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Weil McLain SGO Boiler Questions , Maintenance

Craigs Member Posts: 24
Hey all,

I was curious if you all might be able to give me a hand with my boiler.

Fist off, this baby is from 2006, so it's fairly new. I'm assuming it will last for years.

I'd like to get to know her a bit better, and be able to take care of her myself. But I cannot for the life of me find a service book for this anywhere, similar to a chiltons for your car. All I can find is "Basic" service manuals on the weil mclain website.

Anybody know where I can find a book/manual like a good old fashioned Chilton's?

Here's the link to my manual: <a href="http://www.weil-mclain.com/en/multimedia-library/pdf/weil-mclain-pdf/products/boilers/oil-boilers/sgo/550-141-830_1202.pdf">http://www.weil-mclain.com/en/multimedia-library/pdf/weil-mclain-pdf/products/boilers/oil-boilers/sgo/550-141-830_1202.pdf</a>

I can take some snapshots if anybody would be willing to help me out. Basically I'd just like to clean it every now and then, and empty and refill the water. I tried recently to remove some water from the back bottom side. Only because recently I noticed the level indicator went from clean, to a dark brown. I opened the valve on the bottom back and dared to do nothing more than remove about 1 quart of black water, till it was just brown. Then pushed the manual fill until the water level was back to where it should be.

This all started because for the first year in this home, the water was perfect, and consistent. Now it will eventually get hotter about 4-5 minutes prompting to turn down the hot. It used to stay consistent through 6 showers. I did this before we turned on the heat for the winter, and it didn't seem to help.

So now the heat is on, and I've got a new personality. The heaters will "Pop" every now and then, like a steam bubble is popping in the system. Just one, every so often, they're not regular at all, just a small "Pop".

This is not the pings, from the pipes not being pitched right. When I purchased the house, they were loud as heck, and I pitched all the radiators in the house, and replaced all the vents. Nice and quiet now, except that odd "Pop" that I might have brought on. I'd love to get a movie for you all of it, but it's not consistent, and never know when it happens.

Any thoughts out there? Recommended book?


  • Craigs
    Craigs Member Posts: 24
    Adding Some photos

    Model Weil-McLain P-SGO-4 Series 3

    1st - Front

    2nd - Side Angle

    3rd - Rear with Purge Valve on bottom?

    4th - What's this hole?
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    first steps

    Order a copy of http://www.heatinghelp.com/products/Steam-Heating-Books/25/61/We-Got-Steam-Heat-A-Homeowners-Guide-to-Peaceful-Coexistence

    The hole in your flue is for the probe from a combustion analyzer.  It should be plugged when not in use -- an 1/8" or 1/4" NPT pipe plug will probably do the trick.

    Every time you drain and refill, you introduce oxygen into the system, which decreases its life.  Your boiler probably needs skimming, and possibly washing as well.

    Can you back up and take a couple photos of the boiler which include the near-boiler piping?

    This might get more eyeballs if it were posted in the Strictly Steam section of the Forum.
  • Craigs
    Craigs Member Posts: 24
    edited November 2012


    I wanted to do the skimming myself, but had mixed thoughts on how to do this, looking at the other posts.

    I noticed people recommended "Squick" to help the skimming in other areas. Not sure if it's really good for the system, and useful, or not.


    I'm hoping for a manual to walk me through the skimming, and flue cleaning.

    Included another picture. Need more?

    The line in the back left is a natural gas line, so not part of the system.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    Need to see 90 degrees to the side (preferably both sides) of that.  Zoom out just a tad more so we can see the risers as they leave the boiler area.

    One more where the returns come back together and enter the bottom of the boiler.
  • AaronH
    AaronH Member Posts: 59
    I have the same boiler...

    I have a 2001 WM SGO-3 with a Beckett AFG oil burner. Your system looks like it was installed well, so that's a great start.

    With these systems, maintenance comes on both sides of the system:

    1) Steam/Water side - I do this myself... constantly

    2) Oil/Combustion side - I have a contractor do this yearly

    I have a guy come in every year to handle the oil-burner maintenance and cleaning of the combustion  chamber. Here's what he does, for a very reasonable price:

    a. Open top combustion chamber access port and wire-brush soot out of the sections

    b. Vacuum out all soot

    c. Check refractory

    d. Replace oil filter

    e. Replace oil nozzle

    f. Check with combustion analyzer

    On the steam side, here's what I would recommend:

    a. Install a skim-tapping to clean "skim" the water in the boiler. On the SGO-3, the skim tapping is the 1 1/2" port on the front of the boiler, right above the burner. With the system shut-down, open that port and reinstall a short 6" nipple & a ball valve to make future skimming easy. Do a search for "skimming" here... you'll find lots of info.

    b. Remove the pigtail/gauge/pressuretrol assembly and clean out the pigtail

    c. While you're at "b," get a 0-3psi gauge and and tee it into your setup. You want this system cycling on about 1.5-2.0psi of pressure. Adjust pressuretrol as necessary.

    d. It's not a bad idea to remove the LWCO and then it's probe. This is mostly so the probe does not get corroded into the boiler.

    e. Check all your system vents, especially the main vent in the basement.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Cleaning SGO's


    The SGO has a swing out door that the burner is mounted on. If your soot sucker only brushes the debris down into the chamber and doesn't open the front and suck it out, he isn't doing a complete job. The burner controls even have a plug that disconnects the burner from the control to make it easier. A wise A wise installer allows for disconnecting the burner from the oil lines to swing the door out of the way. Be there when he does it for the first time and you will be astonished at how much crap is there from his annual brush down. I've seen it up to where the bottom of the flame was impinging on the debris and running like crap. I remove the "rug" in the bottom and clean out from under it and replace it with a piece of Lynn wet blanket which is sturdier and lasts a long time. I also take an old large screw driver and scrape the kibbles and bits from between the sections on the sides, up into the block and under where the rug is.
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