Oil furnace keeps shutting down, have tried many things...

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Old 01-04-13, 07:59 AM
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Question Oil furnace keeps shutting down, have tried many things...

Hello, I have searched and tried many different options with no luck thus far.

Issue:
Sometimes the furnace will stop running, omits a low buzz noise and I have to flip the reset switch to get it to work again. I will get home or notice that the house feels cold and check my thermostats, both will show (Heat On) on the screen but the furnace will not cycle. If I come home and this happened while I was away, there will be water on the floor under the furnace, amount of water varies on length of time I am away. I can turn the thermostats off and the furnace runs fine to heat the hot water, which leads me to believe it is a thermostat issue.

Tried Solutions:
•Called my furnace guy. He came out twice and cleaned and checked everything over, said there were no issues. On one call he installed a Beckett 7505 pump priming device on the front.
• Replaced batteries in both thermostats.
• Taken both thermostats off the wall and crossed the wires. Both zones call for heat just fine.
• Checked thermostat wires at junction and at furnace. All connections are solid.
• Tried jumping red and white with a wire at the furnace, found something interesting, but I don't know what to do with the information:

When I jumped the wires for zone 1, the furnace kicked on and the cycle pump started buzzing, pipe leaving furnace for zone 1 got hot and I could hear the pipes creak through the house.

When I jumped wires in zone 2, the furnace did NOT kick on but the cycle pump started buzzing.

If anyone has other information or knows why zone 2 isn't turning the furnace on, please let me know. This happened most of the winter last year and has started again. I can't bring in any more repair people without some direction. Also if it is a thermostat / wiring issue would i fare better to call an electrician even if its at the furnace?

Tonight I plan on pulling out the volt meter and checking continuity to the red and white wires. (I believe I'm looking for 24 volts.) I found this on the site and I will use it as a guide for my test tonight: If the red is hot, but not the white, the problem is in the thermostat or the wiring. If the white is hot, but the furnace is not on, there is a problem with the furnace.

Thanks!
Adam
 
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Old 01-04-13, 11:46 AM
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Ok.....so you don't have a furnace. You have an oil fired boiler. You have a tankless insert in your boiler that gives you domestic hot water and you say you always have hot water.
Water on the floor is a concern that should be addressed. Where is it coming from....the relief valve ?

You have two heating zones. Zone 1 activates controller to bring up water temp. and zone 2 doesn't. That could just be the way its wired or a zone valve issue.

I don't think you have a thermostat problem. What I'm trying to figure out is......is the oil burner itself going out on fault. Do you have to reset the oil burner itself when you get home ? Like push the reset button ?
 
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Old 01-04-13, 01:58 PM
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PJMax - Thanks for the reply. When I do have to reset it, I flip the emergency switch off and then back on after 15 -20 sec. The water on the floor comes from a few different spots, I actually have pictures of it that I can get up on here later when I get home.

The shut down of the boiler is completely random too. Sometimes it will run for days before it happens and other times hours. I also cannot tell if it is happening at the call for heat, or the sequence when the heat has been reached.

My thinking for the thermostat reason was because I had both thermostats turned off all summer long and I never had to reset the system. It would fire up, heat my water and then sequence off again just fine.

Ill get some pictures up tonight of the unit itself and the water.
 
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Old 01-04-13, 05:11 PM
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Updated with pictures!

Okay so here are two images of my boiler. The water looks like it is coming from the bottom but it actually is coming from the black square thats behind the gray electrical box in the center of the boiler and a slight drip from valve with the black handle on the top right hand side of the image.

The blue box under the red power switch (this is the switch I have been flipping to reset the system) controls one of the zones. The gray electrical box controls the other and that one has a couple of dials for controlling the water temperature. Only the gray unit goes down to the Beckett 7505 pump priming switch.

I don't know what the green box is.

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Also the vent is attached to a Sideshot2 power venter if that helps at all.

