Possible Honeywell L8124A Issue

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Old 12-25-13, 07:49 PM
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Possible Honeywell L8124A Issue

Hello all,

I seem to be having an on-going intermittent problem with my boiler and I am looking for opinions on a fix.

Here is the info on my system.

-Weil Mclain WTGO-3 oil fired boiler that is used for hot water and heating 2 zones.

-Beckett AFG Oil Burner

-TACO SR 503 with zones 1 and 2 hooked up (no priority)

-Honeywell L8124A Triple Aquastat Relay


The issue is that on occasion when the boiler tries to fires there is a clicking with the aquastat (i think the piece may be called a clapper? little lever with a blue spring on it?) and simultaneously all the lights on the TACO SR503 goes out. The boiler will continue to try to fire for a while and eventually all power to the TACO SR503 will be off and I have to turn the breaker off and wait for a while to reset the system. It also does it sometimes about 20 seconds after the boiler has been running after it is fired.

I was told it was most likely the TACO SR503 so I replaced it with a brand new one and my system worked fine for about a week until the same old problem came back.

I will link a couple youtube videos of the issue. The one with the TACO is the old relay but it doing the same thing.

IMG 0986 - YouTube
IMG 0965 - YouTube

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks,
Nick
 
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Old 12-25-13, 08:39 PM
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Hi Nick,

When you say 'hot water', you mean that there is a 'thankless coil' in the boiler, is that correct?

While it may or may not have anything to do with the odd behavior, tell us what the HIGH , LOW , and DIFF settings are in the aquastat.

i think the piece may be called a clapper? little lever with a blue spring on it?
No, the clapper is something they sell on late night tv

The part you are referring to is a 'switching relay', or just 'relay'.

Do you have a multimeter and know how to use it?

Since the GREEN POWER light on the 503 panel is going out it would seem likely that somehow you are losing 120VAC power to the panel. You may have an issue with a loose connection on the wiring going in.

I believe that the first thing I would do is put a meter on the 120VAC into the Taco and watch it when it was acting up.
 
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Old 12-26-13, 07:49 AM
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Yes it has a tankless coil.

High is 180 low is 160 and differential is 10.

I will try to get the multimeter on it the next time it acts up. It goes in spurts when it does this. It will work perfect for weeks then start tripping.
 
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Old 12-26-13, 08:06 AM
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Is this something you had installed and how long before it started acting up. Do you have pumps or zone valves.

Do you have this problem when it just runs for domestic water without a call for heat.
If there is no problem getting hot water I would think this would eliminate the aquastat.
 

Last edited by spott; 12-26-13 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 12-26-13, 08:19 AM
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Have you ever tried the LOW setting at say 140 and the DIFF at say 15-20 ?

These settings may save you some fuel if you can run at that temp and still have adequate domestic hot water. The LOW and DIFF have nothing to do with the central heating...

Nothing to do with the 'pulsing'... but maybe you can save a few bucks.

Where is the AC feed for the 503 coming from? If it's from a junction box with wires and wire nuts crammed into it, if you do find that the problem is loss of AC, start there... WITH THE POWER TURNED OFF to the boiler, carefully pull the wires from the box and remove and inspect all the wire nutted connections. Use a bright light and your strongest bifocals if you have to. Look for signs of 'arcing' and discolored wires inside the wire nuts. Use new wire nuts (of the correct size) when reassembling.

Keep following the AC wiring back to the source... sometimes the 'power switch' (usually mounted on a cover with a RED PLATE) gets flaky after so many years. If you DO find a bad switch, don't be tempted to use one of those cheesy ones that sell for like 99 cents at the big box stores. Go for one that costs a couple bucks with a name brand on it and usually individually boxed. I would get one that's rated for 20 AMPS.

You could actually do the electrical inspection even before it acts up again... if it's a loose connection it will be there in any case.
 
