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HYdrolevel cycle guard

clammyclammy Member Posts: 2,531
I know everybody pretty much hates this feature ,but as it may be I recently did a long over maintenance on a boiler I installed in 2004 . HO likes to defer maintenance a bit . So I go through my normal check list and drain the boiler to check the lwco and the lwco does not react ok I leave the power on and chk a few other things and bang the intermittent level light come so on by now I’m all set up to finish drain and all set up to flush and Wand. I have the boiler drained enough to remove the lwco probe and find I completely corroded and shot . I would have to say that without the cycle guard the boiler possibly would have dry fired . Lucky for the ho the system is very tight and has no auto feeder and he checks water level once a week . I m also not a fan of the cycle guard but for those who put off maintenance It may be a slight blessing . I also would say aside from constant 15 to 20 minute level checks I feel that it really gives main and radiator vents and higher cycle rated per call for heat due to cycling caused by the cycle guard . I know I see more failures of main vents especially on systems that are even piped properly. On the other hand they do possibly mask over sizing issues and poorly piped near boiler piping to some degree on the later. Unfortunately It seems that while masking poor near boiler piping and wet steam over a few years the mains and it seems dry returns develop leaks and usually just get repaired and no one really addresses the piping issue but some one got paided to install it originally and got away w it due to the cycleguard . On another note w all the cycling you really have to hang out to make sure the mains and radiator vents are working properly and closing and not passing steam but in a deferred maintenance world who s gonna pay for that ? Lol peace and good luck clammy
R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
NJ Master HVAC Lic.
Mahwah, NJ
Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
ethicalpaul

Comments

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,865
    It’s coincidental timing that you write this, @clammy. I was about to also.

    When my new boiler was on a pallet in my garage for about a year I was sure I was going to trash the cyclegard and replace it. But in the last 6 months, I slowly reversed my thinking.

    one thing that affected me was: I was messing with my old boiler and got it into a state where the water ph was a little high, like 10. I was also draining it while it was firing, to test the LWCO while I was at it. The thing that concerned me was that the LWCO didn’t trip! I was watching the water drain out below the LWCO probe but it kept running. 

    I flipped off the power switch and went “hmm”. I turned it back on and the LWCO tripped immediately. My theory is the heavy boiling, ph-heavy water was keeping the probe grounded.

    it made me think about the cyclegard. It lets the water settle down to its actual level.

    And now that I have the Peerless-supplied one in use to see it, it’s really nothing. It’s off for one minute. It’s more cycles, yes, but I’m convinced it’s WAY safer. 

    Peerless must agree because the only reason they could possibly have for supplying it is fewer boiler failures.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,865
    Oh one more thing that is kinda weird! The Cyclegard performs its periodic checks even during the time when there’s no call for heat!! (At least the way Peerless wired it on my boiler)
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,440
    @ethicalpaul, It's hard to determine anything about the old LWCO when the old probe or the unit itself could have been failing. Also, you knew the PH of the water was off and that can cause foaming which is know to cause the probe to falsely sense the water level is up above the probe. Turning the power off to the boiler probably gave the foam enough time to settle down and hence the boiler shutdown when you powered back up. In any case, I guess either the Safegard or the Cyclegard work as designed. It just seems counter intuitive to interrupt a boil to check the water level every 10 to 20 minutes.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,865
    I think it’s intuitive. All those issues happen often enough in real people’s boilers in actual use. Stopping the boil for a minute gives a chance for a more accurate level check to occur
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,440
    edited October 12

    I think it’s intuitive. All those issues happen often enough in real people’s boilers in actual use. Stopping the boil for a minute gives a chance for a more accurate level check to occur

    Not intuitive to me. If a boiler has enough water in it for the probe to remain wet, it doesn't need to stop every ten minutes to verify that the probe is wet. Having said that, I would agree that foaming or very turbulent water may fool the LWCO but one would think the reason for those issues should be identified and resolved and not depend on the LWCO to have to shut off every ten minutes. I do realize some HO's could care less about keeping their boilers running optimally and for those HO's the Cyclegard may offer a little more comfort. I'm good with whatever makes people happy with their systems. I love your install, BTW!
    ethicalpaul
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 11,257
    Several things.

    Fred, if someone can care less, it means they do care some amount.  The proper term is "couldn't care less" meaning they do not care at all.

    Second, it's my job to make sure my water chemistry is correct, not the LWCO.  It's also my job to make sure the equipment is in proper working order. 

    In my case, I will not be using a cyclegaurd.   
    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
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,865
    edited October 12
    Sounds like you shouldn’t need a LWCO at all @ChrisJ. What are ya, chicken?

    PS thanks @Fred! You helped me on my very first post with my old boiler 😃
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 11,257
    edited October 12

    Sounds like you shouldn’t need a LWCO at all @ChrisJ. What are ya, chicken?

    During the weeks, sometimes months my system runs without any water being added there is a chance it could run low. Especially during a cold week if I were to get sick etc and do not wander down there.

    My water chemistry isn't going to mysteriously change without me doing something.

    I do agree with @clammy to an extent though. On systems that are badly neglected the cycle guard could be beneficial. Foaming is bad, and would fool a probe LWCO.
    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
  • ndende Member Posts: 19
    Had a SGO gold wet based boiler installed last month with Riello 40 NG burner. Weil Mclain ships cycleguard as standard trim lwco now. I checked other manufacturers and it seems they all do ship the cycleguard on standard trim with steam boilers. The bottom line is there must be some data point (e.g. bad installs) that the cycleguard has managed to mitigate.

    For a well installed system I think it sucks. I have the 15 minute one and yes it checks 15 minutes 24/7 whether boiler is firing or not. 60 second lockout, then 30 second burner purge = 13.5 minute max firing cycle at any given time. I will say this control is getting one helluva workout!

    I don't really like it but the installer set best to use their standard lwco product in unlikely case ever a warranty issue. I mentioned swapping it out for a safeguard and he just shrugged, maybe later but will let it go for at least a season, dropped enough cash in last few months!


    ethicalpaul
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,440
    edited October 12
    nde said:

    Had a SGO gold wet based boiler installed last month with Riello 40 NG burner. Weil Mclain ships cycleguard as standard trim lwco now. I checked other manufacturers and it seems they all do ship the cycleguard on standard trim with steam boilers. The bottom line is there must be some data point (e.g. bad installs) that the cycleguard has managed to mitigate.

    For a well installed system I think it sucks. I have the 15 minute one and yes it checks 15 minutes 24/7 whether boiler is firing or not. 60 second lockout, then 30 second burner purge = 13.5 minute max firing cycle at any given time. I will say this control is getting one helluva workout!

    I don't really like it but the installer set best to use their standard lwco product in unlikely case ever a warranty issue. I mentioned swapping it out for a safeguard and he just shrugged, maybe later but will let it go for at least a season, dropped enough cash in last few months!


    Yes, I suspect the data point is the volume discounts these manufacturers can get for the Cyclegard. One other point I might make, most gas valves are built and tested to provide about 100K clicks (give or take about 2%) With the Cyclegard, I would suggest you are also reducing the life of the gas valve by about 50%, maybe even more. Oddly enough, I have a 37 year old Burnham boiler. It is on its 3rd gas valve. The first two each lasted 17 years and I'm on the 3rd year of the 3rd gas valve. In theory, with the cyclegard, I'd be on gas valve # 6 or 7. Of course, if the boiler rots in 9 or 10 years, the gas valve may last the life of the boiler otherwise, Repair Parts sales is a big and profitable business as well.
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