Residential boiler explosion

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Old 03-18-15, 10:26 AM
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Residential boiler explosion

Really void of any details but the video shows what can happen when even a small residential boiler has a problem.

Watch: Boiler explodes like a bomb in Bellingham home | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News
 
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Old 03-18-15, 10:45 AM
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They probably had the relief valve plugged.

Says something for the quality of dropcam I guess!
 
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Old 03-18-15, 11:11 AM
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All kinds of possibilities, it could have been a stuck safety valve, a plugged safety valve, no safety valve at all. Or it could have been a "furnace" explosion due to a leaking gas valve and that caused an already weakened pressure vessel to fail.

One thing that I am fairly certain of is that it had to have been operating at more than 212 degrees F. That would point towards multiple failures of control and safety valve. Had the temperature been at a normal 180 degrees F. or lower it would not have exploded in that manner.
 
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Old 03-18-15, 11:23 AM
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Definitely a boiler... cast iron:

http://media.komonews.com/images/660...plosion_08.jpg
image courtesy komonews.com

I guess they don't allow linking the images!
 
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Old 03-18-15, 11:28 AM
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I guess you were confused by my use of the term "furnace explosion". The "furnace" in a boiler is the area where the fuel is burnt. Not a common term outside of commercial and industrial sized boilers.
 
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Old 03-18-15, 11:36 AM
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I knew you didn't mean "scorched air" furnace, but honestly, wasn't sure exactly what you were saying! Now it makes sense though. I might have called it 'combustion chamber'...

I believe that family is more lucky than they know. I'm certain that there was massive gas leak after the fact. Lucky there wasn't a secondary gas explosion, or a FIRE!
 
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Old 03-18-15, 07:39 PM
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Combustion chamber is also a correct term. For me it is just the 30+ years of referring to it as a furnace is my excuse.

And yes, they were VERY lucky. One interesting tidbit that made it into the story is that this boiler had been "serviced" or "inspected" about eighteen months ago. For some reason I doubt that it was done by anyone that was really competent. Truth is, hydronic heating systems are fairly rare in this neck of the country.
 
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Old 03-20-15, 06:53 PM
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I know most tech's will not check the relief valve due to the fact that if it is not checked for a few years and then it is tested it will normally leak. It is than replaced due to seepage and the owner does not want to pay for it due to not leaking before your guy released water. It is the tech's fault.
When I was a service manager we started testing them and had to credit many many of them due to customer complaints.
 
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Old 03-20-15, 08:22 PM
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When I was still gainfully employed we tested the safety valves on the hot water boilers yearly, just before annual inspection, so if they refused to re-seat we would then replace them. On the steam boilers (both low and high pressure) we tested safety valves quarterly and every five years had them recertified. On the regular hot water boilers (under 240 degrees and 60 psi) we routinely replaced the safety valves every five years as it was less expensive than recertification.

I have ALWAYS recommended that residential boiler safety valves be replaced every five years as a matter of course.

And don't forget to test the safety valve on the domestic water heater as well. I do it at least annually. Which reminds me, it is time to test mine.
 
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