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Old 12-26-13, 08:54 AM
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The power comes out of my circuit breaker box to a red box with a black push button on it. From there it goes down into the service switch junction box (this has a lot of nutted wires in it) from the service switch it goes to the aquastat, the burner, the low water cut off and the taco sr503.

Are we thinking this is an electrical problem vs something with the aquastat (bad solder or circuit board etc)
 
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Old 12-26-13, 09:16 AM
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Are we thinking this is an electrical problem vs something with the aquastat (bad solder or circuit board etc)
Yes.

The GREEN LED on the Taco indicates that the power is turned on to that panel. For that light to go out it indicates that there is a loss of power to the AC INPUT of that panel.

I don't know of any other reason for that LED to go out.

When power is lost to the Taco panel, if a heat call is in progress, it will drop the signal going to the aquastat and cause that relay to 'chatter' like that. Of course, the aquastat is also powered by the same circuit so the AC power loss to the input of that would also cause the chatter.

red box with a black push button on it
Is that red box on the ceiling above the boiler? That's not a pushbutton I don't think... I believe that it's a HEAT DETECTOR and it is wired such that if there is excess heat it will CUT THE POWER to the boiler system. There could be a problem with that...

When you see the system acting up, have you noticed if the LED on the LWCO (if it has one) also blinks?

Is there a 'utility outlet' on that same circuit? Plug a lamp into it ...
 
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Old 12-26-13, 08:41 PM
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I haven't been able to get the multimeter on it when it has been acting up. I have checked under normal operating and have had 120 at the TACO the Aquastat an the LWCO.

The LWCO doesn't have any lights but I did notice however when the aquastat and taco trips the LWCO also clicks so it seems power is being dropped at that as well.

When the power comes out of the heat detector/fireomatic down into the service junction box it branches off 120vac to the aquastat, taco, and LWCO correct?

If that is true, would all the systems dropping power at the same time indicate the issue is either from the heat detector/fireomatic or the circuit breaker itself? If so a possible fix could be replacing the heat detector Amazon.com: Olson Manufacturing S95010A Square Fireomatic: Everything Else or circuit breaker?
 
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Old 12-27-13, 07:15 AM
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When the power comes out of the heat detector/fireomatic down into the service junction box it branches off 120vac to the aquastat, taco, and LWCO correct?
Without actually tracing the wires, can't say for sure, but that's how I would wire it... so that it killed power to the whole system if it tripped.

If that is true, would all the systems dropping power at the same time indicate the issue is either from the heat detector/fireomatic or the circuit breaker itself? If so a possible fix could be replacing the heat detector Amazon.com: Olson Manufacturing S95010A Square Fireomatic: Everything Else or circuit breaker?
Yes, if everything on the branch is dropping it would narrow search to area common to all.
 
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Old 12-27-13, 08:09 AM
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I was able to finally get the multimeter on it when it was acting up. I will have right around 118-119vac at the aquastat, the taco and the lwco when running and when the trips i lose power to the aquastat and the taco but the lwco stays at the 120vac.

It will keep clicking on and off but if I flip the breaker and wait a minute and restore power it usually starts up without issue.

If I was to call someone to come look at it who would I be better of calling, someone who specializes in boilers or an electrician?
 
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Old 12-27-13, 08:31 AM
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I would think that in this case it might make more sense to have an electrician take a look... it's not really boiler related. A boiler guy will have a 'passing' knowledge of electricity, but an electrician would probably be better skilled at tracking down an intermittent like this.

I guess you don't feel comfortable taking a look at the wiring yourself? That's fine, one should stay in their 'comfort zone' ... If you did want to take a crack at it, I'm willing to guide as best I can over the net.

Just to clarify your earlier description:

The cable comes from the breaker panel to the Fire-O-Matic on the ceiling, then a single cable comes from the F-O-M down to the "service junction box" (is this the box with the switch and the red cover?) and branches out to the various components?

If so, my bet is that you will find a loose connection inside that box.
 
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Old 12-27-13, 10:39 AM
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Does this happen on a call for hot water or just for heat. This would narrow down your search.
 
