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Firomatic Switch?

SuperTech
SuperTech Member Posts: 1,689
edited September 2020 in THE MAIN WALL
I did a boiler maintenance call in a very old home when I spotted this. I guess its some sort of Firomatic safety switch? It appears to have the same handle as the oil line valves. I've never seen one of these in any other house, but then again this house was very old. Likely the 1800s or turn of the century at the latest. The beams in the basement have bark on a lot of them.

Comments

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,305
    edited September 2020
    Well we can agree it’s not original.
    I’ve seen it before. Can’t tell if it’s not that old or very old
    Around here it's rare to see one on a residential job. Don’t think Fire Marshals or building inspectors even know what they are.

    Btw, what’s this mess?

    Edit: fixed some typos.
    steve
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,271
    Every oil fired boiler in Massachusetts has (or had ) one of those . It is a Firomatic switch.

    In MA 3 switches are requires. A Firomatic switch on the ceiling (maybe more than one if the ceiling is very high), an "oil burner emergency switch" with a red plate located 'outside the boiler room) and a service switch at the boiler or furnace.

    They have been required for years, probably since the 20s.

    Now MA gave up there oil burner code and adopted NFPA 3 about 4-5 years ago so I don't know what is required now
    SuperTech
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,964
    Looks similar to the safety device in this post(different form but I assume same function):
    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/180821/help-with-a-new-to-me-oil-fired-steam-system#latest
    SuperTech
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 489
    These were required on most oil supply and return lines for the burners on the schools and hospital boilers that we installed and serviced in Pennsylvania. That type was used on the smaller installations and a different type that looked similar to a ball valve was installed on the larger installations.
    SuperTech
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,305

    These were required on most oil supply and return lines for the burners on the schools and hospital boilers that we installed and serviced in Pennsylvania. That type was used on the smaller installations and a different type that looked similar to a ball valve was installed on the larger installations.

    I sure hope they weren't on the return oil lines. Besides being against code, sure fire way to blow a pump seal if (when) they failed.
    steve
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 489
    @STEVEusaPA You are correct, my mistake. Check valves are required on the return lines.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,305
    edited September 2020
    IIRC, Checks aren't allowed in returns either. Checks and valves aren't a good idea, for the same reason.
    steve
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,689
    I figured it was something that is code in another area, like @EBEBRATT-Ed mentioned. In my area, The Mid Hudson Valley NY, we are required to have a Firomatic valve on the oil supply line as well as red oil burner switches at the entrance to the basement. 

    @STEVEusaPA that mess is a leaking and improperly installed air scoop. Homeowners didn't want it repaired because "its been working great that way for years".
    STEVEusaPAmattmia2