Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Utica Boiler lockout

Options
Lazzyriverrat
Lazzyriverrat Member Posts: 9
edited June 29 in THE MAIN WALL

Where to begin … ??? We have a seasonal residence in the 1000 Island area of New York in Chippewa Bay and have recently had our boiler and HWT replaced by a local plumbing company and have had nothing but trouble for past year with efficient operation of these appliances. The plumber installed a Utica MAH-125 condensating boiler on our propane fuel system and a few months later installed a Viesman EVIB - 42 HWT. This seasonal property is up in North Country and the skilled talent up here compared to the talent that you get in most big cities in the country is like comparing it to Appalachia. There are very few HVAC to serve in these areas and the one's that are available are turning down customers because they are so busy and the wait list to get anything installed or repaired is long,long,long. Most of these contractors are not taking the courses and the training necessary to provide good , efficient and safe installations in these areas from companies like Utica Boilers who are selling their units to distributors in areas like this and who sell them to these contractors to install to the unwary customers in their area and are shooting from the hip when they run into problems after they do the install. I have even contacted the teck support at ECR who distributes these Utica boilers trying to get them to communicate with the plumbing contractor to get them the help they need to do a safe, proper and efficient installation and they won't even do that and continue to go blindly into the forest without making the corrections that need to be done.
But, it gets worse, we've had no hot water for over a week now, the plumber doesn't return my calls or text messages, the last time he sent his crew out to work on our appliances was last October 2023. I tried to work on the boiler myself to get the hot water back on so that we can shower and do dishes as it threw an error code 128 , no flame. I cleaned the spark igniter as was shown to me by the plumber when he did the install at my request and when I tried to turn the boiler back on again it was in lockout mode and I can not get it back on again. Turns out the system locks out automatically after 5 attempts to reset it for no flame. So, then I go back to the teck at ECR to tell him I'm locked out and need to get past the lock to restart the boiler and he tells me to turn off the boiler for 10 - 15 minutes and then put the power back on and push the reset button for 2 seconds and that should do it. Well I tried that several times and it was a no go. I called the teck back up again to tell him where I was at this point and asked him what do I do next ,,,,,, he tells me he doesn't know !!! So then, if he doesn't know how to unlock it then how will anyone else in this neck of the woods know then if these are the people who need to call ECR for assistance in a matter like this ... ??? Now I'm sitting on two appliances that we paid over $7,000 for and can't use to heat our home or provide hot water for our needs.When these plumbers installed the Viesmann HWT they did a terrible job on the install. Both the boiler and the HWT was recommended by this plumber over a Weil Mclain brand I was also considering buying so one would think that he had plenty of experience with the install of these appliances. When he hooked up the tank to the boiler they never put in an aquastat and had to come back to install one. They never put in a drain valve at the bottom of the tank piping so I told them to cut the pipes and make sure that they installed one there to drain the darn thing when needed. They removed a HWT zone valve from the boiler system that had a very small leak coming from one of the screws at the bottom and never replaced it so that a day or two later I had hot water coming out of all our faucets at 165 degrees as no tempering valve was ever put in place and the boiler water to heat the other zones was going through the HWT and out of all our faucets, I saw that they did not have a recirculating pump anywhere on the new HWT as I had one on the old Glowcore one that was replaced so they had to do that, and when they hooked up the vent system for this boiler they had to replace my 2" PVC exhaust through the roof venting with a 3" line and the boiler shut off a few times because the condensate kept creating a vent obstruction error so they rigged up a clear plastic hose and attached it to the side of the furnace that you can see in one of the pics that I'm posting with this narration.I called ECR back again earlier on in the day and left a message for the teck that I spoke to hoping that he could somehow find out what needs to be done to get that boiler unlocked and to date have had no response.Can anyone out there in this discussion group who has a working knowledge of this boiler and HWT please give me a clue as to how to restart this boiler again as a first step in fixing some of the problems as it would be greatly appreciated and thank you in advance ......


Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,833
    Options

    It seems common knowledge that parts of NY don't seem to have any mechanics who can fix anything. I don't know the answer other than to post your city or town and check "find a contractor" on this site but I would be suprised if you find anyone. We have many NY plumbers who are qualified on this site perhaps some of them will respond or may know someone qualified in your area.

    You're in a tough spot.

