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[SOLVED] Only 3 of the 5 ribbon burners light on WM EG

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xanax
xanax Member Posts: 4
edited November 2021 in Gas Heating
Hello! With the help of this forum I was able to replace a broken sight/gauge glass and install a new boiler drain on this possibly neglected boiler.

After all that stuff was good to go I lit the pilot, turned it to on and turned the t-stat on.

When the burners came on a bunch of dust blew out and that's when I noticed that only 3 of the 5 burners were lit. I turned it off, removed each ribbon burner and cleaned the dust off. That didn't solve the problem. I see that each ribbon burner sits in front of a nozzle, I don't know the name for these. Perhaps that's where the problems lies?

Any help on what to do next would be appreciated very much! Should I try to clean out the nozzle with a sewing needle or something else? Should those nozzles be replaced? It looks like they would unscrew from the manifold but I didn't want to break it before I asked for help. Am I totally off? I don't want to, but wondering if it's safe to operate like this. The house is starting to drop below 50 degrees. Thanks!

I included some photos for what it's worth.







Comments

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,095
    edited November 2021
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    The nozzles that you are talking about are called orifices. Basically they are screw in plugs that have a specific size hole drilled in them. nothing exotic or fancy about the hole. it is just a specific size that will allow a metered amount of gas leak out of the pipe that the orifices are screwed into. If there is anything blocking the opening of those orifices, then the gas will not come out of them. That is the only explanation I can think of for the ribbon burners that are not firing. Of course, that is assuming the ribbon burners are properly set on the orifices of the two burners that are not firing.

    If you can't get the orifice cleared by using a small wooden toothpick or a sewing needle, you can turn them out with a wrench and inspect them to see that the hole is not blocked or partially blocked. Be careful not to damage the orifice by making ir larger than it is supposed to be. The drill size of the hole is very specific and corresponds to a number size drill. Machine shops use these number size drills for things like drilling orifices for metering a specific amount of a fluid like a liquid or a gas thru a device like a burner on a heating system. If you enlarge the hole while trying to clean it, then more gas will flow through the hole and overfire that particular burner.

    Replacement orifices are available at many supply houses

    Not sure if this is the correct one, but this is an example
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Weil-McLain-560-528-987-Main-Burner-Orifice-Natural-Gas-245mm

    EDIT
    Looked at the weil Mclain parts catalogue for your boiler and found that this is the correct orifice
    https://parts.weil-mclain.com/catalog?model_id=143&schematic_id=596&code=560-528-987

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    xanax
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,443
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    Curious as to how that got plugged? Is it possible there was a "flood" in the area around the boiler?
    IFf that is the case you really need to get a pro in there to look at the situation. If that gas valve got submerged it must be replaced.
    xanax
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,747
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    You need to check the pressure of the supply and manifold. You can pull the whole manifold out and look at the orifices and the burners, if they aren't obviously clogged it is time to call a pro that is good at setting up combustion.

    It is not safe to run it like that.
    ZmanEdTheHeaterManxanax
  • xanax
    xanax Member Posts: 4
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    Thanks for the comments so far. I'm learning a lot. So it's probably between some clogged orifices or a gas valve that may have been damaged by a flood. I don't know how to check the pressure, so for that I might have to call a professional.

    Regarding removal of the orifices I have some questions:

    1- Are they common RH threaded or LH threaded? If I'm sitting in front of the boiler (behind the orifice) would I turn the wrench to my right to loosen?

    2- Can I use penetrating oil to loosen the orifice? Something like AeroKroil?

    3- When putting them back, do they require pipe dope? They're so small I'm thinking no.

    4- Once I remove the orifices, should I blast compressed air into the manifold, or would I risk pushing dust/debris into the gas valve?

    Thanks!
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,591
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    What I have done was use a properly sized drill bit on a T-handle and slowly ream orifice. Penetrating oil is fine, just wipe up excess. I have never used dope.
    EdTheHeaterManxanax
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,623
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    The orifices are a standard right hand thread. You can remove and clean them. I would use a small amount of "anti seize" available at an auto parts store. Just snug them up not super tight.
    EdTheHeaterManxanax
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 915
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    Sometimes a spider or similar insect will build a home in the orfice and plug the hole. In that case you should remove the orfice to remove it's home.
    EdTheHeaterManxanaxEBEBRATT-Ed
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
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    Gerry Gill has a video on this.

    https://youtu.be/y_NBFhP2OwE
    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
    SlamDunkEdTheHeaterManxanax
  • xanax
    xanax Member Posts: 4
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    Thanks everyone for all the information... I was able to fix it with your help!

