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Weil-mclain ultra boiler maintenance

Bill H.
Bill H. Member Posts: 30
I'm considering replacing my gas fired hydronic heating system boiler with subject condensing boiler. I've heard that condensing boilers require considerable annual maintenance which should be considered. Compared to the maintenance of an efficient non-condensing unit such as that company's GV-4 boiler, is the maintenance of an Ultra condensing unit that much greater, and what specifically is required above that of a lesser unit. Any help on this will be greatly appreciated. Weil-Mclain has not responded to this query.   Thanks much.  Bill


  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Weil-mclain ultra boiler maintenance

    I have an Ultra 3 that is now about 50 weeks old.

    Their I&M manual is here:


    The maintenance stuff starts at about page 79 to 83. When the contractor's employee came to do mine, he only looked at the flame through the inspection window, and tried to see if the circulators would work, and they did not because the warm weather shutdown was in effect and he did not understand the controls enough to override that. But that's another story.
  • Bill H.
    Bill H. Member Posts: 30
    Weil-mclain ultra boiler maintenance reply to JD

    Thanks for the link, JD. After reviewing the service technician maintenance requirements, and especially the need of a first maintenance"kit", I doubt that most service people will have the required training and knowhow to do correctly all that is required. To me, as with many of our new highly technical operating systems, a problem creeps up in finding someone who honestly understands them. Its like having a sophisticated foreign exotic race car that local mechanics have little if any experience and expertise in maintaining, troubleshooting, and repairing. Good luck with your new Ultra, and I hope you can find someone who knows that boiler. Please let me know how you do. Thanks again.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    So far...

    ... I have not been too happy about service. I have posted my impressions on the Wall before. It seemed pretty clear that the technician had no clue, and also did not have a required combustion analyzer, or a way to measure the pH of the water. He did not measure the stack temperature and did not know how to make it go to High Fire or Low Fire. And so on.

    The response I got here got me in touch with the local W-M representative who was very cooperative. He said if the combustion analyzer gave the correct results, and the stack temperature was correct, that it was not actually necessary to open the heat exchanger and therefore, that the kit was not necessary. He even offered to come out when they sent a technician to finish the job. Well, the contractor has not seen fit to arrange that yet. I will probably call them on Tuesday.

    "To me, as with many of our new highly technical operating systems, a

    problem creeps up in finding someone who honestly understands them."

    I agree that this is a problem. It should not have been a problem. The contractor, a large firm around here, said they had already installed a lot of WM-Ultra boilers (mostly the Ultra 2, I suppose), so I assumed they would know how to service them. They did install it correctly, right out of the installation manual. But the service remains to be seen.

    "Its like having a sophisticated foreign exotic race car that local

    mechanics have little if any experience and expertise in maintaining,

    troubleshooting, and repairing."

    I had a Lotus 26 at one time (actually, two, one after another). I lived in Buffalo, NY, and the nearest mechanics who knew how to work on it were in Millerton, NY, and in Manhattan, NY. So I got the complete shop manual and learned to do all the work myself. Once you understand a thing like that, they are not so exotic at all. Actually, they are fairly simple. You do need special tools, such as a carburettor synchronizer, but once you have the tools, they are pretty easy to work on.

    So I already have a pH meter for the water. I have a torque wrench and the required metric socket to use on the heat exchanger. I do not look forward to buying a combustion analyzer that I would use only once a year and learn how to use it. And I refuse to disassemble the heat exchanger if it should be needed. I really expected my contractor would have a technician with the skills to do more than look into the inspection window. I can do that, too. If I wanted to be a professional heating technician, I would have started a long time ago.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    edited May 2010
    Magic Potion

    JD I didn't ready that manul but does it mention the new magic potion that is now required in their boiler. This came out in a technical bulletin last Sept. Suppose to help slow down the death of that alum heat exchanger. It now comes with every boiler and is supposed to be added evertime you purge out any water in the system.

    Bill, a I condensing boiler really needs no more maintenace than any other product you may own. A yearly service is all that is needed. You take your car to have it's oil changed how many times a year? If you have a reputable company install your boiler ask for a service contract and purch it at install. There really isn't much to servicing. Heck it's a whole lot easier to clean than most cast iron boilers. The trick is to find a really good contractor that has really good grasp on mod/cons. 

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    new magic potion

    No, that manual for the W-M Ultra 3 (that I have) does not mention it. I have seen that bulletin. The manual for the W-M Ultra 3 UE does mention it.

     I e-mailed W-M about that and they said that my water company supplies water that does not need it. I also e-mailed my contractor about it, and they did not answer. The water company claims the water is between pH 7.2 and 7.6, whereas the boiler must be between 7.0 and 8.5. I tested the boiler water with both pH paper and a pH meter, and I get confusing results. The pH paper says the water is about pH 7. The pH meter says it is about pH 8 or slightly more. I suspect the difference is that I calibrated the meter with the pH test solutions at room temperature, but the boiler water was a fair amount hotter, and perhaps the meter does not allow for that. I just do not know. Now that it is fairly hot outside, the boiler runs only for domestic hot water, which is only once or twice a day, so I can retest the boiler water when it it is about room temperature.
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