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Foreign objects

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DanHolohan
DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
Just for fun, what unexpected things have you found inside heating systems?
Retired and loving it.
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  • newagedawn
    newagedawn Member Posts: 586
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    in the 80's found birds, squirrels, not to much anymore i think they are getting smarter to carbon monoxide,lol
    "The bitter taste of a poor install lasts far longer than the JOY of the lowest price"
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,379
    edited October 2017
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    A roofing nail. Found it in the inlet flange of a series 100 circulator.

    Several companies/techs had gone out to the job, but could not fix the problem which was no flow because the nail was acting like a check installed backwards. They bled air, changed out the circ, you name it.

    The circ was on a vertical return at the boiler. The nail would allow water to pass backward up the return, but not down into the pump. Gravity would cause it to drop and close off flow.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    BobC
  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 998
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    We were replacing some valves in a large commercial complex downtown. We found the key stuck in a butterfly valve and a tool kit on the outlet of a pump. It was 8 inch piping. The tools have been there since 1985!

    RoohollahRomanGK_26986764589
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    Good one, Henry!
    Retired and loving it.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    The usual critters, but once a baby owl, alive, in a cold start boiler flue pipe. The owner jammed the barometric damper shut because he thought it was a squirrel. He called me. I called animal control.
    They got the baby owl out alive, and told us they take them far out into the country and release them (I hope they did).
    I also found a melted screwdriver in a cleanout box.

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  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    That's a real hoot, Steve! ;-)
    Retired and loving it.
    STEVEusaPAMilanD
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    No pictures, but in one of our environmental test labs they found a lacrosse ball inside the piping for one of the pumps. This is inside our plant and we do all the work, no one has a clue how it got there. They found it when someone said "hey what is that weird noise coming from the pump?".
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    That's a real hoot, Steve! ;-)

    lol....I wouldn't use that one at open mic night...

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  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    Tip your waitstaff!
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    KC, I once found a pair of welding gloves inside a shell-and-tube heat exchanger. They were up against the tube sheep with fingers splayed.
    Retired and loving it.
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,457
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    Dead seagull at the bottom of a chimney that had no cap, a bat inside the blast tube of an afg, ( still not sure how he got there), the bolt package for a Buderus g115 inside the firebox.
    The one I still need to get to is across the bay that I did a tuneup on. I was running late and they were holding the plane for me, and I could not find my Leatherman multitool. I had to leave without it, but I suspect it got dropped inside the top of the flue collector hood, and I didn't see it. I miss that tool.
    Rick
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,239
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    Slightly off topic, but I found a stinkbug in a watertight receptacle box once. That is still screwing with my head.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    Rick, I like to think someone will post here in 20 years to say they found your Leatherman someplace cool.
    Retired and loving it.
    rick in AlaskaRomanGK_26986764589
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    Harvey, that’s just magic.
    Retired and loving it.
  • bob_46
    bob_46 Member Posts: 813
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    Empty caulking tube folded in half jammed up against a 2 1/2 " butterfly valve, fortunately it was Vic pipe. 14" wye strainer high press. steam a pair of carharts and a steel lunch box and some 1 1/8 nuts. A deflated basketball in a 8x4" bell reducer on a pump inlet.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    Gosh, Bob.
    Retired and loving it.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    Not one Santa Clause sighting?

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  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    The night is young.
    Retired and loving it.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    Slightly off topic, but I found a stinkbug in a watertight receptacle box once. That is still screwing with my head.

    Those dumb things go everywhere, it's truly amazing.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,624
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    An electrocuted mouse inside an electrical panel that was missing a knockout plug.

    A dead squirrel inside a gas water heater 4" flue pipe.

    Took a semi hermetic ac compressor apart to have the windings rewound and found that a cold chisel had been left inside the motor housing.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    Ed, what can I say? :-)
    Retired and loving it.
  • SeanBeans
    SeanBeans Member Posts: 520
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    Not me, but a co-worker and my old install manager tore out an evaporator coil and found about 300 bucks stuck in the A-Coil.. it was almost rotted out fully but they went to the bank and split it.
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
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    This was in a crawlspace, not a heating system; many years ago.

