Help furnace not turning on & it's past 3am!

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Old 12-25-07, 12:47 AM
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Help furnace not turning on & it's past 3am!

Good morning. My thermostat calls for heat and I can hear the water flowing through the pipes but it is not getting hot. Pilot is lit, power is on, and the water flow stops when I turn down thermostat. It starts up again when I set it high. the water flow is actually very noisy. I hear whizzing(upstairs) and gurgling and bubbling downstairs. What can be wrong?

Merry Christmas.
 
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Old 12-25-07, 05:40 AM
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YOu have a boiler?

Sounds like you have air in your line, and need to be bleed out.

Also, what is your water pressure reading at the boiler's gauge?

Also, do you have a meter to take reading at the gas valve to see if you have power to the valve.
 
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Old 12-25-07, 06:47 AM
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Merry Christmas Jay. Thank you for replying.

Yes I have a boiler. It is a slant/finn galaxy model GG150. with baseboards. the Gauges read :

kPa 80 or Psi 10

the temp is 70* F or 20*C. Earlier in the season looked for bleed valves all along the baseboards and found none. So I gather if bleeding the air out is needed, I will have to do it in the basement. I do have pictures of my system I can upload if needed.

Again, thanks.
If you can help, I CAN do it.
 
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Old 12-25-07, 07:26 AM
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No Heat

The noise & pressure are only part of your problem. The biggest is the boiler not firing.

The pictures will help. You can post them free @ www.photobucket.com and provide a link here.
 
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Old 12-25-07, 08:01 AM
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Hi Thanks for replying.

Here is a link to my pics. all help is appreciated.

http://s242.photobucket.com/albums/f...ediafilter=all
 
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Old 12-25-07, 08:05 AM
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With the circulating pump controlled by the thermostat, it sounds like you may have a "hot" boiler system. This means that an aquastat on the boiler piping measures the water temperature and turns the burner on and off as needed to keep the boiler hot, rather than being controlled by the thermostat directly.

Usually that creates a pretty shor length of controls. I would normally start by checking the aquastat with an AC voltmeter to see if it's trying to switch the burner on, check the electric gas valve to see if the gas valve is turned to the on position, check to see if the gas valve has 24 VAC to it to turn the valve on.

Likely it's a bad gas valve, bad aquastat, bad wiring connection or gas valve/aquastat not properly set.

If no one was working on or adjusting the controls on the furnace yesterday, the most likely cause of the problem would be an electric gas valve with a burned out electric operator to open the main burner gas. But that's just something that needs to be checked, among other possibilities.


Accurate diagnosis is essential, and boiler systems are often complex, obscure and initimidating to non experts.
 
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Old 12-25-07, 08:13 AM
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No heat

I see a stack damper in your picture #6. It is just above the draft hood. If this damper fails to open, the burner will not fire. Make sure it is opening. If not remove the cover & many will have a switch labeled "hold open" or something similar. Move the switch to that position.
 
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Old 12-25-07, 09:58 AM
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the damper is definitely open. the system was working fine yesterday. I left the house with the thermostat on 60*. I came home several hours later put it up to 68* and it took a while for me to realize the radiators were just making noise without heat. Noone has touched the system since I turned it on in October. Any other suggestions that may help?
 
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Old 12-25-07, 10:59 AM
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Sequence of Operation

We need to find out at what point the trouble exists. Have someone else turn all thermostats off or down as far as they will go. In a few seconds everything should shut down. When it does, shut off the power to the boiler at the switch or breaker. Leave off for about 30 seconds & turn back on. Go back to the boiler & have someone turn a thermostat up all the way. Here is what should happen:
Zone valve opens, circulator comes on, stack damper opens, burner lights.
Let me know if this is what happens or not.
A last minute thought: Make sure the gas valve is set to "on" & not just "pilot".
 
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Old 12-25-07, 11:27 AM
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Hey Grady,

I did exactly as directed and I only heard the aquastat click/clack. I can depress it and it does the same as turning the thermostat on and off. but nothing else happens. the zone valves don't move. the water flows cold.
thanks again for all you advice.
 
