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Alpine 150 gas boiler at Low temps

TekpilotTekpilot Member Posts: 4
Has anyone had any experience with the Alpine 150 Boiler at -50 degrees?

I had a boiler shutdown with error codes that the outside sensor was open so i put a 60 watt light bulb under it and that cleared that. Then I plugged the outside vent and took the front cover off and left it off. The boiler rumbles a bit at start up because the gas line runs 30 feet in black pipe outside above ground so i'm sure the gas was coming in super cold and was a bugger to ignite. Last winter the condensate line froze up so i wrapped it in klawool and that solved that problem. I'm curious if anyone else has operated one of these below minus 40 degrees and if so what did you do different?

Tekpilot (as in teklanika river)


  • Paul48Paul48 Member Posts: 4,253
    50 below

    Think about're worried about efficiency at 50 below?
  • GordanGordan Member Posts: 891
    I'm thinking about it

    Why not? Seems like efficiency would be most important to someone with greatest usage...
  • kcoppkcopp Member Posts: 2,771
    Seems like...

    you are doing your best. Thats @*&;^#*!  COLD. Maybe get that gas line buried/ insulated. Cold air does all kinds of wacked stuff on combustion. I had a problem w/ that on Direct vent oil boilers.... I had 2 feet of frost inside on the intake pipe @ -16 F here in NH. I am surprised the sensor froze up....
  • TekpilotTekpilot Member Posts: 4

    I'm not really worried so much about efficiency, more so about keeping it running. My thoughts are focused on what others have done to make sure it keeps running even when it does drop down cold. It is a really dry, still cold by the way. Lots of ice fog. Colder then my ex wifes smile.

    I'm thinking i should readdress the incoming air supply, making it with a wye in it so that i can divert from outside air to inside air easily. Then, Insulating or even preheating the gas line. Perhaps run a hot glycol line down it like a heat trace. The only other thing is the outside temp sensor. I can rig a more permanent light bulb type warming device to keep fooling the thing or find an outside probe good to a much lower temp say -65 below. It hasnt been that cold here in a while but when it happens the furnace must run no matter what.
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,584

    I didn't see him mention efficiency anywhere in his post.

    I think he's worried about keeping the home fire burning, not efficiency.

    Funny how Mother Nature tests mans mechanical equipment/abilities at certain times of the year....

    To the original poster, you cold get a fixed resistance resistor that would mimick an outdoor air temperature of say zero degrees F, and throw a single pole double throw switch on it, and when (if) you get into this situation again, throw the switch and avoid having to put a light bulb outside to waste energy.

    As for the gas problem, possibly install a long length of CSST for a fuel line inside the house, allowing it to stabilize temperature wise before it hits the burner.

    That, and pray for warmer weather :-)

    Saw on the news tonight that some places in Alaska were seeing- 50 F weather. You can keep it up there if you'd like.

    It hit 66 degrees F on my carmometer today... Kinda liking this global warming stuff ;-)

    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.
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 3,516

    Are you on propane? Propane has a boiling point of -44 Fahrenheit. If your tank  gets that cold the propane may not boiling (turning to gas) resulting in low or no gas pressure.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • TekpilotTekpilot Member Posts: 4
    look at my picture

    It may be hard to see but the picture in my profile shows the install. I dont think there are that many of these type units installed around Fairbanks. Possibly 3. 
  • Paul48Paul48 Member Posts: 4,253

    Was just amused by the outdoor reset.The manufacturers probably don't test at those kind of temperatures. Everything else left outdoors in those kind of temperatures has to be kept warm in order to work correctly.
  • billbill Member Posts: 429
    edited January 2012
    Just where in the Tek are you?

    I was just going to say, "That's a pretty exotic boiler for up there". If it's parts you need then call Pacific P&H in Anc. They are the Burnham folks here.

    Is this thing in part of the main resort? As in Princess. It seems like a boiler an outside designer would pick.

    The one I like is these guys in Kotzebue are finding out that 100% glycol dosen't like to  go through Spirovents

    Just got back from Talkeetna, that's far enough. This cold is more than painful, it makes you nutty. Admitadly I do have a pre-existing condition:).
  • TekpilotTekpilot Member Posts: 4

    What i'm trying to do here is plan this out so that it doesnt surprise me next winter or any more winters for that matter.

    I live just outside of the core area of Fairbanks, Alaska. the natural gas was the best choice for this electric heat house so that no chimney or fuel tank needed to be installed. My father liked electric heat but in the winter it would cost as much as 1400 dollars per month to heat the house. when he passed my wife and I moved in and had a contractor install the gas heat. Not many people are familiar with gas heat here. It is not as popular as fuel oil because of the small infrastructure. Condensing boilers are not as common as people have run into problems like the ones i am talking about so I thought I would ask those persons of cold climates in the northern states that I know have at times extreme temperatures and heat with natural gas.

    I appreciate the advice of running the gas line inside so it can stabilize and the resistor with a switch. These are good ideas. thank you.
  • billbill Member Posts: 429
    Natural gas?

    When you said gas I automatically thought of propane. So this is the stuff they are trucking up from down south. I heard about this a few years ago. I'll also heard this wasn't such a great idea after all. So there is a tank of N.G. with a 30 foot line serving a mod/con in 50 below weather.  I feel for you guy. Try everything, maybe heat tape and insulation on the line.

    I can't wait for Tim Mc's input
  • Mike KusiakMike Kusiak Member Posts: 604
    Parallel resistor

    I like Mark's idea about substituting a fixed resistor for the outdoor sensor in very cold weather. An even easier way to implement it is just to parallel the fixed resistor across the sensor with a single pole switch. That way, the sensor signal doesn't have to pass through the switch and you don't have to worry that the contact resistance will affect the readings if the contacts corrode or get oxidized.
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