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Some more poor venting...

Mike_Sheppard
Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 691
edited August 2019 in THE MAIN WALL
Two atmospheric water heaters common vented with a boiler. There’s an exhaust fan (draft inducer) between where the water heaters and boiler connect to the common vent. Exhaust fan is pushing air towards the boiler connection... evidence of exhaust coming backwards out of the air damper. My hands are completely full with poor venting systems.
Never stop learning.

Comments

  • Sam81
    Sam81 Member Posts: 37
    Looks like rather a draft inducer installed on a wrong location, it should be installed after all connections to the chimney
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 691
    @Sam81 yes draft inducer. That’s what I meant to say haha. I agree, it should be after the last connection. But I also wonder how it would work because the two water heaters are atmospheric with draft hoods and the boiler has a power burner (fan assisted).
    Never stop learning.
  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 882
    What you are showing me can end up being deadly. CO kills. Get that corrected. Make sure the client understands the consequences. If he doesn't want you to fix it, have him sign off on a letter explaining the situation and report him to the gas company. They will send someone over to inspect and when they find the deadly situation they will shut off his gas meter. Its August so you don't need to worry about heat. Better to be safe than sorry.
    I am the walking Deadman
    Hydronics Designer
    Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 691
    @John Ruhnke I agree. I am well aware of how bad this is. I am dealing with a lot of these situations right now unfortunately. It’s a shame.
    Never stop learning.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,065
    Yikes Make sure you have a CO detector with you
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,755
    Proving once again that you can't fix stupid.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,968
    @Mike_Sheppard are you seeking out these venting nightmares or are they finding you? Lol
    This is like 4 in a row, right?
    Crazy how this stuff is like this for years...pure luck that no one died.
    Hopefully they listen to you...and you always have/use your personal CO detector.

    —-sidenote—-
    My wife used to shake her head at me for bringing my personal CO detector most places, especially vacations. Until a couple of stories made national news about CO poisonings. Now it’s on her packing checklist.
    steve
    Bob Harper
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 691
    @STEVEusaPA I think it’s more than 4 at this point. I haven’t posted all of them.

    Here’s some pictures from one last Thursday. Venting was fine, but they had a room exhaust fan running exhausting air from the room. No supply fan. And someone stuffed a piece of cardboard behind the only combustion air opening in the room. Every bit of exhaust from the two heaters was dumping into the room. I could smell it as soon as I opened the door from outside. To make it worse they keep the interior boiler room door propped open, and in the adjacent room someone replaced a large air handler but never hooked the return duct back up. So instead of drawing return air from the space it is serving it was drawing return air from the boiler room and the janitors room that it is installed in. So water heaters exhausting into room and then being distributed out to the building via air handler....

    It was corrected.
    Never stop learning.
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 691
    I’ve dealt with two very serious jobs where buildings were evacuated and people were taken to the hospital. One was probably 4 years ago now. Lochinvar Copper Fin water heater. Gas valve stuck open. Lit off and blew the combustion chamber apart, and continued to run. The outdoor make-up air duct was disconnected in the boiler room. It was an office building. Many people were taken to the hospital with CO poisoning, no fatalities.

    Had another one that was on the news a couple years ago. Large apartment building in southwest DC. The building common areas were heated and cooled by a large central air handler, located in the boiler room. It had an outdoor supply fan and an exhaust fan. The fans are supposed to be interlocked so one cannot run without the other. Well they weren’t. Supply fan motor starter coil burned up. Exhaust fan left running alone. Building went so negative that the chimney (probably around 16 stories tall) began drafting downwards into the building. Two large firetube boilers. I can’t remember the horsepower but they were probably around 500 horsepower each. Both running and dumping exhaust out of the barometric dampers and into the boiler room. The return duct to the large air handler had a big access plate taken off of it, allowing the boiler’s exhaust right into it and out into the building. The building was evacuated and something like 70 apartments had to be broken in to to search for people. (No fatalities).

