Horn like humming? coming through pipes....

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Old 01-31-16, 06:13 PM
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Horn like humming? coming through pipes....

We have a horn like humming sound coming through our pipes reaching the rooms farthest from our basement boiler for about a month.You can barely hear it near the unit. Louder upstairs.. Its a 2004 Weil Mclain Gold boiler with a Beckett burner.It seems to run fine and work. It was cleaned and the filters and jet changed by oil co. a few weeks ago. The sound was present before this. The technician had no idea what it was. Suggested we call boiler mfg. WM didn`t even want to talk to me .Another guy said the rubber seal in the boiler might be leaking but couldnt come out. They said the tech needed to call.Anyway had an independant repair guy over and he was unsure also.He says as it dosen`t start until the burner was running a minute or so he doubted it was the circulator. We cannot find a specific spot the sound comes from . Using hearing I can`t tell at the unit. He`s supposed to install an oil line vibration supressor device, but won`t be back for another week. It does get louder and softer. Sometimes even sounding like its rotating. Pressure is 20. Temp stays about 170.Two air bleeder devices seem to work. It was completely bled last year and refilled by the same tune up guy. I`m not sure who can diagnose this, or who to ask. We don`t have a contract for service. Any ideas? Regards Thomas
 
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Old 01-31-16, 07:23 PM
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Noise = vibration. Wherever the sound is the loudest, put your hand on the baseboard or pipes. Wear gloves in case it's hot. After you find the spot, secure it.
 
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Old 01-31-16, 10:53 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

There can be many things to cause a noise like that. Some very popular ones are a defective zone valve that is not opening/closing completely.... a shutoff valve not fully opened.... a pressure reducing valve (water fill valve) oscillating.

If you have multiple thermostats try turning them on one at a time to try and narrow it down.

Hmmmm... I reread your post..... only hear it with the boiler running. That would seem to be a resonating problem. Try turning off the boiler to see if the noise stops immediately.
 
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Old 02-01-16, 01:29 PM
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Thanks for your comments

I haven`t tried much yet , just checked valves were open or fully closed. I tried finding the source , or even a spot close, but no luck. While the unit is running the sound is muted and hard to pinpoint. Upstairs you can hear it , it seems loudest in the wall above the boiler. I was there today and the sound continued after the burner stopped getting fainter then only the circulator was running and when that shut off it continued for seconds and faded . There is not alot I can do to find the source. It seems to me like its in a pipe above the unit in the ceiling. Is it a big job to take out a circulator and see if it damaged? Can a zone valve be opened or closed while its running? Ill try the thermostat on/ off later.What would that tell me? I`m hoping I can get somebody to come here and check this, but I might have to wait for next Wed.s appt.
 
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Old 02-01-16, 07:36 PM
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How many zones/thermostats are there? If there are 2 or more, activate one at a time. That will tell you which zone it is. There is no need to remove anything yet.
 
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Old 02-02-16, 02:47 AM
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There are 3 zones one main home , one for an addition and one for a water tank.2 thermostats.Thanks!
 
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Old 02-02-16, 06:42 AM
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Activate one at a time. Wait for the noise. At least that will tell you which zone it is.
 
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Old 02-02-16, 05:01 PM
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I tried shutting off the thermostats and tuning on the heat in the other zone one at a time. Both zones produce the noise. I did hear it continue even after the burner shut off, but not for long and it faded out. . If you can think of anything else let me know. We`re trying the oil line vibration supressor next week. Its still working, pressure and temp are good. Leaning toward some kind of vibration, but I`m not much of a diagnoser. Thanks
 
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Old 02-02-16, 05:48 PM
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Without actually being there and hearing it.... it's a lot of guessing.
 
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Old 02-02-16, 06:20 PM
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Let's backup for a minute. Your post (#6) said.
There are 3 zones one main home , one for an addition and one for a water tank.2 thermostats.Thanks!
I don't understand a zone for the water heater. What does that mean? Is it connected as an indirect? In any event, isolate that as well. If both heating zones produce the noise, the problem has to be close to the boiler.
 
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Old 02-03-16, 02:39 AM
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When Best Oil came to check out the system for a service contract a few years ago, they counted,and charged for 3 zones counting the Weil McLain Gold Water tank as another zone. Im not sure how to isolate that.Unless it just by turning down the dial on top. But it dosent seem to be coming from there. Its a strange situation. Having had 2 different people here and no solution yet, I thought someone here might have encountered this before in their job. I`ll probably wait and see if the guy coming next week , can do anything ,then start having other companies send guys out until its resolved. I`ll update you if its fixed. If anyone is near Waterbury-Prospect CT. area let me know if you are available. Thanks
 
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Old 02-03-16, 07:48 AM
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As I said there has to be a vibration that accompanies the noise. I would be looking for that. If you want to take a long shot, record the sound & upload it to soundcloud.com

We can listen to it.
 