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Old 12-27-13, 11:43 AM
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This would narrow down your search.
How so Spott?

I will have right around 118-119vac at the aquastat, the taco and the lwco when running and when the trips i lose power to the aquastat and the taco
Wouldn't you agree that losing AC power to the Taco and the a'stat tells us that the problem is upstream in the AC wiring?
 
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Old 12-27-13, 12:29 PM
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On a simple call for hot water the t-stat and Taco aren't involved at all. It's only the aquastat that controls the call. If there's no problem there that would eliminate the aquastat.

Trooper, wired correctly, isn't the aquastat the last stop in the chain before the burner comes on. If that works OK for hot water the problem has to be before that.

If the boiler runs normal for hot water it would seem to me to eliminate bad connection to the burner circuit itself. By that I mean from the fuse box to the service switch upstairs to the fireomatic over the burner to the service switch on the the boiler to the aqustat and finally o the burner.

What was added was the Taco relay panel and the wiring that controls it. Depending where they picked up the 120v to feed it, it's divorced from the domestic hot water circuit. There could be bad connections but I would concentrate my efforts to that panel wiring. Especially after the second one is doing the same as the first.

If it were me and I couldn't locate the trouble I would disconnect the the 120v to the panel to see what would happen.
All you would get was domestic hot water but if ran right you would know where to look.
Am I off base with my thinking.
 
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Old 12-27-13, 01:12 PM
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Am I off base with my thinking
Maybe a little?

Not sure if you noticed the fact that the green POWER LED on the 503 was going off ?

That LED blinking off tells us that the 24VAC inside that panel is intermittently 'going away'.

How can that be?

1. an intermittent short on the 24VAC circuit. (which would either take out a fuse in the panel, or the transformer itself, so I didn't think that was likely)

2. AC POWER to the panel is intermittently dropping out.

Agree?

So it followed that Carchi put a meter on the 120 VAC input to the panel and watched it drop out when the system started chattering... then did the same on the 120VAC input to the aquastat and saw the same thing...

For the AC INPUT to 'go away' intermittently to BOTH of the controls tells me one thing:

LOOSE AC CONNECTION.
 
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Old 12-27-13, 03:07 PM
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where are you getting the 24vs for the stats and the zone valves? if it is off the control board might be pulling on it causing that chattering.remove the room stats off the subbases and then swing the zone valves manually....to call the boiler in thru the end switches.that chattering is the 24v not able to hold the coil in...
 
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Old 12-27-13, 03:25 PM
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Why does everybody seem to me MISSING THE FACTS here?

Is it too much to ask that people read and consider ALL THE FACTS in a thread? Or perhaps only the first two posts are being read before commenting?

The poster has stated that he has METERED THE AC VOLTAGE INTO THE TACO AND THE AQUASTAT and that the AC INPUT VOLTAGE TO BOTH CONTROLS IS DROPPING OUT!

Is that so hard to reason out?
 
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Old 12-27-13, 03:46 PM
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Again I must ask. Was this on a call for heat or hot water.
Why would taco be involved on a call for hot water.
LWCO falls in between taco and aquastat. How can aquastat lose power and not lwco in a series circuit.
 
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Old 12-27-13, 03:50 PM
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if there is no external power transformer for the stats and the zone valves they could be causing that chattering over loading the VA rating on them...any TR within a control is dedicated for that control and not to go external on wire pulls for stats and zone valves...
 
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Old 12-27-13, 04:00 PM
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How can you guys argue this? I don't understand.

A multimeter placed on the 120 VAC INPUT to both controls has shown that the AC VOLTAGE SUPPLY to both controls is CUTTING OUT INTERMITTENTLY!

How could an overloaded transformer cause the 120 VAC INPUT to the controls to intermittently 'cut out' ?

zone valves
There are NO ZONE VALVES! The SR panels are for controlling PUMPS!

I'm not going to comment further.
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-27-13 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 12-27-13, 06:17 PM
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Carchidin,

Not knowing the path that the 120VAC is taking through the various controls...

