Replacing 1957 American Standard boiler

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  #1  
Old 01-09-19, 04:59 AM
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Replacing 1957 American Standard boiler

Time to retire the original oil hydronic boiler. Currently have an American Standard tankless that has been on its last legs for the last few years. Having all kinds of intermittent issues and local techs (and common sense) point to replacing rather than throwing more $$ at it.

My goals are to replace with another oil hydronic system and my main priority is reliability and ease of service. Not sold on electronic do-dads so I want something simple.

Local heating contractors use Weil Mclain, Burnham, Buderus, and Viessmann so it will be one of those.

Small (1000sq ft) ranch home and well insulated. Again, my priority is simple maintenance and reliability, squeezing every single BTU out of it isn't all that high on the list. Cost is also a factor but will to pay for the right equipment that meet my needs.

Suggestions as to which brand or all they all pretty similar?

Thank you in advance.

 

Last edited by Rob in Maine; 01-09-19 at 05:01 AM. Reason: ad picture
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Old 01-09-19, 09:54 AM
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You mentioned you have a tankless coil. If you intend to continue with a tankless coil with the new boiler Buderus and Viessmann are not available with tankless coils and must either use an Indirect or separate fired hot water heater.

Buderus and Viessman are triple pass boilers for better efficiency although you said that doesn't matter, Weil McLain and Burnham both are single pass boilers and come with or without tankless coils.

If efficiency is not an issue they are all good boilers. Burnham had some casting problems but as far as I know they have been corrected.

Different brands are prevalent in different parts of the country and even different areas. My only suggestion is to make sure parts are readily available locally if problems arise. Putting in a packaged boiler is one thing, servicing it is another.

Most boilers come with a choice of burners. Again, make sure parts are readily available in case of service.

Hope this helps a little.
 
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Old 01-09-19, 05:18 PM
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How much HW demand in the household? Since you plan on replacing the boiler, this is also a good time to determine the type of HW maker that will best suit your needs.
 
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Old 01-10-19, 03:35 AM
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Thank you for the comments.

The DHW demands are pretty low. The home only has one bath and the current system w/DHW coil has met the demand without issue.

For cost savings I will probably stick with a similar systems unless an indirect can be added economically. I have a contractor coming over in about 10 days to take a look and give me an estimate. Any specific questions (other than how much and when can you do it) I should be asking?

Thanks again for your help.
 
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Old 01-10-19, 05:40 AM
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Indirects are not cheap but payback via oil cost savings can be pretty quick (sometimes in just a few years) depending on how much oil you use in the off season.

As far as specific questions: Spott's advice is dead on.
 
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Old 01-11-19, 05:13 AM
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Ok, so the boiler is on its last legs and I have a contractor coming out in a week to price out a new one.

But in the meanwhile...

The intermittent problem is becoming more of an issue. The boiler will only light if I hit the red reset button located on the Aquastat.

Once I do that the boiler will heat up to the high limit and shut off. Every single time.

When the temp drops the boiler will not relight (this is the intermittent issue).
A call for heat or DHW will not relight the boiler (again, an intermittent issue).

The Aquastat was replaced about two months ago (high limit is 200 and low limit is 160 w/diff of around 15 )

The electric eye thing that sees a flame was also replaced.

New filter and fresh heating oil

Will be -5 tonight and -7 tomorrow. I can also heat with a wood stove so that isn't as big as an issue as it might seem, but I would like to have an idea what is going on.

Basically, it seems like the boiler, the pumps, etc are working exactly as they should, but only if I hit the red reset.

Thank you in advance.
 
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Old 01-11-19, 06:59 AM
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What is the make and model no. of the aquastat? Is it a strap-on type or does it have a bulb that goes into a thermowell? A photo of the 'stat would help - I don't see it in your photo.
 
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Old 01-11-19, 07:53 AM
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Honeywell R8182D.
It is that gray box w/red button in the picture. If I tap that button once the boiler will always fire 100 percent of the time an run up to the high limit and shut off.

Usually it will work for a few weeks but last couple of days it is getting more and more flakey.
 
