Weil Mcclain CG gas boiler knocking noises when fired up

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Old 11-20-17, 09:14 AM
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Question Weil Mcclain CG gas boiler knocking noises when fired up

We have a 25 year old Weil Mcclain CG Series 11 gas boiler that makes annoying knocking noises when fired up that resonates through pipes and heard on first floor above. It is not overly loud but consistent and not normal. Noise coming from boiler itself as I can hear percolating type sounds and some hissing when next to it and feel the corresponding vibrations on boiler itself. The noise starts soon after fires up and continues throughout burn cycle and then diminishes once boiler reaches set point and goes away completely after a few seconds while circulator continues to pump to calling zone(s).

The system has five (5) Honeywell zone control valves with a singular B&G Series 100 circulator pump. A new Amtrol expansion tank was installed last season and set to 13PSI. All 5 zones get hot with no air noise in any of the baseboard units throughout house. System pressure is around 13PSI cold and increases to around 18PSI when hot. Aquastat set to 180F.

Noise started last year or perhaps end of season before and initially thought maybe it was mineral buildup in boiler itself so added Rhomar HyrdoSolv 9100 for a few months to boiler last year and then drained / filled with Rhomar 922 corrosion inhibitor at end of last heating season.

Not much of difference in noise, if any, this heating season. Not sure if it is just too much mineral buildup in boiler itself and Rhomar 9100 wasn't strong enough to remove. Looking to see if there is something else that can be done other than replacing boiler at this point as perhaps there is something else going on? Any advice/input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
deeMatrix
 

Last edited by deeMatrix; 11-20-17 at 09:35 AM. Reason: Add icon
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Old 11-20-17, 01:08 PM
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I was going to suggest that the each zone be tested separately but since the noise is heard inside the boiler, that may not be necessary. Another idea is if you can record the noise & upload it to sound cloud, we can hear it & comment.


Edit: BTW, a 25 year old Weil McClain boiler should be in the Boiler Hall Of Fame.
 
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Old 11-20-17, 01:25 PM
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Try reducing the aquastat setting from 180 deg to 165 deg, and increase the system pressure by about 5 psi. Let us know if this helps.
 
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Old 11-20-17, 03:58 PM
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Thanks guys for advice. So to ensure I get this right just increase system pressure by 5PSI via adding some additional water via the water pressure regulator valve and no need to do anything with increasing pressure in expansion tank? Also do this when system water temperature is under 100F?

Thanks again in advance.
 
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Old 11-20-17, 04:31 PM
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I dont think adding pressure will help, and no sense lowing temp below 180 as your baseboards will lose heat output..

What you can do first is verify the boiler gauge is accurate. Is it reading the correct pressure and temp?

They are notorious for breaking/ not reading correctly...

https://www.doityourself.com/forum/b...ure-gauge.html

But Im pretty sure its sediment.. Are you on a well?

ya know. Sometimes when the boilers get cleaned out they leak soon after if they are bad enough...

Im not a fan of hydrosolv..

I use this..

https://www.oatey.com/ASSETS/DOCUMEN...temCleaner.pdf

After you verify your gauge I would bleed off some water once a week from the low point boiler drain. See how much sediment you get each time and let use know.
 
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Old 11-20-17, 05:11 PM
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Have you checked the gas input by reading the gas meter? ( 1 cubic foot per minute = 60,000 BTU input ) You could also check the gas manifold pressure; ( a reading of 3.5"W.C. is normal ) If the gas manifold pressure is set at 3.5 " W.C. , try reducing it to 3.0" W.C. to see if the noise goes away. If the noise remains reset the pressure to the normal 3.5" W.C. Insure that the flame is burning clean. A scaled up boiler may also yield the same noises. And by the way, a 25 year old cast iron boiler is not an old boiler when used to heat hot water. It would be old if the boiler was being used for steam service. Some boilers used to carry a 20 or 25 year warranty on the sections when they were used for hot water service.
 
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Old 11-20-17, 05:59 PM
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If the gas manifold pressure is set at 3.5 " W.C. , try reducing it to 3.0" W.C. to see if the noise goes away.


Dont touch the gas valve other then to check. Its illegal to overfire a boiler, and underfiring as well can cause CO issues in the home... Death can occur...

Not good advice.....
 
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Old 11-21-17, 04:13 AM
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Hey Lawrosa--I see that you haven't serviced many cast iron boilers . I did not say to " over-fire" the boiler . I said to check the input by both reading the meter and checking the gas manifold pressure. As far as under firing the boiler, why have boiler manufacturers sold this type boiler with modulating or hi/low fire controls. Years ago, there was a company called "Detroit Lubricator" and a company called "General Controls" that sold modulating gas valves for this type of installation. My recommendation was to try and see if the boiler may be being over-fired, since some manufacturers have recommended setting the manifold pressure at 3' W.C. instead of the normal 3.5" W.C. The best thing @ deeMatrix could do would be to call a service company and ask if they have have an old guy like me still working there and have him check the boiler and give his recommendation. My original answer was things I have done over my 40+ years servicing these beasts. My mistake was that I should have stated in my original post that these are things I have done over the years and that he should have a licensed HVAC company perform these tasks. (my mistake)
 
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Old 11-21-17, 01:43 PM
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. .

hey lawrosa--i see that you haven't serviced many cast iron boilers . I did not say to " over-fire" the boiler . I said to check the input by both reading the meter and checking the gas manifold pressure. As far as under firing the boiler, why have boiler manufacturers sold this type boiler with modulating or hi/low fire controls

. if the gas manifold pressure is set at 3.5 " w.c. , try reducing it to 3.0" w.c.


and those valves are not around anymore are they... Im sure the boilers were getting carboned up...

years ago, there was a company called "detroit lubricator" and a company called "general controls" that sold modulating gas valves for this type of installation. My recommendation was to try and see if the boiler may be being over-fired, since some manufacturers have recommended setting the manifold pressure at 3' w.c. Instead of the normal 3.5" w.c.


show me the documentation where this is recommended...


the best thing @ deematrix could do would be to call a service company and ask if they have have an old guy like me still working there and have him check the boiler and give his recommendation. My original answer was things i have done over my 40+ years servicing these beasts. My mistake was that i should have stated in my original post that these are things i have done over the years and that he should have a licensed hvac company perform these tasks. (my mistake)


i have done a lot of my share also. But when you mess with the gas valve you need at least a combustion analyser..
Ive worked with my share of so called boiler techs that claim they can adjust the burners just by looking at the flame...lol oil as well as guys i see in the field blatantly turning screws on gas valves with no monitoring equipment.

If you do have 40 years in im not sure why you would suggest that to a diy homeowner.. Think about the safety implications.

What if he listens to you, turns down the gas valve adjustment to 1/2 flame for whatever reason.. Then the heat exchanger carbons up so bad down the road, and co is released in the home and everyone dies in the middle of the night?



 
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Old 11-21-17, 04:36 PM
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reducing the pressure in the gas manifold came from a Burnham Boiler engineer in a conversation over the phone, and no I have no documents proving the conversation. A modulating gas pressure (input) will not cause the boiler to carbon up, unless you go too low on input. I am not going to argue with you; you have your opinion and I have mine. On this sight I have read some of the most asinine answers and recommendations from those who think they know everything. Signing off, have a good day, I'm done here
 
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Old 11-21-17, 08:02 PM
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LOL.. The old old modulating valves had air doors that opened and closed from my knowledge.. But that was before my time, and only what the dead men told me who taught me...

If you dont also modulate the air like modern mod cons the combustion numbers will go upside down if you dont. and how low can you go before CO issues on a sections with pins??? The modcons are induced draft/power vents and a whole different type burner...

Although Lochinvar does have a two stage gas valve on a unit, but this unit uses a copper, radiator type heat exchanger...Regular flue pipe with power vent option...

Im not arguing... Im just being safety conscious...
 
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Old 11-22-17, 05:29 AM
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Btu

BTW 1cubic foot of gas is 1000 BTU, NOT 60000!
 
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Old 11-22-17, 09:03 AM
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Following is a Soundcloud link to audio file of boiler noise. Knocking comes pronounced at 2 minute mark through to end of track and very noticeable on floor above. Thoughts?

Thanks,
deeMatrix

https://soundcloud.com/user-851536758/boiler-fire-noise
 
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Old 11-22-17, 09:18 AM
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Take a couple pics of the boiler... I didnt hear any load noise per se'.. Maybe I can see something..

But we need a few pics
 
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Old 11-22-17, 01:03 PM
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Some system pics attached. Thanks again for everyone's assistance.

