Should I be worried about my boiler?


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Old 01-05-15, 10:01 AM
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Should I be worried about my boiler?

I have a Weil-Mclain oil fired boiler (probably around 15 years old). I've been in my home for 10 years and up until this winter, when I'd raise the temp on the thermostat in my living room to get the heat to kick on, I'd hear a click from the thermostat and then instantly hear the boiler kick on. This year, when I raise the temp on the thermostat, I hear the click, and then I hear the sound of water in the radiator pipes for about 8 - 10 seconds and then after that lag, the boiler kicks on. It does not do this all the time. Sometimes it kicks on instantly, but I'd say about 40% of the time I get that delay now.

The boiler is well cared for, with annual maintenance done every November. I did notice this for the first time right after the last maintenance (with a new company I'd never used before).

Anyone know what might be causing this and is it something to worry about?

Also, a few times, when I get home from work and raise the heat from 62 to 65, the heat will kick on and run for a little while. Then I'll hear the boiler shut off and look at the thermostat and the temp in the house will be 63 or 64. After about a minute, the boiler will kick on again and stay on until the temp reaches 65. Again, it doesn't do this all the time. Maybe 15% of the time.

Thanks for any help!!!
 
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Old 01-05-15, 10:08 AM
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The boiler may not need to run as soon as the pump starts. It depends on the water temperature.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 10:12 AM
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Thanks for the reply Pulpo. Wouldn't it seem odd though that this just started happening this winter? My aquastat settings of 150 low and 170 high are the same as in past winters.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 10:14 AM
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notice this for the first time right after the last maintenance (with a new company I'd never used before).
"Delayed Ignition" is a problem that should be taken care of.

If this started happening immediately after the last service, you should have called them back immediately and had them take care of it.

It's not going to 'fix itself', and an intermittent delay could possibly progress to 'no heat'...
 
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Old 01-05-15, 10:17 AM
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I don't think that you have to do anything at the moment although if you have a service contract, there shouldn't be a charge to let them look at it.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 10:24 AM
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I don't think that you have to do anything at the moment
Why not Pulpo?

"Delayed ignition" you don't think is a problem with oil burner?
 
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Old 01-05-15, 10:43 AM
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"Delayed Ignition" is a problem that should be taken care of.

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ne...#ixzz3NyB0eReW
Thanks for giving me a name for my boiler issue. My boiler knowledge is fairly slim. I'm not super confident in the skills of the last guy who cleaned my boiler so I'm hesitant to call him back. I tried him after my regular guy came last year and vacuumed out the inside of the boiler and then packed up his stuff. I asked him about changing the filter and he said, "oh, you only need to change it every other year". I did some research after that and realized this guy skipped a lot. He never replaced my strainer and only replaced the nozzles twice in the 9 years I used him. I'll have to see if I can find someone else for this delayed ignition issue. Is that same issue causing my other problem of the boiler shutting off for a minute or so in the middle of the heating cycle?
 
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Old 01-05-15, 11:01 AM
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I didn't see Pulpo's first post...

And the issue below may be along the same lines.

If the boiler water is HOT from a previous heat call, the boiler MIGHT not fire at first until some cool water returns and cools the boiler down.

It sounds as if you are aware of how your system has operated in the past and are confident that something is different.

Is that same issue causing my other problem of the boiler shutting off for a minute or so in the middle of the heating cycle?
It MIGHT be related, but it's possible not.

If the boiler does hit the high limit setting of 170 the burners will shut off and come back on when the water cools a bit. This would be normal and can be verified by observing the temp gauge on the boiler.

Still, the fact that your perception of the guy's skill and the fact that it's acting up now means that there is likely some bad adjustment...
 
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Old 01-05-15, 11:22 AM
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Another possibility is fuel delivery issues...

A very small air leak into the fuel lines can cause this type of issue too.

Changing a fuel filter or pump strainer and not changing the gasket, or sealing rings, etc can cause a filter or the pump to suck air. Sometimes you won't even see an oil leak.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 11:30 AM
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if your oil burner is pumping oil into the firing chamber for 8-10 sec without it being ignited ( delayed ignition) it should cause a small explosion when it does light a sign that the burner is not set up properly. Did the tech use test equipment to check the co2, stack temperature , over fire draft pressure, smoke spot number , fuel pump pressure .What were the reading and the steady state efficiency obtained? Does your burner have a post purge feature were the oil is held back intentionally ? What make of oil burner is it ?
 
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Old 01-05-15, 12:03 PM
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Please clarify the delay. Does the burner run without firing for 8 - 10 seconds or does the burner remain off for 8-10 seconds and then fire correctly?

The delay of the burner coming on could be normal and caused by the water temperature in the boiler at the time the heat call is received. If the water temp is between 170 and 150, which are your settings, it's not going to fire until the temp drops to 150, however the circulator will.

The issue at hand is the noise you're hearing in the pipes and radiators. That's most likely air in the system, what's the pressure of the system while it's running and when it's at idle, cooled down?
 
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Old 01-05-15, 12:24 PM
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Thanks everyone for your replies!!

