Weil-McLain EG-45 gas boiler: spill switch issues

Reply

  #1  
Old 05-12-17, 05:56 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 58
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Question Weil-McLain EG-45 gas boiler: spill switch issues

I have a Weil-McLain EG-45 SPDN Gas Pilot boiler for my house. I started to have problems about a year ago where the spill-switch would get stuck, causing the Vent Damper to stop working, therefore no heating until I would have to manually press the little button on the spill-switch to re-start it. Then everything would work great for a while (up to 3-4 months).

Unfortunately this started to happen more and more often (from once in 4 months, to once in 3 two months and so on).

I then decided to change my Spill Switch (twice), using an original Weil McLain replacement part # 510-300-013, and now just recently, I installed a new Vent Damper (made by Field Controls). Again, everything worked for about 2 weeks and then the same situation reappeared.

I have also exchanged the Thermostat (Honeywell RTH7600D) about 4 months ago.

The interesting thing: This "stuck" problem usually happens when the Gas Boiler unit is NOT needed to work for longer periods (meaning its warm enough in the house for a half of day or even a couple of days, and it does not have to keep working consistently, as it does in the middle of winter). So the argument that the Spill Switch is "overheating" and fails to re-start is not applicable here. I have also checked the two wires that go into it for corrosion, but they seem just fine.

I am also pretty sure that the chimney is clean. We have a protective cap on top of it for the last 3 years, and I think if it was clogged, the damper vent would stop working within hours.

Can anyone please tell me what else can I try replacing or what can I do? The gas flow is normal, the thermocoupler was just replaced and works just fine. Winter is pretty much over for this year, but I am always thinking ahead.

All suggestions are appreciated!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 05-12-17, 10:18 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 51,914
Received 260 Votes on 245 Posts
I am also pretty sure that the chimney is clean.
I'm pretty sure it's not. If the spill switch is tripping.... the flue gases are not being vented out properly. I would recommend having the chimney checked.
 
  #3  
Old 05-12-17, 12:15 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 58
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I guess I will then have the chimney checked as your answer sounds logical.

Is there anything special that the chimney guys should use or do to verify what maybe wrong with it? Do they use cameras like the for sewers? Any ideas what this might cost (the inspection).

I just want to make sure I don't do more than I need or have them do a solution which will have them coming back very year trying to "re-fix it" so that they can charge me more and more... on purpose

Much thanks for any additional the input!
 
  #4  
Old 05-12-17, 01:37 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,478
Received 21 Votes on 17 Posts
Depending upon the age and construction of the chimney you may need to have a liner installed. Normal cost of a chimney cleaning and inspection in an urban area will be somewhere in the $100 to $200 range. If you DO need a liner installed be sure to get several bids for the work. Liners can be expensive.
 
  #5  
Old 05-24-17, 06:07 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 58
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
update to the chimney

I want to thank again for all of the inputs to my situation. Yesterday, I finally had the time to take a peek at my chimney with a buddy of mine. As one can see by the photos attached, it looks pretty good when we opened it. Just a few very small rocks (which we since removed with a commercial vacuum), and there is nothing that is really blocking the clay chamber. I also stuck my hand inside (as far as I could), and I could easily feel a small draft, which in my opinion shows that the air is flowing. I am also including a photo of how the chimney top looks like from the outside.

https://chimney2017.imgbb.com/

I realize that there might be a crack or two in the clay lining somewhere inside the flue, but if there was a piece or whole section missing, I would most likely find broken clay pieces laying at the bottom. There were none.

Sure, I can still hire a professional to put in mirrors (camera) and do a more extensive inspection, but from my own investigation, I am not sure I need to do anything else seeing what I saw.

Any other input / comments?
 
  #6  
Old 05-24-17, 11:00 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 2,698
Upvotes: 0
Received 11 Votes on 11 Posts
M,

This could get a little involved. I believe what you have is a draft situation, not a problem. My guess is that if your boiler runs consistently during the winter months you probably don't have a problem which is due to the chimney staying warm which is what creates a draft allowing system to operate properly.