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Old 02-03-16, 10:15 AM
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Thomas

I think there is a safe test you can run yourself if you want to eliminate the circulator. There should be a gray or black box on the upper part of the boiler front. I dont mean the box with the ON-OFF switch.

In the box there should be a terminal marked C1 with a wire connected to it. If you disconnect that wire the circulator will not run but the burner will run. When the thermostat calls for heat the burner will run and continue to heat the water up to the high limit and then stop. You should be able to listen during this period and see if the strange sound persists.

But you have to be very careful so you DO NOT RECEIVE AN ELECTRIC SHOCK when disconnecting C1. Turing the ON-OFF switch to OFF should kill any power to that gray(or black box) but to be absolutely sure if would be better if you turned off the circuit breaker or any disconnect box that feeds the boiler.

Or if you have a multi-meter you could test the voltage across the two terminals L1 and L2 in the gray box after you turn the ON-OFF switch to OFF. With the switch OFF there should be no voltage across L1-L2 in the gray box. That would be an indication that power is truly off to the gray box.
 
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Old 02-03-16, 11:24 AM
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Do you have a "one pipe" or a "two pipe" oil connection to the burner? I have seen (and heard) noises from a high velocity flow of oil through the return piping under certain situations. What made diagnosis hard was that it didn't always whine, just certain times. Going to a one pipe system solved the whining problem.
 
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Old 02-03-16, 02:17 PM
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Thanks for your comments. I might try the soundcloud option tonight.I only have a videocamera, no Iphone, but I might find a way to post just the sound? I cannot find a vibration on or around the unit. I`ve held, or touched the pipes , the valves , put my ear on the side of the box etc. As for eliminating the circulator pump, I might ask someone to do that, or be here when I do it.. Thanks for suggesting it.
 
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Old 02-03-16, 02:31 PM
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You could buy a cheap microphone for a laptop & download Audacity, to record it.
 
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Old 02-03-16, 05:41 PM
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Some progress/update

OK ..so the guy from last week stopped by ( a week early)with some kind of noise stopping tubing he put inside the line before the filter . Didn`t work.Took it out . But then ...he shut the furnace off with the switch while it was making noise and ...it continued for about 10 seconds before fading away. We did this 3 or 4 times and now it seems like the sound is coming right from inside the boiler even after its shut off!. With your ear against the case its quite clear. I tried to videotape it , but not much luck so far. I`ll try to get it though.He`g going to ask at his supplier, and ask a WM rep about it. Yeah! some progress. He looked inside the boiler and said it lookedd OK and it didn`t appear to be leaking.
 
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Old 02-03-16, 05:45 PM
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Originally, you said that it wasn't heard near the boiler. I'm lost.
 
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Old 02-03-16, 05:59 PM
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The sound never continued after it shut off before today,possibly because we never used the on /off on the unit. also while its running its very faint near the unit ,probably masked somewhat by the burner, but loud upstairs.
 
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Old 02-03-16, 06:31 PM
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All I can say is try to record it & post it on soundcloud.com
 
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Old 02-04-16, 08:03 PM
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Video on YT of the when sound the off switch is thrown

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1oh5GP3914
 
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Old 02-05-16, 06:53 AM
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It sounds like a bad bearing, on a shaft. As it spins less & less the noise is reduced until it stops. Is the circulator pump the only place where there is a shaft & a bearing? A noise like that can telescope through the system.
 
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Old 02-05-16, 10:32 AM
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I wonder if that isnt some kind of problem with the air flow through the burner. I know there is an air guide in the AFG. I wonder what would happen if the air guide broke or moved or something along those lines. That sound reminds me of something like air forced through an opening. Maybe not.

Could it be the burner motor bearings? I think if you took the motor out you could inspect the blower wheel and air guide, motor, etc. and test the motor on a workbench to see how it sounds. But it would be a little bit of a job. Not too bad, if I remember just a few bolts hold the motor in.
 
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Old 02-05-16, 03:12 PM
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The service guy talked to people at his supplier,and someone suggested to close off the inlet valve to the system, and watch to see if the pressure drops. This would indicate if there was a leak in the boiler?So far, no drop in pressure , but also not much running time. A guy told me he heard a noise like that only a few times in his 40yrs when the gasket in a WM boiler leaked. So now I`m checking the pressure. Still making noise.I will pass on your comments Thanks for your input.Glad I could capture the sound. If the furnace shuts off on its own it dosent make the sound all the time. Hopefully we can post a solution soon.
 
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