into how I want to handle the payment situation once I finally receive his invoice.

You can bet that I'm going to CRANK that boiler and water heater for the next 30 days and make sure it's perfect before he gets a dime. I don't care what it does to my gas bill... I'll also be demanding a written warranty prior to making any payment.

On a slightly different topic, I want to disable my auto feeder. The more I read about them I think they are not helpful since they can mask underlying issues, etc. However, if I disable it I want to be sure that I don't do anything that can comprimise the LWCO. I'm not sure if I can just yank the wires from the terminals on the auto feeder or what. Later tonight or over the weekend I will post some pics of the terminals and ask fo some guidance.

BTW, here are some before and after clos-ups of whatever was on that block:



 
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