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Rattling sound

MelMel Member Posts: 43
There is a rattling sound that transfers up to the main floor coming from boiler area. I called a System 2000 authorized service and he came and heard it by the boiler and tried a few things. He could make it happen by banging on the pipe where the Spirovent is, and he heard it happen without doing anything. At first he thought it was a bad float inside the Spirovent, took out the float but problem remained. After a few hours and getting nowhere, I told him to call Energy Kinetics. The EK representative told him to wash out the boiler with TSP or vinegar because he's aware of such problems and it's scale, or at least that's what he thinks it is. Now, I have to pay for the procedure and there are no guarantees. Is there some other possible reason?  What should I do?


  • kcoppkcopp Member Posts: 2,773
    How about the...

    circulator. That is the real moving part in the system. Cleaning out the boiler is not a bad idea as it will clean out just from your piping and boiler  thus giving your better heat transfer.... IE better performance.
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    Maybe, but

    The technician who came today said it wasn't the circulator. EK representative did tell him to use either vinegar or TSP to clean out the boiler because he thought scale was the problem. I don't know, system is around 4 years old and my previous system, a Weil McClain, went over 10 years without a scale problem.

    The problem seems to be mostly in the first zone, which is my den. You can hit the pipe connected to the Spirovent when heat is circulating and the rattle occurs, aside from occurring randomly.

    I had the tuneup last month.
  • chapchap70chapchap70 Member Posts: 130
    edited February 2013
    System 2000 boiler treatment

     The water passages are tighter with the System 2000 compared with the Weil McLain.  The water content of the EK-1 is 2.5 gallons compared with the standard Weil McLain having 10 to 13 gallons.

    The System 2000 is shipped with 8-Way boiler treatment that should have been added when the boiler was installed to keep the passageways clean.  During the annual maintenance, the boiler water should be checked (it should be purple) to see if the 8-Way is still in the system and if not, more should be added.

    If the 8-Way or other boiler water treatment is not added, a small percentage of their boilers will make noises due to the water passage scaling up.  The way to get rid of the scale is by acid cleaning the boiler water.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Member Posts: 2,385

    I doubt you have a water issue. Sounds like a lump of solder in an elbow or a zone valve base, etc. Can you post some pics? Was this a replacement unit, or new house, new system? Spirovent on that boiler is not necessary, and a waste of money. If it turns out to be that, have it removed completely. 
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    edited February 2013
    still don't know what to do

    My house is 17 years old and this is second boiler. The 2000 is around 4 years old. The Spirovent was put on because after installation we couldn't get rid of air in the system. EK representative came over and had them install expansion tank on return side, which was done to get rid of splashing sound in zone 1, my den on first floor. The sound remained and expansion tank on return side did not solve anything. I believe there has always been some air in this system.

    I had a tuneup done last month but don't know if water was checked--I do know he did a backwash for heat exchanger.

    It could be a lump of solder stuck. The sound can be heard when zone 1 is on, which is my den on first floor. The tech who came yesterday did not hear it with zones 2 and 3, but did with zone 1 on and water circulating for heat.

    It is not the Spirovent. At first he thought it was the float inside and removed that but the noise continued.

    Should I have the boiler washed, or what should I do? There is definitely air in the system now from what he did yesterday.
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43

    The EK representative suggested vinegar or TSP. Is TSP that 8-way boiler treatment?
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    seen this before

    the piping needs to be drained, cut both ends, and blow it out opposite the direction of flow. Refill and test. I won't comment on the rep, or techs. They should know the difference between "tea kettling" and something in the piping that doesn't belong. Good luck
  • Paul FredricksPaul Fredricks Member Posts: 1,542

    I've had flo checks rattling, usually due to an inefficient circulator. Don't know if you have flo checks or not.

    Can't tell you whether of not to have the boiler washed. It sure can't hurt. You are the only one who can determine if it's worth the try. I don't think any of us can give you a yes or no, unless we've been there and heard the noise ourselves.
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    Flo Checks

    The rattling noise does not seem to be coming from where the circulator is located, so I assume that rules out the flo check possibility. If you use your fist to bang the pipe connected to the Spirovent while water is circulating for heat, you can hear the rattling noise coming from that area--especially when zone 1 is on. I have 3 zones, 2 down and 1 upstairs. The biggest problem I face is getting a "good" system 2000 technician to come over. I tried contacting EK's representative for my area but so far to no avail. I then called EK and was told they would contact the Rep and I'm still waiting! I left a message on his cell phone yesterday and again this morning, with my phone number.

