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Melting/burning plate

FortyTwoFortyTwo Member Posts: 46
I have an HB Smith section boiler and I noticed that on the rear, through the looking Glass, the plate on the inside of the boiler that covers it has been somehow melting or burning. I think it's steel? I can't really tell. Anyone know how this could happen or have any insight as to what is going on and if it's a sign of a problem?

You can see it in the pics in the bottom right corner. I took the rear looking Glass plate off this weekend but unfortunately did not take a pic. The corner of the plate is burning or melting away and gone.

Thanks!

Comments

  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 6,943
    Need some pictures of the boiler or model #, is it a series #8?
    FortyTwo
  • Big Ed_4Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,315
    Hmmmm could you still have the metal chamber ?
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
    FortyTwo
  • FortyTwoFortyTwo Member Posts: 46
    it's a 19A series. Don't have a pic of the boiler right now but could get one. i can take the rear access plate off tomorrow to show the melted piece.. but it's melted in the bottom right corner of the pic. you can see where it is brighter orange. its like a square plate inside the boiler on a hinge, that covers the interior of the glass and it flips up when you push on a lever to see inside.

    not sure what you mean by "still have the metal chamber", but the boiler is about 10 years old.
    clammy
  • Big Ed_4Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,315
    I seen that knob on top to open door for inspection , it reminded me of a old Crane boiler .. A ten year old boiler would not have a metal chamber. My mistake
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
    FortyTwo
  • retiredguyretiredguy Member Posts: 213
    edited February 14
    First let me say that I was never a fan of the wet base series 19 or 28 Smith boilers but that I installed more than I can count. That melting or deterioration can happen if the firebox has a positive instead of a negative pressure and could be helped along by a flue gas leak past the gasket holding the sight glass. Make sure that you are not over firing the boiler, that there is a negative firebox pressure over the fire and that the gasket for the sight glass is not compromised. Usually, that plate was made of cast iron, however the newer models may have switched to a steel plate. If there is no flue gas escaping the firebox through the sight glass I would not worry too much about the deterioration. To clean the glass, you could spray the 4 corner screws with penetrating fluid numerous times over a few days, remove the screws, and take out the glass. To clean the glass, use a razor blade and lacquer thinner and re-install it with a new gasket or rope gasket. Also, make sure that the target wall at the observation port is not deteriorated.
    FortyTwoB_Sloane
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 6,943
    edited February 14
    @retiredguy

    The #19 and the #28 can both be pressure fired.

    @FortyTwo
    have you had this thing serviced? Maybe the boiler is plugged with soot causing excessive back pressure.

    The #19 is still made you can get parts from a wholesaler that sells Smith boilers.
    STEVEusaPAB_Sloane
  • FortyTwoFortyTwo Member Posts: 46
    Cleaning it right now, it definitely has not been cleaned in a while so that could be it. I'll check in afterwards. But attached is a picture of the part that is melting

    What is a wet-base boiler?
  • FortyTwoFortyTwo Member Posts: 46
    edited February 15
    So I cleaned her nicely and she is running great right now. Attached is a picture of the sections sans jacket. After I fired her back up I had a couple tiny Sparks/smoke from under the section opening plate on the left most section. It stopped right away and did not continue. You can see it's a little blacker there. Any thoughts on that? Do I need that section tightened or something? Or basically fine and it expands when hot?
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,112
    High temp silly-cone is not the correct gasket material for the cleanouts in those sections. They will melt, drip fail and products of combustion will spill into the room, hopefully no fire.
    steve
  • FortyTwoFortyTwo Member Posts: 46
    There's fire rope as a gasket and perhaps someone used the silcone to tack the rope on. Been as it is for 10 years with no silly-cone melting or leaking that i am aware of.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 6,943
    @STEVEusaPA , and @FortyTwo

    The #19 boiler clean out covers have rope attached to the inside of the cover. They sometimes do not seal as good as they might. Smith (if I am not mistaken) recommends High temp silicone (the red stuff) to seal up any openings.

