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Boiler Mate WH7L Noise

0409004090 Member Posts: 142
Helping a friend on this one. 

A Boiler Mate WH7L makes a noise comparable to a woodworking shop planer.  First it's really loud and then it tapers to nothing over a minute or two and repeats.  Happens several times a day regardless of water use.

What could it be?


  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 1,452
    Nice install

    Probably a problem with the zone valve
  • 0409004090 Member Posts: 142
    edited August 2014
    It appears

    It appears to be originating from the lower part of the blue tank... would that reflect something from the zone valve?

    If it matters, this install is at 8,300 feet and on hard well water.   The system is in an attic.
  • RobGRobG Member Posts: 1,850
    Check Valve?

    look at the check valve as well, they are known to chatter with age. What a butiffull piping job. It's a shame that the installer didn't understand the pumping away principle. How old is that system? The boiler looks like an older HydroTherm HC series unit. It looks as if the owner cleans the equipment often (rare).

  • 0409004090 Member Posts: 142

    Originating from the lower third of the tank, no doubt.

    What's in there that can make a resonating sound through the nearby pipes?
  • hot rodhot rod Member Posts: 7,009
    Could be

    That coil is limed up. Has the recovery time slowed for noticeably?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • CTheatCTheat Member Posts: 5
    control board

    That's an old boilermate, as evidenced by the pre-electronic control board. All boilermate controls have a relay built in, sometimes when they fail they start to chatter or hum
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Pumping Away:

    Just shocking. All those systems out there that aren't pumping away but are pumping in to. Shocking as to how many are out there still working. And they're not supposed to work.

    Oh well, as they say, Progress, Not Perfection.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited August 2014

    Good point about the relay.

    Over 8,000' in Colorado? Are you off grid or do you get decent power in that rarified air? Might want to rig a Multimeter on that circuit side to see what you have. And check the ground/neutral. Aluminum wires? Tighten the connections in the panel. Especially the service feeds.

    Those boiler mates used a Poly bag to keep the Potable Water from the thin steel shell. The indirect coil goes inside the bag. Some piece might be in the water stream and flapping.

    You must be on a well. Is there any possibility that the pump is running when the noise starts? The noise is when the pump is running and stops when the pump stops. Listen for the hum if it is a submersible pump. Where do you get water from at 8,000'? How do you store it? A Cistern Tank? Colorado mountains are really just deserts. They're not temperate rain forests like Washington State and Oregon.

    What's the "04090"? A Zip Code? You don't live near Kennebunk Maine do you?
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 3,476

    Chris you crack me up! You really should come for a trip out west. There are thousands of folks living about 8,000 feet. Most heating systems are hydronic. We have running water,electricity and everything. Some wells are as shallow as 30 feet others approach 1,000 feet.The average is probably around 100'  Most folks have city water that comes from reservoirs.

    Back to the original question.

    The boiler is in the attic. Low system pressure is likely.

    The circulator is pumping into the expansion tank, so whatever your system pressure is, you will have less behind the circulator.

    The amtrol heat exchanger has  very high head resistance.

    I think that the sound you are hearing is is water flashing to steam in  the heat exchanger. At that altitude water boiler in the 195 degree range. If you have negative pressure, you can boil water at room temp.

    What is the system pressure and temp?  Do you trust the gauge?

    Try raising the pressure it or better yet repiping the circulator.

    Maybe the the lack of air is clouding my judgement but I think this is your problem.

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • RobGRobG Member Posts: 1,850

    I'm with Carl, check the pressure. If you look to the left of the boiler you can see that the ball valve for the make-up water is closed. I never thought about it being in the attic before it was mentioned.

  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Boiling Over:

    The water in an Amtrol Boiler Mate is 41 gallons, inside the plastic bladder. Inside is the HX, With system pressure (12#?) in the system. Regardless of the elevation outside, the pressure in the system(12#) will hold the boiling point to 244 degrees. It won't boil. It can boil in the hardness coating. Listen to a dual element electric water heater when you turn it on and its cold and running on the top element. It makes quite a racket.