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Old 12-25-07, 05:16 PM
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No Heat

Do you have a volt meter & know how to use it? If so, remove the wires from the gas valve & check for 24 volts (AC) between the two wires.
If 24v is present, switch the meter to ohms & check between the terminals to which the wires were connected. You should get continuity. If you do not, the coil in the gas valve is shot & you need a new valve.
If you do not get 24v, you need to trace the wires back until you find 24v. It could be the end switch on the damper. If the switch does not close, the control does not know the damper is open & will not allow the burner to fire.
 
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Old 12-26-07, 09:27 AM
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hi Grady.

I just got in and online. Do they sell a volt meter @ home depot and do they sell gas valves? Can I change a gas valve or is it absolutely necessary for a liscensed plumber to do it?

Will I have to close the main gas line to the whole house or just to the boiler.

If i have to trace back the wires looking for 24v, do I trace back towards the end switch on the damper?

I would really prefer doing this myself. today if possible.
 
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Old 12-26-07, 11:13 AM
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Grady,


Unfortunately, what you need to do is to trace the 24 VAC circuit from the thermostat through the controls and to the gas valve to identify the cause of the problem. If you don't understand how to do that and understand what the carious controls and parts do, this isn't really a DIY job for you.

Guessing doesn't really cut it. There might also be some hazardous condition that you might wind up overlooking.

Your best move is probably to have a competent repairman check out your equipment. The best way to find that competent repairman is to ask friends, neighbors, relatives and co workers for recommendations or gas furnace/boiler repair outfits they have found to be competent and honest.


Very likely this problem can be diagnosed easily by a repairman. A furnace or boiler that simply wont turn on at all is usually a defect that is pretty obvious once the troubleshooting procedure described above is followed.


Good luck with that----
 
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Old 12-26-07, 12:38 PM
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Thanks for your advice,

I wanted to ask about what -I think- is a sensor attached to the vent just below the hood. it is connected to the gas valve via red wires. it has a red push butten at the bottom that seems loose and doesn't depress. can this be what is wrong? attached pic http://i242.photobucket.com/albums/f...4/DSCN1020.jpg
If I have to call a service tech, should I buy a voltimeter? Would buying it le tme decifer what might be wrong so the tech doesn't waste time on other stuff and repair/replace what isn't needed.

thank you for your time. Happy New Year
 
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Old 12-26-07, 12:57 PM
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What you are describing is probably a draft limit switch. It's purpose is to detect whether the chimney is plugged. If it is, the hot combustion gasses come flooding out of the draft hood, heat up the temperature sensitive switch which turns off the burner when it opens.


Usually, if that stich is closed, it's normal position, pushing it wont do anything, as you describe. If the switch is open, you'll usually notice a definite click as the switch depresses and resets.

So that's probably not the problem. The best way to check it is with an AC voltmeter. If there is 24 VAC on both connections to the switch, the switch is OK and the reason the boiler wont fire is farther down the circuit. If there is no voltage to the switch, the reason the boiler wont fire is ahead of that switch. If there is votage to one side of the switch but not the other, the switch is open or defective, which indicates a plugged or defective chimney or venting system or a bad limit switch.

Putting a jumper wire across the switch will turn the boiler on if the switch is open.
 
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Old 12-26-07, 01:29 PM
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Do they sell a volt meter @ home depot and do they sell gas valves?
Yes, meters can be found at Home Depot, but not the gas valve.. Gas valve can be found at HVAC Dealers, or some on line.
 
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Old 12-26-07, 05:13 PM
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For what it's worth, vent dampers are a pretty common cause of furnace/boiler ignition problems --- more so than a bad electric gas valve, for example.


But that's just a statistical observation. You need to use or find someone who can use good troubleshooting methods to locate the actual problem, and then come up with an effective solution to solve the problem.


If it were a bad vent damper, I'd be incline to wire the vent damper permanently open and then disconnect the controls from the furnace. They are expensive to replace and just aren't worth the money in my view.



Seattle Pioneer
 
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Old 12-27-07, 06:39 AM
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Good morning all,

The vent damper is set up exactly that way, SeattlePioneer. So, figured I would rather call my gas co. for a service tech & spend the $$$$$$$$ rather than go back & forth from a plumbing supply. I didn't want to call because in 2 weeks we're renovating and installing radiant heat on the entire 1st floor. & that plumber is on vacation. I'll have the system evaluated to determine if it's worth maintaning or replacing.

I'll post the result. Thanks for everyone's input.

Happy New Year.
 
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