Thanks,
Adam
 
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Old 01-04-13, 05:20 PM
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The light green box looks to be installed in a T fitting in the top of the boiler. This is probably a low water cut off switch.
That black area on the side of your boiler is the tankless coil.
 
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Old 01-04-13, 06:22 PM
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Your shutting down problem could be either the green box (low water cut off) or the grey box (aquastat). Do you have a volt meter & know how to use it?
 
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Old 01-05-13, 04:25 AM
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Gray box and Green box

Thanks guys. Woke up to NO heat this morning! I took the cover off of the boxes and snapped these pictures. This is the first time I uncovered the green box, you'll notice a lot of corrosion on the nut at the T connector. Should I use a soft bristle brush and some WD-40 / Contact cleaner? OR Baking soda and water?

Grady - I do have a volt meter and can use it. What should I be pointing it at and what voltage should I be looking for?

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Old 01-05-13, 01:59 PM
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From the looks of the low water cut-off, I'm bettting that's the source of the problem. The next time it shuts off, do not "reset" it by turning the switch off & back on. While it's off we need to check voltages.

Start at the grey box (aquastat).
Top left two terminals (L1 & L2) should have 120 volts between the two.
If 120V is not present, the LWCO is the source of your trouble.

If 120V is present at L1 & L2, check between B1 & B2. Should be 120 volts. If "no", aquastat is the problem.

Where the corrosion is on the LWCO is the probe which actually detects a low water condition. You can turn the power off, remove the wing nut & ring terminal, then clean the area with a small brass wire brush. Such wire brushes are available an nearly any auto parts store.
 
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Old 01-07-13, 01:05 PM
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Thanks Grady-

I cleaned the corrosion from the LWCO on Saturday morning and the furnace has run fine so far (fingers crossed). If it cuts out again I will check voltages on the terminals you pointed out and post back.
 
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Old 01-07-13, 07:01 PM
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If you want to clean that corrosion well, you can remove that control easily.
Turn off the power at the breaker or wall switch.
Remove the wing nut & wire.
Remove the 4 hex head screws surrounding the wing nut.
Control should come right off.
 
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Old 01-11-13, 04:22 AM
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So I was hoping that I wouldn't have to reply, but woke up this morning to the boiler off again.

I tested the voltage in the Gray box. I am getting 120v to L1 & L2, and I a getting 120v to B1 & B2. I am not getting any reading from C1 & C2, which looks like power to the circulater pump; am I suppose to be getting 120v from those as well?

The green box I am getting 120v at all connections.

The gray box has a loud buzz coming from it. It is audible from the first floor (directly above boiler).

Thanks for all the help so far
Adam
 
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Old 01-11-13, 04:48 AM
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If it's up to temp.,not off on reset (water?) t'stat is calling you should have voltage on c1 c2.Wellcome to our world.
 
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Old 01-11-13, 04:21 PM
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Check the boiler temperature & pressure gauge below the grey box. Let us know what those readings are. Just to keep the temperature part of the gauge honest, feel the black pipe on the top of the boiler near where the green box attaches.

If you measured the voltage to B1 & B2 across those terminals rather than to ground, the burner should be running. If you measured to ground, you need to put one probe on B1 & the other on B2 to get an accurate reading.

As Guyold said, welcome to our world. Troubleshooting an intermittent problem can make you crazy.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 11:30 AM
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Okay so the readings on the boiler gauge read as follows:

Boiler on but not not running: 180 degrees and looks like <5 psi
Boiler during problem: 120 degrees and looks like needle is buried at 0 psi

black pipe is hot with both conditions. Hotter when the boiler is working properly.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 11:42 AM
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When the boiler is stuck in the problem stage, the temperature continues to drop it now reads about 100 F, (about 10 minutes since my last post!)
 