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,635
    Options

    Throwing the local contractors under the bus is a pretty sure way of ensuring that you won't get speedy service, if you get any at all. Got to admit that when I started reading the intro. to your post it was pretty clear that you don't think much of us country bumpkins.

    Good luck.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    pecmsg
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,952
    Options

    Good example of why the installing contractor's name is more important than the names on the boxes.

  • Lazzyriverrat
    Lazzyriverrat Member Posts: 9
    Options

    Thanks for the comment, hoping for the best ……

  • Lazzyriverrat
    Lazzyriverrat Member Posts: 9
    Options

    Thanks for the good luck and I'm not insinuating that all people in this area are country bumpkins as I've been coming to this area for over 50 years and have quite a fondness for the people who I've met with and deal with here. My only disdain is for the people who lack the knowledge that they need who refuse to get it when it is available and offered to them. You'll find these people all over not just in the country. I'm more inclined to note that there is a real need for more skilled labor in many parts of our country like our area here and that more of our younger generation needs to be drawn to the skilled trades like plumbing and heating with more incentives in place for them to do it if we as a whole throughout our whole country want to be able to survive situations like this going forward. If the scarcity of skilled services are like this now what will it be like in years to come when these sparse few service providers are retired and gone and someone's heat goes down in the middle of Winter and their pipes break and they freeze to death. These companies who manufacture these boiler products are making them more electronic and complicated than they need to be where parts are shutting down heating appliances more than usual so more maintenance and expenses will have to be done at the customers expense. I've got a Peerless boiler in my permanent residence that is over 50 years old and still going strong and my only repair to in more than 20 years ago was to replace the mini volt thermal-couple on it that cost less than $20 bucks. Why mess with something that wasn't broke and provided great service for a great amount of time. Do you see a pattern developing here where we are getting squeezed between a rock and a hard place ? Just my personal observations, that's all.

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,833
    Options

    @lazzyriverrat

    Your correct that the new equipment is more complicated. But this "newer equipment" has been around for 20 years or so, maybe a little longer. The techs that don't get the hang of it by now will never learn because they don't want to.

    I retired 5 years ago after 46 years in the business. When the "new equipment" came out I dreaded microprocessors and as far as computers are I was 40 years old before I turned on my first computer.

    Didn't like it but I learned what I had to learn. I never had the comfort level with it that the younger people had but as time went on I found myself able to find and fix problems that they couldn't find so I did ok but it was a struggle.

    Even todays CI boilers have electronic controls but are still far simpler that the Mod Con boilers. And there is nothing wrong with Mod Cons they have their place.

    This is why most in this forum stress why the contractor is more important than the boiler.

    You would hope that a contractor given his own choice would install something he could successfully service and repair.

  • Lazzyriverrat
    Lazzyriverrat Member Posts: 9
    edited June 30
    Options

    ED Thank you for your comment and I agree with all that you've said. The takeaway from this post would include the fact that the onus of finding a good contractor to service his needs is on the customer and everyone needs to do their due diligence to obtain that end. In cases like mine where the contractors are few and far between in areas like mine and trying to service more people than they have the time to take care of in an efficient manner an outcome like this will will surly happen again. Boiler manufacturers and distributors need to also better train their personal especially the tecks who are in the service departments that these contractors and people like me call to get answers to questions like how to unlock a system that you made and sent out into the field. It blows my mind that they could not answer that very important question and now my intent is to try to find an engineer at that company to talk to who might be able to give me an answer to that question.

  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,105
    edited July 1
    Options

    It's a hack install. First they should really fix the pitch of that vent rather than add a drain, next verify gas pressure into the unit, then need to verify there is enough combustion air, verify the unit was correctly converted to LP. Finally if they get it to fire it needs to have the combustion tuned to spec using a digital analyzer. While mod/cons are slightly more complicated the basics are the same for all units, this stuff is not rocket science and requires only the bare minimum level of knowledge, and a few specialized tools. Most of this stuff needs to be done with traditional equipment as well.

    With propane sometimes the propane company leaves air in the tank, this is a pain to deal with and everyone will usually point fingers at each other until it works its way out. Also old regulators sometimes need to be replaced, this is easy enough to check with gas pressure testing.

    static gas pressure (unit is off) needs to be within spec!

    pressure on ignition needs to be within spec, and shouldn't drop more than 0.5" WC from static

    pressure at high fire needs to be within spec, 1" drop is absolute max but a well sized gas line with still not drop more than 0.5"WC

    high lockup, shut unit off after high fire, pressure needs to within spec!

