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How an intermittent problem avoided a catastrophe, this Fridays case

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RayWohlfarth
RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,552

In this case, a customer called with an intermittent flame failure. Usually, these are a pain to solve but this one turned out to be a blessing. While testing the flame safeguard, it opened the gas valves without a pilot flame. This could have been a dangerous situation. I think you might find the cause interesting. Will let you know Friday at 6am

Ray Wohlfarth
Boiler Lessons

Comments

  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,696
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    I ran a no heat once, where the 5 lbs gas pressure blew out the 2 lbs appliance regulator and was holding the gas valve closed so it couldn't light. I can't imagine what would've happened if it had managed to light.

  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,552
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    @ratio Yikes that's scary You would be up in boiler heaven my friend if that ignited.

    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,944
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    Mercury pilot switch stuck closed.

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,833
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    1 Mis wired or melted damage wiring between the pilot terminal and the main valve terminal.

    2 Water in the flame safeguard or mounting base

    3 If it was and old-style flame safeguard you could stick a matchbook in the flame relay LOL

    mattmia2
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 930
    edited June 28
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    You had to be careful when doing a flame safeguard update using an ultraviolet flame detector to insure that the detector did not see the spark from the ignition transformer. If the pilot did not light, the detector could see the spark and allow the main gas valve/valves to open. "look out".

    Here's another scary one: Imagine a 500HP high pressure steam boiler operating in Pittsburgh, Pa. , where the guts of a General Controls gas valve were removed and the stationary engineer had to cycle the gas flow by opening and closing the manual downstream gas valve. I could not get out of that building fast enough and YES, I did call their insurance company.

    g

  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,552
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    Great guesses Turns out they had a brand new flame safeguard on the shelf. A few years ago, a pipe burst and sprayed water on the box with the flame safeguard. Some water got into the flame safeguard and shorted it. Hope you enjoy the video

    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    mattmia24JohnpipegarretjhHotanCool
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,240
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    wow, @RayWohlfarth good find. Sure hope they appreciated your expertise!

  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,552
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    @PC7060 They got a cheap company in there now that doesnt know boilers. LOl Thanks

    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • Bobsredtrucks
    Bobsredtrucks Member Posts: 3
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    I had a job once where a carpenter had an HVAC contractor pull a permit for him so he could install an LP gas fired furnace. The carpenter ran the fuel line from the LP tank, which happened to be the size of a train car and hooked it up to the furnace with no regulator. Fortunately, the gas valve blew apart internally and failed to open otherwise that would have been a tragedy for anyone in the building and around the site. The scary part is the carpenter had no idea of what he was doing and no idea of the damage he could have caused. We are in a dangerous business and always have to keep our eyes and ears open, they could be our best tools that we own.

    Bob Cermignano

    9326ysshRayWohlfarth
  • majkaoil
    majkaoil Member Posts: 11
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    Its amazing what we see….

    We once had a customer who was complaining of a gas odor from their steam radiators….

    I couldn't really smell it, couldn't really believe it…that is until I took off the air vent, started to bring up steam and held my lighter to the 1/8" tapping. I almost fell over when it lit. ;)

    Turns out a steam line and gas line were touching where they crossed each other and after years a pin hole formed and the gas was getting into the steam side on off cycles. Crazy….

    PC7060CLambRayWohlfarth
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,944
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    How long did it take you to find the leak? What would you have done if the radiator blew up?

  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,696
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    The system must've been sized & installed well if it never built enough pressure to push steam into the gas line!

    I gotta admit, natural gas wouldn't have been the first thing I looked for. Or the second. Or third.

    RayWohlfarth
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,600
    edited July 11
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    I loved the honeywell fcr. It was ahead of its time and is still the gold standard.

    RayWohlfarth
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,552
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    @Bobsredtrucks Wow that could have been a mess.

    @majkaoil I never heard of that. Now that is scary

    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,600
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    I had a mini peeper fail hot but the fcr faulted out because it knew it shouldnt have detected uv. But, that was once out of hundreds. In Europe, we used honetwell uv detectectors with shutters. They would close periodically while firing to test the flame detection system.

  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,552
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    @SlamDunk I have only worked on one of those inside an industrial complex The burner ran for hours at a time and they used the self check flame detector

    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons