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  • Originally posted by gellfex View Post
    .................................................. Result: Flue temp is 340 down from 400, and rooms that were cold are at setpoint. I still need to get the combustion checked and burner cleaned, but at least my tenants and their baby aren't cold.
    Of all the commentary on 2 sites, no one said "a sooty boiler can reduce your heat significantly, try cleaning it yourself". Most of the comments on the heating site were to balance the venting, .................................................. ................
    Well hallelujah !
    you finally found a thermometer !
    see Post 16 and 59
    Your profuse reference to Pressure gauge use was your undoing my friend and a waste of time

    Rich
    edit deleted
    Last edited by Rich Carlstedt; 01-27-2022, 12:41 PM.
    Green Bay, WI

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    • Originally posted by Rich Carlstedt View Post
      ..............
      Your profuse reference to Pressure gauge use was your undoing my friend and a waste of time

      Rich
      edit deleted
      Pressure was actually quite useful. He KNEW that there was a possible boiler issue, BECAUSE the pressure was low (and of course little heat). Very few clues point to one and only one cause. Pressure does not, but it is not worthless. That's one reason there is a gauge on the boiler.

      Stack temp? What if he HAD measured it? Without a prior reading, it would have been another "hazy maybe" clue. "Probably" 400 is high, but maybe not.

      Problem is not LOOKING for the possible (and mentioned) problems. He never followed up on reasons for low pressure. THAT was the problem.
      CNC machines only go through the motions

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Rich Carlstedt View Post

        Well hallelujah !
        you finally found a thermometer !
        see Post 16 and 59
        Your profuse reference to Pressure gauge use was your undoing my friend and a waste of time

        Rich
        edit deleted
        Really want to go there and not leave it alone? No, you were referring to the steam/water temp not the flue exhaust temp. This is steam, not hydronic, a whole different animal.

        Originally posted by Rich Carlstedt View Post
        What does Boiler temp say ?
        You only get steam over 212 F, maybe your high temp shutoff is killing the burner early.
        I can;'t understand why you can't find a good Hydronic technician - where you are at
        Rich
        And like almost everyone else, you ignored the facts I presented in the OP: "its firing continually". Plus I do not believe there's such a thing as a high temp shutoff in this system, just a low water cutoff.




        Location: Jersey City NJ USA

        Comment


        • Originally posted by J Tiers View Post

          Pressure was actually quite useful. He KNEW that there was a possible boiler issue, BECAUSE the pressure was low (and of course little heat). Very few clues point to one and only one cause. Pressure does not, but it is not worthless. That's one reason there is a gauge on the boiler.

          Stack temp? What if he HAD measured it? Without a prior reading, it would have been another "hazy maybe" clue. "Probably" 400 is high, but maybe not.

          Problem is not LOOKING for the possible (and mentioned) problems. He never followed up on reasons for low pressure. THAT was the problem.
          Jerry, I swear you're like the only person on 2 sites that actually read the facts I presented rather than simply tried to shoehorn a few of them into their preconceived notions. But I beg to differ on what I've been doing. I was trying to determine possible causes for low pressure/low heat. How can I follow up on what I don't know? Was I too humble in assuming there might be factors of which I was unaware besides bad combustion? Perhaps. I knew it was a big possibility which is why I unsuccessfully demanded the tech do a test.

          Probably where I screwed up the most was not demanding he do it when he was there, he got me off track with his focus on water return, and his big payday. It flustered me because it would have involved tearing out the kitchen & bath of the tiny basement studio apt with 2 residents! It didn't make sense then, and when I thought about it more it made even less sense. Maybe I'm being unfair to him, but who comes to look at a boiler without a combustion test? It's like a doctor failing to take the temp of someone feeling poorly.
          Location: Jersey City NJ USA

          Comment


          • I tend to agree with your assessment of the tech. Frankly, the tech probably gave you an "FU" diagnosis, because they really HATE it when anyone actually knows anything about the system they are looking at. They are easy to offend when someone suggests things they ought to do.... After all they are the "experts", even if only in their own mind.

            The "FU" diagnosis might have been ignorance, or it might have been "I don't want to work for you and this is how I avoid saying that straight out, because you won't go for it".

            There are good ones still. But the good ones check everything, and are not offended so easily, mostly because they have experience, and are comfortable with what they know (and they know what they do not know). It's the cocky ones that may not be so good, the 'tude" may compensate for lack of experience /knowledge.

            Not so certain a combustion test would have proved a lot, there could be (as someone mentioned) flame impingement, etc. I don't know exactly what is in that particular boiler, although I assume it has cast sections that are "somewhat like" a radiator in appearance.

            An oil burner or similar gas burner "could" have flame impingement. But that's more likely with a bad flame, which is a soot and CO problem in any case. If the flame is fixed the impingement is likely fixed also. Impingement can cause (obviously) bad combustion, and might have shown high CO.

            So, MAYBE a gas check would have gotten somewhere. All the boiler folks I recall would brush the gas passages anyhow. It is good to do that, as you found out, and it can be diagnostic also..... soot means check the combustion, because there should not be any particular amount.

