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Roll out switch issue

Happy new yrs!

hello i am a new homeowner- ive been in the house for a year and a half.

i have a Pennco Boiler with circulating hot water, last winter season i had to replace the Rollout switch once and was running fine the rest of the season and until now. Yesterday my boiler cut off and didnt go back on. so figured hey might be the same issue. i replaced the rollout switch again and it ran the system for about 3-4 hours, then cut out. replaced it again (figured i had a bad one) and the same thing happened. went to a different parts store and got a different brand rollout switch and it kicked back on no problem. lasted 20 mins then shut off and turned back on about ever 10 seconds... if i bypass the roll out switch it runs fine and has been running for over 6 hours now. i dont notice any flame spilling over to trip it. any one have any ideas?


  • dontwannablowup
    dontwannablowup Member Posts: 2
    wow my username looks horriable cause the p on the end dont show up

  • Gordan
    Gordan Member Posts: 891
    edited January 2011
    Well, something is tripping the switch.

    The switch could be installed incorrectly.

    The switch could be rated for an incorrect temperature, voltage, or amperage.

    You could have a dangerous condition - perhaps not a flame rollout, but a flue gas spillage.

    There could be an issue with the refractory, or some other cause for things being hotter where the switch is located than they should be.

    In any case, I would not take this lightly if I were you. Three different safeties tripping on you clearly means that you've got an issue that you're not qualified to resolve, and this potentially a very hazardous condition. Why not get a pro to come out and look at it? After all, you don't want to blow up, and remote troubleshooting is a risky business under these circumstances, especially since there are no pictures and what you call a rollout switch might be something else.
  • Gary_17
    Gary_17 Member Posts: 37
    check chimney base

    It could be blocked and letting dangerous products of combustion into your house.The roll-out switch is probably just doing it's job of keeping you safe!
  • World Plumber
    World Plumber Member Posts: 389

    TURN IT OFF AND GET THE VENT CHECKED!!!   If your getting flame rollout that mean your getting CO2. IT CAN KILL YOU!!!!!!! Don't mess with it! It is odorless, and tasteless.

    If your getting 200 or more degrees at the flame rollout switch the hot gases are not going up the chimney, They are coming into the house. Is you CO2 detector working??
  • World Plumber
    World Plumber Member Posts: 389
    Nothing to play with!!

    Many people have died over the spilling vents! That's why the spill switches are required now. Don't take chances!! Get someone to check the vent system. When was the chimney checked last? Are all clean out doors closed?
  • DanCanDo
    DanCanDo Member Posts: 15
    My thoughts...

    Pennco, Utica, both the same.  They seem to generate too much heat close to the front of the burner area.  The "blanket" type insulation they use curls inwards towards the burners.  The boilers burners are rounded with directional flame at the 1 and 11 o'clock positions.  This causes the flame to impinge, which could cause soot to start to form...mainly on the extreme right and left sides of the combustion area.  You'll notice with the Utica's and Pennco's that after operating for awhile the outside jackets start to discolor from all the excessive heat.

    That said, "roll out" and "spill" switches are often confused...roll out is at the burner, spill switch is at the draft diverter vent.  This heater needs to be checked by a professional
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,588
    Dancando your are right on

    in fact in very cold weather when the boilers tend to be running longer I have discovered that certain boilers will burn up thermocouples faster than others because of the excessive heat, Utica has always been one of those. I use a special high temperature corrosio9n resistant thermocouple on those.
  • Wayne Heid
    Wayne Heid Member Posts: 49
    DanCanDo & Tim seen this on a Dunkirk?

    I have a client with a similar problem on their Dunkirk boiler. We're seeing discoloration on the right front jacket up near the integral draft hood area. We've been investigating it from a draft perspective but have not been able to recreate any type of draft problem. Every time we're there and measure draft it's -.01 to -.03. After reading your posts I'm going back this week to look at the insulation blanket. Since this is another ECR product do you think there's a possibility of a related issue? If so, what's the fix?

  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,588
    In the past after

    many call backs and a couple of thermocouple changes we were really baffled. We chose one of the jobs that we had been back on several times and set up to monitor boiler behavior on a real cold day. What we observed and video taped was during this extreme weather the burner would come on and run for long periods of time. We had the thermocouple hooked up to a meter measuring the closed circuit millivoltage with the burner running. The chamber got so hot in the area of the t'couple that the cold junction on the t'couple was being adversely affected.

    In recent years on those same burners and some others when using electronic combustion testing equipment (we did not have those back in the day) I have observed a drastic change in combustion when excessive heat is created in the burner area. The only thing I can credit it to is that the air gas mix is affected and CO increased rapidly. We also at this time observed a loss of draft at the breach. However measuring draft after the integral draft hood we had high draft as high as -.06.

    On two units with this problem three years ago we blocked of the design draft hood and installed barometrics, along with blocked vent switch and two flame roll out switches in the burner area. All of them with resettable ability which would insure a service call. They also have a nickel plated Johnson high temp thermocouple installed a K16RA. They have been fine for three years.

    From time to time someone will call me with a lot of thermocouples burning out. Invariably they have been Enerjet, Vaillant, Utica or H.B. Smith standing pilot 24 volt systems.
  • NYplumber
    NYplumber Member Posts: 503
    same issue

    Good morning Tim,

    I have this issue on a dry base Smith boiler. Constant burning the flame roll out fuses and occasionally the thermocouple too.

    Any way you can give me a few leads on A, finding the correctly rated roll out switch; and B,more info on bblocking the draft hood and adding a barometric?

    Thanks in advance!
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,588
    Would prefer to discuss this

    by phone give me a call 401-437-0557.