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Old 01-11-19, 10:51 AM
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Here is data sheet for your 'stat: https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.supplyho..._PROD_FILE.pdf

What seems to be happening is that when there is a call for heat, a timer starts. If flame is detected within the timer's setting, the safety switch is bypassed. If flame is not detected, the safety switch trips, and you have to manually reset it. Something obviously is wrong. Call back the guy who installed the 'stat.
 
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Old 01-11-19, 11:42 AM
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Thank you taking the time to reply.

If I understand correctly when there is a call for heat of DHW the safety timer has to see a flame from the cad cell within 45 seconds and if it doesn't, it will prevent the burner from dumping fuel into the chamber.

To test the safety switch: If I have someone turn up the thermostat and call for heat while I'm in the basement should I hear the pump or something else running for those 45 seconds?

If I don't hear anything but silence, does that suggest that the safety switch isn't the issue?

I hope these questions makes sense.

Thanks to all that have provided me some help. It is appreciated.
 
  #11  
Old 01-11-19, 12:12 PM
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Rob,
There are basically 2 reasons for a boiler to shut down on safety. No oil or no ignition. You know you have oil, so in the oil family is the pump and the nozzle. If it was the pump it would not be an intermittent problem. If a pump is clogged or defective it just stops working and the nozzle the same thing so you can eliminate oil.

The other thing is ignition. This takes in your transformer and your igniters and possibly in your case ignition cables. Not sure if you have cables, some did back then.

With your intermittent problem my suspicion is your transformer. Those old style transformers, instead of just dying they became weaker and over time worked intermittently before they just finally went dead. They may work for a week or a day and then one time not produce enough spark for ignition, then when reset may work again for an indefinite period of time and then not produce again.

Your ignitors could be a possibility by having hairline cracks in the porcelain or worn electrodes but the problem would be more constant.

Your aquastat is not the problem, it is just doing its job by shutting down the boiler if there is no flame, most likely in 45 seconds by means of the cad cell so you do not empty the tank of oil with no fire. Your cad cell is doing its job by shutting off the burner if it doesn't see light which represents the flame in that 45 seconds. It's the safety to make sure the burner does not keep pumping raw oil into the chamber and possibly beyond when there is no fire.

There is a tester to check your transformer but sometimes even if it shows good the bakelite inside these old transformers breaks down causing intermittent problems.

What I would look at is your transformer before I changed any more parts.

Hope this helps a little.
 
  #12  
Old 01-11-19, 12:22 PM
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This explains the operation:

OPERATION R8182D A call for heat by the thermostat pulls in relay 1K, which energizes the safety switch circuit and relay 2K to turn on the burner. Safety switch starts to heat. If burner ignites within safety switch timing, the cadmium sulfide flame detector sees flame and the safety switch heater circuit is bypassed. The burner operates until the call for heat is satisfied. The circulator operates when relay 1K pulls in only if R to W is made in the Aquastat§ limit.
When R to B (low limit) is made by a drop in water temperature, it acts as a call for heat, pulling in relay 2K to turn on the burner. The circulator cannot operate. See Fig. 11, 16, 17 and 19.

Figure 11 shows the schematic of the 'stat. If you can read a relay diagram and have a voltmeter that you can use safely, you should be able to see what is happening or not happening when there is a call for heat - for example whether relays 1K and 2K are pulled in.

Since your 'stat was just installed two months ago, why not just call the installer back?
 
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Old 01-27-19, 12:29 PM
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A little bit of an update:

The boiler has continued to run intermittently...fine for a few days or maybe a week and then it won't re-fire when it hits either the low limit or after hitting the high limit.

Anyway, I had a heating contractor come out last week for an estimate (he is still working on it so I have no info).

He claims the boiler I have now is way, WAY too large for the house and I should only need one about 1/3 of the size (heat output, not physical size). Does that make any sense? He measured some of the baseboards in the house and looked at the insulation, asked a bunch of questions about DHW use, etc and seems to know what he is talking about. But, I'm surprised that he wants to use such a small boiler.


Is that pretty normal when replacing an older boiler. Are new ones that much more efficient?

If you look at the picture I posted his plan is to cut everything out, including this giant galvanized tank mounted in the ceiling (you can't really see it in the pic) and replace with all new. I'm bracing for the estimate ;-)

Thanks again for all the help on this.
 
  #14  
Old 01-27-19, 12:34 PM
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Rob,
There is no pic posted.
 
