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Energy Kinetics EK1 Smoke/Soot Issue

Gary_7
Gary_7 Member Posts: 26
edited October 22 in Oil Heating
I had a lock out situation with my EK1, 140degree light flashing, so i called my Energy Kinetics Certified service company to come check it out. After changing the primary, the oil pump, nozzle, burner motor, blew out the oil lines and $ later, it started working. Three days later it locked out again. After paying $, for nothing, i started Looking into it myself. So 4 times over the past 3 weeks I’ve had the lockout and 140 degree light flashing. Each time i cleaned soot from the cad cell and my EK would work again. It’s a bit sooty in there and more smoke than normal coming from the side wall power vent. Before i call my service company, which I’m reluctant to do, i would like to have a better understanding of what could be causing the excessive soot and smoke. I Put my hand outside the vent and seems to be blowing fine. When the service guy was here he crossed a screwdriver over the igniter springs and i observed spark. I don't know how strong the spark was but none the less, i saw spark. Before i call Them or change the igniter and/or the electrodes, is there something I’m missing?

2003 EK1
Beckett “AFG” AF72YHPW

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,857
    The burner is out of tune, and is creating smoke and soot. Does this service company have a working smoke pump and combustion analyzer?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Gary_7
    Gary_7 Member Posts: 26
    So I’m not aware of that. I ‘ve had them do an annual service the past two years and didn’t stand by and watch like i used To do, so i dont know what tests or adjustments they made. Last October was the last service and almost a year later it starts smoking and creating excessive soot. Why all of a sudden? This also started before i turned On the heat for the season.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,132
    What @Steamhead said. Real simple.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,322
    "...After changing the primary, the oil pump, nozzle, burner motor, blew out the oil lines..."
    Yikes. Unless that burner was struck by lightening while sitting under water, it's impossible that all of those components failed or needed to be replaced.
    steve
    rick in AlaskaGary_7
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,345
    Pricings not allowed for good reasons.

    Was a combustion analyzer used, there needs to be a print out on the unit? If not print out then not used and you have to call them back.

    3 days later it started smoking again, did you call the contractor and inform them somethings wrong? Why pay for a call back?
  • Gary_7
    Gary_7 Member Posts: 26
    Quite frankly after my experience with them im terrified to call them back before i have an Understanding of what’s going on. They lost my trust. I would hope since the System 2000 is exclusive, that Energy Kinetics would vet their certified dealers better.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,355
    @Gary_7

    Energy Kinetics hangs out on this forum so they will probably respond.

    If, I were you I would call EK and explain the situation. Maybe they can prod your service company or stear you to a new service company.

    I agree with the above comments about the burner out of tune. It is also unlikely all those parts failed at once. Did they leave the old parts behind?

    You should be having a better experience than this seeing how you have had it serviced regularly
  • Gary_7
    Gary_7 Member Posts: 26
    The only part i held Onto was the primary because i knew Nothing was wrong with it. Wish iheld onto the burner fan motor. Before i contact EK i will recontact the service company to see if they will work it out.
  • brnrman1
    brnrman1 Member Posts: 32
    Gary,
    Please PM me your Service Company contact information and your Contact information so we can assist you to get your boiler working correctly. When the unit is working right there should be nothing on the Cad Cell eye.

    Mitch
    Energy Kinetics
    Technical Support Specialist
    [email protected]
    "Mitch"
    Roger Mitchell
    Senior Technical Representative
    Energy Kinetics
    Erin Holohan HaskellpecmsgSuperTech
  • Gary_7
    Gary_7 Member Posts: 26
    So after 6 times of cleaning off the cad cell to get my EK1 running over the last few weeks, I got my service company out yesterday to check on my EK1 and try to determine the cause of my excessive soot issue. The service tech removed the back panel, cleaned what he said was a tremendous amount of soot and closed it up. He advised that the back Chamber Liner, back Insulation Board looks in bad shape. He wouldn't even remove the back chamber liner to look into the chamber because he felt it was in such bad shape that he would end up damaging it. He changed the burner motor coupling because it looked like it was worn and blew out the oil lines because it was pulling at almost 7in.

    He then started it up and did some testing. After about 10 minutes of run time the best he could do was get 10.7%o2, 7.6%co2 and a stack temp of 285*. He put a gauge near the oil pump and said it was only putting out about 105psi. The pump was replaced by them when they were here a few weeks ago. He adjusted the damper in the flue pipe near the power vent and made sure the shutter was set properly to specs but that didn't seem to change anything.

    He called EK tech support and they couldn't determine the issue and advised there must be additional draft getting in. So he removed the burner from the front to take a look at the chamber. There is some pitting at the bottom of the chamber. After putting it back together he did some testing again and didn't do any better, in fact the numbers were slightly worse, 11.6o2, 7.0co2, 274* stack temp. By the way, all of these readings were taken in the flue pipe just above the top of the boiler. His probe wasn't small enough to fit into the test port in the front underneath the burner.

