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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    2

    Default Steam Boiler Troubleshooting

    I hope someone can help...I have an older Crown Jamaica steam boiler which I love & generally works very well, but this season it's developed a problem where the pilot on occasion doesn't ignite. My HVAC guy has been out four different occasions for this...he's on his way here this afternoon again...once he replaced the thermocoupler (I think) and another time there was a clog in a line which was keeping a sensor from reading something it needed to read. He said after the last time that he's thinking the whole thing needs to be replaced; I can't afford that right now and keep thinking that there might be something he's missing, since it is an older system? Any one have any ideas? Thanks in advance...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    556

    Default Re: Steam Boiler Troubleshooting

    I'm not sure what you mean by "replacing the whole system"---if just the gas valve has to be replaced, the valve should cost approx. $100 plus labor charges.

    Please post back to advise what the tech said during his most recent visit.

    A considerably larger replacement of equipment should not be made until you consult with another heating technician to get a 2nd opinion and price quote.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    2

    Default Re: Steam Boiler Troubleshooting

    This time it was a bad wire down near the base of the boiler...furnace guy stripped it and rewrapped it and since then, it's been working. Still, he says the system is on its last legs (I sometimes wonder if he isn't just getting tired of working on it!) It seems almost as though it just breaks down by pieces. We have extremely hard water in this area, and I wonder if that's not part of the problem--all those minerals seems to make things wear out faster. I wouldn't have thought of a 2nd opinion on a whole system replacement, though: thanks for mentioning it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Steam Boiler Troubleshooting

    If your boiler isn't broken...don't fix it. If its a component, I agree with the above posters, fix the components and save yourself time, money and hassle.

    Sounds like an electrical problem with the ignitor. I am going to say find a qualified electrician that is familiar with combustion control systems for this brand. A really good electrician can figure it out as they will be dealing with the PLC/sensors etc.

    I don't want to say your HVAC guy is bad or doesn't know what he is doing, but what really stood out is that he just replaced something without figuring out why it went bad. Things do break for no apparent reason other than wear/tear etc. But he is not replacing the ignitor now...he is replacing things that cause the ignitor not to ignite. This is what I call monkey see, monkey do. He is at the point where he doesn't know and is just replacing things that might cause the ignitor to stop/flame to stop. I highly doubt your problem has been fixed, but its possible the wire could have done it.


    I went to the Crown Boiler Co. website and found the following:

    Low-water cut-off switch
    Spill switch detects venting problems
    Rollout switch detects heat exchanger blockage

    Any one of these sending a false signal(aka bad sensor) would probably shut off your ignitor/flame.

    I am not familiar with the system sooo I am just throwing this out here for you to try to give you an idea of what is going on inside the guts. Basically, when your boiler tries to start it "talks" to its brain and makes sure he gets a check from each of the watchdogs listed. There might be others like a flame sensor(well, I would think) but I don't know. Once it gets the go ahead...it fires up and away you go. If anything interferes with this process...then the brain shuts it off.

    Until you find out the why behind the shutting it off...you are kinda spinning your wheels really really fast. As a sailing First Engineer electrical problems were a pain because they could be devious like an intermittent ground. I wish you the best.

    Andy

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