    The company I worked for at the time sent a technician over to check it out after the building was cleared. That technician fired the boiler right up and began adjusting the combustion. After awhile he said he wasn’t feeling well and left. He later checked himself into the hospital with CO poisoning. They sent another technician over. He did the same thing, he fired the boiler up and began tuning it. He was about ready to leave when the boiler shut down on low water. The actuator on the feedwater line was acting up and he couldn’t figure it out. This is when I became m involved in the job. He called me for help and asked me to come take a look at the actuator. I had no idea what had happened until I walked into the boiler room and he told me about it. My CO meter went off... if that actuator hadn’t acted up he would have walked away and left the boilers running again putting hundreds of people at risk all over again.

    Those two guys are still employed there years later and it’s a part of the reason I decided to leave.
    Never stop learning.
  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 882
    Don't they have a combustion analyzer? Turn on the analyzer before you enter the building or boiler room especially if you suspect any problems. That will instantly give you co levels. I got my first analyzer 20 years ago. I thought by now everyone had one. It is almost impossible to safely tune a boiler without one. You cant make any meaningful adjustments for energy efficiency without one.
    I am the walking Deadman
    Hydronics Designer
    Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,755

    Those two guys are still employed there years later and it’s a part of the reason I decided to leave.

    Good move- you don't want your name associated with this. Best to get out before a major lawsuit shuts the company down.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 691
    Here’s another from just a couple of hours ago. Three boilers. 1.5 million btu each. Two stay running all summer to satisfy DHW load. There are two combustion air openings, one near the ceiling and one near the floor - the ideal way to do it. Except they have a supply fan now connected to the top one and it apparently hasn’t worked in years. And they have two fans blowing air out of the bottom one, assuming they’re trying to cool down the boiler room.

    Another one to add to the list...
    Never stop learning.
  • SeanBeans
    SeanBeans Member Posts: 505
    @Mike_Sheppard multi family?
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 691
    @SeanBeans all apartment buildings

    Here is yet another from today. Two atmospheric boilers and three atmospheric water heaters. The room has no combustion air openings. Only two large exhaust fans, both blowing air out of the room. I could smell it as soon as I opened the door to the boiler room.
    Never stop learning.
  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 882
    @ Mike Sheppard
    Ikes!!!!

    This sounds like a systemic problem in your area. I am so sorry to hear about all these problems. Bad for society. Our country needs more competent heating guys like you.
    I am the walking Deadman
    Hydronics Designer
    Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 691
    @John Ruhnke thank you for the kind words. I’m just trying to do what is right. And safe.

    I agree, it is bad in the area. I also rarely find that the boilers are installed correctly. These ones here today are not. Oh well
    Never stop learning.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,755
    Do these jobs ever get inspected?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • SeanBeans
    SeanBeans Member Posts: 505
    Figured!
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 691
    @Steamhead every one of them has current inspection papers posted in the boiler room.
    Never stop learning.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,755

    @Steamhead every one of them has current inspection papers posted in the boiler room.

    Then the inspectors aren't doing their job. Not WSSC, is it?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 691
    edited August 2019
    @Steamhead none of the ones with venting issues have been in WSSC.

    Several of the recent ones that were piped completely wrong and condensing to death were WSSC though.

    The one today is Severna Park. One was Frederick, MD. One in Falls Church, VA. Springfield, VA. Venting problems all over the place except WSSC apparently.
    Never stop learning.
  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 882
    This is part of a systemic problem with society. I have developed a phase that describes the problem.

    "I live in a world where in order to make money perception is more important than reality. Companies spend more money on marketing and advertising than engineering and technical. It is more important to convince someone you are good at what you do than to actually be good at it."

    I than go on to explain.

    "I am the real deal. I talk the talk and walk the walk. I produce results. I do what I say. I get the job done right. I'm a technical expert that knows a little about sales. You don't want a sales expert that knows a little about the technical."



    I am the walking Deadman
    Hydronics Designer
    Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.
    ratioMike_Sheppard
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 691
    @John Ruhnke amen to that. That’s what a lot of these jobs are, I’ve seen it first had.

    “Why is this installed this way?”

    “Because this is how the salesman sold it.”

    I really like the company I work for now because I am the one who analyzes the systems when it’s time for boiler replacements. I get to work with the design guys to choose equipment and design etc. It has been awesome so far.
    Never stop learning.