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Gas burner issues

kumar_rphkumar_rph Member Posts: 6
Need help with a New-ish Boiler

Hello everyone, this is my first post and I’m seeking some advice on a problem I’m having with a newish boiler. Here’s a little back story:

I purchased my first home in Feb 2019 in Windsor CT. When we purchased the home, the source of heat was oil. Naturally, when the weather got warmer, we signed a deal with CNG to run a natural gas line to our home for free. The oil boiler we had was an Ithaca/Utica boiler that was manufactured in 2015, and installed in the home in 2016. While we got a bunch of quotes for new H.E boilers, we decided to change outr the burner for a Carlin EZ gas burner. The two primary reasons for this was costs ($3200-$1000 rebate) and that we were told the boiler we currently had was essentially new and would last 20+ more years. The conversion was completed and signed off by the town in June. 

Now fast forward 13 months (exactly 1 month after the warranty on the Carlin EZ burner expired), and I suddenly had no hot water. I went down stairs and saw that the ez burner displayed a BV or blocked vent error. I called the HVAC company, they came out, and after three hours of diagnostics (and $264.00 later) they said it was due to my chimney not having a liner and also having a blockage (he didn’t go on the roof). He reset the error code and told us not to turn on the heat/hot water until we got the chimney looked at because our house would “explode”. Anyway, I got the chimney inspected twice and a liner put in for $1500 (the chimney guys said there was no blockage but there were some cracking in the terracotta liner). Everything seemed great. Two weeks later...today 7/27/20....I wake up to no hot water and the same error message. I called the HVAC company, they come out, and change some vent settings to minimize the backflow. They didn’t charge me this time around (second visit within 2 weeks) but they also couldn’t garuntee that it was fixed. (Their words were “fingers crossed”). They don’t know why it’s happening. I guess my question is that if it fails again...they may say the burner is faulty but not under warranty. At that point I could either get a new burner for the boiler or get a whole new boiler.  What should I do taking into account that the boiler I currently have is only 5 years old? There are some very low interest financing options to get whole new systems at the moment. Right now everything is working because it was reset, but I don’t have confidence that it’ll stay this way. Should I get another HVAC company out of it errors again?  Thanks in advance

Comments

  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,437
    Did they provide you with documentation of the draft and combustion measurements they made? I suspect the tech that set it up doesn't know what they are doing but it could be a problem with the size or routing of the vent as well. It is a matter of getting it set up correctly, probably nothing wrong with the burner or boiler.
    HVACNUT
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,876
    mattmia2 said:

    Did they provide you with documentation of the draft and combustion measurements they made? I suspect the tech that set it up doesn't know what they are doing but it could be a problem with the size or routing of the vent as well. It is a matter of getting it set up correctly, probably nothing wrong with the burner or boiler.

    This. You might want to get in touch with @Charlie from wmass and see if he'll come to Windsor- he has a LOT of experience with these burners.
    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
  • kumar_rphkumar_rph Member Posts: 6
    Hi. Thanks for the response! Unfortunately they didn’t leave me anything giving exact measurements. They had a machine that ran some diagnostics and I heard them drilling. The only report I have is from the final install on 6/25/2019. After the first visit that I paid for, the technician told me that it was 99% the chimney and 1% that it was very hot (which made me question if I had to call him every time it was hot out). The second time, there was two technicians and they adjusted a vent that “changed the hot air that tripped the switch”. They didn’t leave any paperwork as this was a free call. Do you think if it happens again, that I’m better off calling another HVAC company? 
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,437
    Yes.

    Someone that specializes in power burners.
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,413
    The liner should have been done at the time of the conversion. Heck, it should have been done when the boiler was replaced by the previous owner. 

    The BV switch as I'm sure you know is a pretty important item. Get it fixed, with documentation showing draft and combustion. You don't want to wake up dead one morning. 
    I would start with the burner orifice, clock the meter for actual BTU input, and go from there. Do you know if anyone inspected the burner assembly or opened the boiler?
    I don't understand the changing the vent settings to minimize backflow. If that's the way it was explained to you, then the tech has very poor bs production capabilities. Or very good. Either way, you need someone with experience. 