    The technician that came over yesterday was from the oil company that sells and services System 2000, and he was here for almost three hours! I told him more than once to call EK and ask them what to do. After about three hours, he finally called. He then told me EK said to wash the boiler with vinegar or TSP because he's heard of these problems and it's scale. The boiler is just 4 years old this month.
  • Paul FredricksPaul Fredricks Member Posts: 1,542

    The flo check would normally be near the spirovent, if you have a flo check. Can you post some pictures of your system?
  • chapchap70chapchap70 Member Posts: 130
    Boiler Pitch

    To answer your question about TSP, I believe it is a boiler treatment that is stronger and more readily available at a local plumbing supply house.  I think the 8-Way is more of a preventative treatment and is an Energy Kinetics branded product.

    It is hard to tell what your problem is without hearing the noise.  If it is lime scale, the tech that described it to me (while talking shop, I didn't go to the call) said it definitely was evident that the boiler was surging and banging; & it got worse over time before it was treated.  This particular case started when the boiler was about 2 years old.  One of the factors that can cause this is the hardness of your water.

    To check if it could be an air problem, make sure the boiler is pitched properly.  The back of the boiler (opposite side of the burner assuming you have the "frontier") should be a little higher than the front so the air can get out.  If you have the black boiler stand, you should be able to adjust the little feet nuts if the attached piping has some play.
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    Flo Check?

    Here are two pictures I just took. Do you see a Flo Check?
  • chapchap70chapchap70 Member Posts: 130
    I doubt there are flo-cheks on this.

    Since this installation is with zone valves for each zone, there probably are no flo-cheks like there would be if each zone were controlled by a circulator.
  • R ManninoR Mannino Member Posts: 422
    Grundfos 3 Speed on a System 2000?

    What speed is the circulator set to?

    They come from the factory with a Taco 007 which equates to speed 2 on the Grundfos 15-58.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Member Posts: 2,385

    They are always to be installed with zone valves. Fast acting, full port, and always better if they are Honeywell, and not the lousy Eries I see here. Not a good job over all. I would say that the last zone on that manifold is the noisy zone? Call a good plumber, this is not an EK issue. Find someone here to remove the manifold, and start there. I started installing them in 84. If they are not done right, you have nothing. They are not a complicated system, only to the untrained. 
  • Ron Jr.Ron Jr. Member Posts: 527
    Any heating pipes buried in a slab ?


    With your constant air issues and the changing of the circulator and the addition of the Honeywell air eliminator ........... I'd guess you have a leak somewhere . The rattling could be from the circulator , the zone valves , a globe or gate valve ..... Maybe even a flowcheck that might've been left over from the old system . Can you take some more pics of the rest of the piping ?
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    rattling noise

    The Grundfos is set to medium speed. The last zone is not the noisiest one, first zone is.

    I have a full basement and no heating pipes under a slab.

    EK was over within a few months of the installation and saw the "lousy' job that was done, but the EK rep did not make them do it over. As for the air problem, EK rep seems to blame everything on the fact I have well water, even this "supposedly" scale problem.

    The EK rep has not returned my calls, not even after I called EK's main office and they contacted him and told me he would call.

    I am retired and not a whole lot of funds to try this and that.

    The technician who came over said it was not the circulator or zone valve.The rattling noise is not constant when heat is on. EK rep told the technician he knows of this problem occurring with the boiler and suggested a boiler wash with vinegar or TSP because there is scale in the system. The system is four years old but EK rep says I have well water and that's why it happened. I had a boiler tuneup last month.
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    No Rattle, No Heat

    After the technician left, there was lots of air in the system, which I gather is from his taking off circulator, Spirovent, and Erie zone valve for inspection. However, we did have heat in all three zones and Thursday the rattle was gone! Everything seemed great even though I could hear air at the boiler, prominent waterfall sounds.

    Saturday morning there was no heat in Zone 1, my den, but had heat in the other zones. The temperature rose just one degree in the living/dining room during seven hours of use. The burner seems to be firing as usual and zone valves seem to be opening alright judging by the little lever at bottom of zone valves.

    I used a portable oil-filled electric heater for my den, which is zone one and called for help! They said it would be an extra $150 dollars minimum or I could wait until Monday. Well, since I had heat in the other zones, and the portable electric heater was warming my den to 72 degrees, I decided to wait. Surprisingly, after my den went to 72 degrees and I shut off the portable heater, I decided to put the heat back on in my den and it worked! Things looked pretty good until later when Zone 3, living/dining room went off, no heat. I still had heat upstairs, though weak, and heat in my den, but nothing in zone 3.