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Last edited by deeMatrix; 11-22-17 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 11-22-17, 03:28 PM
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To me, it sounds more like expansion noise when a pipe rubs against a wooden joist - than kettling. Are you positive that the noise originates in the boiler itself? If the noise starts 2 min after the burner lights, expansion noise could be coming from a pipe close to the boiler return. If the noise seems louder on the floor above, it might mean that the noise isn't coming directly from the boiler itself?

I can't quite read the boiler gauge. What is the pressure and temp indicated?

Is this a cold- or warm-start system?
 

Last edited by Mike Speed 30; 11-22-17 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 11-22-17, 04:41 PM
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BTW 1cubic foot of gas is 1000 BTU, NOT 60000!
He probably meant 1 cf gas = 1000 Btu, 1 cfm gas = 1000 Btu/min = 60,000 Btu/hr
 
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Old 11-22-17, 04:43 PM
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Definitely making noise in the boiler itself. You can feel the slight vibration. I continue to look to see if there are any pipes right against wood but will look again as always wonder if noise we're hearing upstairs in room above boiler room is indeed that or the boiler itself.

The gauge pic was when no zones were calling at that time, System pressure in general is around 12-13 when cold and about 18PSI when burning and temperature gets up to 180F before cycling off. Temperature then continues to rise to about 200F after burners go off and then noise continues and slowly dissipates. Cold start.
 
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Old 11-22-17, 04:56 PM
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temperature gets up to 180F before cycling off. Temperature then continues to rise to about 200F after burners go off and then noise continues and slowly dissipates.
A bit too high, in my opinion. Adjust the aquastat to 180 deg.
 
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Old 11-22-17, 06:56 PM
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Aquastat set to 175F and goes off somewhere before that but temp does go beyond after shutting down up to 190-200F.
 
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Old 11-25-17, 06:57 AM
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IPoorplmbr, I said that when clocking a gas meter 1 cu. ft. of gas a minute = 60,000 BTU of gas "input" since boilers are rated in BTU/hour. I did not say that i cu. ft of gas = 60,000 btu. So 1000 X 60 minutes in 1 hour = 60,000BTU
 
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Old 11-28-17, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
I dont think adding pressure will help, and no sense lowing temp below 180 as your baseboards will lose heat output..

What you can do first is verify the boiler gauge is accurate. Is it reading the correct pressure and temp?

They are notorious for breaking/ not reading correctly...

https://www.doityourself.com/forum/b...ure-gauge.html

But Im pretty sure its sediment.. Are you on a well?

ya know. Sometimes when the boilers get cleaned out they leak soon after if they are bad enough...

Im not a fan of hydrosolv..

I use this..

https://www.oatey.com/ASSETS/DOCUMEN...temCleaner.pdf

After you verify your gauge I would bleed off some water once a week from the low point boiler drain. See how much sediment you get each time and let use know.
I finally have the external pressure gauge. The provided link https://www.doityourself.com/forum/b...ure-gauge.html indicates to use any system drain valve. I have the boiler drain valve itself I can connect it to or one of the drains off the 5 returns. Any preferred one to use to check system pressure?

Thanks again.
deeMatrix
 
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Old 11-28-17, 04:12 PM
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Put it anywhere that's convenient.......
 
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Old 11-28-17, 04:50 PM
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knocking boiler

I think it's time to have an HVAC ,boiler service tech check the boilers input. When I listened to the sound recording the boiler sounds as though it is being overfired (too much gas input). I am not going to say "clock the meter" since people monitoring this site do not seem to know what I am saying or have little experience with furnaces and boilers.
 
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Old 11-28-17, 05:34 PM
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Aquastat set to 175F and goes off somewhere before that but temp does go beyond after shutting down up to 190-200F.
Its called heat soak, but I may think the temp gauge is off. you will need to verify with a laser thermometer is easiest if you have one. Put a piece of black tape on the feed pipe out of the boiler and test there for temp when a zone is running... see if it corresponds to the gauge..

Its a bit high for soak 200f but the gauge may be off like I said..

If its off you can lower the aquastat some so it heat soaks to 180f...
 
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Old 11-28-17, 05:37 PM
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Its a CG 11 series but what model off the name plate??? ie: cg3 cg4 cg5 etc...
 
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Old 11-28-17, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
Its a CG 11 series but what model off the name plate??? ie: cg3 cg4 cg5 etc...
It's a Weil Mclain Series 11 CG5.