It occurs to me that the problem MIGHT be in the LWCO itself.

What is the make and model of the LWCO?

If it is the type that is wired into the 120VAC rather than the 24VAC, it is possible that the LWCO is causing the problem.
 
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Old 12-27-13, 06:24 PM
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Sminker,
You seem to be obsessing about transformers. The Taco 503 relay is the external source for the individual zones and then the low voltage terminals on the panel goes to the aquastat. The 24v transformer in the aqustat is only used for its designed purpose.

Please read previous post for any pertinate information.
Whatever is causing the problem it seems to be in the 120v circuit somewhere.
 
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Old 12-27-13, 09:20 PM
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Spott

From what I have noticed it hasn't mattered whether it was a call for heat or water or any combination of the two, there was still a loss of power.

NJ Trooper

The power comes out of the circuit breaker and heads to the fireomatic box, from the fireomatic box it branches off to the power vent and has a conduit pipe going down into the service switch/junction box (this box doesn't have a red plate on it, it is just an on off switch that has a bunch of warnings on it). From the service switch/junction box it branches off to the aquastat, the burner, the taco, the LWCO, and the power vent.

The LWCO is a Safgard Model 170SV.


I finally have a day off tomorrow so I am going to try to trace the wires and see what type of sequence they are in and look for issues. I feel like it would be easier if their was no power at all rather than it randomly cutting out.
 
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Old 12-28-13, 07:28 AM
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I'm curious as to who ends up being correct. I would suggest sketching the wiring as you are tracing it out, if you can. Please let us know what you find.
 
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Old 12-28-13, 08:07 AM
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it branches off to the power vent
Make/model of the venter please...

I feel like it would be easier if their was no power at all rather than it randomly cutting out.
An 'ace' electronic technician who LOVED working on electronics died and went to hell when he got there the devil showed him his eternal living quarters. There was a fully equipped test bench with all the latest test equipment and diagnostic tools.

As far as the eye could see there were various pieces of equipment in disrepair, but since he loved what he did, he said; " This isn't so bad! I thought hell was a BAD place? "

The devil replied: " THEY'RE ALL INTERMITTENT! "

Muuuuhaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa....
 
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Old 12-28-13, 08:10 AM
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Sometimes a well placed 'tap test' can localize loose connections.

I asked about make/model of the venter because it's possible the problem is there as well... I want to look over the docs for that.
 
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Old 12-28-13, 08:18 AM
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The LWCO is a Safgard Model 170SV.
For visual reference to description below, see:

www.patriot-supply.com/files/170data.pdf

Inside the LWCO box is a terminal strip with five terminals on it, labeled

GN - H - P1 - P2 - A

The LEFT two terminals are 120VAC entering the LWCO. Are these the two that are NOT dropping out during your testing?

There should be a metal 'jumper' installed between H and P1.

There should be a cable exiting the LWCO and heading out to power the rest of the controls.

The cable heading out to the other controls should be on GN and P2

If you measure an unchanging 120VAC voltage between GN and P1 (or H) when the system is 'acting up' and the voltage between GN and P2 is 'dropping out', then the problem is in the LWCO.

For this issue, the first thing I would do is remove and clean the probe (which is recommended periodic maintenance)

MAINTENANCE
When installed on a residential hot water heating system, the probe should be removed and cleaned every five years. When installed on a commercial application, the probe should be removed and cleaned annually. After cleaning the probe, perform the Operational Test Procedure described above.
There may simply be a bad connection to the LWCO probe, either the wire on the wing nut, or the probe to the boiler (ground). This troubleshooting can also apply to intermittent operation.

IF THE BURNER DOES NOT FIRE.

1. Make sure water is at the probe and probe lead wire is properly secured to probe.

2. Check for proper ground between probe and boiler shell. Excessive use of Teflon tape or sealing compound may insulate the probe from the boiler shell.