    The poster stated that they had well water and it was "hard". That may mean that the indirect coil is covered NOT on the inside of the coil like a tank less coil inside a oil boiler, but on the OUTSIDE of the coil, where the hot water inside the coil (180 degrees?) can cause the hardness to precipitate out and cover the OUTSUDE of the coil. Then, you can get the whistling and popping sound some of us hear when the small amounts of water come into contact with the heated water in the hardness deposits. Usually though, you don't get a lot of hot water out of such a dirty coil. If you have a well and a pump, when the pump is getting ready to turn off, sometimes they make a noise as they shut off. Jet pumps do it badly but it is really a symptom of water rushing through the nozzle and into the venturi at high pressure and velocity. Worse yet on single stage Jet pumps that are set to shut off at 50# and they are becoming worn and have a hard time pumping up to the last few pounds. Dropping the cut out pressures can help. Submersibles are another issue. Improper pump selection can cause your symptoms. The most common submersible pump sold is a 1/2 HP 220volt 12 GPM pump that delivers 12 Gallons per minute. If you have say a 100' well with a 50' static level (to static water level) and it will yield 30 GPM, it doesn't matter what pump you put in it. Unless you have a well with really deep static levels, you can always and only pump 12 GPM, until the water drops below the pumping the ability to deliver adequate water at adequate pressure from the pump. But if the well only delivers 6 GPM, sooner or later, you will run out of water with the 12 GPM pump. And the rub where the noises come from. The 6 GPM pump has more stages(Impellors) so the pump can PUSH the water up from higher levels. That old 1 Pound of pressure supports a column of water 2.31' high. You need enough pressure to raise the water. But that smaller GPM pump is delivering higher pressure in which it is used in application. It can also be the sound of the well drawing down to the pump level because the pumping ability of the pump has exceeded the ability of the well to deliver water as needed.

    I know full well that there are reservoirs in Colorado. There may even be what they do in Florida with no standpipes, use variable speed pumps to maintain system pressure. They also have wells. If a private water system in a building at 8,000' is drawing off a 1,000' well, they are drawing off a surface water aquifer. The actual Ground Water is just above Sea Level. The Oglalla Aquifer is maybe 30' above mean sea level and is slightly affected by moon gravitational pull.

    I like to understand what is behind the question before I try to answer. Especially if I am wrong. I'm here to learn. And no one has any idea how much I have learned since 2008, here.
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 3,476

    I am curious about this one.

    Has the issue been resolved?
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited September 2014
    System Pressure:


    I don't think there are many here on The Wall who have been advocating for higher system pressures that I have. In fact, this application is a poster child for having enough pressure in the system to maintain altitude.

    A top floor system I did had a low pressure alarm and a pre-charged with water, well tank with a glycerin solution to make sure that it didn't get air bound from the top floor.

    As far as the cold water supply to the PRV being off, I NEVER leave them off unless a system has a LWC and a pressure tank if it has Glycol in it. A few years ago here on The Wall, there was a huge pro & con discussion about whether to leave a fill valve on or off. It wasn't resolved. If the house is on a well, many customers turn the pump off when they are away. SO, the fill valve won't fill anyway. Even though it appears to be a 9-11 valve installed, technically, in some Jurisdiction, the supply must be disconnected or one of those really expensive backflow with the test ports are required.

    A few years ago, when I went to a 2 day Veissmann Vitodens class, there were three guys who flew in from your area to attend the classes. All they talked about was all the "Off-Grid" jobs they did.

    I used to get a lot of after hours no heat calls. For years. My first question would be, did you check the emergency safety switch at the top of the stairs?Might someone have opened the switch? Many times, they come back to the phone and tell me that all is OK now. If low system pressure was the cause, I would have thought that someone would have checked the pressure. It least it is piped properly and water is always in the boiler.
  • 0409004090 Member Posts: 142
    edited September 2014
    It's not

    As stated in the first post, I was trying to help a friend I was visiting.  It's REALLY (can I emphasize that more?) good to be back at sea level.

    The noise persists and I don't think the old lady that lives in the house alone will be doing anything about it.  It works, she doesn't mind some noise considered reassuring and isn't concerned.  To each their own.

    I won't be going back to that altitude, ever.  I'll pass the information posted here along in the event that the handyman type plumber (he didn't know the difference between copper L and M!) ever gets out to her place again.  There's not many service providers out that way.

  • RobGRobG Member Posts: 1,850
    If someone went up there and opened the valve on the 1/2" pipe to the left of the boiler the problem may go away on it's own. Do you recall what the pressure on the gauge read? You can probably talk your friend through it over the phone.

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