    I would check the rope and see if it is ok. You can buy replacement rope and put it on with spray contact adhesive or buy some kaowoll at an oil burner supply house, that works better than anything. Cut the kaowoll into strips just larger than the clean out cover
    FortyTwo
  • FortyTwoFortyTwo Member Posts: 46
    edited February 16
    It's not leaking anything at the section plate cover though.. the sparks and smoke I saw coming out were from beneath that.. lower down about midway to the bottom, where the sections meet. Last weekend I noticed smoke coming from that area and freaked out thinking I had rot and a hole but then it stopped when the boiler was hot.. it had gone into safety and been cold for a few hours. No smoke since but I'm thinking this is the culprit. Just not sure if it's a big deal...doesn't seem to be.

    She is running really smooth now btw since I cleaned her and the plate covering the glass in the rear gets less red hot. I think you were correct in thinking the soot could be causing backpressure. But as for over-firing it.. I don't really know anything about that yet or how to tell or how to adjust it. Can call a mechanic and eventually I will but I'm taking the time out this year to learn as much as I can myself
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,769
    What burner is on that boiler? I'm assuming it's oil-fired, correct?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • FortyTwoFortyTwo Member Posts: 46
    Yes, #2 oil on a Carlin burner. Not sure the model number. Can find out though if that helps?
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,769
    It would. But, you need someone who knows oil burners, can read and follow OEM specifications, and has a digital combustion analyzer and knows how to use it. That amount of soot points to either improper setup or poor maintenance, or both, and the eroded plate probably means the wrong nozzle or head adjustment.

    Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • FortyTwoFortyTwo Member Posts: 46
    Bronx, NY. I have a great tech whose mind I can pick and good service company. It has been poorly maintained I admit.. looking to change that. Sometimes money has to flow to other places and some things get the shaft.

    I'm looking to pick up a combustion analyzer and learn how to do it myself to stay on top of it fully and not let money get in the way if I'm tight on it. I have a few boilers and been getting shafted for God knows how many years by button pushers, with the occasional good service tech.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,769
    Well, you're in a good location for training. Try the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, here:

    https://generalsociety.org/

    and @Tim McElwain 's Gas Training Center. E-mail Tim here:

    [email protected]

    Carlin has training on their burners:

    https://carlincombustion.com/carlin-u/
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
    FortyTwo
  • FortyTwoFortyTwo Member Posts: 46
    Awesome! Thank you. Will check out the Carlin one for sure. I emailed and called to general society to ask about the next set of classes and with admissions questions but they haven't gotten back to me. Will keep my eye out for them further though.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,769
    edited February 16
    @JohnNY teaches at the General Society- maybe get in touch with him.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
    FortyTwo
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 6,943
    @FortyTwo

    If I am understanding correctly what your saying the clean out covers are not leaking, but your leaking flue gas farther down the section? From you pictures it looks like the rope between the sections is intact. I would be more suspicious of the clean out covers

    Although it looks ok in the pictures, If it is leaking below the clean out covers it means that the rope gasket between the sections is broken or blown out.

    The only way to fix this is to remove the section and install new rope. You also have to replace the 3 rubber gaskets that seal the water passages between the sections.

    If it's only leaking between the back section and the second to the last section you can just pull the back section off for the fix and leave the other sections intact.

    If the rope is blown out I would cover it with furnace cement, (red silicone is probably better ) depending on the size of the opening and make it until summer unless you can do a shut down.

    Whatever you do do not wrench or adjust the 5/8 draw rods between the sections. They are torqued to a specific setting and fooling with them may cause a water leak.

    You might look under the boiler with a flash light. Some sloppy installers are not careful with the rope gasket and it can fall out during assembly especially on the bottom of the sections. Look under the boiler for hanging rope gasket

    FortyTwo
  • FortyTwoFortyTwo Member Posts: 46
    edited February 16
    @EBEBRATT-Ed yes correct. Attaching a new pic with it drawn on so it's more clear, but yes. On startup today after it was cool and the cleaning, I saw 2 or 3 tiny Sparks and smoke from the circled area. Then nothing whatsoever since and seems sealed. BUT.. on Sunday morning I noticed smoke rising from the boiler at the rear, but from the other side of the boiler. I pulled the jacket panels and smoke was rising from the floor under the boiler, in between the same sections where I saw Sparks today. In that situation, the smoke also stopped after the boiler heated up. I had to run out at that point, but have not seen any smoke since. I'll have a look underneath and have a feeling you're right about the gasket rope...that's funny. I was very worried that I had a rotted section but I can't find any evidence of that and everything has been honky-dory, thank God.