    The Oil Gods are laughing in your general direction. 
    STEVEusaPA
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,952
    Indeed, the oil gods are laughing their heads off. Well, what's done is done.

    CNG does not have, to my knowledge, the personnel to correctly install, never mind adjust and service, this equipment -- but they're terrific salesmen.

    Call @Charlie from wmass -- he's up in Springfield, and busy as a one arm paper hanger, but he's among the best, is very familiar with Carlin burners, and will get you going. A word of warning, it's very unlikely that it is a problem with either the burner or the boiler, however: it is, very likely, that it is a fundamental problem with the installation and venting, and may not be inexpensive to fix.
    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
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,130
    Utica does not approve the installation of a gas power burner on their oil boilers.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,437

    Utica does not approve the installation of a gas power burner on their oil boilers.

    So does that mean it will work but might void the warranty? It will work but is a code issue? Might work? Won't work?
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 4,373
    I would get in touch with Carlin!
    kcopp
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,130
    It should work but DOES void boiler warranty.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,876

    It should work but DOES void boiler warranty.

    That's interesting- Utica supplies cast-iron wet-base boilers to Columbia, and Columbia offers EZ-Gas burners to go with them. Ask me how I know that.

    @kumar_rph , what model Utica do you have?
    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
  • kumar_rphkumar_rph Member Posts: 6
    Hello everyone, thanks for the advice and insight as to what could possibly be causing these issues. I Spoke to the HVAC company about what they did yesterday to troubleshoot the problem. According to them, they ran some tests and found a back draft into the system. They made adjustments to some vent, and then used a device to run a report and make sure it “passed”. They also said that the newly installed liner was not properly attached to the boiler, which they also took care of. Im still nervous, because the same testing method was done two weeks ago when I had the problem originally. I did email Carlin, and I did ask for a copy of the combustion report (which they didn’t print). 
  • kumar_rphkumar_rph Member Posts: 6
    Steamhead said:
    It should work but DOES void boiler warranty.
    That's interesting- Utica supplies cast-iron wet-base boilers to Columbia, and Columbia offers EZ-Gas burners to go with them. Ask me how I know that. @kumar_rph , what model Utica do you have?
    @Steamhead, this is the model number: Uh4kw1.50
  • kumar_rphkumar_rph Member Posts: 6
    And this was the original report when it was installed last year. 
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,876
    First things first- that burner is not dialed in properly.

    1-The stack temp (TS) should be at least 325° F to avoid flue has condensation.

    2- The Carbon Monoxide (CO as measured directly, COc as measured air-free with the excess air (EA) factored out) is too high. This may be caused by the undersized flame or not enough combustion air, or the flame hitting something it shouldn't. OK, federal standards allow more CO than this, but they are also too high.

    Also, this Utica (Utica Heating) is not the same Utica (Utica Radiator Co) we're used to. It, and the companion gas boilers, appear to be re-branded Dunkirks.
    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
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,130
    Utica heating is Utica boilers, just the previous series. I like their atmospheric 16 series gas boiler as it still uses 2 1/2" tappings instead of the 2" they now use on the peg.  But I digress. 
    Those combustion numbers are bad. I wonder if the bothered brushing out the boiler before converting? 
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,437

    Those combustion numbers are bad. I wonder if the bothered brushing out the boiler before converting? 

    I wonder if it needs cleaning now from operating like that.
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 4,373
    It also depends on how the readings were obtained. Positioning of the probe for the tester can be a big factor.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,215
    edited July 29
    HVACNUT said:

    The liner should have been done at the time of the conversion. Heck, it should have been done when the boiler was replaced by the previous owner. 

