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Very Loud Boiler Circulator Pump

clayraeclayrae Member Posts: 8
edited October 2018 in Plumbing
Hello! I live in a 20 unit co-op, three connected buildings, heated by a gas boiler and radiators. When the heat is turned on there is a loud, high pitched hum that echos from the pipes throughout my unit 24/7 - even though I am in the furthest building from the boiler room. The noise is driving me insane.

Attached are some photos of the circulator and a video where you can hear it running.


Reading through these boards I am convinced the the circulator should be nearly silent. However, the boiler company says it is "working fine." I need some more info to convince the co-op board that something needs to be done!

Comments

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,403
    misaligned, bad bearing, bad seal, bad coupling. Without being there, couldn't say which.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    clayraeZmanIntplm.
  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 5,801
    Not a Lincoln, that's the brand of replacement motor that's on it. It looks like an old B&G 1510. @DanHolohan would know.

    How long has the problem been evident to you?

    It could be any of the things that Jamie mentioned or it could be that the water velocity is too high because the pump is oversized.
    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    clayrae
  • clayraeclayrae Member Posts: 8
    edited October 2018
    @Ironman We bought our unit in July 2017- no noise. I came home one day in October 2017 to this horrible high pitched noise. Turned out the heat had been turned on. Consulted with boiler company - tracked it down to the circulator. Brought it to the co-op's attention, but boiler company said it was fine so no action was taken. Noise stopped when boiler was shut down for the season. Blissful silence. Heat was just turned on again. As expected, noise came back, but I am determined not to suffer with this noise through another season.
  • HomerJSmithHomerJSmith Member Posts: 955
    edited October 2018
    Is the sound coming from the pump or motor. Use a mechanic's stethoscope that you can buy at any auto parts store and check it.

    Has there been any electrical changes in the building? It certainly sound like dry bearings. The pump may have sleeve bearings and may need lubrication, there.

    You may be able to take the motor to a rebuild facility in your area and have them replace the bearings for you. Shut off the power before removing or working on the motor, duh.
    clayrae
  • clayraeclayrae Member Posts: 8
    @HomerJSmith No Stethoscope...but just putting my ear down close to each part...pretty sure the noise is coming from the red pump, not the part with the Lincoln Motor sticker on it. No electrical changes in the building since we have been here.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,043
    Yes. 1510
    Retired and loving it.
    clayrae
  • clayraeclayrae Member Posts: 8
    Red part is marked P77104 if that is useful.
  • HomerJSmithHomerJSmith Member Posts: 955
    edited October 2018
    Ok, if the noise is coming from the pump and there's waw-waw in the system, perhaps you have cavitation in the pump volute. Is the system pressure up to snuff and the temperature correct? Assuming it is a hot water sys.

    Take a stick and place it on various parts and put your ear to the end of the stick and see what you get. My dad taught me that during the Great Depression when everyone was so poor you couldn't afford to buy a stethoscope.

    P.S., I'd ask for a rent decrease until they fixed it.
    clayrae
  • GilmorrieGilmorrie Member Posts: 124
    clayrae said:

    The noise is driving me insane.
    However, the boiler company says it is "working fine." I need some more info to convince the co-op board that something needs to be done!

    The noise itself should be sufficient - no more info should be necessary. Are the other tenants experiencing the noise? Is the noise much worse when you are in the boiler room, standing next to the pump?

    clayrae
  • clayraeclayrae Member Posts: 8
    edited October 2018
    @HomerJSmith It is a co-op, we own the unit so no rent. I have a say in getting things fixed, but the co-op board has ultimate control.

    @Gilmorrie Other residents of the building either don't hear it or don't care, a few have said that they have always just "lived with" the noise, not thinking it might be avoidable. We also have a lower level unit so I think the pipe noise might be more amplified here than the units above. However, the noise is *extremely* loud in the boiler room. I have no idea how it does not bother those who live above and next to that room.
  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 5,801
    @clayrae,
    Discussing pricing is against site rules. Besides that, the pump may need a simple repair, not replacing.

    Someone that really understands hydronics needs to be on site and evaluate the situation to see if something's wrong with the pump or if it's oversized causing noise from the velocity being too high.

    The average contractor doing routine maintenance is usually clueless.

    Click on the contractor locator above and see if there's one near you that could look at it.
    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • clayraeclayrae Member Posts: 8
    @Ironman Whoops! Edited my post. Will check out contractors. Thank you!
  • GilmorrieGilmorrie Member Posts: 124
    This might not be much consolation, but if the pump or the motor is howling as bad as you say, whatever is making the noise will eventually fail - bearing, misaligned coupling, etc.

    That pump is sold with a motor, mounted on a baseplate. The pump is original, but the motor has been replaced. There is a chance that the motor and pump are misaligned. I would wonder if the pump bearings are dry, but it looks like the pump has been over-oiled, at least in the past. A new pump, motor, and baseplate goes for a couple of thousand bucks, plus labor. So, maybe that explains why your condo board is dragging its feet?