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Old 01-27-19, 12:41 PM
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Here are some pics: I think it is time to put a fork in this system...Looks done to me ;-)









 
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Old 01-27-19, 12:56 PM
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Rob,

Is this all because you are having trouble with your burner or you want a new boiler.

Older boilers are typically oversized for the house back then but oil was practically given away.

As far as the downsizing goes depends how many BTU's yours is and what he wants to put in. That boiler doesn't look that big for being 2/3's too large. The steel expansion tank will be replaced with an extrol tank that most likely will hang from your supply pipe.

The new boiler will come with a pump and he will either sell you another for your 2nd zone or use one of yours but keep yours as spares.

The new boilers are more efficient because of the burner design and the boiler design depending what he wants to put in.

Although your boiler has definitely seen better days if it is not leaking just replacing the proper part will give you peace or just the burner can be replaced for better efficiency if you are looking for that but if the budget allows, from your pic you would definitely benefit from doing the whole thing instead of peace meal.
 
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Old 01-27-19, 01:06 PM
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Rob,
I just saw your pics. The sight below will show you what will replace your current expansion tank and some boilers. Make sure he sizes everything right. That's a good size tank.

How many BTU's is your boiler and what kind of radiation do you have, reg, baseboard or cast rads.

https://www.supplyhouse.com/Expansion-Tanks-353000

https://www.supplyhouse.com/Oil-Boilers-1737000
 
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Old 01-27-19, 02:28 PM
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Thank you for the information.

The current boiler has a plate on it that says 100,000 BTU
It is an American Standard A-3

I meant to say the heating contractor suggested 1/3 smaller (only need a boiler with 2/3 of the capacity of this one). Sorry for the confusion.

I have regular aluminum finned radiators with copper tubing running through them . They are about 7" high. Slant Fin I believe.

This is all because I'm having trouble with the burner not firing...Not because I want a new one. This thing has been running pretty good just about every day since 1957, not sure a new one will last that long....

The heating contractor said I only need about 40,000 BTU to heat the home. He would size it larger than that since 1, he doesn't have anything that small and 2, I will be keeping the DHW coil which he said adds to the boilers overall heating load. He mentioned that it would be much smaller than 100,000 BTUs

The discoloration you see in the pics around the DHW coil and burner are from a decade ago when the previous owner had some work done. One day I'll clean it up so it doesn't look like it is getting ready to blow up....

I did find an old stock transformer (same one that is on it now) new in the box on flea bay for only $40. Next weekend I'll install it...who knows? Maybe I can get another couple of winters out of this antique.


The burner motor is a Westinghouse (!) and the burner is an Arco Flame



I should get the estimate back from the contractor this week. Hopefully it isn't out of my budget. I also heat with a wood stove which is pretty common up here. If I go with a new system the contractor already told me he couldn't do it for a couple of months....yes, they are that busy. We still get snow in April so I think I'll order another couple of cords just in case ;-)
 

Last edited by Rob in Maine; 01-27-19 at 02:46 PM.
  #19  
Old 01-27-19, 04:07 PM
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All parts are still available for that burner. If inconsistent running is the problem that can be fixed without replacing the boiler.

As far as size goes your BTU size is a 3 section which is the smallest you want to go with a tankless coil. I think there is only one company that actually makes a 2 section. Your coil can only be as large as your boiler and if you ever go with an indirect it's output also depends on your BTU's.

A current 3 section boiler today only has about 12 gals. of water on average and the retention head burners burn much hotter than yours which is only 1725 RPM compared to today's 3450. There are some differences but nothing that going to stop the world from spinning.

My guess is it's most likely your transformer by the way you describe the problem but whatever it is it's a lot cheaper than an unwanted boiler. It's like buying new shoes because you broke your lace.

That sight I gave you has all the parts you need. Just put part in the search box and they also have a number to call. Very accommodating and fast delivery.

Look at the WGO-2 & WGO-3. The 2 is the smallest they make and I don't believe you can even get it with a tankless coil because it will not produce enough hot water. The 2 sec has 11 gals. of water and the 3 sec has 14.9 which is a drop in the bucket as far as heating time goes, just as an example. Something to ask them about if curious.

https://www.supplyhouse.com/US-Motor...-8-HP-1725-RPM

https://www.supplyhouse.com/sh/contr...nsformers+120V

Scroll down page and pages after to see options as an example.
 

