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This weeks Boiler Room Detective case, The Case of the Squealing Boiler

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RayWohlfarth
RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,552
In this Friday's case, I was called to a church and the complaint was the hydronic boiler squealed when it operated. It sounded like a loose belt. The boiler was an old Peerless 211 cast iron boiler with an atmospheric burner and a standing pilot. I'll let you know what I found on Friday morning. If this were your service call, what do you think is causing the squealing?
Have fun detectives

Ray Wohlfarth
Boiler Lessons

Comments

  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 930
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    This is a stumper and more information may be needed. My first thought is that someone installed a draft inducer on the breeching or stack similar to a Tjerlund, that should not have been there. I have seen instances when a gas regulator or gas valve malfunctioned reducing the gas input to the burners and causing a high pitched whine or squeal.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,833
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    Squirrels or birds in the breeching. They only act up when the boiler fires up. LOL :):):)
    pugman2ethicalpaul
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,387
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    Hi, Any chance they have one of these on the roof? :|

    Yours, Larry
    mattmia2HVACNUTCLamb
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,944
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    the vents go in to something weird. im going with some sort of draft inducer, either electric or the wind turbine type
    pugman2rqreid
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
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    Was this church next to a pig farm? Perhaps the pigs were doing all the squealing.

    On a serious note... Squealing could be a defective circulator bearing assembly or defective circulator coupling.

    But there was the story of a church pastor that was selling a mule that was no longer needed. A member of another church from the neighboring town heard of the sale and decided to purchase the mule. Once the deal was final, the priest told the purchaser that this mule was taught to go on the command of Hallelujah, and stop on the command of Amen. The man then sat on the mule and gave the command Hallelujah and the mule started to walk. The man gave the command Amen and the mule stopped. Feeling that he's made a good purchase, the man rode the mule home.

    A few hours passed and the man saw that the mule was approaching a cliff with a 1000 ft drop. The man could not remember the command for stop and started to say anything he could think of to stop the mule… Woah! … STOP! …Slow down! NO NO NO it was something religious … Jesus! … God! …Bible! Nothing was working so, believing that he was going over the cliff the man said one final prayer

    “Holy Father in heaven please forgive me for all my sins thru your holy name AMEN!” At that moment the mule stopped with only one step to go before falling over the cliff! The man rejoiced and thanked God by proclaiming aloud “Hallelujah”

    Edward Young Retired

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

    GGrossHomerJSmithttekushan_3PC7060
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,827
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    Gas pressure or dirty burner . Run the burner with no call ..

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  • Canuck_3
    Canuck_3 Member Posts: 39
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    I've seen quite a number of atmospheric boilers making this type of noise. I suppose the main issue is low flow through the boiler, which causes steam to 'just start' to develop, (which is the noise). A cheap cure for the issue is to increase the system pressure a bit, which stops the steam from developing. Ultimately, though, increased flow through the boiler would be a permanent solution.
    rqreid
  • sbachman7117
    sbachman7117 Member Posts: 21
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    I'm a small-scale landlord, not a mechanical contractor, so my experience is pretty limited. However, I did have a squealing hydronic boiler a few months ago. It was hard to tell the source by listening. Some oiling of the circulator pump seemed to fix it. Mine was 1980's era and much smaller than the one shown in this post.
  • mrlarson
    mrlarson Member Posts: 5
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    Interesting problem, I would look at the flue passages to see if it is restricted causing harmonics creating the noise. Anxious to hear about what it was,
    PC7060
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,104
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    I had a new boiler with gas valve squeal. Lowering the pressure by just a very small amount made the noise go away.
  • OuterCapeOilguy
    OuterCapeOilguy Member Posts: 46
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    In the absence of more info, I’m going to go with a dry or bad bearing on an open drive circulator. Second choice would be a gas valve issue.
  • metrosilo
    metrosilo Member Posts: 33
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    Gas pressure. I’ve seen this problem several times. It’s strange how you get that sound with improper gas pressure. 
  • Bill_Kitsch69
    Bill_Kitsch69 Member Posts: 48
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    1. Gas valve/regulator/burner harmonics. Clean the burners & orifices. Check manifold pressure. Clock input.
    2. A circulator squeal is carrying through the system and sounds as though it's originating beneath the draft hood. (not likely)

  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
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    What's been said pretty much covers it. This is where a mechanic's stethoscope might come in handy.

    One thought is air going up the draft is squealing as it is pulled thru a small space in the cabinet.

    This reminds me of a story about a squealing boiler. The Tech was called out and looked at the problem. He took out a hammer and tapped the side of the boiler and the squealing stopped. He gave the customer a bill for $100. The customer was taken aback at the cost and demanded an itemized bill. The Tech wrote...Tapping the boiler $5.00. Knowing where to tap $95.00.
    ttekushan_3
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
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    Ed Young, you're a funny guy, I appreciate it.
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,205
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    Circulator bearing gone bad. Perhaps a wet rotor circulator running in a dry boiler?
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,552
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    Thanks all @EBEBRATT-Ed was the closest The chimney had bats inside and they would squawk when the burner started. It sounded just like a loose belt on a blower. I was completely stumped by it until a retired building maintenance manage found the issue. I love the pig farm answer LOL The link to the video is below
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=aYJyN36yupM
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    Brent H.SuperTechCLamb
  • Kickstand55
    Kickstand55 Member Posts: 110
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    What? Did the Church have no Belfry?
    Well, the Bats, in this case, improvised!
    It's nice to know of Church going Bats. Bet more of them go than People! :)
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,833
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    Animals coming down a chimney with no cap on it is pretty common in the winter. They want to be warm too.

    But actually, what I posted was more of a joke. It was just a wild guess.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,827
    edited April 2023
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    Get the #@%& out of here .... I have a bat house at the cabin , not happen there ...

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,552
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    @Kickstand55 LOL
    @EBEBRATT-Ed You must be psychic LOL what's tonights powerball numbers
    @Big Ed_4 bat house? like the superhero?
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,827
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    OK ;)

    There was an error rendering this rich post.