    I'm thinking the sooty boiler and backpressure, coupled with the boiler being cool, found some spots that weren't done well enough with the rope.

    I definitely will not adjust the rods in any way. Actually I probably won't do anything unless something happens again and seems to warrant it or someone things I should. And I'll get to learning about how to make sure my burner is firing efficiently. Also need to learn about water treatment and possibly get some going.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 6,943
    @FortyTwo

    If its pushing flue gas out that contains Carbon Monoxide so be careful with that. If you run your hands along the boiler seams you will feel it if it is blowing out. If you run it with higher draft (you can open the slide damper on the back of the boiler) to increase the draft and minimize fumes blowing out but if you move that damper you will have to have your tech run a combustion test

    Don't get burned looking for the leak.

    If your lucky it only puffs a little on light off.

    Those boiler are usually pressure fired in the fire box but can be run negative draft if adjusted
    FortyTwo
  • FortyTwoFortyTwo Member Posts: 46
    @EBEBRATT-Ed

    I don't know what pressure fired and negative draft means but I'll do my best to learn haha. I won't mess with the damper till I'm ready to tune it or have someone on hand that can. It's in a well vented space and have lots of CO detectors and stuff all around but I'll always stay cautious of that. I did burn myself already looking for the leak but nothing bad 🤣.

    I've looked over it really thoroughly several times and it just seems like it was only on those occasions...for now. Otherwise she's nice and tight.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 6,943
    @FortyTwo

    If you go to the back of the boiler underneath the flue pipe connection and look up you will see a couple of small hex nuts.
    (1/2" wrench?)

    These nuts hold a slide damper (like a guillitine) when you loosen the nuts the damper can be slid up and down down will fully open the flue pipe, up partially closes it.

    The series #19 is supposed to be run with pressure in the combustion chamber, in other words as the burner fires the slide damper creates a slight "back pressure" against the flue gas.........It's supposed to make the boiler more efficient running against back pressure but in reality it dosn'tmatter that much.

    However opening or closing it could change combustion as mentioned above.

    FortyTwo
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,112
    edited February 16

    Looks like you missed a few
    steve
    SuperTech
  • FortyTwoFortyTwo Member Posts: 46
    @STEVEusaPA

    Yeah but I wasn't counting those because I only saw the sparks from the one I circled. Thinking the other marks are from a gap in the rope at some point and not active. I'll keep my eye on them. The plate on the right with a lot of black on it is from some tech a few years ago that put a lot of this flue-clay type stuff around that plate and told me that is the proper way to seal them after a cleaning and left me a bucket of it. I discovered that it was not the correct way at all haha
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 6,943
    @FortyTwo
    Smith 19 boiler manual attached. I think it's page 8 they talk about sealing the clean out covers with silicone
    FortyTwo
  • B_SloaneB_Sloane Member Posts: 54
    your Rope is burned out, or incorrectly installed
    fortunately this is a small boiler
  • B_SloaneB_Sloane Member Posts: 54
    in a pressre-fired #28, or #19 it is not unusual for the back section to get very hot
    those "doors" used to be cast iron
    I would not be concerned about sheet metal "door" getting toasted
    FortyTwo
  • FortyTwoFortyTwo Member Posts: 46
    @B_Sloane

    Thanks! So pressure fired basically means that the damper is adjusted to keep some heat/fire pressure inside the chamber in order to eek out more efficiency? What would be a non pressure fired type boiler? A tube boiler? Or are some section boilers also non pressure fired?

    I believe my headers are all welded but they're mostly covered in insulation and I can't tell. I'm wondering how intense the process is if I ever need to replace a section down the line...or for rope/gasket replacement if ever needed. It seems very straightforward besides possibly needing a welding crew
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 6,943
    @FortyTwo

    Changing a section on a#19 is pretty simple the sections can be easily handled by 2 men. The manual I attached explains it
    FortyTwoB_Sloane
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