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Utica PEG-C not firing

Hi everyone, I have an older peg-c steam boiler made by Utica. I had the boiler serviced about a month ago prior to the heating season. It was fine.

I ran the boiler for the first time yesterday at night. It turned on fine, we went to bed, and when we woke up it was 62° in the house instead of the 67 it was supposed to be set to.

The thermostat is a Honeywell digital programmable thermostat. My first troubleshooting step was to replace the two AAA batteries inside it. I also verified that the electrical kill switch near the boiler itself was turned on, meaning that there is still electricity going to it.

I drained all the water and refilled it about 2/3rds per my steam tech's instructions.

The red light that comes on when the low-water is sensed is not illuminated. I read an article in the owners manual that suggests that there is a cut off switch for either rollout or from the damper. I found the switch is on the damper and the rollout, but they don't appear to be red reset button, it just looks like a metal gray circle of some kind. Doesn't look like a reset button or circuit breaker that I can tell. I can get some pictures if you really want.

The pilot is still lit since I have a continuous pilot.

Does anyone have any suggestions? My next step is to take all the wires of the thermostat off and reattach them.

But again, it did work yesterday. So I'm not sure what changed in the last 12 hours.

Thanks.

Comments

  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Is the breaker on? The LWCO is typically the first safety wired in the control circuit. If there's no power there, then the other safeties won't matter.
  • Pilot1226
    Pilot1226 Member Posts: 16
    That's the million-dollar question, we've lived in this house for about two years now. I know that when I originally was setting up the thermostat I turned off every single breaker and somehow someway this thing still fired. The only way I was able to turn it off completely was to turn off the main breaker. Not sure what type of wiring job is in this house, but I'll take a look at the breaker box when I get a second. Standby…
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Check for a hall or stair switch as well. Those are often mistaken for light switches.
  • Pilot1226
    Pilot1226 Member Posts: 16
    edited October 2014
    No I'm positive that it's not on a light switch or anything like that, we've lived here for two years and I've never had a problem like this. I just checked the breaker box and everything appears to be in the on position, nothing seems tripped.

    I took a couple pictures of the boiler, boiler from the side, kill switch on top, and inside the ducting to see that little metal circle that I was talking about.

    Thanks.

    [IMG]http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f203/disregardec/CA061C9F-0580-4707-B9D3-DD787FA277C6_zpsqtgigfre.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f203/disregardec/8C0CC774-A2D9-434E-A8F4-F17509FA5B30_zpshiubdlsl.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f203/disregardec/A05A8AC0-08A9-4D07-B1E5-49093F4F12A2_zpsnncjpoyz.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f203/disregardec/A6920227-F1FE-4A03-B363-9CD336436F1D_zpsalxq6yn6.jpg[/IMG]
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,470
    If you have a meter we can talk you through some basic troubleshooting steps. I would first check all connections at the thermostat and the boiler to make sure nothing is loose or broken. The thermostat is 24vac but there is some 120v at the boiler so be careful.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Pilot1226
    Pilot1226 Member Posts: 16
    edited October 2014
    I have a multimeter.

    If you want me to test the water cut off first, what I can do is I can leave the electric on and not turn off the kill switch up top, and I could just drain the water out of the boiler. The light should come on once I'm below the probe. If it doesn't then I know I guess I have an electrical problem right?
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,470
    If you lower the water enough the LWCO should fault and the light should come on ASSUMING it isn't filled with dirt and scum and that the switch contacts are good.

    I found the manual online but I don't see any real electrical information on it but I'm still looking. See if this looks like your boiler.

    http://www.ecrinternational.com/secure/upload/document/278.pdf

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Pilot1226
    Pilot1226 Member Posts: 16
    Yep, that's my boiler. I have a copy of the instruction manual printed out in front of me too. The biggest thing that I couldn't find in the boiler was how to reset either the rollout switch or the damper switch if they got tripped. Then again, I don't even know if they got tripped. I'll go check the low-water cut off in a few minutes.

    Thanks for all the input and advice, fingers crossed…
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,470
    I found the wiring diagram.

    http://www.ecrinternational.com/secure/upload/document/1250.pdf

    I looked at the pictures and see you show a vent damper in the second picture, those do sometimes get intermittant. It looks like the vent dapper, the rollout switch and the pressuretrol are all in series. Pressuretrols also sometimes get intermittant, if you can reach the switch terminals there should be zero volts ( as well as zero ohms) across all of these; they all should be on the 24vac line.

    Do you know if this is a millivolt system?

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Pilot1226
    Pilot1226 Member Posts: 16
    I'm not sure. I believe so because I called Utica after Hurricane Sandy and inquired about the load on the generator and their tech said its minuscule. I have an analog multimeter so I can check whatever we need. Here are some more pictures of the wiring at the wire nuts and where the two wires go into the wall, then it seems into the junction box next to it and into the wall (thermostat is directly above it on main level)

    I checked the LWCO and it did not turn on even with the kill switch closed (power should have been going to the boiler.

    http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f203/disregardec/78020CCA-FFC4-4F19-99B4-D85F662DFA81_zpsvjxpjaoc.jpg

    http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f203/disregardec/C4BBC2C2-713F-4804-B7FD-B2505A05DE32_zpsiu6ktft5.jpg

    http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f203/disregardec/8B4418C6-0E33-47AD-93EA-7AD5CFFC7D15_zpsnecjqx4n.jpg
  • Pilot1226
    Pilot1226 Member Posts: 16
    I used my multimeter to touch the wiring on the screws of that silver box next to the junction that goes up the wall. That lights up but doesn't register on my multimeter which vibrates at 120/240/480.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    It's not a millivolt system because it has an electronic LWCO.

    You need to do the trusted method of hop-scotch troubleshooting; start by checking power at the LWCO 1&2 terminals and check voltage on all controls and safeties from power-lead to ground.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,470
    edited October 2014
    The control system on that boiler is 24vac, your tester won't be of much use. Those two screws are the output of the 24v transformer that supplies power to the control system.

    If it is a millivolt system the output of the thermocouple in the pilot flame has to be checked to see if it's putting enough out.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Pilot1226
    Pilot1226 Member Posts: 16
    Sounds like I'm beat then? I'll give PSE&G a call. Good news is that it should warm up a bit after tonight.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Where are you located?
  • Pilot1226
    Pilot1226 Member Posts: 16
    Essex County NJ, but I have the PSEG worryfree contract. So it should be free for them to do it, just not as convenient as doing it myself tonight.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    PSE&G covers less and less repairs every year. If you have a problem with them, I'd be happy to help. Even if you want to try some more things yourself and want to talk through it over the phone. My information is below.
    Pilot1226
  • Pilot1226
    Pilot1226 Member Posts: 16
    Thanks. I will keep it in mind... for the last 2 years when we had our boilers tuned up by places in town both companies said that it was in rough shape and on its last legs. So, I can't say I'm surprised. Just not sure what it is. Will post again when I either fix it or it's running again to close out the post.
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    Does the flue damper open when the thermostat calls for heat? My first guess would be that. Check for power at the gas valve. If it's got power, your gas valve went south. If the gas valve doesn't have power, check for continuity across each safety. (LWCO, pressuretrol, etc)

    Use a multimeter. What you are using is not a multimeter.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    I would recommend calling @JStar who has posted above. You will get a true and fair opinion of your system.

    Rob
  • Don_197
    Don_197 Member Posts: 184
    CALL JOE..........DON'T MAKE HIM OFFER AGAIN LOL!!! (prolly the vent damper hung)
  • Pilot1226
    Pilot1226 Member Posts: 16
    Okay I'm up and running once again. As many of you suggested there was a problem with the safety switches. Specifically the wires that connect the rollover safety had become damaged. So I will keep an eye on it going forward, but I am glad the tech had to do more than just flip a switch.

    Thanks again for all the suggestions and advice.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,470
    Thank you for letting us know how it all turned out.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge