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Intermittent - No hot water

ronniedronnied Member Posts: 8
System:
Natural gas 3 -zone Peerless boiler, with a 41 gallon Amtrol BOILERMATE®
Indirect-Fired Water Heater.

Symptom:

Last year occasionally we would loose hot water in the summer months. My buddy came over and checked things out, and showed me where the relay reset switch was. Once the reset with depressed, the burner came back on and we had hot water again.

It happened again, so I had a plumber come over. He noticed there was a piece of clay flue broken off in the chimney and possibly restricting partial air flow. He removed the broken piece, the chimney was clear of any obstructions. He replaced the reset switch, since it is a thermal bi-metal switch that if reset to many times will be ineffective. Unfortunately, the next day, we lost hot water again. Call him, and he said hit the reset. Reset, burner on, and hot water again. He mentioned other customers was also having issues...???

I also installed a chimney cap in the event creatures don't settle in...

So 1 year has passed without any issue. Now it has occurred again this past month. My buddy checked the chimney which is clean, the burner is clean (which we anticipated since it's natural gas), and the vent damper is working properly.

Here's the caveat:
Appears that the issue Occurs when our weather is hot and high humidity. The weather is back to temperate and everything is working as it should with hot water when called for.

Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated...

Comments

  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 3,959
    edited July 2017
    I would say it's a drafting issue. Did anyone check the draft, combustion, gas valve, safety devices (spill switch) with the proper equipment? Pushing the reset and walking away is not diagnosing, and
    could be dangerous.
    Can you post some pics back far enough to see the entire unit and the flue piping?
    steve
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,625
    What temp does the boiler reach just before shutting off for DHW heating in the summer?
  • ronniedronnied Member Posts: 8
    Steve, I'll post pics tonight. Also, If I do call a reputable heating company, at least I know what to as of them. Both my buddy and the plumber indicated the draft is fine, although not using any equipment. Just weird after all this time of the installation that we are running into this problem.
  • ronniedronnied Member Posts: 8
    JugNE, I will check...
  • ronniedronnied Member Posts: 8

    I would say it's a drafting issue. Did anyone check the draft, combustion, gas valve, safety devices (spill switch) with the proper equipment? Pushing the reset and walking away is not diagnosing, and
    could be dangerous.
    Can you post some pics back far enough to see the entire unit and the flue piping?

    Looking at the peerless boiler schemetic online, think it's the Blocked vent switch that I am resetting. I will look at my manual and confirm.


  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,174
    ronnied said:

    Both my buddy and the plumber indicated the draft is fine, although not using any equipment.

    Clairvoyant or cigarette test? :)
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Paul PolletsPaul Pollets Member Posts: 3,258
    The flame rollout switch or "blocked vent switch is probably the cause and replaceable. They come in several pre-set temperature settings. Make sure it is the right one for the application.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 3,959
    Just make sure it's not popping out because you have an unsafe condition. Proper testing will confirm.
    steve
  • ronniedronnied Member Posts: 8
    Paul, I assumed they put the correct switch in, but you know what they say about assumed. I'll check a supplier.
    The door entrance to the boiler room is open, no door. There is also an opening far right in the right. So I have plenty of opening for combustion air. I was going to put an air vent in the wall opposite to boiler but they told me what I have is fine.

    There's a pic showing the location of the blocked vent switch that we reset.









    pics of my boiler room
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,071
    edited July 2017
    Do you have a "whole house fan", A/C return grill near the boiler, or some other large exhaust that you use in summer, but not winter?
    rick in Alaskakcopp
  • ronniedronnied Member Posts: 8
    HVACNUT, I don't have A/C. Where would I install the exhaust fan? facing the boiler, the basement windows are on the right,say 25-30'.
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,071
    > @ronnied said:
    > HVACNUT, I don't have A/C. Where would I install the exhaust fan? facing the boiler, the basement windows are on the right,say 25-30'.

    >> You don't want an exhaust fan. If you did, it might be a cause of back draft and tripping the spill switch.
    A whole house fan usually mounted in a hallway ceiling and could suck harder than a $2.00 ****. They have been the reason for many odors/fumes calls in the past.
    If you don't have one, it would be wise to put a high quality CO detector in the equipment room and on each level of living space.
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 5,608
    Verify that the switch is the correct one.
    Verify that the automatic flue damper is operating correctly.
    Perform a combustion analysis on the boiler.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • ronniedronnied Member Posts: 8
    ZMan, I went online using the Peerless product number for the blocked vent switch. the switch they put in as replacement doesn't look like the Peerless replacement switch. I'll order one. thankx for that. The flue damper has been checked out and operating correctly.
  • j a_2j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    What size is the liner in your chimney...and how high is it? Yes confirm and replace sw. With manufacture specs, use the x reference charts....if ome is not readily available...Preform at draft test, a draft gage is a cheap tool , that can really help you...Thank your lucky stars you have a safety sw. and no one jumped it out....Tripped again, it's really really time to seek a well qualified individual....No way ever someone should tell you via phone to just reset it, especially after just being there on a call...Guess he was glued to the barstool
  • ronniedronnied Member Posts: 8
    JA , yeah trying to find a real qualified guys is hard. They charge you money (like $150/hr) and don;t fix the problem. Luckily my buddy is an knowledgeable enough, and possibly ruled out some possible issues, but your right, now I need someone really knows there stuff.
    The house was built in 1950, so no sure size of flue. Just bugs me this system has been in place since 2006 and now I have an intermittent problem when humidity is high.
  • j a_2j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    Well some how measure your flue, and compare it to the specs by boiler manufacture, definitely sounds venting related....Really sad when someone can't do the job they advertise about,,,nice big new truck, all kinds of decals saying what there great about,web sites with 5 star kudos, top Angie's list award winner 5 years in a row..TRUTH BE TOLD THERE FULL OF CRAP
  • kcoppkcopp Member Posts: 3,433
    From the pix it looks like the chimney is an older clay tile version. No SS liner. It may be oversized. Since the boiler only runs for hot water all that mass may not heat up fast enough and not pull a draft.
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