    The BV switch as I'm sure you know is a pretty important item. Get it fixed, with documentation showing draft and combustion. You don't want to wake up dead one morning. 
    I would start with the burner orifice, clock the meter for actual BTU input, and go from there. Do you know if anyone inspected the burner assembly or opened the boiler?
    I don't understand the changing the vent settings to minimize backflow. If that's the way it was explained to you, then the tech has very poor bs production capabilities. Or very good. Either way, you need someone with experience. 

    The Oil Gods are laughing in your general direction. 

    LOL

    Why not call Carlin and ask them to recommend someone who they know. They can also have the tech either call Carlin's territory manager or tech support while they are there, to help trouble shoot.
    "Fingers crossed" is not the sign of a professional...you should be worried, annoyed and upset.
    BTW, looking at your picture, how tight is the room that boiler is located?
    Did anyone confirm enough combustion air?
    steve
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 11,073
    Just so we're clear, you don't wake up dead.
    You literally don't wake up, that's sort of the problem and all.
    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
    kumar_rph
  • kumar_rphkumar_rph Member Posts: 6
    Hey everyone. Thanks again for all the responses. I reached out to Carlin via email and phone and haven’t gotten a response. In the mean time, I asked the company that came out to produce the last two combustion test results, which they couldn’t. They came out first thing this morning and ran the test under four operating conditions. I don’t know if these results are good, or better than the initial analysis. If not acceptable, I think my next step is to find a different company and see if they can fix it...or look into a new unit. The size of the room came up in our discussion, but the company said “well the town approved it”. 
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,130
    Is it just me or has that tester not been calibrated since 2010?
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    ChrisJrick in Alaska
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,215
    edited July 31
    ChrisJ said:

    Just so we're clear, you don't wake up dead.
    You literally don't wake up, that's sort of the problem and all.

    Do we really need to be clear on that? Not everyone gets the pun?

    Combustion numbers...I think we're underfired for sure.
    steve
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,876

    Is it just me or has that tester not been calibrated since 2010?

    Not just you. Wöhler is pretty good about doing calibrations quickly, so there's no excuse for not having it done in ten years.

    ChrisJ said:

    Just so we're clear, you don't wake up dead.
    You literally don't wake up, that's sort of the problem and all.

    Do we really need to be clear on that? Not everyone gets the pun?

    Combustion numbers...I think we're underfired for sure.
    Assuming the analyzer is still accurate..................
    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
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 11,073
    Steamhead said:

    Is it just me or has that tester not been calibrated since 2010?

    Not just you. Wöhler is pretty good about doing calibrations quickly, so there's no excuse for not having it done in ten years.

    ChrisJ said:

    Just so we're clear, you don't wake up dead.
    You literally don't wake up, that's sort of the problem and all.

    Do we really need to be clear on that? Not everyone gets the pun?

    Combustion numbers...I think we're underfired for sure.
    Assuming the analyzer is still accurate..................
    The only reason I do not have my own analyzer is due to them needing calibration frequently.

    9 years overdue?
    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
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,098
    This: As @STEVEusaPA recomended.

    Why not call Carlin and ask them to recommend someone who they know. They can also have the tech either call Carlin's territory manager or tech support while they are there, to help trouble shoot.
    "Fingers crossed" is not the sign of a professional...you should be worried, annoyed and upset.
    BTW, looking at your picture, how tight is the room that boiler is located?
    Did anyone confirm enough combustion air?

    The more recent combustion tests are better, stack is hotter which is dropping the Co to a more normal level. 8.5 Co2 is pushing the envelope a little in my opinion, does not leave much margin for error

    I know the boiler is a wet base but it may need a blanket on the botton. One of their notes says short cycling which does nothing to improve combustion....quite the opposite.

    Because the stack temp is borderline too low you can't cut the fire so the short cycling problem should be fixed.

    It say "ran on heat" "ran on hotter" Don't know if it has a tankless or indirect but a longer burn time would help

    The promising note is the combustion numbers are getting close to where they should be with the hotter stack temp

    Maybe the boiler wasn't warmed up enough when they first tested it

    A cold pot of water on a gas stove will make some CO
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