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Two Boiler Problems

I'll try to keep this short and, hopefully, sweet. My building has the original Heggie-Simplex boiler from 1926 (originally oil fired, gas conversion in '71 and new burner in '04 iirc). Last winter we had problems with the burner cutting out which our boiler guy finally traced to a faulty computer part/electronics module. Once that was replaced the problem was fixed and no more running down to restart the burner.

So on to this heating season. Twice, so far, the controller (heat-timer, from '04 I think) has essentially cut out for lack of a better term, in that it wasn't calling for heat when clearly the interior temperatures were falling. Each time it's been solved by switching over to "summer" and back to "winter" at which point the system recognizes the call for heat and kicks on and we're good to go. The first time I noticed it I thought I heard a beeping but at the time thought it was the end of the dryer cycle in the laundry room. The response from the boiler guy was "its an old boiler, it's ok" about the switch (I suspect that the property manager misunderstood what I told her - this is what she told me). I'm beginning to suspect, though, that the heat-timer system may be nearing the end of it's life or has been poorly maintained or damaged (it's not really correct for us anyways, since it was ordered with the hourly rather than half-hourly setting - our system is primarily convectors, 100% originally). Has anybody had these issues before? For the moment I can live with it, but it'll have to be addressed at some point, though I want to deal with other aspects first, such as getting rid of the one-pipe radiators, improperly sized radiators, etc.

The other issue is a small, but seemingly consistent leak from the blow down valve. I haven't gotten a handle on it this season, but last year it would fill an average sized bucket/pail (typical what, two gallon galvanized) once a day, I don't think it's that bad this year. Our boiler guy said it wasn't a bad leak, but I don't think it should be leaking at all - correct?

I've attached two photos which show the blow down valve (if not the bottom of the pipe) and one shows the controller.


  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    Is it hard to try and track down what is actually beeping?

    With regards to the "its an old boiler, it's ok" response:

    And no, the blowdown valve should not be leaking at all.
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 351
    Ha! Make it so... That's pretty much my response too.

    Thanks - I just needed my suspicions confirmed.

    The problem is I've only heard it beep once, so it'll depend on somebody hearing it to track it down, since it seems to stop after a couple of minutes. My suspicion is the electronics in the controller are wearing out or have been subject to a power surge or the like.
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 351
    So I had to restart the boiler twice last night. The controller was completely "blank" - the heat called for light was off as were the demand satisfied and heat circulation satisfied lights were as well. Once I switched the unit from winter to summer to back the unit came back to life, with the heat demand light on which called over to the burner to start up and back to life. Since then no problems. I really don't think that our crazy Halloween Vortex (if you live in Chicago or near you experienced it too) had anything to do with it.

    I'm wondering what the life span on Heat-Timers is and if it is that simple of a problem (it's also possible there is a wiring problem in the general electrical supply which may have been a problem and shorted out the electronics).

    Anybody know how long Heat-Timers typically last? It also wouldn't surprise me if the initial installation was botched and something incorrect has caused these problems.
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 351
    So it was not a beeping noise but a noisy condensate return pump, so one mystery solved.
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 351
    Further update - the Heat-Timer board is failing, hence the "shut-downs," which means some tough choices on replacement/repair.

    Also, our intrepid janitor repaired the leak on the blow down valve.