The boiler is a 1991 Weil-McLain HE-3, induced draft gas hot water boiler for
single zone baseboard hot water heat. It
uses a White-Rogers 50E47-842 HSI Control. Igniter and Flame Sensor are
replaced every heating season. Gas valve and control board were new 1 year ago,
as were several other parts. New gas line from street, and meter, installed 4
years ago, with line gas pressure delivered to boiler satisfactorily resolved to
5" - 5.5 WC, verified by gas company tech, HVAC tech and myself.It is installed in the dug-out portion of the house crawlspace.
The dug-out portion has concrete block retaining walls, full concrete floor, and
has been fully encapsulated. Ventilation is sufficient, and RH is 30 - 50% from
fall to spring.
House is a rental unit located 30 miles away from our
residence, making accurate reporting and observation of problem occurrence, and
During recent years (past 5) there have been consistent problems
with the "locking out", and shutting down. Many parts replacements
have occurred, including igniters and flame sensors, gas valve, transformers
and HSI control boards. Replacing parts usually results in a temporary fix, but
the lockout problems recur at some (variable) time later. There does not seem
to be any correlation between air temperature or conditions (rain / snow /
clear) and boiler performance.
Just experienced another lockout (flashing red light on the
HSI control), which somehow seems to have resolved itself for the moment, but I
am on my annual quest for a working boiler, and am turning here for assistance.
Documentation is: Day 1: 0800
Tenant texts to advise of no heat that morning. He said that
heat had been fine previously. Stated that he had turned heat down the night
before, and when he turned it back up in the morning, it did not come one. Travelled
to site, reset the system by turning power off / on. Unit immediately fired up,
and completed ignition sequence. Observed rapid-flashing green light (weak flame)
for about 30 seconds, then solid green, indicating satisfactory flame. Cycling
time is about 3-4 minutes, raising water temperature from to 160 degrees (per
temp / pressure gauge). Drop to 140 degrees starts cycle again. Cycling, hot
water generation and heating continued for 2 hours of observation. Cycling was
always in 3-4 minute range. Weak flame signal appeared on each cycling. There
were two (2) failed 1st ignition attempts at 79 minutes and 98 minutes, but
both recovered on second attempt. Duration of weak flame signal increased to
about 50 seconds starting with first ignition failure, and continued for rest
of observation, 122 minutes. Observation and presence ended, since boiler was
firing and house heating.
2000 hours: Tenant
returned home from work, reported house was cold, no heat and all pipes were
cold. Asked him to go to boiler, and observe and report while resetting. Walked
him through the process, advising what to do / look for. Boiler fired
immediately on reset, and he reported that HSI control idiot light was
immediately SOLID green (no flashing). Asked him to stay for several cycles,
and cycling was just as short as earlier; consistent immediate solid green light
at ignition for each of four (4) observed cycles.
Day 2: 1300 hours. Checked residence: Toasty warm at 70
degrees; all pipes hot. Checked boiler: output pipe so hot you could not touch
(must have just finished cycle). Waited 45 minutes, but no further cycling
(tight little house!).
To start, I need to resolve the short cycling, weak flame
signal and lockouts.
I have some thoughts, but would appreciate questions, comments
and recommendations to start the discussion.