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Author Topic: Stupid newbie tricks  (Read 154 times)

bjp

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Stupid newbie tricks
« on: November 18, 2019, 11:46:02 AM »

I'd like to think I'm better at it now, on my first season with my second boiler, but we will see.  I did a ton of stupid stuff with the first boiler after moving into this house where it came with the property.

- Didn't attempt to fire it up the first winter until well after freezing weather.  So the boiler side pex lines were frozen.  The guy who sold the house just MAY have done this a few times as he advised running a small house from the boiler drain spigot and draining water out to thaw the lines.  It is better when it is just frozen in the pex and hasn't burst the copper yet, but it eventually does that too, several times.

- Didn't bother checking the hardware before firing it up the first time.  Had myself in a state the aquastat that cuts off the oil boiler was engaged, but the aquastat that enables the pump to move heat from the house side of the heat exchanger wasn't running, so I had hot water in the boiler, cold water in the DHW tank.

- Didn't have spares around for the Love Controls controller that went out on me. Again and again and again. I went through about 10 of them before replacing those "mounted on the boiler shell and gets caked with creosote in minutes" Love TS2 controllers with a Love TSW mounted on the fence a few feet away.

- Didn't have spare solenoids for the one that operated the damper when the draft inducer fan turns on.  I probably spent 75% of the time on this first boiler with the damper just locked open.

- Didn't properly maintain the opening from the firebox to the under-firebox gasser area.  Why am I burning so much wood but not getting heat?  Who knows, who cares, load some more in there. Four winters with the creosote-bomb boiler and it was usually down so often because of solenoids, fans, or controllers, that once those were working I didn't do any huge cleanouts so I had a few feet of caked ash inside the firebox.

- Didn't just stop and tear everything out immediately when the underground pipes started funneling water into my basement, and instead spent months wicking it into 5gal buckets and dumping them every 15-45min.  Drain tile.  The guy who put the thing in used drain tile.  Lasted him just long enough to sell the place.

- Oh and then there was the time when the inline oil boiler that serves as backup sprung a leak, and the way it is plumbed required me to continue running hot water through the oil boiler as I collected leaking water out of it to toss.  4 years here, two Weil-Mclain WGO boilers cracked.  Now running them on soft water.

Eventually as time passed... the shell around this old boiler started to melt away.  Then the boiler itself caught on fire - I assume from caked up creosote all the way through the batted insulation that surrounded the firebox.  Presidents Day weekend Monday, looked out at midnight, saw flames shooting out the top of it.  Emptied one fire extinguisher into it with no luck, called the local fire department, who hacked at it with axes and finally put it down.  Quite a fun thing watching a friend with a flatbed winching this burned out hulk into place to haul it away to scrap.  2 ton boiler so he got some decent cash out of it.

Now replaced with a clean new CB instead of a Sequoyah beast that was filthy already when I got it, thermopex instead of 5-wrap drain tile, and a slightly more competent operator.
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Roger2561

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Re: Stupid newbie tricks
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2019, 03:03:22 AM »

It sounds like you've learned from your mistakes.  It's too bad that the previous owner didn't care of the old unit, it may have lasted longer if he had.  And, one cannot argue with quality underground pipe.  Granted it's pricey but it so worth it.  Good luck with your new 750.  I been meaning to ask, does it have the solenoids or stepper motors that open and close the flap over the elbow opening?  Roger
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bjp

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Re: Stupid newbie tricks
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2019, 06:57:24 AM »

Got the steppers on my 750, not the solenoid, they've been treating me well so far.
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7.5kW solar panels, grid tied
Weil-McLain WGO-4 oil boiler
DR Trimmer brush hog / mower deck / chipper / snowthrower