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Bell & Gosset circulator questions

Old_Man
Old_Man Member Posts: 7
Hello, and thanks in advance for any help anyone can give.



My house is an approx. 2500 sq ft Victorian, in Wisconsin. It has a 1950's vintage boiler (not steam) that pipes to cast iron radiators installed in the late 1800's.



I have two Bell & Gosset circulator pumps, one each for two zones. (The house was at one time separated into an apartment and the main house, each with its own controls. I have since made both pumps run at the request of the main thermostat, and disabled the apartment thermostat.)



The pump motors are 1/12 HP, and according to B&G's chart, that means they're series 100.



The newer of the two motors got hot and the thermal cutout would shut it down after a few seconds of spinning (yes, it does still spin.) I oiled up the motor and pump bearings, and for the moment, everything is functioning well, but this thing will eventually fail.



Critical info: The same motor/pump started making all sorts of horrible bearing noise a year or so ago. That is when I discovered that I have to OIL these things. They hadn't had a drop to drink in 10 years. Yes, this is my own ignorance biting me - thanks, I know that part already.



I oiled the heck out of them then, and all was well for a while. I oiled them lightly at the start of this heating season, but now it looks like this motor doesn't want to play nice and I'll have to be oiling it monthly or weekly until it suddenly dies completely on me one day.



So here are the questions, finally:



Am I better off replacing the entire unit, or are these problems usually "motor's shot, pump is fine, replace the motor"?



Are there non B&G motors that would fit as replacements without replacing the pump?



If I have to replace the pump, are there other brands that would be cheaper, better, etc., that are bolt-in replacements?



Assuming I have to go that far, is there an S.O.P. somewhere online that would take a reasonably experienced handyman through the steps, or is this the kind of thing that only an experienced professional or an inexperienced idiot would do?

Comments

  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    Taco 007 is often a good replacement

    also two pumps on one thermostat costs you money for fuel. Get them both on their own control and if you do not want the Apartment to control the heat there are ways to control the max temp with out it being an issue. Remote thermostats or locking covers. A remote sensor and the control by the boiler is the safest way to control the heat for the apartment. Grundfos makes a three speed pump that would work also. But with out the specs on your system I am simply giving a best guess. How handy are you?
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • World Plumber
    World Plumber Member Posts: 389
    Motors

     Motors are available, new, rebuilt and aftermarket. Questions to ask. If they haven't been oiled in 10 years, How soon till the packing starts leaking? All parts are available to rebuild there pumps and the last a long time with maintenance. The cost of a motor or bearing assembly will more than likely be more than the cost of a cartridge pump such as the Taco - 007. The cartridge pumps use much less electricity and there is no maintenance. Installed correctly the new pumps will give you many years of carefree service. Many people want to stay with the B&G 100's. In my area I can buy 2 new pumps for the price of a bearing assembly. B&G makes the little red that's a good reliable pump.  If you don't want to disturb the water side of the system. Then changing the motor is the way to go. Those old pumps might last another 20 years with proper maintenance or they could go in a very short time. 
  • Mike Kusiak_2
    Mike Kusiak_2 Member Posts: 604
    Pump replacement

    Do you have isolation valves on the inlet and outlet of each pump? If you don't have valves, you will have to drain the entire system to replace the pumps. If you just replace the motor, you can leave the water side alone, which is much simpler. Of course, it may not be the motor bearings which are failing, but possibly also the impeller bearing. You might replace the motor now and then wait until spring to drain the system when you don't need heat and completely replace the pumps.



    New and used B&G 100 motors are usually available on ebay for very reasonable prices.



    If properly maintained, the older B&G's can last decades. The one in my parents home was installed in 1955 and still works perfectly. Other than oiling, the only service needed was a coupler replacement in 1978.
  • Old_Man
    Old_Man Member Posts: 7
    Taco 007, huh?

    Thanks for the info.



    When I took the "apartment" off its own thermostat it was just after reincorporating it back into the main house (knocked out section of wall that had been cobbled in, frame a door, etc.) It's the back half of the first floor (and kinda hard to explain.)



    It's not like the former "apartment" section gets too hot or stays too cold. I think I'd probably waste more money having the boiler kick on just for the little apartment section when the main section doesn't need it, if I had two controls again. It isn't like this a modern unit with any sort of variable heat output. It's on or it's off, and when it's on, I figure the faster I can take hot water out of the boiler and spread it around, the better.



    If I'm wrong about that, feel free to correct me.



    So, Taco 007 is a good unit, if I want to crack open the wet side of the system someday?



    As far as how handy, well... plenty handy at normal plumbing, sweating copper, DWV, gas lines, that sort of thing. Mammoth chunks of cast iron aren't my favorite things to screw around with, especially when I've never drained the water out of this (or any) boiler system, and with it being five months until I can see a day where I won't need heat, I'll probably oil, pray, and replace the motor if need be, and think about other options in spring.



    Thanks again for the help.
  • Old_Man
    Old_Man Member Posts: 7
    How long until it leaks? Beats me.

    Hi, and thanks for responding.



    Well, the system has been relatively bulletproof for years and years. We've been in the house since '98, and the people before us, god knows, didn't do any maintenance on the unit, and they were here about six years.



    Judging by the amount of crud I had to scoop out of the burner area when I bought the house, vs how much crud forms in a year, the thing had no attention whatsoever for a decade before I bought the house. So it could well be 20 years between last years' oiling and the oiling before that.



    My hope is that the motor bearings are shot, and plopping in a new motor takes care of it, if it comes to that this year.



