Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.

Is this wired backwards or am I?

JakeCK
JakeCK Member Posts: 399
So I bought an automatic vent damper and while reading over the wiring diagram it looks as if my boiler is wired backwards from what the schematic shows it should be. Am I right or am I losing my mind?




Comments

  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,001
    Your boiler is not built the way the wiring diagram shows it. The lack of High Limit and Low Water Cutoff is an eye-catcher. Does the gas valve have a place to plug in the damper?
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    STEVEusaPA
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    edited August 17
    No it doesn't. And i noticed the wiring diagram is showing a lot of things that arent there too.

    I grayed out everything my boiler does not have in the picture below. The intermittent pilot, and vent damper were options mine did not have. The notes mention that the low water cut off are only used in steam boilers. note 3 states the operating control is for tankless heaters only. The limit switch is present and is shown on the diagram right next to the gas valve, easy to miss.

    This is fhw connected to a converted gravity system with CI rads.

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,857
    That boiler originally had a White-Rodgers spark-to-pilot system. Some parts for that system are no longer available. My guess is it malfunctioned and was converted to standing pilot.

    If you upgrade to a Honeywell Y8610U spark-to-pilot kit, the ignition module will have a socket for the damper harness. These kits are designed, listed and sold to upgrade older systems. From the looks of it, the smaller of the two kits should suffice.

    If you're not a pro, do not try this yourself. This is not a DIY job. There are plenty of pros on this board who could help you out.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    JakeCKSuperTech
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    I had a thought to that someone might have repaired it with a different gas control valve at one time.
    I also looked at installing the intermittent pilot ungrade but I can't justify the cost of the kit for the measley savings of not having the pilot lit all the time. I already turn it off during the summer . 

    Now the damper on the other hand I feel would be substantial. Close to a 10% jump according the owners manual between a standing pilot no damper and one with the damper. I was going to wire the damper in series on Y between the gas control valve and the aquastat. Also want to add a spill over switch which wouldbbe wired in series too.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,355
    The damper really won't save much fuel. I would save the money and put it towards a new boiler when your ready
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    edited August 17
    With what I paid for the hardware after tax if it manages to save 5% on heating costs it'll pay for its self in less than 6 years. I have $200 to $300 gas bills in the coldest months. But that isn't the whole story. For 9 months of the year I run a dehumidifier that runs almost non stop keeping the basement at 45-50% humidity. I'd be willing the wager a lot of that moisture is being brought in by the draft of the three flues my house has...

    Edit: I also bought two new clean out doors for two of them, fireplace clean out and the boiler flue clean out. Both doors are trash and don't close well if at all. The third flue/chimney I plan on sealing/capping off and abandoning once I replace my 14 year old hot water heater. 
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,857

    The damper really won't save much fuel. I would save the money and put it towards a new boiler when your ready

    Depends on what the boiler is hooked up to. If it's an older chimney that was designed for coal firing, the damper can save a lot. Some of these chimneys can pull pets and small children up to the roof, and that kind of draft will cool the boiler down quickly between cycles. The damper prevents that.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    JakeCK
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    edited August 19
    Steamhead said:
    The damper really won't save much fuel. I would save the money and put it towards a new boiler when your ready
    Depends on what the boiler is hooked up to. If it's an older chimney that was designed for coal firing, the damper can save a lot. Some of these chimneys can pull pets and small children up to the roof, and that kind of draft will cool the boiler down quickly between cycles. The damper prevents that.
    This chimney was most definitely designed for an old coal boiler. Originally the house had a Hercules Heating System from sears. 
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,991
    You could probably get a similar effect with air sealing elsewhere, there are likely many times that many leaks in other areas of the building.
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    mattmia2 said:
    You could probably get a similar effect with air sealing elsewhere, there are likely many times that many leaks in other areas of the building.
    All in good time. I plan on spray foaming the entire rim joist and sill plate with close attention paid to penetrations for wiring and plumbing. But at the end of the day this is a 93 year old house and there are thousands of leaks. I'll spend many times the value in both materials and my time compared to the cost of the auto damper hunting them all down. 

    I seriously don't understand the resistance to the idea of the auto damper? I'm starting to get the feeling a lot of people here are getting a little too long in the tooth and stuck in their ways for their own good. I get it, and I respect these simple old school systems and the old ways of doing things. It is that appreciation of them that has kept me from ripping out this boiler and throwing in a fha system, or at the very least a mod/con. I love the simplicity and reliability of an old school boiler. Now here comes the but. Fossil fuels, regardless of your beliefs, are on their way out. And they are responsible for the severe degradation of our environment. My plan isn't keep this boiler, or any boiler indefinitely. The goal right now is to keep this boiler safe, reliable, and as efficient as possible until I'm ready to replace it. Spending a weekends worth of play money on a couple parts that take an hour, maybe two for a novice to install that substantially increases the efficiency of not just the boiler but of the entire building envelope is not money wasted even if the boiler only lasts another five years. And honestly this old weil mclain could probably last another 20 in its condition. 