Once the boiler starts running intermittently allowing the chimney to become cool after longer periods of shut down, depending what your flue gas temp. is from the boiler it may not be enough to create that draft in the chimney the first time the boiler starts up, thus tripping the spill switch which is doing its job. If you were there and reset the switch and started the boiler again it would most likely run fine due to the heat from the flue pipe beginning to create the draft needed to pull the excess heat from the boiler. Sometimes it may take more than one reset depending on the weather conditions, size of flue to be heated and flue temp from the boiler. An inside chimney is easier to heat than an outside chimney. An inside being a chimney that goes up through the center of the house compared to built completely exposed along the side of the house.

Wind conditions, chimney height, surrounding buildings all play a part in draft conditions also.

For example on oil furnaces before the introduction of cad cell relays which is equivalent to your spill switch for this conversation, a stack relay which worked on temperature rather than light as the cad cell does was used as a safety like the spill switch. What would happen was on start up if the flue pipe didn't heat up enough to create a draft in the chimney the relay which had a bimetal would shut the furnace down even though there was nothing wrong. Depending how cold the chimney was and the amount of heat in the flue pipe of the furnace the stack had to be reset, sometimes once or twice until the chimney warmed up enough to create the needed draft.

There was nothing that could be done about it and people just lived with it. As burners and furnaces became more efficient and flue temps came down the problem became more prevalent until the introduction of the cad cell relay which worked on light instead of heat solved that problem.

Unfortunately with gas such advances haven't been as quick to come about. In reality there is not much you can do with gas. Being atmospheric burners no adjustments can be made for the most part so they compensate for that by incorporating all kinds of safety switches that will shut the system down instead of solving the problems.

In short there may be nothing wrong with your boiler except not producing a high enough stack temp to heat the chimney to create a draft. With the new gas units today having low flue temps they want you install a new chimney liner to match the flue pipe of the unit so it takes a shorter time to heat. A standard size single flue chimney is 8 x 8 but with the new designs of the gas units you still may need a liner if that occasional shutdown bothers you.

In MA. you cannot even install a new gas furnace without a new liner even though there's nothing wrong with your chimney which greatly adds in some cases to the price of the job.
The next time it happens try resetting it and see if it stays running the second or third time and that should tell you if this is your problem. I don't think there is any need to change any more parts at this stage. You just need patience which is why it not picked up a lot by the techs servicing the equipment. They just don't have the time to sit and try things anymore, especially at todays prices.

I realize this is extremely long and is only my thoughts on your problem but I hope it helps a little.
 
  #7  
Old 05-24-17, 07:20 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 406
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
It sure does sound like a venting issue. spott makes some very good points regarding draft.

Can anyone please tell me what else can I try replacing or what can I do?
One thing you might try is to reconfigure the smoke pipe connecting the boiler to the chimney. Maybe shorten the vertical part of piping by 10-12" or so, which would result in the horizontal part of the piping having a greater upward pitch to the chimney. The point being to make it as easy as possible for the exhaust fumes to exit the boiler.
 
  #8  
Old 05-25-17, 04:27 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 58
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thank you again for further comments.

I have added 2 more photos to the same link, where it shows exactly the venting inside from the point of exiting the boiler, to entering the chimney.

Here is the link:

https://chimney2017.imgbb.com/

I'm not sure there is a way to shorten it any further, but I will make sure that I will have the lining / flue thoroughly inspected.

You guys are great, and the more information I get, the more I learn!
 
  #9  
Old 05-25-17, 04:45 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 58
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thank you again for further comments.

I have added 3 more photos under the same link, where it shows exactly the venting inside from the point of exiting the boiler & entering the chimney + location of the spill switch (circled in blue).

Here is the link:

https://chimney2017.imgbb.com/

I'm not sure there is a way to shorten it any further, but I will make sure that I will have the lining / flue thoroughly inspected.

You guys are great, and the more information I get, the more I learn!
 
  #10  
Old 05-25-17, 06:51 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 2,698
Upvotes: 0
Received 11 Votes on 11 Posts
Check venting system operation.
With boiler firing, hold a candle or match below lower edge of draft diverter “skirt.” If flame does not blow out, but burns undisturbed, the vent system is working properly. If flame blows out or flickers severely, the vent system must be checked for obstructions or other causes of improper venting.

This came from the start up manual.