    The winning raffle ticket goes to: kcopp
    kcopp said:

    Curious as to how that got plugged? Is it possible there was a "flood" in the area around the boiler?
    IFf that is the case you really need to get a pro in there to look at the situation. If that gas valve got submerged it must be replaced.

    There was a flood in the summer and the previous owner failed to mention that the boiler was affected by it. When I took the manifold apart it was filled with water! It's amazing it fired up at all before I cleaned it out. Luckily the water line inside of the cabinet, which I didn't notice before, was below the gas valve.

    Beautiful flames!


  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    Forgive my tone here. Some of you may know I bring this up from time to time, but here goes:

    Am I the only person who sees something wrong with talking a non-professional through a repair like this? A flooded boiler that had a gas manifold filled with water? I don't even repair these things. Every directive regarding flooded fuel-burning equipment sanctions full replacement as the only recourse.
    In his pictures I'm looking at a flood-affected flame rollout switch, gas valve, burner tubes, (probably) insulation, and who knows what else. What can expected when the corrosion caused by the water in the manifold starts to form and flake off? It doesn't take much to clog a burner orifice, or have an electronic gas valve stick open. Many of us come here to be helpful, but is there no point at which we advise some things are not a DIY, instructions-over-the-internet situation?
    And to the original poster, does it not bother you that not one person here giving advice how to bring this equipment back to life assumes any liability whatsoever in the outcome of your reactivated flooded boiler?

    My opinion is that advising this homeowner through this repair was a mistake.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    Mosherd1EdTheHeaterMan
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,441
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    Um... there was a flood and it affected that boiler? Like... submerged it? The general rule is -- and code requires -- that all electrical or gas handling components which were underwater, even briefly, must be replaced to meet code and insurance requirements. You may have a case against the previous owner for non-disclosure of a material defect.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,343
    edited November 2021
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    My opinion on advising homeowners:
    For the last 50 years in the United States, lawyers, schools, and Nanny Culture have been a detriment to DIY. One of the results of this is @JohnNY and everyone else can't find qualified employees.
    Attempting to assess a poster's qualifications to perform a repair as a prerequisite to dispensing knowledge is silly. Just put it out there and let them know what the risks are. Withholding knowledge will lead to more poor outcomes.
    Assuming every homeowner lives in a locale where competent hydronic professionals exist is a poor assumption. In the USA, outside of the Northeast, too many local HVAC "Pros" don't understand hydronics and have no business working on boilers. Two instances this Fall on this forum of a "Pro" installing a steam boiler on a gravity system. "Your boiler has a Cracked Heat Exchanger (but there are no water leaks)" often means "I'm not qualified to fix your current equipment, so I'm going to scare-sale you into a new high margin system". Then the "Pro" doesn't RTFM. (Read The _ Manual)
    The Internet has created disruptive change. Local supply houses are going belly up. As a homeowner, I can buy almost any part I need from www.supplyhouse.com. Today there are many new resources for homeowners to gain knowledge. Homeowners will use that knowledge to both be more discerning consumers of the industry's services, and/or DIY.
    Most homeowners are not, and don't wish to be DIYers. The industry needs to do a better job of serving those people. Both the many homeowners who don't wish to DIY, and the few that do, appreciate the knowledge shared on this site.
    Homeowners are customers. DIYers will become customers when they get too old to DIY. Without customers your Business is not a Business.
    I DIY.
    ChrisJethicalpaul
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    WMno57 said:

    My opinion on advising homeowners:
    ….Most homeowners are not, and don't wish to be DIYers. The industry needs to do a better job of serving those people. Both the many homeowners who don't wish to DIY, and the few that do, appreciate the knowledge shared on this site.
    Homeowners are customers. DIYers will become customers when they get too old to DIY. Without customers your Business is not a Business.

    So, what are you saying? Professionals should keep doling out advice to untrained homeowners to DIY their equipment until the day comes they decide to be customers?

    That may work for you as a homeowner but as a professional I prefer not to live with the implications and potential consequences of having someone make an inappropriate repair or attempt a part replacement which they are simplify not qualified to properly assess or execute. No one should be comfortable with that situation.