    This morning there still is no heat in the living/dining room, zone 3, and now heat went off in my den. There is heat upstairs, zone 2. With tomorrow being Monday, I am waiting it out.  Could it be air in the system causing this to happen, or maybe the control manager (the thing that shows when heat is on with those LEDs)?
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Whales, snails and tails:

    Just for the fun of it, have you tried running the circulator on #1, the lowest setting?

    I have a personal thing about letting circulators have some room to sort their turbulence out before making radical turns like that. The water must go from totally disturbed flow, to laminar and then to circular in a very short space.

    Raise the system pressure to 20#, set the circulator to #1 and see what happens.

    I personally would also take a 1/2" black coupling with a plug in one end and screw the other end into the Spirovent to see if it is sucking air .

    Nothing gained, nothing lost.
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    edited February 2013
    I have...

    just one circulator for all three zones, so I assume you thought I had three?

    I could close the Spirovent but not sure how to do what you suggest. Tomorrow, when the heating tech comes, I could ask him about that, Spirovent sucking air. If it is air that is causing the problem, after he bleeds I could close the Spirovent. The reason I have so much air now is because the technician took off the circulator, zone one valve, and the Spirovent for inspection. I assume that with those things off, lots of air got in. I was not having that air problem before he came, though not sure if cap on Spirovent was open or closed.

    Did you mean set circulator to highest speed?  I don't know how to raise pressure to 20.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Slow down:

    Turn the circulator speed control to "1". Its just something I would try to see what happens. On the top of the Spirovent is a fitting that turns to a horizontal plane and is threaded. You can not pit a cap on it because there is a point that sticks out and will hit the cap. So, use a coupling and a plug or a boiler drain.

    It is my feeling that Spirovents can create air bubbles through cavitation with water flowing through the wires. But that is my opinion. I've watched the bubbles appear during demonstration.

    If you don't know how to raise the pressure, leave it to the Pro. You may end up in a dilemma. If the system was apart, it may need a good proper purge. I cap off the Spirovents on systems I have to drain because I do it with air. The Spirovent will bleed air faster than I can pump it in. I leave the cap on and have never had an air problem with leaving it on. If I did, I would be removing them.

    I've never installed an EK nor do I have any in my customer base that I service. They seem to work well and everyone seems happy with them. I drink that you have a mechanical problem. They can be hard to track down and can be by many small causes
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    edited February 2013
    System 2000 and more

    I don't have a "1" setting on my Grundfos, either Slow, Medium, or High.

    You have me confused by saying the Spirovent can cause air bubbles and then say later that you leave the cap on and the cap can't close it up entirely..

    System 2000 is great for those who live in Phoenix or Tucson. I live in the "frigid" zone and System 2000 has a hard time keeping up. I would not recommend the System 2000 for anyone who has well water. EK representative for my area told me well water is what causes scale in the boiler. My boiler is four years old and when the technician asked my rep for help with the rattling noise, EK rep said he's aware of this problem with the boiler and it's because of scale which is caused by well water. I was like, 4 years and already scale? My previous boiler, Weil McClain went over 12 years without getting a scale problem--and well water is what I had and have had since I built this house.

    I could tell you lots about EK, and it is pretty bad. I asked them who was recommended for my area to make a purchase of System 2000. I used who they recommended--terrible, terrible mistake. It has cost me thousands and I still have a system 2000 that many say looks like a crappy install--and they are correct. I just don't have the funds to do anymore. I've spent so much and deep in debt I can't do anymore--all because of buying a system 2000. I wouldn't recommend this system to my worst enemy, but that's just me. Since you don't sell or service these units, what you hear is extremely limited.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    Slow equals "I", Meduim equals "II", High equals "III". on the ones I have used.

    I'm not saying your Spirovent is the problem. I'm just giving you some of my bag of troubleshooting tricks to see if you get a response. I'm always looking outside the box for unusual problems and you have an unusual problem.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    call backs

    If they made it air-bound, or did something to make zones stop heating, there shouldn't be a mention of $$$$. They obviously created air by draining the system, the other part of the job is to refill it. I'll be nice and leave it at that.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    problem are with

    the installer and service personal, not the boiler. I installed my first in 84. They are a clean, quiet, efficient boiler if done right. Unfortunately you have a bad rep and service company. Have you called EK directly? They do attempt to satisfy. Where are you located? 
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    some answers

    icesailor, The Grundfos I have shows Slow, Medium, and High settings for the circulator. You may be right about the Spirovent, just that I don't understand why you leave the cap on and say the cap doesn't completely shut out air/eliminate the possibility of it sucking in air.

    billowcase, yes, I have contacted EK and they sent the rep for my area to my house--and he saw the installation. I contacted them early on, within the first month or two at most. I had to wait for him to come over, which he did, I think, in August, 6 months after installation. I am in Effort, PA.

    with this latest problem, rattling, I called EK and they gave me the rep's cell phone number. I called, left a message to call me back more than once, but he did not return my call. I again called EK and told them he hasn't called me back, They contacted him and said he would call me--but he never did.

