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Any solution to really high carbon monoxide test results?

I had a customer last week who had an old gibralter boiler with a liberty gas power burner.(assuming its like 40-50 yrs old) They had problems getting pilot to stay lit. when I was there I started to feel a little funny and smelled something. (figured if smells weird maybe not burning right) I put my UEI 155 digital combustion analyzer. Ambient C0 was around 200 3 feet from boiler. checked flue an immediately rose to 6000 ppm. The customer elected immediately to change the old boiler.

 I had a different customer about 7 months ago  with same boiler and burner, same age range and I got called because his room CO testers went off. there my tester registered 2200 ppm.

In both cases, you could see between cast iron sections were totally black. He also eventually changed boiler.

My question is: with a boiler that old, would you ever advise a customer to do a complete tear down and cleaning and would that solve problem. or is it a waste of money for customer. Does anyone know a company that specializes in this task in NYC area?


  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Not being familiar with tis specific appliance...

    I can not say, but avoid CO poisoning is fairly basic. You must have as clean a burn as is possible, and proper flow of the combustion products from where it is being generated (combustion chamber) to where it is exiting the building (top of chimney).

    There is a LOT of stuff that can be read between the lines, but avoidance is important. If there is any potential for flue product spillage ANYWHERE in the mechanical room, then the potential for CO generation goes up significantly. If you had a perfectly clean burn, free of CO, but were losing products of combustion into the room, then the flame would attempt to be burning CO2, which won't support flame, and subsequently, high concentrations of CO are immediately generated,

    CYA.... in paper if need be.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Jim Davis_3
    Jim Davis_3 Member Posts: 578
    Cleaning old boiler

    Hopefully the replacement boiler was a newer high efficiency boiler not another cast iron boiler.

    Most the time the boiler sections just need to be brushed out with some good boiler brushes.  Techs that work on oil have done this for years.  It doesn't really take a specialist.  It takes a specialist to tune up the burner and verify proper venting and combustion air.  There are some people out there that are lucky to be alive. 

    Think  of how many other pieces of equipment haven't ever been tested properly with a combustion analyzer.  To totally diagnose combustion problems it is necessary to know the O2 reading, flue temperature and CO and watch them over time to make sure the O2 and CO are stable.
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,608
    The Liberty conversion burner

    was problems when it was new. At the point you found this equipment it should be made inoperative and a new modern high efficiency unit installed. Get away from the chimney as a flue and go side wall or use the old chimney as a chase.

    I have tons of this old equipment up here in the north east and it really does not make sense anymore to spend time and money to rebuild them. I never thought I would be saying that as most of my life has been dedicated to refurbishing the old and getting it as efficient as I can.
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,608
    Every technician

    should be checking all fossil fuel burning equipment in the customers home or business. That includes water heaters, gas cooking ranges, unvented appliances, dryers, gas grills etc.

    You are correct SLO we do not have a mandate here in the US to do such testing, I wish we did.
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