    A rat - minding his own business, walking along a copper water service to get home after a long, hard day in the sewer. He confronts a wire in his path; gets annoyed and chews some of the insulation off and then hops over the wire to continue home. His belly on the bare copper wire and his paws on the bare copper water service completes the circuit and his life becomes complete; a beginning and now, an end.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    Sean, that is inspirational. Alan, that is poetry. Thanks, guys!
    Retired and loving it.
  • jhatcher
    jhatcher Member Posts: 1
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    Baby possum in the electric heater of an air handler. Quite the aroma.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    Well-done?
    Retired and loving it.
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,653
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    A skinless treerat poped out of the down spout discharge at my house a few years back. Apparently he thought he could make it through & got stuck some time before the rain. I can only guess at what happened, but the results were startling.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    I’ve never heard of a skinless tree rat. Learning every day!
    Retired and loving it.
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
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    Had an older customer, the husband passed in the spring. She called and asked me to take care of the furnace prior to winter.. When I pulled the front jacket (Thermopride) I noticed a box tucked in the bottom left. When I opened it, I found a big wad of money. I took it upstairs and made someone's month. She was having a hard time covering things and this made it much easier for her...
    ChrisJBobChydro_newbieRomanGK_26986764589
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    I love this story. Thanks.
    Retired and loving it.
  • HVAC_Service_Mentor
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    I was dispatched to replace a Lennox Pulse heat exchanger in the basement of a home on a cool fall morning. The furnace had been running and maintaining temp in the home. I fired it up when I arrived. After disassembly, and the initial hoist to remove the heat exchanger from the cabinet, a full grown live green snake slithered out of the secondary and started off across the floor at high speed!

    I was shocked and didn't want to be responsible for releasing a snake into this family's home. I wasn't sure what to do, so I quickly grabbed a hammer and bopped it on the head in an attempt to stun the animal.

    It was then that I learned that snakes bleed profusely from the head and I had an entirely new problem on my hands.
    Solid_Fuel_ManRomanGK_26986764589
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    Some days just can’t win.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Lance
    Lance Member Posts: 271
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    I found a mouse in a furnace blower wheel. He must have thought he found the best exercise wheel ever until the motor kicked in and centrifugal force did the rest. I also found an Amprobe under a blower wheel in a furnace. In a 6 inch air duct I found some workers bagged lunch over 20 years old. Never touched. Probably a prank forgotten.
    I found a connecting bolt rod in a sectional steam boiler header from the factory. I'd have sent it back but this was my third boiler into the basement, as the other two had pinholes in the castings. Go figure! At least this one did not leak.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    Great stories, Lance, especially the lunch!
    Retired and loving it.
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    I found the guy that installed a beautiful steam boiler and made a disaster out of it to be a foreign object,causing much foreign object damage
  • Alan Welch
    Alan Welch Member Posts: 270
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    Not unexpected but went on a call where a squirrel had died somewhere in the ductwork, smelled pretty bad. Found it pretty quickly in the "squirell cage" of the furnace.Guess that"s how it got its name. Also tin knocking hammer, tin snips in ductwork.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
    edited October 2017
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    lchmb said:

    Had an older customer, the husband passed in the spring. She called and asked me to take care of the furnace prior to winter.. When I pulled the front jacket (Thermopride) I noticed a box tucked in the bottom left. When I opened it, I found a big wad of money. I took it upstairs and made someone's month. She was having a hard time covering things and this made it much easier for her...

    Hmmm

    Ichmb, check your PMs.
    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
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
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    Great stuff, guys. You're making my week.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,379
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    Back in the late 80's, we installed several Lennox Pulse furnaces in a new funeral home. My guys thought that one them must have been haunted because it would initially fire right off but then instantly shut down. For those familiar with the Pulse, you know it has a draft inducer that basically purges the HX's and proves the draft. Once ignition takes place, the inducer isn't necessary and shuts off. My guys had tried replacing the inducer, pressure switch, etc. Nothing fixed it.

    I must have watched it for 30 min to an hour when I figured there had to be some form of restriction in the venting. I pulled the intake pipe off of the furnace and found a golf ball laying there at the inlet. It left space around it to prove the pressure switch, but not enough to allow adequate air once the combustion cycle started.

    Someone had to have shoved the ball in from the pipe outside and it rolled all the way down to the furnace through several turns. :#
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
    edited October 2017
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    Bob, maybe a hole in one? HAHAHAHAHA!

    You guys are killing me!
    Retired and loving it.
    Ironman