Also, just checked pressure with no zones calling for heat as system ramping down at this point and aquastat was between 16 and 17 PSI with temperature between 105-110F. The external pressure gauge showed a little over 15 PSI.

I used a laser thermal leak detector that gives initial temperature and although no zone was running it showed the temperature of the black pipe coming out of the boiler at around 103F or so but will check again tomorrow when a zone is calling for heat.
 

Last edited by deeMatrix; 11-28-17 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 11-28-17, 09:45 PM
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CG5 is a 140kbtu boiler.. with a 117k DOE....

1. How many sq ft is the home? ( Living space.)

2. Copper finned baseboard I assume?

3. How many feet of finned element in total for the whole home? ( You may need to look under the covers) Sometimes there is no element under some or parts of the covers..

4. You may be micro zoned also. If you can tell me and break it down on how many feet on each zone that would help..

Before throwing money at that boiler lets see if I can come up with some #'s for you.... Then you can weigh your options...
 
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Old 11-28-17, 09:47 PM
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Just a quick note. That boiler can heat a 4700 sq ft home... Its probably grossly oversized..
 
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Old 11-28-17, 09:48 PM
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Old 11-29-17, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
Just a quick note. That boiler can heat a 4700 sq ft home... Its probably grossly oversized..
Living space including basement is approximately 3100 sq. ft.

We had a company in last year to assess replacing both heat and AC systems and they performed a Manual J after reviewing entire house. Report showed Total heating required of 80,280 Btu broken out by 57,721 Btu on lower level and basement and then 27,559 Btu on second bedroom level. They indicated the existing boiler was oversized and additionally the same house as mine that was built a year later who also got baseboard heat from same company has a much smaller boiler (cg3?).
 
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Old 12-01-17, 10:25 AM
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I had similar issues last winter with percolating sound at the boiler that sounded a whole lot different as you went up into the house. It was "kettling" I bought the boiler cleaner at Home Dumpster for around $12- put it in, ran it for 5 days, drained it out. Refilled system along with another bottle of the cleaner as the directions said. No issues with boiler since. I do need to find out where I can buy a copper bellow or copper expansion piece for a section in my bedroom that is knocking in a door frame from lack of space for the pipe to expand when it heats up. Good Luck.
 
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Old 12-01-17, 11:41 AM
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Well they may have did a heat loss but is it correct?

If the questions cant be answered we cant help you...

I can see it already with the zones your have micro zones there..


Is the basement heated???

Whats seperate sq ft of basement and upper floor?

How many sq ft total baseboard element, and how many ft on each zone?

Im trying to see if its worth it to change out the boiler...

If the basement is 1/2 the home then the upper floors are 1600 sq ft or so. Thats about a 40k btu boiler.

Thats about 80 ft of baseboard.

Two 40 ft lengths in two zones is all you need..

So essentially, you may have 15 to 20 ft a zone. This is micro zoning.

Example: If only one zone comes on and its 15 ft thats 8,250 btu... Therefore you have a 117k btu boiler heating 8k btu of baseboard... wasted energy....

The boiler will short cycle like crazy...

Best to have two 40 ft loops @ 20 ft say and thats 22k btu and have about a 30-40 k btu boiler..


But again... questions were not answered so we dont know what you have...

I guess if you put more boiler cleaner in it, it may dislodge whats holding it together and start leaking.. Then im sure youll ask these questions again at a later date......

But hey... I could be wrong....
 
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Old 12-02-17, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
Well they may have did a heat loss but is it correct?

If the questions cant be answered we cant help you...

I can see it already with the zones your have micro zones there..


Is the basement heated???

Whats seperate sq ft of basement and upper floor?

How many sq ft total baseboard element, and how many ft on each zone?

Im trying to see if its worth it to change out the boiler...

If the basement is 1/2 the home then the upper floors are 1600 sq ft or so. Thats about a 40k btu boiler.

Thats about 80 ft of baseboard.

Two 40 ft lengths in two zones is all you need..

So essentially, you may have 15 to 20 ft a zone. This is micro zoning.

Example: If only one zone comes on and its 15 ft thats 8,250 btu... Therefore you have a 117k btu boiler heating 8k btu of baseboard... wasted energy....

The boiler will short cycle like crazy...

Best to have two 40 ft loops @ 20 ft say and thats 22k btu and have about a 30-40 k btu boiler..


But again... questions were not answered so we dont know what you have...