    As I see it, you have several choices: wait until the pump fails, move, or run for the condo board.


  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 13,833
    Is the rotation correct?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,307
    Could be bad motor bearings, bad bearings in the pump or misalignment between the motor and pump. I see rubber pads under the pump also usually flex connectors are sometimes used on the piping. Putting some rubber between the pipe hangers and the pipes may reduce the noise transmission
  • CAUTION! No coupling guard so be very, very careful when close to this pump.

    Seems as this has been a problem device for some time. Looks like the motor and pump rotating assemble has been replaced some time ago and evidence of oil leaking...

    It might be possible to shut the pump off and partially fill the bearing chamber with oil, although these are probably permanently greased ball bearings. It might lower the bearing noise, assuming the noise is in the pump and its bearings.

    Have you tried to close the discharge valve to see if the noise changes?
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 6,002
    edited September 10
    You are correct that the circulator is not operating correctly.
    The bigger issue I see is a circulator that big attached to a pipe that small.
    You either have an oversized circ or an undersized pipe. This will lead to wasted energy and premature failure.
    That motor uses about 2.3 KW/hr. or approx $.30 an hour. That doesn't sound like much until you consider $7.20 a day times 180 day heating season. $1,296 a year is signifacant.
    I would suggest having someone qualified size a new high efficiency circulator. The upgrade will pay for itself in a few years and save money and maintenance.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    Ironmanmattmia2
  • clayraeclayrae Member Posts: 8
    Update: I contacted one of the professionals in the contractor locator. He was very nice and came to check out the pump on 11/14. Agreed that it should not be that noisy. Told me that he would send me an estimate for the work. I never heard from him again. I waited until after the Thanksgiving holiday and then called and sent emails to him and his office help. I have never gotten a reply. Extremely disappointed, the pump is still extremely noisy, and now I have to start over and try to find a new contractor.
  • clayraeclayrae Member Posts: 8
    edited January 2019
    Hello again! Latest update!
    I was finally able to reach two contractors listed on this site. They came out, checked out the motor and circulator, and were very thorough in their evaluations.

    The first sent me a proposal to replace the entire works. When I asked if there was a solution less than replacing everything, he told me that due to the age and state of the system he would respectfully decline to work on the system other than doing a full replacement.

    The second acknowledged the cost of a full replacement and offered me an alternative to add a section of "rubber" pipe between the pump which is making the noise and the rest of the system in order to prevent the vibrations/noise from the pump from from traveling throughout the entire building.

    The co-op board (which I am now a member of) will not spend the money since they say I am the only one that objects to the noise. I am willing to pay to have the rubber pipe installed to mitigate the noise myself.

    So my question: does anyone have experience with these "rubber"pipes being used to reduce vibrations/noise? I understand this wont remedy the problem 100%. But will it reduce the noise 20%? 50%? 75%? Any experience stories with this would be appreciated!
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,403
    If it's properly done, it will reduce the noise. How much I'm not going to say.

    Please edit your post to remove any reference to pricing.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,043
    Thanks, Jamie. I did the edit to save time.
    Retired and loving it.
  • pecmsgpecmsg Member Posts: 1,508
    Unless your willing to replace everything there I wouldn’t touch it!
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,508
    I dont see the larger stuff too much anymore but, rubber? I think I remember metal braided line sections connected right to the circ flanges.

    Are there isolation valves at the circ? If not, it's not just do the vibration mountings and have a nice day. If you wind up getting the work done. Its dumping the system, doing the repair, fill the boiler, check the repair, purging, checking, how many zones? Checking the LWCO, safeties, and limits.
    OK, now have a nice day.
    FF 3 days later the PRV has been slowly bypassing and you call because theres water on the floor in the equipment room. Or the coin vent on Mrs. Smith's rad is leaking. It never leaked before. Is the contractor responsible?
  • pecmsgpecmsg Member Posts: 1,508
    I wouldn’t touch that until you agreed pump motor replacement raised off the floor and vibration elimination just to start.
    Would have to see the rest of the job!
    Intplm.
  • Intplm.Intplm. Member Posts: 1,191
    The entire circulator is mounted poorly. It should be mounted on vibration eliminators. It should also have vibration eliminators on the the pipes.
    The wood, the rubber, and the shim(s) under the circ. are not the best choice. It seems that others have tried to soften the noise by adding different things under neath.
    The "love-joy" coupling on the shaft looks to be ok.
    The electric motor bearing(s) need to be oiled as well as the B&G pumps bearing assembly.
    Might just need to replace the bearing assembly.
  • sami2020sami2020 Member Posts: 1
    Hi there, I know this was a while ago. I am having same problem with noisy pump. Did you find a solution?
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 6,002
    @sami2020
    Every issue is so unique that it would be better to start another post with details and pictures about yours.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    mattmia2Intplm.
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