    The end game for me is a netzero home. That won't happen with a home heated using fossil fuels. But if I tighten up the envelope, and insulate as best as possible I might just be able to get supply temps down low enough on this boiler that water to water geo might become feasible. And that will dove tail beautifully with the 14kw solar system that is being installed in the next month. That solar system has a 110% offset currently. There is room on both ends to work towards netzero.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,991
    edited August 20
    A flue is a rough environment for a motor and bearings so they tend to eventually stick and cause no heat, frequently intermittently at first. The efficiency claims of manufacturers are frequently quite optimistic compared to actual real world conditions.
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    mattmia2 said:
    A flue is a rough environment for a motor and bearings so they tend to eventually stick and cause no heat, frequently intermittently at first. The efficiency claims of manufacturers are frequently quite optimistic compared to actual real world conditions.
    Is the motor and bearings in the flue itself? 

    And regardless of what the manufacturer says, all I know is I have a 8"x8" cleanout with a busted door, and a 6" diameter hole piped straight to a giant exterior masonry heat pipe that stands 40+ ft tall and has a southern exposure. The area that is open is larger than some of the windows in this house.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,292
    Hi @JakeCK , I live in a very efficient, off-grid home I built, so think I understand where you're coming from. To me, there doesn't seem to me to be a lot of resistance here to installing a vent damper as long as it's safe. @Steamhead gave you a path forward, now it's finding a good technician to install the kit.

    I see this as a stepping stone towards making your place net zero. In general, you want to take steps forward. An example of not moving forward would be to fix all leaky ducts in a forced air system and then rip that out to go with hydronic. If you were going to be getting rid of the boiler soon, why bother making it more efficient... But it sounds like it will be around for years, so the damper has benefits. There is a LOT to do to make a home efficient and it takes time. What would be useful is to keep close track of your energy usage over time and see just what the effects of various efficiency measures is for you.

    I think it could be useful to measure air leakage with a blower door and measure all the electrical draws with Kill-A-Watt meters or something similar. That info will help guide you to the biggest leaks and draws so you know where the low hanging fruit is. There's two cents! o:)

    Yours, Larry
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,991
    The bearings for the damper are in the flue. the motor is subjected to the heat of the flue. the upshot is that they fail quite frequently and result in no heat service calls so that is why people here don't like them.
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    mattmia2 said:
    The bearings for the damper are in the flue. the motor is subjected to the heat of the flue. the upshot is that they fail quite frequently and result in no heat service calls so that is why people here don't like them.
    Would wrapping the flue pipe in insulation help protect the motor? And possibly reduce the amount of condensation on the bearings?
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    Hi @JakeCK , I live in a very efficient, off-grid home I built, so think I understand where you're coming from. To me, there doesn't seem to me to be a lot of resistance here to installing a vent damper as long as it's safe. @Steamhead gave you a path forward, now it's finding a good technician to install the kit. I see this as a stepping stone towards making your place net zero. In general, you want to take steps forward. An example of not moving forward would be to fix all leaky ducts in a forced air system and then rip that out to go with hydronic. If you were going to be getting rid of the boiler soon, why bother making it more efficient... But it sounds like it will be around for years, so the damper has benefits. There is a LOT to do to make a home efficient and it takes time. What would be useful is to keep close track of your energy usage over time and see just what the effects of various efficiency measures is for you. I think it could be useful to measure air leakage with a blower door and measure all the electrical draws with Kill-A-Watt meters or something similar. That info will help guide you to the biggest leaks and draws so you know where the low hanging fruit is. There's two cents! o:) Yours, Larry
    Earlier this year I was trying to buy some property out in the sticks so I could build my dream house. I kept getting beat out by people willing to put in offers sans perc tests or any other precautions. I was unwilling to take such risk. So I instead turned back towards my current home and decided to spend the money here. My dream home would have been off grid. Personally I feel the grid is going to continue to get less reliable and eventually fail. I envy your position. Growing up I remember there being maybe one or two power outages a year. Now it seems I'm resetting clocks once or twice a month, and running any kind of electronics without a UPS is risky. There has been a noticeable change just in the last 11 years I've lived here. Even gas service seems to be less reliable these past years. 

    Now of the other suggestions you've made. I actually have every utility bill saved going back to 2010. And all of them up untill about 2017 plugged into an excell spreadsheet. It made some pretty graphs. I haven't updated that spreadsheet in a while but I have still been saving them in pdf. 

    Years ago I had the gas company do their energy audit. They were unable to do the blower door test due to vermiculite. I just had it tested a week ago and it came back as not being ACM so I might just remove it my self. There isn't much up there and I have a half face respirator as a precaution.


  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,857
    mattmia2 said:

    The bearings for the damper are in the flue. the motor is subjected to the heat of the flue. the upshot is that they fail quite frequently and result in no heat service calls so that is why people here don't like them.

