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Automatic vent damper reliability

Precaud
Precaud Member Posts: 370
I'm considering adding a Field Controls GVD-6 to my steam system. I've read lots of posts here, trying to get a feel for what causes them to be as unreliable as they are reported to be. Proximity to the boiler seems to be the main factor. Best I can tell, the further from the boiler they are, the longer they will last.

I'm not going to do this if I can only count on 2-3 years of reliable operation. So the question is: How far is far enough?
1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.

Comments

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    I have an Effikal I just pulled from service that never gave me any trouble, you can have it for free if you want.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Precaud
    Precaud Member Posts: 370
    Can't say no to that... aren't you using it with your new Peerless? I'm curious, how far from your old boiler was it installed?
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    My apologies, it's a 5". It was mounted just above the Utica, directly above the exhaust box thingy.

    The Peerless came with a new one mounted to it in the same area.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Precaud
    Precaud Member Posts: 370
    Thanks anyway, no problem. So yours was reliable mounted right at the boiler... hmmm.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,817
    edited September 2020
    Is it going on a Gas-fired boiler or an Oil-fired boiler?

    Gas-fired boiler is ok for the most part. There are many manufacturers that are factory equipped with Effikal dampers, they are the most reliable. and you can install the damper as far away as you can, to increase the life of the unit. The further away, the cooler the flue gasses are... the cooler the flue gasses are, the longer the parts will last.

    you still want to check operation each season snd inspect for rust, corrosion, and wire connections for good contact. I guess if it is too far away then condensation of flue gas in the connector pipe from the damper to the chimney base might add to the deterioration of the unit. I think that anywhere after the draft hood is acceptable.

    Oil fired? I would stay away from using a vent damper. Shut off the flow at the burner. Wayne Blue Angel and Riello burners have such a devise built into the burner. There is even a discontinued damper from Beckett the worked on centrifugal force. If that fails Beckett says to discard it

    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
    Precaud
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,661
    edited September 2020
    Mine was right on top of the drafthood for a few years and then I moved it away from it to install a barometric.

    That being said......I never liked the motor and gearbox directly over the drafthood being cooked. Especially when the damper closes and the drafthood gets good and hot. I can't say if it's actually bad for it or not, but if I was building something from scratch I wouldn't put it there.

    Mine is from 2011 and still working fine.
    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
    EdTheHeaterManPrecaud
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    Precaud said:

    Thanks anyway, no problem. So yours was reliable mounted right at the boiler... hmmm.

    Yeah, mine seemed to be from the same age as the boiler, about 1992 and it worked fine as long as I was its caretaker, the last 3 winters.

    That area didn't really seem to get "cooked" on my boiler. Sure the gases going up the flue were hot, but I never noticed that surrounding area getting toasty (the motor is offset from the flue pipe of course and seemed to stay no hotter than "warm")
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • motoguy128
    motoguy128 Member Posts: 393
    I had a Field Controls unit I retrofit on my old boiler. Failed at 3 months old, but I moved it manually a couple times before I knew better. The replacement is 2 years old now and I transferred the motor to a new damper on my current used boiler. My tall chimney has such good draft that I don’t think it really gets cooked too much. Boiler room doesn’t get that warm really even in summer with my indirect firing it a dozen times a day.
    Precaud
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
    Effikal 10". at least 6 feet from draft hood. It is actually on the other side of a wall from the boiler. I installed it myself about 1996. I do 2-3 cycles per hour. Not one issue with it all these years.
    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
    ChrisJ
  • Precaud
    Precaud Member Posts: 370
    PMJ said:

    Effikal 10". at least 6 feet from draft hood. It is actually on the other side of a wall from the boiler. I installed it myself about 1996. I do 2-3 cycles per hour. Not one issue with it all these years.

    Wow. Not bad.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,661
    I had a Field Controls unit I retrofit on my old boiler. Failed at 3 months old, but I moved it manually a couple times before I knew better. The replacement is 2 years old now and I transferred the motor to a new damper on my current used boiler. My tall chimney has such good draft that I don’t think it really gets cooked too much. Boiler room doesn’t get that warm really even in summer with my indirect firing it a dozen times a day.
    Chimney isn't the issue. From what I've seen the draft hood gets much hotter when the boiler shuts down and the damper closes.
    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
  • motoguy128
    motoguy128 Member Posts: 393
    My point was that my draft is strong so it seems to clear a lot of the residual heat on post purge while the damper is shutting. Seems like the square hood on the back of my old HB smith spilled a lot more heat than the ground top hat style on my Hydrotherm.
    ChrisJ
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,826
    There were some issues when Field Controls bought Effikal. These seem to have been resolved, and we aren't seeing more than one or two damper issues per season recently.

    Also, you can get replacement motors for Field and Effikal dampers (same unit for both) so there's no need to replace the entire damper. I think the part# is GVD-RMA.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Precaud
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,110
    How often it cycles will also determine the life. If the boiler short cycles, so does the damper motor.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,623
    hot_rod said:

    How often it cycles will also determine the life. If the boiler short cycles, so does the damper motor.

    perhaps a delay on close for the types f steam boilers where they cycle on pressure frequently?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,826
    edited September 2020
    mattmia2 said:

    hot_rod said:

    How often it cycles will also determine the life. If the boiler short cycles, so does the damper motor.

    perhaps a delay on close for the types f steam boilers where they cycle on pressure frequently?
    If the Pressuretrol is wired between the damper and the gas train, the damper will stay open if the boiler cycles on pressure.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    mattmia2Solid_Fuel_Man