    By the way, this is the newer of the two motors. To look at the other one, it may be original to the unit. The styling kinda screams "Hi, it's 1956!"
  • Mike Kusiak_2
    Mike Kusiak_2 Member Posts: 604
    edited December 2010
    Oiling

    Keep in mind that the impeller bearing needs much more oil than the motor bearings. If they are completely dry, like a new pump ( or didn't oil for 10 years!), the motor bearings take 1/4 oz each while the pump bearing needs about 1 oz. If you take the top off the pump bearing assembly, you will see a reservior with wicking saturated in oil.There should be a little pool of oil visible at the bottom. If you overfill, it will run out the overflow and make a mess, but at least you know you have enough.



    If you keep it properly oiled, I would think you can easily make it through the winter.
  • Old_Man
    Old_Man Member Posts: 7
    Isolation valves? hahahahaha

    No isolation valves to be found here. This system is so old that my home inspector, himself an old timer, had never even seen the kind of backflow preventer valves the system uses, nor had he (or I) ever seen the kind of pressure-relief valve used on the water heater (I have since replaced the water heater.) Isolation valves probably would have been an unheard of additional expense at the time this system was installed.



    Yeah, I don't really want to crack into the water side. Of course, right now I'm just happy it's working for right now. I won't mess with it besides to oil it up unless it fails.



    For when spring comes around, is there a way to tell, once I figure out how the motor un-couples from the pump, whether the impeller bearings are shot? Some amount of play or resistance that I could judge by wigglin' snd turnin'?
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    Actually

    Isolation valves were always part of a good job.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    Actually

    Isolation valves were always part of a good job.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Old_Man
    Old_Man Member Posts: 7
    Many thanks

    Is there a favorite oil among professionals? The only thing I had when my bearings started bitching was a zoom-spout oiler that I've used for other motors, so that's what's in there now.
  • I'd be surprised

    to see isolation valves on a pump that old.  It wasn't in their consciousness back then. Pumps lasted forever.



    As far as oiling that pump, over oiling leads to more problems than under oiling, especially the motor bearings.  If they get too much oil, it bleeds into the motor mounts causing them to soften and the pump to go out of alignment and your coupler will explode.  I tell my customers to oil once a year.



    Here's some more information:



    http://www.bellgossett.com/homeowners/BG-OilingSeries100.asp
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • Old_Man
    Old_Man Member Posts: 7
    I wouldn't argue with that

    I love isolation valves. I've had to shut down whole apartment buildings to change a shower cartridge because either there weren't isolation valves for each apartment (or floor, or ANYTHING) or because the valves that were in place hadn't moved in so long that they weren't gonna move without leaking for the next ten years.



    You don't have to sell me on 'em, I'm already a big fan of isolation valves.
  • Mike Kusiak_2
    Mike Kusiak_2 Member Posts: 604
    Oil

    B&G recommends straight 20 weight non detergent oil. Hardware stores sometimes sell this in quart containers as air compressor oil. The zoom spout oil is a little thin, but should be ok. I have used it in the past , but prefer the 20 weight as it seems not to evaporate as fast.
  • People tend to forget,,,

    During & post WW2 brass was not an easy commodity to come-by,, it had a HUGE price tag.

    Many a foundry was commissioned to produce brass military items.

    Tradesman (at the time) had to work with what was available to them,, making a living (supply & demand) was not easy!  
  • Mike Kusiak_2
    Mike Kusiak_2 Member Posts: 604
    Checking the bearing

    Removing the motor is very easy. There are 4 bolts that mount the motor bracket to the bearing housing. Remove the bolts and then remove the setscrew that fastens the coupler to the motor shaft.



    A good pump bearing will have very little wobble and axial play. Push and pull the coupler to check. If there is too much play, the shaft seal will start leaking, There will be some resistance to turning due to the graphite-ceramic shaft seal friction. Its very similar to the seal on an automotive water pump.
  • Old_Man
    Old_Man Member Posts: 7
    Dankeshoen

    Thanks to you, and everybody else, for the info. I got the B&G service instructions from a link somebody else provided, and yeah, they're cool with SAE 20 non-detergent, but would like very very to sell B&G brand. They even allow for 10W-30 in a pinch.



    Gonna go grab some 20 weight tomorrow.
  • rlaggren
    rlaggren Member Posts: 160
    Might ask around town

    See if anybody rebuilds electric motors. If a new/rebuilt/refurb isn't obviously the right choice, come summer you could take off the motor and have it rebuilt. Or do it yourself if you have the press, time and inclination.



    Rufus
    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Rebuilding motors.

    When I bought this house, the boiler had a 3-piece circulator in it. There was a similar one on the floor next to the boiler. The former owner said it was removed, but if the installed one failed, I might be able to use the old one. I figured I should get it rebuilt first, so I found the only outfit that rebuilt motors around here. The owner said for a motor that small it did not make sense to rebuild it because I could get a new one for less. (He did not sell motors, so I imagine that was unbiased advice.) He is not in business anymore (retired, I imagine), so no more rebuilding. I sure do not have the tools and parts.



    Besides, all my pumps, except in the dishwasher and washing machine) are Taco 00-series. Those can have their cartridges replaced if necessary, and I imagine they are cheap enough to replace the whole thing if the stator coils burn out.
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    edited December 2010
    careful with the oil

    I have had more trouble with over oiled 100s than under oiled. Over oiling will saturate the rubber vibration isolators and allow them to sag. This throws the shaft alignment out and is the major cause of couplings breaking on these pumps.



    Sorry , I see Alan has already stated this fact.
This discussion has been closed.