Last edited by spott; 01-27-19 at 04:25 PM.
  #20  
Old 01-29-19, 11:12 AM
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I have a general question about oil burner operation:

When I hit the red button on my Aquastat
https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.supplyho..._PROD_FILE.pdf

the boiler fires immediately and runs up to the HL (200degF) at which point it shuts off.

But...It often won't relight, even if there is a DHW or a Heat call.

My question is what part(s) of the boiler operation am I bypassing by using the red reset button ?

Thanks in advance for any help.
 
  #21  
Old 01-29-19, 02:15 PM
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It's not bypassing anything. What that red button does is reset the burner circuit due to a malfunction in either the ignition or oil systems. There are basically 2 reasons why your burner doesn't light, no oil delivery to the nozzle or no ignition spark to light the oil coming from the nozzle.

If one of those things prevents the burner from lighting then the cad cell, positioned in the burner does not see the flame or light within 45 seconds and trips the safety switch to shut the burner down to prevent a continuous flow of raw oil going into the chamber and possibly could empty your tank of oil if going unnoticed causing a very bad situation.

If you get an oil smell or a puff back or slight rumble when the burner fires on reset you are experiencing a delayed ignition and when it finally does fire it is burning off the unburned oil from a previous try. This could be caused by a weak transformer or worn or cracked or misaligned electrodes causing the spark to be late igniting the oil.

You can remove that cover where the yellow wire comes out which is your cad cell and clean the eye. If it is dirty it may have trouble seeing the flame and shut the burner down thinking there's a problem.

Hope this helps a little.
 
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Old 01-29-19, 03:55 PM
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Thank You!!

I had no idea that the red reset button was normally retracted when the system is working as it should. I thought every time the boiler shut off the button popped out.

That info is a huge help to my troubleshooting.

What I need to figure out is some sort of data logger that will indicate if the reset button is popping due to a fuel delivery issue or an ignition problem. I've installed a new transformer and the intermittent firing issue continued. No heat last night :-(

I've cleaned and replaced the filter coming off the fuel tank and the cad cell is new.

The oil pump that is attached to the burner is making a whining sound, not sure if it is a new noise or not. According to the stack of service records I have it appears that the pump hasn't been touched.

Wonder if I have fuel delivery issue?

Thank you again for your help with this. I am learning more about the boiler and find it like a big, complex puzzle.
 
  #23  
Old 01-29-19, 04:46 PM
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I donít know about the fuel pump on that burner, but I think most newer fuel pumps have a filter inside the pump housing that needs to be periodically cleaned or replaced (I know mine does). Maybe that could be the problem. I saw this picture of a pump for that burner, but I canít tell whether if you remove what appears to be some bolts to open up something that looks like it might be a cover- whether there might be a filter inside.

Maybe the other guys would know.

https://www.ebay.com/i/153324098458?chn=ps
 
  #24  
Old 01-29-19, 07:21 PM
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Is that an old Sunstrand model J pump. Can't tell from pic. If so it should have a round cover with 6 or so bolts that you remove and there should be a pump screen in there.
That screen can be cleaned or replaced but the big thing is the gasket.

What is the number on your pump and pic if possible.

With something flat gently remove the cover and sometimes you can use the same gasket which will be stuck on there if you cannot find one.

Pump whining could be fuel restriction from a blocked filter screen. That pump is old and if it's never been touched that could be your problem.

Just an option I found.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Suntec-and-...frcectupt=true
 

Last edited by spott; 01-29-19 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 02-10-19, 09:28 AM
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A bit of an update:

After installing a new OEM transformer I'm still experiencing intermittent issues where the burner will shut down.

I'm fairly confident that the ignition system is fine, new Cad Cell, new Aquastat, and new transformer should eliminate that problem.

Now I'm left with fueling issues. I tried removing and cleaning the burner pump filter. After removing the eight bolts the cover refuses to budge. Tried tapping it with a wooden block to no avail. Not ready to start prying it apart and risk damaging the mating surfaces (new filter and gasket haven't arrived yet).