Did you try removing the switch from the hood and just let it hang and see if the boiler would run alright. That switch has a temp limit of 210 deg before it shuts the system down. If it's not feeling the temp from the box the boiler should stay running. If the boiler shuts down and must be reset you have a switch problem even though you just changed it.

Just a thought.
 
  #11  
Old 05-28-17, 08:13 PM
rbeck's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,446
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
This sounds like a drafting problem due to a cool chimney. Is this an interior chimney meaning all 4 sides are warm in the home away from exterior walls? As someone stated earlier may need a liner.
During testing for AFUE the boiler must stay running with no chimney.

This situation is usually a drafting issue especially if the switch was replaced.
Again I ask interior or exterior chimney.
 
  #12  
Old 05-31-17, 11:20 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 58
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Part of the chimney is exposed, as shown in my photos (on the terrace), while the rest of it (about 18 feet) has only 1 side exposed to the street.

Please note: The bricks around the chimney were repointed 2 years ago.

Please see the photos here: https://chimney2017.imgbb.com/

Name:  chimney_4.jpg
Views: 1058
Size:  23.9 KB

Name:  chimney_4A.jpg
Views: 704
Size:  30.7 KB
 

Last edited by PJmax; 05-31-17 at 07:50 PM. Reason: added 2 pics from link
  #13  
Old 05-31-17, 07:54 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 51,914
Received 260 Votes on 245 Posts
It looks like your chimney is pretty much external whereas it's not running down inside the house. An internal chimney would just have a short stack over the roof.

In looking at your flue pipe. I'm wondering if the 90 shouldn't be replace with two 45's.
That would be one way to shorted the horizontal run.

I'm just adding my two cents as I'm not the boiler pro but I have learned a few things in this thread.
 
  #14  
Old 06-01-17, 11:33 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 2,698
Upvotes: 0
Received 11 Votes on 11 Posts
http://www.southwarkmetal.com/wp-con...lengthonly.jpg

This is a chart of equivalent lengths of straight pipe for fittings. You will see a 90 is equivalent to 30 ft. of pipe and a 45 =10 -20 so if 2 45's are used it is the same in this case.

Look under the heading of "Round Elbows and Angles"

I reread your posts and saw the work you did but have you actually taken a draft test with a proper meter to see what you really have. With boiler off and then with it running.

That reading would really help to determine your course of action.

Just a thought.
 
  #15  
Old 06-01-17, 12:13 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 51,914
Received 260 Votes on 245 Posts
Yes.... the two 45's would be similar to one 90 in loss but you wouldn't have the long almost horizontal run.
 
  #16  
Old 06-01-17, 12:37 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 2,698
Upvotes: 0
Received 11 Votes on 11 Posts
P,

I see what you're getting at and a 45 does make a smoother flow but his run doesn't look like it's anything out of the ordinary and with only 1 90 in the whole setup if the draft was decent it shouldn't be a problem but might be worth a try. I still think that he should take a draft reading first to see what he has before redoing his piping.
 
  #17  
Old 10-14-17, 07:56 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 58
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Question

Everyone,

Once again thank you for all your very helpful comments that you gave me this past May. As "heating" season is going to start soon here in the Northeast, I will be again relying on my gas boiler again.

Since the last posting here, I had a professional come out here to clean & inspect the boiler, double check the chimney (he stuck a mirror into it and we both saw daylight) and he proclaimed the unit in perfect working condition. The Pro did advise me on two things that I wish to run by you all for further opinion, lf you don't mind.

1) The Pro advised (he has over 30 years of experience) that I should get a "better quality" spill switch than the one that I currently am using. The one I have (and already changed 2 times) is the one that is made specifically for this unit (rated at 210F):

510-300-013 - Weil Mclain 510-300-013 - Spill Switch w/ Reset, 210°F

He said I should get a better quality one made by Field Controls, something like:

GSK-4 - Field Controls GSK-4 - 200° Gas Spillage Sensing Switch w/ Manual Reset

or even

FTS-6 - Field Controls FTS-6 - 180° Safety Switch w/ Manual Reset (120/240V)

Now, my question is this: Since my Weil-McLain EG-45 SPDN unit is rated at 210F, and I will put a spill switch that is 200F or even 180F rated, is that okay? The Pro did confirm that my existing spill-switch location is in the right spot and that I do not need two of them for my type of a unit.

