Boiler making loud whirring noise

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Old 10-07-15, 08:53 PM
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Boiler making loud whirring noise

Hi all,

My system is single zone gas fired water boiler. Boiler runs for 30 min or so and then starts making this loud whirring noise. Today the temperature was 160 and pressure 18 when it started. Sometimes it runs for over an hour with temp at 200 (boiler shut off point) without any noise. I have tried to diagnose the issue but haven't been able to figure out the problem. I have also made a video, link is below.

I checked pump, expansion tank, pressure (while it was making the noise) but everything seem to be fine. I first thought its the pump but I can feel the pump is running and water circulating through the pipe. Also the radiators on the second floor are getting heat just fine. So could it be my pump is dying (but still working) and making a loud noise? The noise is so loud that i cant tell if its the pump or coming from inside of the boiler.

Please note the burner was running fine while it was whirring.

Any ideas? sorry for the poor video quality. I was trying to diagnose the problem at the same time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4pP...ature=youtu.be

thanks in advance
 
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Old 10-07-15, 10:35 PM
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Welcome to the best DIY forum on the Internet. Could you please post several still pictures of the boiler? If possible, a new video starting before the noise starts and into the abnormal noise so we can tell the normal noise from the abnormal.

It appears that you may have a "standing" (continuous burning) pilot light on that boiler rather than a spark-ignited pilot but I cannot tell for certain. The noise has a slight spark noise and also a slight transformer or relay hum to it. I don't think it is dangerous but it definitely is not right.
 
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Old 10-08-15, 03:57 PM
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Yeah, that video was making me nauseous... I had to stop it. Your video skills are par 5h1t, sorry to say.

It sounds like it might be burning inside the burner tube... or there's a spider web stuck in one of the gas orifices... yeah, I'm going with that.
 
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Old 10-09-15, 09:51 PM
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Boiler video 2

Thank you Furd. It's comforting to know that this may not be dangerous.

You are correct, its standing pilot. I have taken another video, without the noise this time. The burner comes on in the first 5 seconds. As you can see the boiler operation is very quiet. The pump is super quiet and the only sound that you can hear is the pleasant burner sound.

Since I cannot force the loud noise I couldn't capture it in this same video. I guess you can refer to my old video link just to compare the two noises. I also tried posting pictures but got an error message. I think this video should help but let me know if you still need pictures and I will find an alternate way to post.

BTW, the noise started after about 25 minutes today at around 130F.

Your help is appreciated.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SEk...ature=youtu.be

NJT, Sorry again for the poor video. My priority was to diagnose the problem (which clearly I couldn't) and get the hell out of the basement before that thing explodes in my face

BTW were you serious about that spider thing? Is that even possible? Sorry I am a new home owner, don’t know much about boiler issues.
 
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Old 10-09-15, 10:43 PM
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BTW were you serious about that spider thing? Is that even possible?
Actually, I was! There is some type of small spider, small enough to crawl inside those small holes where the gas comes out, that sometimes will build their nests inside. More OUTdoors than in... I used to get them in my gas barbecue ALL the time... PITA when you just wanna cook a burger but now you gotta clean the stupid gas jets out.
 
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Old 10-09-15, 10:47 PM
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I just watched that first video again... no way that's spiders in the jets.

I can't imagine what would make a noise like that.

Honestly, I think it's best you call somebody.

Did I see YELLOW light coming out from the combustion area during that first video?
 
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Old 10-10-15, 10:05 AM
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Bad relay? Bad solenoid on gas valve?
 
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Old 10-10-15, 10:48 AM
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Try placing a stick up against your ear with the other end of the stick on various components - to try to pinpoint the source of the noise.
 
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Old 10-15-15, 08:53 AM
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ok so I picked up mechanics stethoscope and was able to narrow down the source of noise, its the gas valve (Honeywell 2132). Right on Poorplmbr!

Now to check if the gas valve is getting 24V from the transformer, I tried sticking my multimeter poles in the electric inlet (that goes into the gas valve) but didn't get a reading. I think that's bc it wasn't making good contact bc of where its located. To address this I will have to disconnect the wires going into the gas valve, stick the MM poles and turn on the thermostat so there is current flowing (the boiler shouldn't turn on bc it won't energize). could someone confirm if this is correct? Also would the pilot stay on when I disconnect the wires going into the gas valve (I have standing pilot)?

Sorry this may be a basic question but I want to be safe than sorry.
 
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Old 10-15-15, 11:32 AM
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The standing pilot will stay on - just like it does in the event of a power outage.

When there is a call for heat, the burners light, right? So, the gas valve must be getting 24-V, or otherwise it wouldn't open. I would replace the gas valve.
 