Saves......I have a Beckett burner. I've been in the basement when this delayed ignition has happened and there was no explosion or strange noises. Also, the tech who cleaned my boiler last, as well as the tech I had for the previous 9 years, did not use any type of test equipment. They just strictly cleaned. Have I been getting ripped off all these years?

NJ Trooper......I always feel one of the radiators before I raise the thermostat. If it feels like the heat had been on recently, I usually wait approx 15 - 20 minutes before I have it kick on again. Also, my boiler heats my hot water (tankless system), so every few hours the boiler kicks on for about 3 or 4 minutes to heat the water. I'm confused about what you said about the burner shutting off when it reaches the high limit of 170. Since if only takes a few minutes to reach 170 when heating my hot water, wouldn't it shut off too quickly when I needed it for heat? Hope that doesn't sound like a dumb question lol!!
I also don't recall the tech changing any gaskets or rings.

Tomf63.......The burner remains off for 8-10 seconds and then seems to fire correctly. I'll hear the sound of water starting to move through the pipes, and after a few seconds, the boiler fires. Again, not all the time, just about 40% of the time. As far as the water sounds, I've bled one of my radiators multiple times (most of them are behind furniture and nearly impossible to reach) and the amount of gurgling in the pipes has greatly decreased. The sound I hear when I'm near the boiler and this happens is more of a running water sound.
The pressure is normally around 12psi when it's idle, and approx 14psi when running.

Thanks again folks!!
 
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Old 01-05-15, 01:29 PM
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If the water temp is between 170 and 150, which are your settings, it's not going to fire until the temp drops to 150
Not exactly Tom...

The HIGH setting at 170 has a FIXED differential of 10F (appx), so the burner will fire again at 160, not 150. The HIGH setting is independent of the LOW and DIFF dials.

The LOW setting of 150 also has a fixed diff of 10F in addition to the adjustable DIFF dial.

With 150 LOW, the boiler will fire in the absence of a heat call at 140.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 01:36 PM
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I'm confused about what you said about the burner shutting off when it reaches the high limit of 170. Since if only takes a few minutes to reach 170 when heating my hot water, wouldn't it shut off too quickly when I needed it for heat?
First, is your aquastat control on the boiler, the one with the 150-170 settings an L8124A,C model?

If so, the HIGH setting of 170 only comes into play on a HEAT CALL, and NOT when the boiler is firing to keep warm in order to provide domestic hot water.

The LOW setting is the temperature around which the boiler is held for domestic hot water production.

They are two independent settings.

When there is a heat call, don't forget that water is circulating through the boiler and out to the radiators, so the time it takes the burner to heat up with NO HEAT CALL will be a lot shorter because there is no water flowing. You are only heating the water in the boiler itself. Heat call burner cycles will be longer because there is water flowing and you are heating MORE WATER and also sucking the heat out of the water as it flows through the radiators.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 01:54 PM
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Thank you NJ Trooper for all the info! I understand what you were saying now.

I'm not home to look at the aquastat right now, but I just googled the L8124a and that sure looks like what I have. I'm thinking I best call someone in to have a look at it. Would I be best off calling in a plumber? It seems the 2 guys I've used for my boiler maintenance haven't been doing all that they should be doing. Neither guy is a plumber. One is a burner service (my original guy) and the other owns an oil delivery company.

Thanks again!
 
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Old 01-05-15, 02:13 PM
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I would not suggest a plumber for oil burner service. While you may find some that do know burner service it's better to find a guy that knows oil burners.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 02:19 PM
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it's better to find a guy that knows oil burners.

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ne...#ixzz3Nz4qp3Eh
That seems to be my problem. I haven't had much luck with the 2 guys I've used so far. Guess I should just google "oil burner service" and see if anything comes up in my area.

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-05-15, 03:09 PM
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Always best to find a 'Mom and Pop' if possible and stay away from the 'conglomerates'.

If there are any plumbing and heating supply houses in your area it might not hurt to stop in there and ask...
 
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Old 01-05-15, 03:31 PM
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When the motor on the burner starts the oil should immediately light smoothly and the flame should go out when motor stops with out any after burn . If the techs have serviced the burner , new nozzle , adjust electrodes , replaced filter in burner oil pump and never did a steady state efficiency test, in my opinion they are relying on how well the burner was set up on the original installation and yes you were short changed, especially if the steady state efficiency has been lower than what it could have been all these years . if the nozzle was altered by size , angle. or type of spray from the original because they did not have an exact match then efficiency can suffer badly. If you have the installation manual there will be a page were the test results should be entered which is required for any warranty claim.
 
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Old 01-06-15, 08:54 AM
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Good idea, NJ Trooper. I agree with you about avoiding the big companies that have like 20 techs working for them. I'd rather find the guy who has his own business and has been servicing boilers for 30 years.

Saves.....Yeah, I think you're right that I've been getting short changed on my annual boiler service. This is my first home I've owned, so I knew nothing about that stuff. Unfortunately, I don't have the installation manual either.
 
 

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