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kaWHOOOOMPP!!

It was unwillingly turned into a steam system!

Either serviced and re-wired incorrectly with a missing/plugged/or fouled relief valve (what annual test?) or a failed control with failed safeties with same relief valve scenarios or temp set way too high and a sudden relief of pressure (like the relief valve popping open) allowing super-heated water to change its status from liquid to vapor.

I've personally faced three run-away hot-water boilers where the temp was elevated way above 212 and baby-sat them until I could manage to get the temp back down. It's a delicate balancing act that requires adding water to maintain the elevated pressure. Two were defective controls & that last one was a hot-wired gas valve (by the HO), bypassing all safeties and the thermostat! I've seen others where the relief valve opened and dumped the contents - and then cracked. A few steam boilers devoid of water - glowing cherry-red with the LWC full of mud - auto-feeders at the ready! They give off substantial radiant heat(G) while in that condition. Lots of steamers that were fed cold water when dry that cracked.

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Comments

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    I wonder

    if they learned the cause of the Burnham explosion. It's been a year.
    Retired and loving it.
  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
    OOOO OOO That Smell !

    Been there. done that..still waiting for the T-shirt Dave.

    5 times in 22 years, walked into the house, got my fist breath of "cooked boiler" and told the owners to open the windows...we'll be back with your new boiler tomorrow.

    Not much else to say at that point. Make it safe to cool down and start the heatloss. JCA.
  • Jeff Lawrence_25
    Jeff Lawrence_25 Member Posts: 746
    I've actually had one

    This year, in fact.

    Oil fired boiler with a tankless coil. HO called a plumber out because the T&P was leaking, so the plumber drained the tankless coil AND the boiler. Opened the valve for the coil, but forgot the boiler fill. oops.

    Two days later, the HO called me and said the HW coil would shoot out a single shot of hot water, but if he turned the flow down, it would remain 'tepid.' I arrived and looked at the temp of the boiler and the pressure. Big time oops. I made sure the boiler fill was closed after I turned off the power. I removed the side panels and put fans on both sides. I even put a fan in the barometric and loosened the burner. Two hours later, I felt it was okay to attempt a re-fill since the block was about 120 degrees.

    Yep, it was cracked in the second section of a 4 block boiler. "Can we just put a new section in?" Nope, not if you want it to work...
  • Dave Yates (PAH)
    Dave Yates (PAH) Member Posts: 2,162
    safety warning

    Rather than edit my earlier post: I do not recommend anyone do what I did with those hot water boilers. Instead, I'd suggest disabling the energy source from outside the building (if possible) and vacating the premises. That last one was the last time I'm doing that and once I'd started, I felt I couldn't leave. 280F water was circulating throughout the two-story standing cast rad home. Lots of stored energy & the pressure gauge was reading in excess of 30-PSI. The HO was unimpressed by my description of what could have transpired following his new gas valve installation (which was not adjusted properly anyway). He'd called (after hours) because their boiler was making "odd" noises and the house was too hot!

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  • Larry (from OSHA)
    Larry (from OSHA) Member Posts: 716
    I'll ask

    The boiler chief and his crew office in the same building that I do. Perhaps he has some answers.

    Larry
  • brucewo1b
    brucewo1b Member Posts: 638
    Just got back from one

    at least the relief valve blew off steam and waterfeed kept it under pressure and HO was smert enough to turn it off at 4AM. The aquqstat shorted out and the burner didn't shut down.
  • Been there, done that...

    Don't really care to do it again.

    Talking a run away boiler down from its perch with a pressure beyond relief threshold cause the sphincter muscle to do the continuous mambo. One wrong move, and it's over. The only caveat I would add to Daves warning is to first evacuate the home and surrounding buildings, then disable the heat source (gas in my cases) from outside the building, but leave the electricity on (unless its an electric boiler) and then leave the premises for about 8 hours and let it cool down slowly. Dropping the electrical power to a cherry hot boiler could allow some water to roll back in to the glowing casting, causing a catastrophic event. If there is any water being held away from the boiler due to the pump, let it be until the boiler has cooled WAY down.

    Be extremely cautious out there. We're dealing with things (numerous) that can either kill or maim in a heart beat.

    ME
  • Dave Yates (PAH)
    Dave Yates (PAH) Member Posts: 2,162
    the whole time

    I was standing there nurse-maiding the hand feed to maintain elevated pressure while the burner gas valve had been turned off & the circ was running to dissipate heat, I kept thinking "what the hell is wrong with me". What a stupid and foolish way to get dead. But, once I'd set that chain in motion, I couldn't stop. Never again. The home ain't been built yet that's worth dying for.

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  • Larry (from OSHA)
    Larry (from OSHA) Member Posts: 716
    Safeties? We don't need no stinking safeties!!!

    Unfortunately, the boiler/high pressure piping folks here did not have jurisdiction to do an investigation as this boiler was less than 750 mbuth, but they were allowed to take some pictures and did find out a few things.

    Apparently, the boiler exploded due to over pressurization (no indication of fire). They were having problems with the boiler not firing. Speculation is that the boiler was low on water and shut down on over temp. It is believed that someone, perhaps a maintenance person jumpered out the High Temp limit controls to get the boiler to operate. When this was done, the boiler dry fired and overheated. Then a slug of water came back to the boiler and instantly flashed into steam causing the explosion. The safety valve for the boiler was evidently never found. It may have been removed by someone.

    Larry
  • Kniggit
    Kniggit Member Posts: 123
    Just curious on this nearly related subject.

    > Unfortunately, the boiler/high pressure piping

    > folks here did not have jurisdiction to do an

    > investigation as this boiler was less than 750

    > mbuth, but they were allowed to take some

    > pictures and did find out a few

    > things.

    >

    > Apparently, the boiler exploded due to

    > over pressurization (no indication of fire). They

    > were having problems with the boiler not firing.

    > Speculation is that the boiler was low on water

    > and shut down on over temp. It is believed that

    > someone, perhaps a maintenance person jumpered

    > out the High Temp limit controls to get the

    > boiler to operate. When this was done, the

    > boiler dry fired and overheated. Then a slug of

    > water came back to the boiler and instantly

    > flashed into steam causing the explosion. The

    > safety valve for the boiler was evidently never

    > found. It may have been removed by

    > someone.

    >

    > Larry



  • Kniggit
    Kniggit Member Posts: 123
    Just curious on this nearly related subject.

    At what point does the local government get involved near all the Wallies. Here in the land of Oz anything after 199,999 Btu (ie 200,000 and up) is to be Inspected by a boiler inspector anually. Get a lot of repairs from customers that would other wise not be willing to spend the money on repairs.

    K
  • Timco
    Timco Member Posts: 3,040


    Here it's 4-plex or more units. SLC, UT
    Just a guy running some pipes.
  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    cities one thing countrys another...

    used to be any residential size boiler Under 239K did not need to be inspected then it went down to 200K,4 plex residential....commercial properties , certain category boilers...were a must be inspected however after the boiler inspector position was not funded it reduced the inspections considerably...the cities on the other hand want all new construction with any boiler or burner to have a combustion test min posted in sight on gas fuel oil or lp...no btu lower limit.... maybe someday if there is a problem the original installer would be able to ask for the service card that he left a copy of and see just how many times it was serviced in the interim and what readings or changes were made to the burner or combustion parameters ...i am thinking that if joe homeowner dosent want the thing serviced every season then there would be an absence of records of maintenance... iam just guessing here buh i think it is going to become like a thing they make certain is done once a year somewhat like im testing on vehicles....
This discussion has been closed.