    This is not the hill I want to die on. Trust me. But I think this repair, in particular, should not have been done at all much less with the enthusiastic guidance of other non-professionals and pro’s alike. I’m not saying never. I’m saying this one.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,623
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    @JohnNY , @kcoppmentioned the possibility of could the boiler have been flooded. Most of the rest of the posts concerned dirt/spiders in the orifices.

    I share your concern.

    The op mentioned that the water line in the cabinet was below the gas valve and the water was in the manifold

    So, now we can begin the debate of WHAT CONSTITUTES A FLOOD?

    1/4" of water on the floor, 1/2", 1" 2" 4" 6"

    This could and will go on forever.

    IMHO if the gas valve wiring and safeties were not exposed to water then emptying the manifold and cleaning the burners should be fine and no need to replace anything. But that's just MHO. I can take the incoming flack.

    As far as liability the OP worked on it it's all his

    JohnNYChrisJ
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,343
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    xanax said:


    Luckily the water line inside of the cabinet, which I didn't notice before, was below the gas valve.

    I DIY.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,591
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    JohnNY said:

    Forgive my tone here. Some of you may know I bring this up from time to time, but here goes:

    Am I the only person who sees something wrong with talking a non-professional through a repair like this? A flooded boiler that had a gas manifold filled with water? I don't even repair these things.........

    My opinion is that advising this homeowner through this repair was a mistake.

    To be fair, had the OP led with "the boiler was flooded", different advise would have been given. But to play the devil's advocate here, it is cold outside, there is a shortage of qualified techs available- the good ones are booked up forever, and there is a supply chain problem. Who knows if parts are readily available.

    That said, to the OP, if you had water in your manifold for a year, corrosion flaking off will plague you forever.
    JohnNY
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    WMno57 said:

    xanax said:


    Luckily the water line inside of the cabinet, which I didn't notice before, was below the gas valve.

    To further beat this dead horse… and I know I started it: After Sandy, Ida, random record setting northeast storms of the past 3 years, etc I know what a flooded boiler and gas valve that’s been under water look like. I’ll bet a week’s pay that gas valve was submerged. And if it wasn’t, you can bet the insulation soaked up a ton of water and is now useless.
    So, if anyone’s got $318.73 they’d like to risk, let me know.

    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
    edited November 2021
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    JohnNY said:

    WMno57 said:

    xanax said:


    Luckily the water line inside of the cabinet, which I didn't notice before, was below the gas valve.

    To further beat this dead horse… and I know I started it: After Sandy, Ida, random record setting northeast storms of the past 3 years, etc I know what a flooded boiler and gas valve that’s been under water look like. I’ll bet a week’s pay that gas valve was submerged. And if it wasn’t, you can bet the insulation soaked up a ton of water and is now useless.
    So, if anyone’s got $318.73 they’d like to risk, let me know.

    It's been my experience that fiberglass will dry out and go back to normal.
    Afterall, it's glass.

    The rest I'm not going to comment on. Personally I'd replace anything that was under water.
    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
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,747
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    Even if the gas valve wasn't submerged, was the manifold handled in such a way that the water didn't run back in to the valve when the assembly was removed to drain the water out of it? What about corrosion inside the gas valve from the moisture?
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,591
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    318.73? Too rich for my blood.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    ChrisJ said:



    It's been my experience that fiberglass will dry out and go back to normal.
    Afterall, it's glass.

    I find roof leaks with my thermal imaging camera by the change in temperature where the insulation has gotten wet. The fibers stick together, stop trapping air, and it's no longer insulation after that.

    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
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    JohnNY said:
    It's been my experience that fiberglass will dry out and go back to normal. Afterall, it's glass.
    I find roof leaks with my thermal imaging camera by the change in temperature where the insulation has gotten wet. The fibers stick together, stop trapping air, and it's no longer insulation after that.
    Yes, wet fiberglass is useless.

    But the cheesy 1/2" jacket on a boiler should dry out 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
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,623
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    Problem is if you ask 20 people "how much water is a flood you will get 20 answers"
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
    edited December 2021
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    ChrisJ said:


    JohnNY said:

    ChrisJ said:



    It's been my experience that fiberglass will dry out and go back to normal.
    Afterall, it's glass.