            The best immediate check would have been to look at the flame. Still needs done, because why is there soot?
            Last edited by J Tiers; 01-27-2022, 03:26 PM.
            CNC machines only go through the motions

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            • Jerry he has posted on the "other" site a video looking at the flame through the fire side Sight glass he found. It indeed looks as yellow as could be. A service man should have looked at that right away, I know I would anyway. I have cleaned boilers so sooted up the flame was not headed up the stack at all. Its a pain to clean those old boilers, but I have never seen one with a powered burner sooted?

              Lacking a good brush but usually there is one in the boiler room. I took the covers off and burners out and ran a coat hanger up each passage with a good shop vac running, hose placed near I was working. I then used the brush. Cleaned the burners and refired the unit. Usually needed to adjust the air mixture after checking the gas pressure of course.
              Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician

              Comment


              • Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                The best immediate check would have been to look at the flame. Still needs done, because why is there soot?
                I could not see the flame until Tuesday when I cleaned the boiler, and removed & cleaned the little sight glass that was caked with soot. Looks yellow, but in my ignorance I have no baseline comparison to what it looked like after the last time it was serviced.

                https://imgur.com/7lUfd9S

                Seems to me the combustion check will reveal a vast amount of CO from incomplete combustion causing the soot. So when the burner is cleaned & tuned I will actually get another boost in heat from better combustion in addition to the unimpeded transfer. I have an appointment with another heat company for next Thursday.

                Further funny story: Yesterday I installed a Nest thermostat in the building using the tenants wifi. It was terrific to be able to log in and see if the boiler was keeping the setpoint. When I checked it about noon it was disconnected! I tried not to freak out, assuming it was connectivity rather there was no heat. A few hours later the tenant texts me to say his cable to the building had been cut. The Verizon tech told him they think the Comcast guys cut them whenever they have to go up a ladder! Just great, right?

                Location: Jersey City NJ USA

                Comment


                • Well, that is pretty far into the "yellow and feathery" category. Looks like it would soot up the heat exchanger alright. Looks like a campfire in there, and it shouldn't.

                  Yes, a combustion test should have spotted that one..... you are correct.
                  Last edited by J Tiers; 01-27-2022, 10:08 PM.
                  CNC machines only go through the motions

                  Comment


                  • I and others suggested looking at the flame many posts back but was told there wasn't any sight glass for the Fire side? That would have cut the number of posts on this subject way down. KISS rule always when troubleshooting.

                    Posts 107, 109, 110 and more suggest looking at the flame. In any event I think the problem has been found, or at least one part.

                    FYI I ordered this from Amazon, covers these old systems very well and written by a person who actually works and researched not just a guy off the street. He is a regular over on the "Other" site.
                    The Lost Art of Steam Heating Paperback – January 1, 1992
                    by Dan Holohan (Author)
                    Last edited by wmgeorge; 01-28-2022, 10:01 AM.
                    Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician

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                    • in addition to adjusting the gas/air mixture have you cleaned out the combustion air blower? Sometimes the vanes can get crudded up and restrict the airflow contributing to an over rich condition or a wavery flame. The burner nozzle can get plugged up also. Jim

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                      • Originally posted by jmm03 View Post
                        in addition to adjusting the gas/air mixture have you cleaned out the combustion air blower? Sometimes the vanes can get crudded up and restrict the airflow contributing to an over rich condition or a wavery flame. The burner nozzle can get plugged up also. Jim
                        ....and the metal flue pipe between boiler and chimney.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by gellfex View Post
                          I could not see the flame until Tuesday when I cleaned the boiler, and removed & cleaned the little sight glass that was caked with soot. Looks yellow, but in my ignorance I have no baseline comparison to what it looked like after the last time it was serviced.

                          https://imgur.com/7lUfd9S

                          Seems to me the combustion check will reveal a vast amount of CO from incomplete combustion causing the soot. So when the burner is cleaned & tuned I will actually get another boost in heat from better combustion in addition to the unimpeded transfer. I have an appointment with another heat company for next Thursday.

                          So did they show and get your Combustion testing done and adjusted? Did they clean the burner? You should save a Ton of money with the burner adjusted correctly, lets hope anyway. Gas bills have shot sky high around here.

                          Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by wmgeorge View Post

                            So did they show and get your Combustion testing done and adjusted? Did they clean the burner? You should save a Ton of money with the burner adjusted correctly, lets hope anyway. Gas bills have shot sky high around here.
                            The tech was no-show yesterday. When I called the woman said "oh, I left a voicemail last week that you were out of our service area". Un-f**king-believable. There was no voicemail, she got something wrong, but my waiting a week for service that never came wasn't her problem! I contacted yet another tech, seems like a nice guy who asked me to send him all the info I have and we'll talk early next week.

                            Yes, you wouldn't believe what the gas bill was last month.
                            Location: Jersey City NJ USA

                            Comment


                            • That is so BS of them. As bad as that flame looked my guess is 50% of your gas went up the Chimmy!! No wonder you can not heat the place and you folks are getting some more terrible weather, again.
                              Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician

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