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Old 10-15-15, 08:41 PM
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Thank you. One more question, ever since this gas valve problem has started, the water pressure has been staying high when the boiler is running (its at 12psi when off and stays there). When the boiler is running the pressure goes to 30psi and triggers the relief valve somewhere around 180F. Could this be because of the bad gas valve or this is entirely different problem? I don't see how gas valve could affect the pressure in the system. Any thoughts?
 
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Old 10-16-15, 03:10 PM
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That's a different problem. Read the "sticky" at the top of this forum. Your expansion tank has likely lost its air cushion.

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

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...ure-gauge.html
 
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Old 10-22-16, 07:20 PM
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Noise is back!

So exactly after a year the same noise is back. Just to refresh your memory, the problem was/is Boiler runs for 20 min or so and then starts making this loud whirring noise. Sometimes, it will go for an hour and wont make any noise.

Last year around this time, based on the discussion here and on another forum, I thought I had narrowed down the issue to Bad transformer relay. I replaced the honeywell control center and the noise had stopped. The noise never came back the whole season. I turned on the boiler 2 weeks ago for the first time and right away after about 20 min the noise started.

My first thought was (and as NJT mentioned) spider/insect eggs in the orifice because the system has been sitting there unused for 8 month and i have small spiders in my basement not to mention the same thing happened last year around this time. So I tried cleaning the burner pipes and the orifices with vacuum and pressure cans used to clean keyboards. But that didn't work, I am not sure, however, if this would have sufficiently cleaned the orifice as its difficult to reach into.

Also, I am not sure why after replacing the transformer relay/control center the noise stopped but came back the next season. Could something be wrong with my electric line which is causing the transformer to go bad, surge possibly?

I have ordered a manometer to measure manifold pressure so i could rule out gas build up.

Below is the link to the video of the noise from last year for your reference. I also made another video to show quiet operation of the boiler where you could see the combustion and the flame color.

Any idea whats going on?


Boiler noise:
https://youtu.be/A32A7O21blA

Quiet operation with combustion visible:
https://youtu.be/HSY31sbC2mY
 
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Old 10-23-16, 10:25 PM
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I took the manifold gas pressure today. It was a little high at 3.7. I adjusted it down to 3.5. Not sure if the high pressure had anything to do with the noise.
If this doesn't help i was thinking to replace the gas valve.

Any thoughts?
 
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Old 10-23-16, 10:50 PM
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I'm going with a bad gas valve, either the valve proper or the regulator within. It sounds like a mechanical noise and although it could be camera angle it appears that when the noise is present the flames are much diminished from when the noise is absent.

Having the gas valve in that vertical arrangement is not ideal and could contribute to the problem.
 
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Old 10-24-16, 11:52 AM
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Thanks Furd. I agree, I will replace the gas valve. Before I go ahead and replace the valve I just want to make sure I am following the easiest method.

In the attached picture, I am going to undo union first (A) followed by B and then C. I think i will have to remove panel in D which seems easy. I wasn't sure about panel in E. In order to remove the old gas valve I might have to remove E (which i will have to figure out) as there doesn't look enough room to undo the old gas valve.

Is the above correct?
 
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Old 10-24-16, 01:29 PM
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I would consider installing the replacement gas valve near where you marked "B", assuming you can arrange to provide maintenance access to the circulator. That would put the valve in a horizontal run of pipe which Furd commented upon. It would also locate the valve outside the boiler enclosure, which seems more conventional.
 
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Old 10-24-16, 02:05 PM
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I would first turn off the gas valve and then do whatever was necessary to ensure the valve would not be accidentally turned on. Maybe remove the valve handle or use tap or baling wire to hold the handle in the off position.

Then disconnect the union and remove the horizontal pipe. Look at the mounting for the burner pipe, the pipe holding the burner orifices, and there should be some small bolts holding it to a bracket. Removing the bolts should allow the entire assembly of gas valve and burner pipe to be removed from the cabinet. Replace the gas valve and re-install in the cabinet.

Be sure to clean all threaded pipe joints well with a wire brush and solvent. Let the solvent evaporate and then use an approved (for fuel gas) pipe joint compound sparingly on the male threads only, missing the first two threads to prevent pushing compound into the gas valve or the burner pipe. Compound is not needed on the union outer threads as the seal is made by the ground joint and the brass insert when the outer ring is tightened. A drop of oil on the outer threads may make tightening the union ring easier.

Be sure to adjust the pressure regulator in the new gas valve after installation and with the burners firing.
 
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Old 10-24-16, 05:55 PM
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Thanks for the detailed instructions Furd. Very helpful especially for a rookie like me. Removing the manifold assembly would be a lot easier than what I had originally planned. I just got the new valve, will be replacing it over the weekend.

PS: The noise hasn't come back ever since I adjusted the pressure. Boiler has ran for atleast 3 times for about an hour each since then. It has never gone this long (this season) without the noise. knock on wood!
 
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