    I was told by EK person who answered the phone they are not a service company and advised me to have someone come over--the rest is in a post of mine above.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    Yes, they are not

    a service company, but they should help to find you some competent tech in your area. Sounds like the rep has as much compassion as your service guys. Anyone here close to that area? I would also look thru the find a contractor here.
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    Yes, I have

    looked here to find a contractor using the Search function, none were listed for my area. Before I purchased the System 2000, I asked EK who they recommended, and I used their choice. I also used their choices for service. My impression is they just want to have their product sold. Their rep who came down and saw the "crappy" install could have had someone redo it and share the cost with me. Instead, I was left with that "crappy" install and nothing like a "whisper quiet" boiler that sounds like a microwave.

    My oil company at the time sold both System 2000 and Buderus. I was told to avoid System 2000 and go with Buderus. I thought that was strange, him selling both and saying that, but I didn't ask him why. Others told me he probably said that because he didn't have the personnel to provide adequate service--so I didn't buy it from him. As it turns out, getting someone who is able to provide adequate service here is like waiting for the new century to arrive.
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    All three zones are

    working! I called a company that services and sells the system 2000 and he purged all the zones. There were two techs that came over. One tech thought it might be the circulator, and he still thinks it is a possibility the circulator is going bad. I also thought it could be the circulator because there seemed to be a lack of force moving the water and that's why only one zone would work at a time. But, for now at least, all three zones are working.

    While purging I asked him about the water color and if the recommended 8-way boiler treatment was in there. He said no, it was not, but he didn't have any on the truck.

    Ron Jr. asked me about a flow check and while the pictures I posted do not show one, there is a flow check in the Grundfos circulator. However, there is no rattling noise now so I guess we can leave things as they are.
  • chapchap70chapchap70 Member Posts: 130
    First guy spent 3 hours there & didn't purge zones?!!

    I'm glad you got your problem resolved without acid cleaning.  Like I previously posted, the case I am most familiar with that needed acid cleaning, there was a loud banging and hissing at the boiler.  The restriction causes the water to flash to steam if the designed flow rate is severely reduced.  Hopefully, through this ordeal, you found a good company. 

    Purging zones should not be hard for a homeowner once you know how.  They shouldn't need to be purged more than once if the piping was done well but the added Spiro-vent is a clue something else is going on.  Usually the cheaper Hy-vent or 67 vent is sufficient.  Maybe the original company installed it unnecessarily?

     If you don't have the $$ to have the piping fixed and you have to purge the zones once a year, maybe you could live with it.  It doesn't matter what type of boiler is there; if the piping isn't done right, you could have this type of problem.

    What was the reason the Grundfos with the integral flo-chek was installed?  Like R Mannino said, EK comes with a 007 (without the flo-chek)  The flo-chek is not necessary with the zone valve setup.
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    in reply

    The first tech didn't bleed the system because there didn't seem to be a reason to. He took off the circulator, Spirovent, and zone valve 1, put them back, couldn't solve rattling and left. Thus, the air problem was after his work. I do not have to bleed my system every year. I can't remember the last time it was bled.

    There was no banging or hissing, just a rattling sound that occurred in spurts--not continuous.

    The Taco had a high-pitched sound, and not installer but EK recommended service suggested the Grundfos because it is quieter than Taco--and I can vouch for that.

    I paid for a lot of work during that horrific first year with this system--it is not "whisper Quiet" like a microwave as EK's ad states.

    I told the tech who installed the Grundfos to remove the flo-check but he refused! It is removable and not needed in my install.

    What about the 8-way boiler treatment? The tech who came today said the unit didn't have any. I had a tuneup last month. When I called EK and inquired about maintenance and tuneup, I was told the tech doing a tuneup is supposed to check if boiler needs more 8-way, but obviously he never did.

