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Boiler runs, no call for heat, not for hot water

ilikebeans
ilikebeans Member Posts: 18
Arcoliner 1BT J2. It runs for a few minutes but it doesn't get warm to the touch and the pipes don't. I'm not sure how often it goes on.

 Could it still be heating a coil inside for hot water? Can this function be disabled? Is it just running to maintain itself?

It used to provide hot water as far as I can tell. Now there's a separate gas hot water tank. 


Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    It may have an aquastat on it still, if it once had a coil, set to maintain a minimum temperature, it may be an aquastat set to "keep warm". Some boilers do. Look and see if you can figure out what controls you have, and which one is calling.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ilikebeans
  • ilikebeans
    ilikebeans Member Posts: 18
    Now I see there is a functioning hot water control. It was set above 80°. I turned it up and the boiler went on, but now it's turned down as low as the dial will go. I'm glad it won't waste this oil now.


  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,828
    Detroit control huh? That's some old system you've got there. Does it have a modern burner and safeties? 
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,817
    edited September 2022
    if you look inside that control, there should be 2 screw terminals with a wire under each.   If you disconnect one of those wires and cap it off with a wire nut,  you will disable the hot water function completely and permanently.  Be sure to turn off the electric switch before you do it.   You don’t know how many of my customers were shocked when they learned I was not a licensed electrician. 

    Cal you post a picture of the burner?  At the age of your heater, it may be time to think about an upgrade that will use less fuel. 
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
  • ilikebeans
    ilikebeans Member Posts: 18
    HVACNUT said:
    Detroit control huh? That's some old system you've got there. Does it have a modern burner and safeties? 
    It has a low-water cutoff and some sort of relief valve. The burner is a Carlin 45000 and it looks like it was made in 2016.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    Ah. Steam. And desperately in need of cleaning, and therefore getting the burner properly tuned and adjusted at the same time. That may save some fuel right there.

    There is also a low water cutoff -- it might not be a bad idea to find out if it works...

    How does the system work otherwise? Quietly? Evenly? it should. If it doesn't there are things which can be done to help it a lot. Do you have a copy of "We Got Steam Heat" (the store here, or Amazon)? If not, might get one -- cheap, and will help you understand how the system is meant to operate -- and how to deal with some of the things that can go amiss.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,826


    HVACNUT said:

    Detroit control huh? That's some old system you've got there. Does it have a modern burner and safeties? 

    It has a low-water cutoff and some sort of relief valve. The burner is a Carlin 45000 and it looks like it was made in 2016.

    The Carlin part is the ignitor, but the burner itself may or may not be a Carlin. From what I can see it looks like it might be a Beckett. Post a pic looking at the front of the burner.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 912
    I don’t like the look of that pressure relief  valve. Pieces appear to be missing.

    Bburd
    mattmia2
  • ilikebeans
    ilikebeans Member Posts: 18
    Steamhead said:
    HVACNUT said:
    Detroit control huh? That's some old system you've got there. Does it have a modern burner and safeties? 
    It has a low-water cutoff and some sort of relief valve. The burner is a Carlin 45000 and it looks like it was made in 2016.
    The Carlin part is the ignitor, but the burner itself may or may not be a Carlin. From what I can see it looks like it might be a Beckett. Post a pic looking at the front of the burner.

    Yes, my mistake. I thought it was all one unit. Here are some more pictures.









  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,817
    edited September 2022
    Beckett AF from back in the day... Texaco dealer installed it. Custom paint job from "The Man Who Wears the Star". Fuel Pump replaced and the Ignition replaced. Motor still original. Burner installed in the 1980's

    Probably replaced an ARCO Flame burner from the 40's
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
  • ilikebeans
    ilikebeans Member Posts: 18
    Ah. Steam. And desperately in need of cleaning, and therefore getting the burner properly tuned and adjusted at the same time. That may save some fuel right there. There is also a low water cutoff -- it might not be a bad idea to find out if it works... How does the system work otherwise? Quietly? Evenly? it should. If it doesn't there are things which can be done to help it a lot. Do you have a copy of "We Got Steam Heat" (the store here, or Amazon)? If not, might get one -- cheap, and will help you understand how the system is meant to operate -- and how to deal with some of the things that can go amiss.
    It was cleaned by a technician from the oil company 4 months ago and barely used for heating since then. The white ash deposits aren't supposed to be there I assume.

    It runs well in general. 
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,817
    edited September 2022


    It was cleaned by a technician from the oil company 4 months ago and barely used for heating since then. The white ash deposits aren't supposed to be there I assume.

    It runs well in general. 

    It is possible that the black soot areas and the white scale areas in the photo are stubborn, hard to remove deposits on the cast iron. A soft boiler brush might not remove that stuff during a normal cleaning.

    It is also possible that the boiler inners were never brushed and vacuum cleaned. It all depends on the whim if the maintenance tech. There is no safety issue with leaving those deposits on there, and there is not really enough to cause excessive fuel use. If I was having a bad day, I could have left it that way, back in the day.

    Assuming it is the stubborn stuff that a soft brush won't remove. I have also had days where I actually would remove that baffle and use a stiff wire brush to get that cast iron to shine. You never know by the fuel bill if I did the former of the latter. It's just what I felt like that day.

    The important part of the maintenance is adjusting the burner settings with combustion instruments. be sure to ask for the combustion test results from the service tech at each maintenance visit or if a service call requires a new nozzle or burner adjustment.

    Mr. Ed
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,828
    It might be time to upgrade to a 15 second cad cell primary rather than the stack primary. 
    EdTheHeaterManSuperTech