Decided to pull the entire burner/motor assembly off the boiler. Mine appears to be upside down and backwards (!) from all the ones I'm seeing here. It simply hangs on a lip built into the boiler. Took all of about 15 seconds to gently lift it off (all lines are still connected, there was plenty of slack). My pump is on the right (facing the boiler) and the motor is on the left. Weird.

I think I found a major issue. Take a look at the burner nozzle in the pics. It appears as though it was dipped into a black tar. I'm guessing this isn't normal.

I have a new nozzle and need help on how the electrodes and nozzle come out of the long tube that goes into the boiler. Any help would be appreciated.

Here is a couple of pictures looking into the tube and you can see how black the nozzle is. BTW, these were taken after I tried to clean it up!




Here are pics of the pump on my burner. Have the bolts off but it won't budge. I'm guessing the filter looks similar to the nozzle so I need to get this off. Paperwork hanging near the boiler says the pump filter was replaced in 2008 (!!). Not sure if it has ever been done since.



Model number on the pump. I ordered new gasket and filter that should be here in a few days.



Not sure how to get this tube out to clean the electrodes and replace the nozzle (large, 3" or so dia tube, not the nozzle tube). The stud that is mounted on the transformer (way down inside the tube on left) obviously has to come out for the tube to slide towards me.


Thank you in advance for any help on this. Inside the Cad Cell cover is a diagram showing how to adjust the electrodes (1/8, 1/8, etc) and the nozzle type.
 

Last edited by Rob in Maine; 02-10-19 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 02-10-19, 10:12 AM
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Last edited by spott; 02-10-19 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 02-10-19, 11:18 AM
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To remove nozzle assembly disconnect 1/8" nozzle line from assembly and remove back plate that says arcoflame and lift out assembly.

The electrode rods must be push into those clips on the transformer and not just resting against them.

To remove the pump cover take a screwdriver and hammer and separate the sections. Cannot do any damage. Separate in a couple sections and the remove old gasket.

When changing nozzle, clean electrode tips with 000 steel wool and check porcelains for cracks.

May or may not have to bleed pump after this.
 
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Old 02-10-19, 12:03 PM
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Thank you!

The electrode/nozzle assembly slid right out. Not surprisingly it is covered with gunk. I ran to the auto store and picked up some varnish/grease/gum cleaner and will spray it in an attempt to clean it up a bit. Right now the porcelain is so discolored I can't tell if it has small cracks in it or not.

I'm going to hold off on the filter for now. The one I ordered should be here in a day or two and then I'll just replace both the filter and gasket.

Hard to see in the photo, but my electrodes don't actually come to a point like every other picture I've seen shows. Mine look like they were just cut off flat.

I can order new ones for $15 but they will take a week to get here. I'm going to clean these up with steel wool and put them back in.

I presume the measurements 1/8, 1/8 and 1/2 are from the centerline and end of the nozzle?



 
  #29  
Old 02-10-19, 12:20 PM
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Your ends are flat because they are worn from the spark. That's how they get, they do not come that way. You don't have to remove the electrodes to change the nozzle if you're unsure.

Put an adjustable wrench on the brass nozzle adaptor and the remove the nozzle with a 5/8" open end wrench or they sell nozzle wrenches.

When your electrodes get worn like your sometimes you have to reset to make up the difference.

Since you have your burner out if you disconnect the motor wire so the pump will not turn you can put power to the burner and see how the spark works at the tips.
Make sure to push those electrode rods all the way into those clips when reinstalling your assembly.

Take measurements of your electrodes now so you can duplicate or have an idea of how to set up.
 
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Old 02-10-19, 02:58 PM
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All good so far!

After cleaning and inspecting the electrodes they looked fine. I tried best I could using a dial indicator to set them per the document on the burner.

I buttoned everything back up and turned it on. It didn't light for about 25 seconds or so and I shut it down to check for anything obvious that I might have forgot.

Waited about 10 minutes and tried again. This time it started right up (with a small puff of smoke) and is running now, building up temperature (it was off for most of the day).

The document on the burner says to use a 60- 70 deg, hollow nozzle. The only one I could find in that range was a 70 deg spray with .75 gal. When I checked the one I removed, it was .85 gal and a 80 deg spray. I hope I have the right nozzle installed!