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Old 01-13-13, 11:58 AM
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Do you know what the real reset button is? It's the red button on the control at the burner.If you press it and it takes off,then you have reset problem.If not you have your Control problem.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 12:31 PM
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If it did not start with the reset button, best to see where power stops before you do your toggle switch thing.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 02:25 PM
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I will try the actual reset button next time, if I can locate it. coming in from a junction box I have a red and black button switch that leads down to the emergency light switch at the boiler. It looks like a button that would pop out if something went wrong, it is not popped. I assume this is not the reset button.

On the front of the boiler I have a Beckett 7505 pump prime device that has a red reset button on it? Is this the button? According to the manual I need to hold it down for 15 sec to restart the priming of the pump...

Thanks for all the help so far!
Adam
 
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Old 01-13-13, 03:45 PM
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The button on the 7505 is the burner reset.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 06:26 PM
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So while the boiler was not working I tried to do a reset at the controller. I pushed the red button for 1 second as stated in the manual for a reset and nothing happened. I also noticed while reading the manual that I should have series of lights (green/yellow/red) that are flash or are continuous that show what status the control unit is in. I don't get any lights.

The unit will display a green light when I do switch reset and show that it is priming the pump. And power to to unit shows 120v.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 06:49 PM
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10 min update...
Using the emergency switch on the side I reset the boiler and the exhaust fan ran for a while and then the unit cut out. Usually the boiler fires up after 20 seconds and starts cycling water. I assume there is a safety in the system that is getting triggered. This is the first time that I have seen the unit fail in person, (usually I just notice the house getting cold or no hot water). This happened two times in a row.

I just did it for the third time and the boiler kicked back on and is running. Don't know how long it will last but I noticed that I do get two green lights on the controller as its cycling. No other colors have ever been present, and apparently the reset switch is suppose to have red lights. I took the cover off and all connections are tight.

Worth noting that this problem has been happening before the Beckett Controller was installed last March. The controller was my repair guys answer to the issue and said they don't have any other solutions...
 
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Old 01-13-13, 07:15 PM
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I think you got to stop playing with the em.switch.When the boiler is down take off the cover of the gray box and as Grady says if there is no power on l1 and l2 its before the astat. if there power to b1 and b2 and burner is not on and boiler water is cold then its a reset problem.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 07:27 PM
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Also check and make sure your limits at the Astat ,the hi and the low are 20 degrees apart for best results.
 
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Old 01-14-13, 03:12 AM
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Just saw where you wrote that you had a power vent.Good luck with that. You have to go to each control and find where power enters and feeds or not the next control.
 
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Old 01-14-13, 05:33 PM
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Came home to a cold house, water around furnace and water dripping about every 5 seconds from the seal:
Boiler will not run at all now. Fan blows and then the system shuts down. Water temp and pressure both buried at 0psi and <90d degrees

Astat limits are 160 / 190 and the diff is turned all the way to the minimum which is 10 on the gauge.

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I knew I would have to call in the professionals, I was just hoping to be able to point them in a direction... in for a chilly night
 
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Old 01-14-13, 06:57 PM
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Sorry, I too missed the power vent part. Since the venter is running but the burner won't fire, I'm starting to suspect a venter problem. Most power vents have to prove there is draft before they will allow the burner to fire. The problem could be as simple as a plugged proving switch tube. It could also be in the venter control board.

I honestly feel sorry for you for having an oil fired appliance power vented. In my years in the trade, I don't think I've ever seen a power vent on an oil burner which didn't give the homeowner troubles.
 
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Old 01-15-13, 03:41 PM
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Thank you all! In the end it was a clogged proving switch tube, a coat hanger and compressed air cleaned it all out. So far the system is running fine.
 
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Old 01-15-13, 04:10 PM
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Once I realized there was a power venter involved, it threw a whole additional set of possibilities into the mix. Glad you found & were able to fix the problem. I'll bet if it happens again, the first place you'll look is the vent proving tube.
Good luck with it but if it were mine, I'd be looking into getting a chimney of some sort.
 
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