  • Lazzyriverrat
    Lazzyriverrat Member Posts: 9
    edited July 1
    Options

    @GGrossThank you very much for your comment as it was greatly appreciated. That vent pipe used to be 2" with the Glowcore boiler we had in there for over 10 years and did not have a problem with it and when they went to install the boiler I wanted them to use the roof vent instead of the through the wall vent because this is a seasonal residence and I overwinter about 200 flowers in our attached solarium and need to maintain at least 40 degree temps in the Winter months. If this boiler's vents got blocked with high snow going through the wall it would shut down because no one would be here to monitor it and shovel the blockage away. The pitch on this pipe is the best that can be done for the location that it is in and the plumbers didn't think they might have a problem with the pitch. I have to snowshoe into the camp once a month during the Winter which takes about 20 minutes or so coming 250 miles each way from WNY to check on the place and to water the flowers. That 128 code for ignition failure came on three times in less than two days and I tried to do the normal reset a few times before I cleaned the igniter and when I was finished and went to turn the power back on I saw the lockout so I must have hit my 5 x reset try just before I cleaned it not knowing that this was going to happen. If you know how to override and unlock the boiler so I can see if the igniter cleaning was successful or not I would greatly appreciate that info. Once it starts I can try to find someone to come out and check the other items that you noted but that would probably take a very long time as Syracuse NY is the largest metro area to us about an hour away and many of the big plumbing companies who service in that area will not drive this far to service someone. Meanwhile we are going on two weeks with no hot water and we have company staying with us for another 7 days. Please help with the unlock if you can and thanks again for the info.

  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,105
    Options

    from page 68 of the manual

  • Lazzyriverrat
    Lazzyriverrat Member Posts: 9
    edited July 1
    Options

    That's the biggest problem I have right now, when I called ECR International to talk to the service teck he told me to do the same thing and when I called him back to tell him that it didn't work he was at a loss for any other way to override it , thus my complete frustration at this point …..

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,635
    Options

    Watertown has some pretty competent people in it… and it's a lot closer to you.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    GGross
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,105
    edited July 1
    Options

    Just to clarify you are holding that button, not just switching the unit off and back on correct? in the original post you mention turning the unit off for 10 minutes, according to this it says to hold the button until the error clears

    There is also a fault history to check the last several faults, it is not very intuitive unfortunately

  • Lazzyriverrat
    Lazzyriverrat Member Posts: 9
    edited July 1
    Options

    @GGross Ok, I finally got it to unlock !!! I'm like a dog on the cuff when things have to get done and keep trying over and over again and networking till the problem is resolved. This is what I just figured out playing with the control button, you have to go past the 2 second time mark and hold it in for almost 10 seconds and then the 128 error code comes back up again. When it does you have to then hold the button in for 2 seconds and the boiler will erase the fault and come on again. I don't know if this is the book version to correct the problem but in this case it worked for me. Now I just have to see if the igniter cleaning that I did will hold up and not go into the 128 no ignition fault code again. My hot water temp is at 135 degrees now with a 115 degree setting on the aquastat that i'll play with lowering to try to get into a more normal range. Fingers crossed, I'll update if the problem persists and will continue to search out a skilled and efficient HVAC service repair company to inspect this boiler and HWT system that was installed to service all the other notable faults. If anyone out there sees this post and services the North Country area near Chippewa Bay and can provide that service please message me here or call me at 716 870 3321 to let me know. Thanks to all again for your comments and help, …. love this group ❤️

  • Lazzyriverrat
    Lazzyriverrat Member Posts: 9
    Options

    @GGross Ha, ha, ha I just saw your last post after I got the boiler back on and running again so all is good at this point. Thank you and all the other skilled tecks out there who monitor this site and then take the trouble to reach out and try to help people who sincerely need your help to solve some of these HVAC and other appliance issues, you guys rock in my book and I hope someone will be there for you in your time of need to help you out some day. Blessings to you all ❤️

    GGrossEBEBRATT-Ed
  • Lazzyriverrat
    Lazzyriverrat Member Posts: 9
    edited July 2
    Options

    @Jamie Hall Thanks for the comment Jamie, and yes Watertown would be my first start heading to Syracuse last trying to find someone skilled enough to service our unit. We'll see which one ends up to be our go to provider in the end. Hope we find a good one ……