Thanks again for all the help on this .....it is much appreciated!
 
  #31  
Old 02-10-19, 03:23 PM
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Rob
Thanks for the update.
 
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Old 06-24-19, 06:34 AM
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4 month update: Some issues!

Hello,

It has been about four months since I was able to repair my boiler and it has been working great (thank you to all that helped). But now I have a new issue.

The boiler will not fire either with a call for heat or hot water. This new issue just started a day ago...for the last 4 months it has been working as it should.

I put a meter on the Aquastat and I am getting 120v AC to the L1 and L2 terminals, but nothing on B1, B2 which feeds the motor mounted on the burner.

The relay on the Aquastat that controls the burner will "click" when a call is made (DHW or heat, makes no difference) but the voltage doesn't make it to the burner motor (B1, B2) and nothing else happens for about a minute. Then, the red reset button on the Aquastat will trip. The electric motor on the burner never makes a sound or rotates.

This is an old triple Aquastat that controls the photoelectric CAD, circulator, and burner motor. I suspect the Aquastat is the issue but how can I make sure? These antique triple set controllers are $400 unless I can find a more modern replacement.

But, right now, I'm not sure that the Aquastat controller is even the issue.

Thanks in advance for any help troubleshooting this problem.
 
  #33  
Old 06-24-19, 08:46 AM
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You should be able to replace the combination control with a separate aquastat & primary control for well less that $400.
 
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Old 06-24-19, 10:25 AM
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I think replacing the ancient Aquastat with a newer, modern equivalent would be the way to go. Honeywell doesn't have a direct replacement but I'm sure I'm not the first person that had to replace a R8182D so I'll dig around a bit and see what I come up with. This Aquastat also controls the burner's CAD cell, and also turns the burner motor on and off. Is that what is meant by a 'primary controller'?
 
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Old 06-24-19, 10:30 AM
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I had an old R8182 left over from parts swapping a while back and hooked it up.

So far, the boiler is operating as it should. But, I really don't trust these old controllers as being very reliable and now that it is summer I think it would be a good time to replace it with a modern controller rather than say, in February ;-)
 
  #36  
Old 06-24-19, 12:30 PM
S
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Rob,
If you go to this sight you can see your options and if you click on any of them it will show you the specifics of the control. You can replace your present one with the electronic version but you will need to add a primary control also for the cad cell safety function.

Below are the replacement controls you can use which will need some rewiring but not to difficult.

https://www.supplyhouse.com/Aquastats-Wells-350000

https://www.supplyhouse.com/Honeywel...ronic-Aquastat

https://www.supplyhouse.com/sh/contr...imary+controls

You can use the older style or the electronic one. Either will work.

Rob, you can remove the board from the casing in your removed aquastat and look at the back for a failed solder joint. This was a big cause for the failure of these controls if you want to salvage it until you upgrade.

Hope this helps a little.
 
  #37  
Old 07-05-19, 03:13 PM
R
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Thank you for the help!

Thank you.

I've just ordered the L7224U1002 Aquastat, R7284U1004 universal digital primary controller and 50001464-001 sensor assembly 12 inches long to go into the well.

Hope I can get everything to play together without too many issues. I figured better to get the kinks out in July than in the middle of a January Nor'easter ;-)
 
  #38  
Old 07-06-19, 07:24 AM
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Rob,
The sensor comes with the aquastat unless you wanted a spare.
 
  #39  
Old 07-06-19, 02:07 PM
R
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I wasn't too sure if the sensor does or not. Some vendor ads for the Aquastat seem to indicate it does and other ads make no mention of it. The CS rep at the vendor I called (Supplyhouse.com) said I would need to order it separately.

Here is a link (10 years+ old) that I've been studying...Model numbers mentioned in the thread are older versions of the stuff I ordered. Would appreciate you looking at it and getting your thoughts...https://www.doityourself.com/forum/b...at-r8182d.html

TIA
 
  #40  
Old 07-07-19, 08:57 AM
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R,
Do you have any specific questions. The reason I mentioned the sensor is because I didn't realize they sold the control without it. Every one I've bought had them included. After all what good is an aquastat without a sensor.

Just my thoughts, hope it helps a little.
 
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