    If you install the damper unit properly, as shown in the instructions, the motor won't overheat.

    The damper shaft bearings are pretty well sorted out by now.

    The only failures we get are an occasional bad motor, and with the usual Field and earlier Effikal dampers, the motor can be replaced easily without replacing the entire damper unit. We carry replacement motors on our trucks.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    JakeCK
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,978
    Steamhead said:

    mattmia2 said:

    The bearings for the damper are in the flue. the motor is subjected to the heat of the flue. the upshot is that they fail quite frequently and result in no heat service calls so that is why people here don't like them.

    If you install the damper unit properly, as shown in the instructions, the motor won't overheat.

    The damper shaft bearings are pretty well sorted out by now.

    The only failures we get are an occasional bad motor, and with the usual Field and earlier Effikal dampers, the motor can be replaced easily without replacing the entire damper unit. We carry replacement motors on our trucks.
    Mine is on it's 10th year now.
    No odd noises, no cries for help.

    The motor never gets hot and the bearings are near diluted flue air but certainly not in the stream.
    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
    JakeCK
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,991
    JakeCK said:



    Years ago I had the gas company do their energy audit. They were unable to do the blower door test due to vermiculite. I just had it tested a week ago and it came back as not being ACM so I might just remove it my self. There isn't much up there and I have a half face respirator as a precaution.


    YUou can figre a lot of this out by inspection. The bypasses in to the attic get the most stack effect so they are the most effective place to start. There is usually a large opening where plumbing stacks go in to the attic, electrical boxes for celing boxes are also usually quite porous. Those can be sealed from the attic with plastic sheet caulked and stapled to the back of the plaster. In my case i found a 18" x 24" or so hole they cut in the wall when they connected the house to the city sewer and covered up with a kitchen cabinet.
    JakeCK
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    Steamhead said:
    The bearings for the damper are in the flue. the motor is subjected to the heat of the flue. the upshot is that they fail quite frequently and result in no heat service calls so that is why people here don't like them.
    If you install the damper unit properly, as shown in the instructions, the motor won't overheat. The damper shaft bearings are pretty well sorted out by now. The only failures we get are an occasional bad motor, and with the usual Field and earlier Effikal dampers, the motor can be replaced easily without replacing the entire damper unit. We carry replacement motors on our trucks.
    Exactly, I read the instructions. It clearly states to install it between 2 and 4, and 7 and 9 o'clock to prevent issues. if mounted at noon it can over heat and if mounted at 6 you can have issues with condensate.
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    mattmia2 said:

    In my case i found a 18" x 24" or so hole they cut in the wall when they connected the house to the city sewer and covered up with a kitchen cabinet.
    I found my share of those when I remodeled my kitchen. there was a nice 1sq ft hole in the ceiling covered by an upper cabinet used as an electrical access.
    mattmia2
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    So It is installed. Any kind soul want to take a look at the photos and tell me if there is anything I did wrong that will burn the house down? And yes I know my clean out door is missing. I ripped it off because the frame was rotted away. I have a new one ready to install. That's next. And please forgive my horrible hand writing and wiring diagram.

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,857
    That looks right.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    JakeCK
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    Thank you.
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    Also wanted to report that after I installed it my home automation system detected an almost immediate rise in temperature of both the supply and return water temps. It was only a couple degrees but it does demonstrate that even with no pilot lit it was still drawing a not insignificant amount of air through it. Once I get that clean out door replaced I'm hoping my dehumidifier won't have to work as hard.
  • FrankB101
    FrankB101 Member Posts: 9
    JakeCK said:

    But that isn't the whole story. For 9 months of the year I run a dehumidifier that runs almost non stop keeping the basement at 45-50% humidity. I'd be willing the wager a lot of that moisture is being brought in by the draft of the three flues my house has...

    Depending on the ambient conditions it may be removing moisture too. I would just get a new sealed combustion boiler and save yourself time and trouble.
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    FrankB101 said:

    JakeCK said:

    But that isn't the whole story. For 9 months of the year I run a dehumidifier that runs almost non stop keeping the basement at 45-50% humidity. I'd be willing the wager a lot of that moisture is being brought in by the draft of the three flues my house has...

    Depending on the ambient conditions it may be removing moisture too. I would just get a new sealed combustion boiler and save yourself time and trouble.
    I live in Cleveland, Ohio, we swim in humidity, it comes in from outside. After 10+ years of owning this home I know it well.

    And it took 30-40 minutes to install and <$300 in materials. I spent more time mowing my lawn last week.
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    edited August 29
    I hate masonry work. I am not a mason. It also doesn't help that this wall is really messed up by the cleanouts. Had to build a wood form.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,991
    Is that just concrete block with really wide joints?
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 399
    mattmia2 said:
    Is that just concrete block with really wide joints?
    Structural Terra Cotta.
    mattmia2