    I've had more service calls for this System 2000 in 4 years than I had in over 12 years for my old Weil McLain boiler.
  • chapchap70chapchap70 Member Posts: 130
    My guess as to why it is not quiet.

    If the boiler was not installed with the fresh air intake which consists of 2 inch (EK-1) PVC piped from an outside wall to the insulated burner cover, it will not run "as quiet as a microwave".   The 2 inch hole gets what looks like a dryer vent put over it on the outside.

    Unfortunately, some companies do not install the fresh air intake to cut down on installation/labor costs which means it is not as quiet.  If your boiler doesn't have the yellow box that covers the oil burner, (can't tell from your pictures) it will be more noisy.
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    Try again

    First of all, they really stated quieter than a microwave.

    I have the fresh air intake, so?

    So you think the system 2000 should be as quiet as a microwave. I've told system 2000 repair personnel that and they all laugh, and they say it's just commercial hype, but you believe it to be true.
  • chapchap70chapchap70 Member Posts: 130
    edited February 2013

    We've installed a couple with the burner cover and without the fresh air intake.  A customer commented on how quiet it was and said she could hardly tell it was running while standing right next to it.

    The one in the picture was installed at our church and is quieter than the air handler behind it.  The kitchen is to the right of the boiler room.  Some people have told me that it is so much quieter than the old boiler.

    The site wouldn't let me upload a 3.1 megabyte picture;  Imagine that.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Member Posts: 2,385

    with or without the air intake attached, they are about the quietest boiler I have installed or serviced. In the early 80's, getting parts for rotary burners/boilers were getting to be tough. That was a boiler, if set right, you could walk by it and hardly know that it was running. The unfortunate solution to lack of parts was to replace the unit itself. Some we built chambers and installed Beckett burners, some got Vertiflames before that. The only boiler that would come close to as quiet, other than gas, was EK, and I still feel that way today. What nozzle is in it, and can you provide more pics and combustion readings? Is this chimney vented? I understand your frustrations, but this is a result of a poor rep, installer, and service personnel  that you have been unfortunate enough to be dealing with.
  • R ManninoR Mannino Member Posts: 422
    No Lie

    Quietest oil fired boiler that I know of and I've put a few in with Chapchap. Hi Carl
  • Ron Jr.Ron Jr. Member Posts: 527
    Quieter than a microwave

    I do believe they are . Many customers have said they can't believe the unit is running when we show them after we're done .

    Not for nothing , but I don't think your problems had much to do with the system itself , and rather with the installers and so called servicemen who worked on it after . The guy who thought the system didnt need a purge AFTER he took out the circulator , Spirovent and a zone valve ..............  ain't much of a serviceman .

    I'm sorry for all the problems you've been having with the system . It's kinda ludicrous to think all the troubles since day one are from a lack of a good purge .........  But that's what it sounds like .
  • chapchap70chapchap70 Member Posts: 130
    Hi Ron,

    Long time no see;  I'll catch up with you at the Big Ugly.
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    edited February 2013
    Quieter than a microwave?

    You guys say it's quieter than other boilers, but that is not what I've been discussing. What I said was EK's advertisement stated quieter than a microwave. I said it is not as quiet as a microwave. Every single system 2000 service personnel including supervisors and EK representative said the way my boiler sounds is NORMAL for this unit. Most everyone laughs at the suggestion it's quieter or as quiet as a microwave, EK rep didn't laugh, the only one.

    Someone above said

    My guess as to why it is not quiet.

    If the boiler was not installed with the fresh air intake which consists

    of 2 inch (EK-1) PVC piped from an outside wall to the insulated burner

    cover, it will not run "as quiet as a microwave".   The 2 inch hole

    gets what looks like a dryer vent put over it on the outside.

    Well, I have that installed and I still don't think it runs as quiet as a microwave, at least any microwave I've ever heard. I am not arguing it's not more quiet than other boilers, never said that. However, it is not the same tonal pitch as my previous boiler, quieter but harder sound. The biggest sound improvement is during non-heating months, like summer when many other boilers run to maintain temperature and this one only to maintain temperature when calling for hot water, something like twice a day, whereas many other boilers run to maintain temperature for heating, even though you are not using heat.
  • MelMel Member Posts: 43
    Rattling again!

    I thought it was over, but the rattling noise is back again, occurring in a series of rattling noise. I went down to the basement while it was rattling and it seems to be coming from the Spirovent., not circulator. Last week the tech took off the Spirovent and removed the float inside but rattling could still be present. At this point, all I can think of is remove Spirovent and see what happens, more money spent on this boiler. Seems like it never ends.
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