    His determination is that the chamber liner and insulation boards must be replaced. When I asked if he could guarantee that was the issue and the problem would be solved with those pars replaced, he was less then reassuring. I don' know the cost for this repair/parts replacement as there was no price given yet but I'm asking you guys does this sound right? Would this solve the issue of excess soot build up and get my EK1 running properly?
  • brnrman1
    brnrman1 Member Posts: 32
    Thank you for your post, Gary.

    When the technician servicing your boiler called, we reviewed that excess air was entering the vent system and that the combustion could not be properly adjusted until repairs are made. We recommended replacing the damaged insulation boards. Once this is complete, we expect that combustion can be properly adjusted and the burner should return to correct operation. Because the burner could not be properly set due to the damaged components, further diagnostics were not able to be run at that time.

    We look forward to the next step and will assist if there are any additional issues that need to be addressed when your technician returns. It is important to use properly calibrated combustion testing equipment using the sample port in the boiler, not in the flue pipe.

    Mitch

    "Mitch"
    Roger Mitchell
    Senior Technical Representative
    Energy Kinetics
    Gary_7
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,322
    edited October 29
    What's this...
    "...He put a gauge near the oil pump and said it was only putting out about 105psi..."

    I don't understand 'near' nor why he couldn't just set the proper pump pressure. That may be half your problem, and testing in the correct port might be the other.
    As far as the chamber, without pictures hard to say who/how the insulation boards were damaged.
    steve
  • Gary_7
    Gary_7 Member Posts: 26

    What's this...
    "...He put a gauge near the oil pump and said it was only putting out about 105psi..."

    I don't understand 'near' nor why he couldn't just set the proper pump pressure. That may be half your problem, and testing in the correct port might be the other.
    As far as the chamber, without pictures hard to say who/how the insulation boards were damaged.

    Near the oil pump wasn't the right way to say it. He attached the gauge to the oil pump so when the boiler was running the reading was 105psi. I don't know why adjusting it couldn't be done.

    First photo below is view with the back panel off. Second photo is of the chamber from the front with the burner out. You can see some pitting at the bottom.



  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,355
    JMHO but what I am seeing with the chamber doesn't look to me like it would cause your issues
  • Gary_7
    Gary_7 Member Posts: 26
    Just as an update, when my service company chose to change parts "changing the primary, the oil pump, nozzle, burner motor, blew out the oil lines" instead of diagnosing the issue, when they replaced the burner motor, they forgot to re-install the fan(squirrel cage). Eventually they figured it out, re-installed it and it appears to be running correctly. Unfortunately the EK rep (not Roger) accused me of doing it even though I was explicit to all involved that the only thing I did was change the oil filter. Was not a pleasant experience but I believe (hope) that it is resolved now.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,355
    @Gary_7

    Hope you have it fixed
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,857
    Gary_7 said:

    Just as an update, when my service company chose to change parts "changing the primary, the oil pump, nozzle, burner motor, blew out the oil lines" instead of diagnosing the issue, when they replaced the burner motor, they forgot to re-install the fan(squirrel cage). Eventually they figured it out, re-installed it and it appears to be running correctly. Unfortunately the EK rep (not Roger) accused me of doing it even though I was explicit to all involved that the only thing I did was change the oil filter. Was not a pleasant experience but I believe (hope) that it is resolved now.

    Yikes! Can't fix stupid..............

    Do yourself a favor, have someone from our Find a Contractor list, here:

    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/

    handle your service from now on. Some of the industry's best and brightest are on there.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,322
    edited November 13
    If I’m following correctly, is there any way a burner can run without a blower wheel? I guess it could light but it would have to lock out, fairly quickly, no? Got to have high enough cad cell to lock out. And it would have to have poorer combustion numbers and no ability for true zero smoke.
    I may have to try this on my shop heater.
    On second thought, if the OP has a power venter, I guess it is possible to draw enough air thru the burner to support poor combustion.
    It shouldn’t run at all, but I imagine no one ever considered this exact scenario occurring.
    steve
    HVACNUTrick in Alaska
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,209
    Yeah I don't think we're getting the whole story here.
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,691
    I'm completely flabbergasted by what I read here. It doesn't seem like this company knows how to work on oil burners,  nevermind EK boilers. Why not set the oil pump pressure correctly? I can't believe that burner ran at all without the wheel. 
  • Gary_7
    Gary_7 Member Posts: 26
    You have the whole story. My EK stopped working, they came out, blew out the fuel lines, replaced parts, didn't re-install the blower wheel, and yes, it would work for a couple days before the cad cell would soot over. In the end, it is believed that there was some sort of restriction in the full line which they blew out, but since the blower wheel wasn't reinstalled I was having the soot issue. They too were shocked that it ran without the fan, but believe that the the power vent fan helped it run until the cad cell was covered over with soot. The heat wasn't on so it wasn't running too often anyway. By the way, I was told that they increased the oil pressure to specs the last time out. Unfortunately I wasn't there to verify it.