I guess if you put more boiler cleaner in it, it may dislodge whats holding it together and start leaking.. Then im sure youll ask these questions again at a later date......

But hey... I could be wrong....
Mike, apologize for taking a few days to gather the following info:

House is ~3150 sqft. of living space with 5 zones split between 1st floor, 2nd floor and basement, all with copper-finned baseboard as follows:

1st floor ~1400 sqft. living space divided into 2 zones:
Family room, Kitchen/breakfast area foyer and powder room ~1025 sqft. (54' baseboard and under sink vanity Twin-Flo III kickspace heater
Dining room/Living room ~375 sqft. (41' baseboard)

Second floor ~1050 sqft. living space divided into 2 zones:
3 bedrooms, hall, main bath, laundry closet ~650' sqft. (42' baseboard)
Master bedroom, master bath and closet ~400 sqft. (26' baseboard and bathroom under sink vanity Twin-Flo III kickspace heater)

Heated Basement ~700 sqft. living space (31' baseboard)

As for the Manual J that was done by the heating/ac company that came in, a knowledgeable engineer spent some time in house gathering the info about windows, doors, etc. which they brought back to their office and came back with report that did include heat loss but I can't be certain if it is correct or not.

As for system pressure and temperature, I used the separate pressure gauge on the bottom boiler drain as well as the laser thermostat and both show the aquastat being relatively close at ~ 1PSI higher than the external pressure gauge and the temperature within 5 to 10 degrees of what shows on the aquastat.

I also tried increasing the system pressure to around 18PSI cold/tepid with the pressure going up to ~22-23PSI when boiler gets to around 180 degrees and notice only a little improvement in noise reduction when boiler is firing.

What other information is required? I really do appreciate you and others on the forum taking the time helping us determine next steps.

Thanks again in advance for everyone's help,
deeMatrix
 
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Old 12-02-17, 09:09 AM
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Twin-Flo III kickspace heater
How do you like this heater??? I am debating adding one to my kitchen but not sure if I want the fan noise.. Ive installed many but never really saw their operation fully and heat output...

( Im just reading your post now.)
 
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Old 12-02-17, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
How do you like this heater??? I am debating adding one to my kitchen but not sure if I want the fan noise.. Ive installed many but never really saw their operation fully and heat output...

( Im just reading your post now.)
I like the Twin Flow heaters beause they clearly help but the noise is somewhat a deterrent. Can put it on low which isn't too bad. I need them as not nearly enough wall area in both spaces for baseboard element.
 
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Old 12-02-17, 11:32 AM
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I listened to the sound track again... I assume the circulator is working? Often kettling is from an overheat situation and the water flashing to steam.

If the circ is working all you can do really is get a monometer reading at the gas valve. Do a dynamic and static pressure... Not often but I see the homes gas regulator go faulty... Though rare it could happen..

If its determined there is no overfire issue you can try on final cleaning procedure...

Hurculeas changed thier instructions I belive. But I use this stuff... I pour it in and leave it in... ( At least thats what old instructions used to say...

I think it was one bottle drain, then second bottle and leave in...

https://www.homedepot.com/p/1-qt-Boi...FRWnyAodpO8Mrg
 
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Old 12-02-17, 11:34 AM
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https://www.oatey.com/2377234/Produc...er#prettyPhoto


https://www.oatey.com/ASSETS/DOCUMEN...temCleaner.pdf


I know the stuff you used is touted as a quality product, but I am remembering reviews of it were not to good...
 
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Old 12-03-17, 07:48 AM
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Thanks Mike, the B&G 100 circulator appears to be working fine as all zones get hot but not sure how to tell otherwise. I may have to try another treatment such as the Oatey link you provided but not sure I should risk doing this at this point in season or wait until spring?

I did notice today that system pressure was at 22PSI when hot as I had increased cold/tepid to about 18PSI or so to see if any noise reduction.

Noise still there but see the aquastat pressure indicator shaking a little so not sure what that is?

Also should I just reduce pressure back to around 13PSI as was before at this point?

Thanks again for your advice.
 

Last edited by deeMatrix; 12-03-17 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 12-03-17, 08:34 AM
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I would leave the pressure where it is...


Up to you to try the cleaner..

I would just pour it in...

I also would drain about a gallon of water once a week out the lower boiler drain when the boiler if off and cooler somewhat to see what kind of dirt your getting out/ off bottom of heat exchanger...

Let us know the color and such, and if sediment comes out...
 
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