    I find roof leaks with my thermal imaging camera by the change in temperature where the insulation has gotten wet. The fibers stick together, stop trapping air, and it's no longer insulation after that.


    Yes, wet fiberglass is useless.

    But the cheesy 1/2" jacket on a boiler should dry out fine.


    I give up.

    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • xanax
    xanax Member Posts: 4
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    mattmia2 said:

    Even if the gas valve wasn't submerged, was the manifold handled in such a way that the water didn't run back in to the valve when the assembly was removed to drain the water out of it? What about corrosion inside the gas valve from the moisture?

    I appreciate everyone's feedback and concerns. Originally I removed the five orifices to clean them out in case there were spiders or other junk inside. Two of them were semi-blocked and I cleaned those out. No water came out of the manifold at this point. This is probably not the correct (perhaps even the worst) way to clean out the manifold, but I blew compressed air into the manifold with the orifices removed. It was at this point that a very small spray of dirty water shot out of one or more of the other orifice ports. This is when the flood issue became apparent.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,747
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    I would replace the valve if it were my boiler. valves have been known to stick open and that is very bad. A tech that knows what they are doing has to adjust the new valve.
    SlamDunk
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,623
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    @xanax

    Since water could have gotten into the valve it would be a good idea to replace it for piece of mind. The gas pressure wound need to be adjusted on the valve and a combustion test done
    SlamDunk
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,095
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    A run away gas valve is no fun. Got a call from a homeowner about his summer home at the Jersey Shore. His gas bill was very high. I went to his house after picking up a key from the real estate office. It was about 98° inside and the outside temperature was about 30°. The fan was blowing and the thermostat was set at 55° but the gas burners were on full blast. So I shut off the switch to the furnace and the fan stopped but the gas was still at full tilt.

    I don't know how long this was burning with the valve stuck open, but it was long enough for the gas bill to be high enough for the homeowner to be concerned. (maybe 45 days minimum) Made a temporary repair with a percussion tool. The valve closed. Left the switch off until the customer approved a replacement gas valve. Replaced the valve the same day. Also checked the heat exchanger for a crack from overheating. It passed and was negative for a crack.

    You don't want to pay that gas bill, and you don't want a boiler with a runaway gas valve. the water can go to steam and cause real damage if the burner does not shut off by the High Limit Aquastat.

    I vote for new gas valve and new rollout switch. or leave it off.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    SlamDunk
  • bucksnort
    bucksnort Member Posts: 167
    edited December 2021
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    Shop Vac for the win to suck out the manifold. Let er rip. Steve "It's a leaker" had a Youtube where he fired up a flooded furnace. What a hero standing in 6" of flood mud to do it.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,076
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    As far as the rollout switch, which is actually a fuse, I would replace it along with the gas valve....because stuff happens:

    I responded as a fireman to a gas valve stuck open, lady was overheating in the house and shut the circuit breaker off on the furnace. Well that stopped the blower but not the gas flow. This was a real hack install with flex connected directly to the plenum. Flex fished in nonassessable crawl space. It was getting pretty soft.

    I started the blower with someone standing by at each floor vent to check for smoke. If any showed then the chainsaw would have opened the floor for a really big hose to apply water. Fortunately there was no smoke showing.
    Had the saw and water been applied this would have almost made the house a total loss. Firefighters want to get the wet stuff on the red stuff, be done and go home as this was Christmas eve.

    I spent part of my Christmas eve installing a new gas valve. (We actually do Christmas on New years...medical workers in the family.)

    This gas valve of the OP has been sitting just above a pool of water in the manifold for maybe months or longer. I feel the internals may have corrosion inside.

    And as far as the rollout fuse; some years ago there was a discussion about arson fires with a Fire Marshall/investigator. And one thing I gathered was that back when fuses were common, arsonists would soak them in water, dry them off enough to re-install and then plug in a severe overload. The fuses, having been soaked, would not open as they should.
    During the fire investigation this would not have been evident as the traditional penny behind the plug fuse would have been.

    So that component or any other, even though dried out, may not function as designed.
    SlamDunkmattmia2
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,174
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    Made a temporary repair with a percussion tool. 

     :D:D:D
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,343
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    I never thought about the gas valve being a single point of failure. Have there been any changes in gas valves to address this. Better materials, redundancy built into a single valve, two gas valves in-line to eliminate the single point of failure?
    I DIY.