    As far as getting a new contractor, when talking to my local EK rep, he spoke highly of the company I was using and wouldn't recommend another contractor. Its tough to choose another contractor because you never know what you're getting. Thats why I was asking EK to steer me somewhere else, I would think they know who is competent with their equipment and who isn't.
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,244
    Obviously they did not do a combustion test or they would have noticed the problem immediately. And, why did they take the squirrel cage off anyway? Did they also change the motor?
    Troubleshooting is not that hard if you just follow the basics.
    Rick
    Robert O'BrienSuperTech
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,322
    Taking the OP on his/her word, I think your contractor should make it right, and refund some dough, or something else, and maybe EK could lean on them too.
    Changing all those parts and not putting on the blower wheel is a pretty big mistake, and something I never heard even the greenest of green tech do.
    steve
    Robert O'BrienHVACNUTSuperTech
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,857
    brnrman1 said:

    There is more to the story here, but this is a very competent dealer and they stood behind their work to make this job right. We were on a phone call with them while they were on site this past week to make sure we had a more full understanding of the issues and the resolution. We will work with @Gary_7 and the dealer if there are any further issues.

    @brnrman1 , if I were you I'd recruit another company to serve that area. Not putting the fan back on the motor is pretty basic. Whoever did that should not be in the business.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Gary_7
    Gary_7 Member Posts: 26
    brnrman1 said:

    There is more to the story here, but this is a very competent dealer and they stood behind their work to make this job right. We were on a phone call with them while they were on site this past week to make sure we had a more full understanding of the issues and the resolution. We will work with @Gary_7 and the dealer if there are any further issues.

    Mitch, there is no more to the story so I wish you wouldn't say there is. Yes the contractor did work with me in the end but it shouldn't have happened in this manner. I believe it was avoidable. When the original problem surfaced, I changed the oil filter. It did not solve the problem. I called the contractor out and the first tech that came, blew out the oil lines, changed the primary, oil pump, nozzle, burner motor and forgot to reinstall the blower wheel. After a couple days it stopped working again. Thats when I placed my original post on here. I called the service company and complained so they were going to send out another tech. I unscrewed the primary, made sure the electrical connections were tight, left it hanging, reset the primary and my EK1 started working. I called the company and told them to disregard because I thought it was just a loose wire. A day later it stopped working again. Reading up on how burners work, I checked on the cad cell. It was sooted over and from then on I was cleaning off the cad cell every 3 days or so. I posted on here to look for guidance from the members here on what could be the problem because I lost faith in the contractor. After I PM'd you, I had the contractor come back out. A different tech came, who along with EK tech support couldn't figure out what was wrong and came to the conclusion that the insulation panels and the chamber needed to be replaced because there was too much draft. I PM'd you again, and your local rep reached out to me. Somewhere they figured out that the blower wheel was missing and your rep accused me of removing it and of working on the boiler. I reiterated that all I had done was change the oil filter and clean off the cad cell every few days. I don't consider unscrewing the primary, working on it because I didn't disconnect or change anything there. Your rep and I had a tumultuous conversation because of his accusation. I also pressed for a contractor who knows the EK1's inside and out, seemed to me he liked the contractor I was using. Not sure if it was due to them being a big seller of the EK boilers, but I wasn't impressed with their knowledge of the EK1's. In the end I agreed to have the contractor come out again. A different tech (3rd one) arrived as well as the service manager. They installed a blower wheel, cleaned out the EK1, started it up and conducted some tests. The testing #'s weren't great so they said they needed to let it burn off and would come out again the following week. The tech did come the following week, and because they were over an hour later than the window they supplied me, I was unable to be there. This tech allegedly increased the oil pressure to specs and conducted tests in which he advised the results were within specs. I say allegedly only because I wasn't there to verify it.

    I appreciate that you took the time to help get this worked out. I appreciate that the dealers service manager came out in person. I don't appreciate your rep accusing me of removing the blower wheel (regardless of what he was told by the dealer) and I'm disappointed that it went this way. If the dealer told your rep that I removed the blower wheel, I get it, they are covering for their tech. However, it's evident that the first tech made a mistake and didn't put back the blower wheel. But in my opinion he shouldn't have been changing parts in the first place without doing any real troubleshooting. That was the biggest mistake. I don't blame EK tech support because they can only act on what they are told, by the on-site tech.

    In the end, the dealer worked with me as they should have since it was their mistake. They came here a total of 4 times and were here for alot of hours before all said and done. They followed thru and made sure things were right. My EK1 seems to be working fine again. Unfortunately I still don't know what caused the original problem since so many parts were haphazardly changed.

    If you believe there is more to the story I would like to know because then there is a problem with your dealer who is attacking my integrity.
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 1,702
    I'm glad this heating issue has been resolved. We are going to close this discussion because it's run its course and is now getting personal.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
    HVACNUTGary_7
This discussion has been closed.