2) As far as the Vent-Damper (to remind, I installed a brand new one last winter, made by Field Controls). The Pro said that he would just leave it in MANUAL mode. When I asked him about the danger of having "bad gasses" leakage into the house, he stated that the boiler will shut itself off as there are other protection sensors there and that this AUTO function is now included into the Vent-Dampers more for better efficiency of the unit than for safety. Is he right?

I should also add:

a) I do have a 4" clean-air going into the boiler room directly from the street (boiler room being a closed-off section with 2 doors, with two return 20 inches x 8 inches ventilation grille's that have the air escape into the rest of the basement). The actual room measures 6 feet long x 7 feet wide x 8 feet high and only contains the gas hot water heater and the gas boiler.

b) On the advice of the Pro, I tried turning on the heat (via my Thermostat) a number of times during the summer's hot & humid days (it was like 80F in the room, so I had to set the Thermostat manually to 82F). The unit started-up every time without problems and I let it work for 5 mins or so before turning it off. The Pro said that during the very humid days that the heavy air that gets trapped in the chimney could force the Vent-Damp to trigger the spill switch. It never did.

I await your comments. Thank you again in advance for your time and knowledge.
 
  #18  
Old 11-10-17, 08:47 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 58
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I wanted to let everyone know that it seems like my problem has been finally solved. I thought it is important to post this solution in case someone else has these same issues and could perhaps find this helpful.

After putting the vent-damper into the MANUAL mode (always open), it did not take more than 2 days for the spill switch to trigger again. So, I decided to order the Fields Controls GSK-4 switch:

GSK-4 - Field Controls GSK-4 - 200° Gas Spillage Sensing Switch w/ Manual Reset

Upon its installation, I am happy to report that for one week, everything was working perfectly in MANUAL mode and now for the past 3 days, the vent-damper is set back to AUTO mode and still working properly. During these 10 days, we’ve had a variant of rainy, damp, dry and cold weather outside.

So it turns out that I do not have a chimney or negative boiler room pressure problem (as I always thought), and it all was due to the spill switch behaving badly. May I remind you, this was my 3rd spill switch (the official one sold by Weil-McLain) that I was trying out. What is interesting, is that the “official” spill-switch (model # 510-300-013), that is made by Weil-McLain and used by me has to be actually attached to the metal of the vent hood for operation:

510-300-013 - Weil Mclain 510-300-013 - Spill Switch w/ Reset, 210°F

But the Field Controls GSK-4 specifically tells you that “The switch should not contact the metal. They should be mounted at least 1 inch below the hood opening”

https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.supplyho..._PROD_FILE.pdf

QUESTION:
---------------

I always thought that the spill switch MUST have physical contact with the draft hood in order to monitor “for temperature reading & monitoring of combusted gasses/fumes that are coming out the vent” but as it seems, I guess the boiler that has the actual sensor to trigger the spill switch? Can someone please clarify this?

In any case, thank you EVERYONE for trying to help me with this issue. I am happy that I got my boiler cleaned and checked out by the pro, and his advice to get the GSK-4 turned out to be right.
 
  #19  
Old 11-10-17, 12:10 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 406
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
I always thought that the spill switch MUST have physical contact with the draft hood in order to monitor “for temperature reading & monitoring of combusted gasses/fumes that are coming out the vent”...
.
Could it be that the Field switch is designed to monitor the temps of the flue gasses, while the WM switch is designed to monitor the temps of the metal flue pipe - the built-in assumption being that the flue pipe is the same temperature of the gasses flowing through it? I don't know...just a guess on my part.

...but as it seems, I guess the boiler that has the actual sensor to trigger the spill switch? Can someone please clarify this?
.
No other boiler control is needed for a spill switch to function. It is a normally-closed thermal switch that is wired in series with the burner circuit. When the factory-set temperature limit is surpassed, the switch opens, cutting off power to the circuit. In such case, the switch needs to be manually reset in order to put it back to the normally-closed position.

Thermal Safety Switches | Field Controls, LLC
 
  #20  
Old 11-13-17, 07:55 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 58
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the feedback. Always good to know things, which could become useful down the line...
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: