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Honeywell gas valve buzzing, again?

ChrisJ
ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827
Hi All,

Back in 2011 I installed my WM EG-45 and the day after noticed something in the basement buzzing. I went down and found the gas valve on the boiler buzzing. The burner was going like normal but the gas valve was buzzing so I shut it off and turned it back on and the buzzing never came back.

I recall emailing WM and talking to a member on the wall and if I remember correctly both said basically the same thing. That sometimes gas valves will do this after sitting on the shelf for years and it may just need to be exercised. It only did it that one time until last night.

I was down the basement working on something and the boiler was running. I noticed a slight buzzing coming from the gas valve so I pulled the cover off and tapped on the valve with a screw driver handle but it really had no effect. The next time the boiler fired the valve was quiet again.

Should I be concerned about this and buy a spare valve to have on hand, or even to replace it immediately or does this sound like something that just happens from time to time? Should I check anything like the voltage going to the gas valve? Would a slightly low voltage cause such a thing or would the valve flat out close or not open in the first place?

The last thing I want to happen is for this valve to fail, especially if it fails open. The 2nd to last thing I want is it to fail closed on a cold night.

Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
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Comments

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827
    This is the only picture I have handy of the gas valve, which of course is before I put everything together.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Spence
    Spence Member Posts: 316
    Measure the control voltage at the transformer when the boiler is on stand-by. Call for heat, and when the burners are on, measure it again. The voltage drop should not be more than 10%.

    Also read the voltage on the gas valve with the burners on.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    Back in the 80's my company built a line of radar transmitter power supplies that were relay controlled for remote power on / off. The initial run was for a dozen units; while running through the acceptance data sheets I found two of them had chattering relays at low line full load, they were right on the edge of dropping out. This was going into air traffic control gear so it to be reliable. After going through some tests I found some relays were fine down to 80% of rated coil voltage while others barely made 85% and we had to work from 85% to 115% of 240 or 120v. We made our own transformers so I knew they were more than rated for the load

    I ended up having to screen the relays to be sure I had relays that would work, I think 15% of them would not work reliably at low line. I suspect you might have a marginal valve solenoid coil. In any case measure the voltage when it's activated. has anything been added that might be loading down the 24v? The transformers they use are pretty skimpy so they won't look kindly at additional loads.

    If the voltage seems low under load you might be able to wire up a filament transformer in the primary of the 24v transformer to boost the voltage by 5%.

    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
    ChrisJ
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    If the voltage is correct, the laminations on the solenoid winding are probably getting "loose". If you can deal with the humming/buzzing sound, don't worry about it.
    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827
    Using a Fluke 179 I've got 25.94V RMS pretty much everywhere including at the gas valve when the boiler is on. 27.38V RMS with the burner off.

    Sounds like all is normal as far as voltage goes?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    It's not voltage, maybe something is loose near the coil? That plastic cover can be removed, be careful not to snag a wire when doing so.

    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827
    BobC said:

    It's not voltage, maybe something is loose near the coil? That plastic cover can be removed, be careful not to snag a wire when doing so.

    Bob

    Not sure, I may have a look later.
    I tried pushing on the plastic while it was doing it last night and it changed tone a little but really had no effect. Same with tapping on the valve with the screw driver handle.

    Now it's not doing it so I can't really, tell much. If it does it again I guess I can check voltages again and maybe get a closer look.

    It sounds like the overall feeling everyone has is there is no immediate danger going by what I've described?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Spence
    Spence Member Posts: 316
    You have eliminated one item that can cause the coil of the gas valve to be unhappy; voltage drop, which could be at the valve itself or another load upstream of the valve. From what you describe, it doesn't seem to be a safety issue. Perhaps it's time to balance peace of mind with the cost of a valve.
    ChrisJ
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    Are you sure this is a 60HZ buzz? If it was substantially lower it might be valve chatter, you would need a manometer to check that.

    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
  • gcp13
    gcp13 Member Posts: 122
    Just had the same thing on a Burnham gas valve. 2 coils under the cover. Could not get it to stop buzzing. Replaced gas valve 200.00
    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827
    BobC said:

    Are you sure this is a 60HZ buzz? If it was substantially lower it might be valve chatter, you would need a manometer to check that.

    Bob

    Hi Bob,

    Sounds very 60hz ish to me.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,506
    After 50 years of working on gas systems I would tell you to leave it alone gas valves do this some times and as long as it is working it is fine. DO NOT TAMPER WITH THAT VALVE TAKING THINGS APART AS YOU COULD END UP BLOWING YOURSELF UP. THESE VALVES ARE NO LONGER ALLOWED TO BE FIELD REPAIRED. IF IT WILL GIVE YOU PEaCE OF MIND REPLACE IT. By the way what is the Honeywell number of the valve?
    ChrisJZman
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827

    After 50 years of working on gas systems I would tell you to leave it alone gas valves do this some times and as long as it is working it is fine. DO NOT TAMPER WITH THAT VALVE TAKING THINGS APART AS YOU COULD END UP BLOWING YOURSELF UP. THESE VALVES ARE NO LONGER ALLOWED TO BE FIELD REPAIRED. IF IT WILL GIVE YOU PEaCE OF MIND REPLACE IT. By the way what is the Honeywell number of the valve?

    Hi Tim,


    If memory serves it's a VR8200 series. Something like a VR8204 but I'm going from memory. It's for use with intermittent pilot and 1/2" connections.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827
    I took a video of the valve buzzing tonight.

    I measured just under 26V at the valve while it was doing this. Pushing against the plastic cover quieted it and even almost stopped it.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,506
    The valve may be giving a little solenoid hum as the first valve is a direct acting solenoid valve and they will sometimes hum a little. Not a problem as long as it keeps working.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827

    The valve may be giving a little solenoid hum as the first valve is a direct acting solenoid valve and they will sometimes hum a little. Not a problem as long as it keeps working.

    Hi Tim,

    Did you get to watch the video? If it still get's your seal of approval after that I'll feel better.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,506
    I watched and listened to the video . . . . change the valve that is too loud and that coil is on the way out! Look into whether it may be covered in warranty.
    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827

    I watched and listened to the video . . . . change the valve that is too loud and that coil is on the way out! Look into whether it may be covered in warranty.

    Ok will do.

    Can I use a slow opening valve like Burnham uses on the IN series or do I have to use this exact replacement?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,506
    Exact replacement if you can get it if not then a VR8345M Universal replacement valve from Honeywell.
    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827

    Exact replacement if you can get it if not then a VR8345M Universal replacement valve from Honeywell.

    Ok.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827
    Looking into ordering a new valve now.

    Also noticed, look where some dope put the union! Now I have to take all of that apart just to change the gas valve. It's also stupid because I can't slide the burner out for inspection / cleaning.

    I'm ordering a few nipples and a union so I can make this a little easier to work on. I'll cut my self some slack, I had never piped anything before this. I'll let it slide, this time....
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,081
    You need to find someone better to run your gas lines! Actually I probably would have done something similar if it weren't for all those gas line I helped my grandfather run. lol I don't have my warranty in front of me, but is that valve still under warranty? It might not hurt to contact Weil and see what they might do. All you will lose is a few minutes for a phone call.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827
    KC_Jones said:

    You need to find someone better to run your gas lines! Actually I probably would have done something similar if it weren't for all those gas line I helped my grandfather run. lol I don't have my warranty in front of me, but is that valve still under warranty? It might not hurt to contact Weil and see what they might do. All you will lose is a few minutes for a phone call.


    1 year on all parts besides the block. It's 3 years old now.
    I try to avoid calling these places because they never like talking to a homeowner.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    This would be a great opportunity go big and install a two-stage gas valve...
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,081
    He doesn't have any pressure to actuate it! Of course if it could be hooked into that eco steam system.....
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    ChrisJ
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    I had that same buzz from my gas valve (Burnham boiler) a couple years ago. Would go away and come back. Lasted about two weeks and failed closed.
    ChrisJ
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    I'd probably start with something really simple, like an outdoor temp switch. Switch to high fire when OAT drops below say 20˚F? A two stage stat would mostly work if there were setbacks in use.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827
    SWEI said:

    I'd probably start with something really simple, like an outdoor temp switch. Switch to high fire when OAT drops below say 20˚F? A two stage stat would mostly work if there were setbacks in use.

    Tonight I did an 8 degree recovery. 34F ambient and the most I saw was 1" WC.

    I don't think your idea would work. :)
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Not sure I understand -- I'm not suggesting pressure-based control.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827
    SWEI said:

    Not sure I understand -- I'm not suggesting pressure-based control.

    I don't know,
    Having a lower running burner on warmer days would certainly change things. I guess what I'm wondering is, is there any benefit to it?

    I think the commonly used 2 stage valve would drop me from 150K input to 90K input.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Exactly what I was suggesting. Outdoor temp control would probably work well assuming the system runs with little or no thermostat setback. A two-stage stat would work with setbacks, and also kick the valve to high fire (eventually) if the system can't keep up on cold days. Combining the two would be another option.

    If you're already replacing the valve, the incremental cost might be worth considering, even if you don't put it to full use right away.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827
    SWEI said:

    Exactly what I was suggesting. Outdoor temp control would probably work well assuming the system runs with little or no thermostat setback. A two-stage stat would work with setbacks, and also kick the valve to high fire (eventually) if the system can't keep up on cold days. Combining the two would be another option.

    If you're already replacing the valve, the incremental cost might be worth considering, even if you don't put it to full use right away.

    I can't find the part,
    Do you have a part number handy for the 2 stage?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    I believe @JStar‌ has been using the Robertshaw 700-053 with some success. He might have some thoughts on its applicability to your system.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827
    Yikes,

    That's 3 times the cost of the OEM one.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,757
    FOR GET ABOUTIT
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    edited November 2014
    Your boiler is so well matched to the system I don't see what the advantage of two stage firing would be.

    In my case a two stage system would help a lot, My Smith G8-3 is almost 40% oversized. I need to come up with a scheme to stage my Carlin EZ-Gas. maybe dual valves with individual orifices that would combine for full output and shed the lower capacity feed as pressure starts to rise.

    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
    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827
    I'm curious how often gas valves fail like this.
    I'm assuming / hoping it only lasting 3 years is a fluke and not typical.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,506
    Bob C do not try to stage a Carlin EZ you will be wasting your time. I have been experiementing with a EZ burner in my training center trying to do that for two years and it will not work. On low fire you can't produce sufficient microamps to keep it running it keeps shutting down no matter what I tried.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    I can see where that would be a serious problem, maybe I can sell my neighbor some steam?

    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
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,506
    Chris you should get much more than three years from a gas valve. The one on my furnace is now 25 years old!
    ChrisJZman