3. Check to insure probe is not surrounded by an air pocket. Slowly loosen, but do not remove, the probe with a wrench. Allow any air to escape. When water begins to seep past probe threads, retighten probe.

4. Re-check wiring and test for correct incoming voltage.
There IS an 'alternate' wiring method, if this alternate method was used, there will be NO JUMPER between H and P1. Let me know if that's the case, troubleshooting will be slightly different.
 
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Old 12-28-13, 08:32 AM
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The powervent is a sideshot ss2
 
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Old 12-28-13, 08:44 AM
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Nick, I just watched the vids again, this time listening for the BURNER to cut in and out but I did not hear that.

When the system goes flaky, the BURNER is cutting in and out ALSO, correct? I mean, it HAS to be, but just curious that I couldn't hear it in the vid.
 
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Old 12-28-13, 08:53 AM
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Yes, the burner is cutting out as well when this happens.

As for the LWCO this is how it is hooked up....

GN has a green wire, H has a black wire and P2 has a red wire. There is a jumper on H and P1.

When I put the multimeter on it I put it on GN and H and got 120vac, and that didn't drop when the system was cutting out like the taco and aquastat did when I had the multimeter on them.
 
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Old 12-28-13, 08:55 AM
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The powervent is a sideshot ss2
I don't 'think' the SS2 is part of the problem. If wired properly, this would be controlling the BURNER ONLY and should not affect the AC supply to the controls.

But... I guess anything is possible and the installers may have gotten 'creative'.

At this point though, my suspicion is mostly on the LWCO.
 
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Old 12-28-13, 08:57 AM
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When I put the multimeter on it I put it on GN and H and got 120vac, and that didn't drop when the system was cutting out like the taco and aquastat did when I had the multimeter on them.
Then the next thing to do is monitor GN and P2

The AC input to the controls is going THROUGH the LWCO. I suspect that you will see P2 drop out when the system acts up.
 
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Old 12-28-13, 09:13 AM
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Next time I catch it acting up I will check GN and P2. Is GN and H incoming power and GN P2 outgoing power?

The maintenance and cleaning directions for the LWCO from the manufacturer are very vague for someone like myself who has limited knowlege, what would be the steps to clean the probe?

1. Cut power
2. Loosen and remove ring terminal/wire nut
3. Loosen mounting screws and slip mounting plate over keyhole slots
4.?
5.?

Do i need to remove water from the system or anything like that?
 
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Old 12-28-13, 09:33 AM
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Next time I catch it acting up I will check GN and P2. Is GN and H incoming power and GN P2 outgoing power?
Yes.

You've got the steps right... but this is where it gets complicated... because unless there have been valves added above and below the LWCO probe port fitting which would allow you to isolate that section of piping, then you WILL have to drain the system to some degree... and if you are unsure of your ability to drain and properly refill then now is not the time to do so.

When the system is operating, have you noted the PRESSURE and TEMPERATURE in the system?

Does the system otherwise heat the home properly?

Do you hear AIR GUSHING noises in the piping at any time?

Asking to make sure that the LWCO isn't actually reacting to a real low water condition...
 
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Old 12-28-13, 10:08 AM
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The system heats my house without issue and I don't hear any gushing noses in the pipes.

Here is a picture of the gauge while in operation... At this point in the operation I had hot water going and heat to zone 1.

image | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


I have a big pipe coming out of the bottom left of the boiler that turns up straight and goes about 3ft. This is where the LWCO is T'ed in. From there the pipe goes up another 3ft where it connects to an elbow and goes to the left. That is connected to the Air scoop/expansion tank. Then there is another pipe that comes off of that that connects to 2 flow checks (one for each floor of the house). The flow checks connect to ball vales (one for each floor). Then there is a drain valve (one for each floor).

Here are some pictures...

image | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
image | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
image | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
 
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Old 12-28-13, 10:43 AM
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Nick, it DOES appear that your boiler pressure is low. What I see on the gauge is maybe 6-8 PSI.

Everything else looks fine.

Low pressure in itself will not cause the LWCO to act up, as long as the system is still full of water, and your description sounds as if it is.

The way your valves are laid out you would be able to drain just enough water from the boiler without draining the zone piping fairly easily.

After shutting down the boiler and allowing to cool to 100F or less,

You would close both valves above the pumps, both valves by the flow checks, the valve next to the pressure reducing valve so no water enters the boiler.

Make sure air vent cap on top of the air scoop is LOOSE, but CLOSE THE CAP on the one on top of the boiler. You want to avoid sucking in any more air than you have to.

Open drain and let water out... you should hear the air vent on top of the scoop SUCK AIR as that pipe drains AFTER the pressure is out of the boiler. You only need to drain enough water to drop the level in the pipe just below the tee for the LWCO. So once you hear it begin to suck air, figure what, another quart or so to get below the tee?

Remove probe, clean and reinstall.

While you have the boiler at zero PSI, CHECK THE AIR CHARGE in the expansion tank!

Read this:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...sion-tank.html

There are step by step and some additional, optional valves that can be added... if you want to...

After this is done, turn the water to the boiler back on slowly... you should hear air coming OUT of the vent on the scoop and then stop and the boiler should pressurize to 12-15 PSI when COLD.

If it only comes up to 7 or 8, then we have more to talk about.

After the air stops coming out an the boiler is up to pressure (even if it's 7 or 8) you may reopen the other four valves and turn the system back on... oh, an open the cap on the air vent on top of the boiler too.
 
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Old 12-28-13, 11:26 AM
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I attached a picture with some circles around different valves just to verify I am closing the correct vales. I circled in red the ones I am suppose to close (with the addition of the 2 by the flow checks) and I am not sure about the one I circled in green.

Which drain am I opening to drain the water? And approximately how much water should come out?

What is the best way to clean the probe? Sandpaper, wire brush?

Once everything is done and I need to turn the water back on what valve does that? Is it the one next to the pressure reducing valve?

When everything is said and done the air vent cap on both the boiler and the air scoop should be loose correct?

Thanks.
 
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Old 12-28-13, 11:36 AM
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I am not sure about the one I circled in green.
You can leave that one open. It is the cold water feed to your hot water coil. Closing it WILL ALSO shut off the water to the boiler because the pressure reducing valve tees off below it. You only need to close the water feed valve to the right of the pressure reducing valve.

Which drain am I opening to drain the water? And approximately how much water should come out?
I think there is a drain at the bottom of the boiler where the return pipe with the LWCO on it enters the boiler. Use that one.

How much? ... this answer depends partially on how much air pressure is in your expansion tank. If the tank is low on air, there will be water in the tank that some will come out... if not for that, really the only water you would need to drain is what's in the vertical pipe with the LWCO... but let's play it safe and say maybe a gallon or so ? If you start to take the probe out and there water behind it, drain a wee bit more...

What is the best way to clean the probe? Sandpaper, wire brush?
I would use a soft bristle toothbrush. I doubt there will be much of a coating of hard stuff on it, but if there is, you could go with some very fine steel wool perhaps. You don't want to damage the probe...

Once everything is done and I need to turn the water back on what valve does that? Is it the one next to the pressure reducing valve?
Correct.

When everything is said and done the air vent cap on both the boiler and the air scoop should be loose correct?
Also correct.
 
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Old 12-28-13, 01:41 PM
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I opened the drain valve at the bottom corner of the boiler (opposite side of where the pipe coming out of the boiler and leading to the LWCO is) and got little to no water. Their was another valve above it so I opened that one and got water out of it. The pressure gauge shows almost if not 0.

I removed the LWCO but am having a hard time removing the probe that is threaded into the T. It looks like joint compound might have been used. Any suggestions on how to get it out? Can I heat it or use PB Blaster?
 
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Old 12-28-13, 02:22 PM
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If you don't have a large enough pipe wrench put a pipe or something to extend your wrench for more leverage. It will loosen up.
 
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