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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Weil-McLain EG-45 SPDN Gas Pilot boiler for my house. I started to have problems about a year ago where the spill-switch would get stuck, causing the Vent Damper to stop working, therefore no heating until I would have to manually press the little button on the spill-switch to re-start it. Then everything would work great for a while (up to 3-4 months).

Unfortunately this started to happen more and more often (from once in 4 months, to once in 3 two months and so on).

I then decided to change my Spill Switch (twice), using an original Weil McLain replacement part # 510-300-013, and now just recently, I installed a new Vent Damper (made by Field Controls). Again, everything worked for about 2 weeks and then the same situation reappeared.

I have also exchanged the Thermostat (Honeywell RTH7600D) about 4 months ago.

The interesting thing: This "stuck" problem usually happens when the Gas Boiler unit is NOT needed to work for longer periods (meaning its warm enough in the house for a half of day or even a couple of days, and it does not have to keep working consistently, as it does in the middle of winter). So the argument that the Spill Switch is "overheating" and fails to re-start is not applicable here. I have also checked the two wires that go into it for corrosion, but they seem just fine.

I am also pretty sure that the chimney is clean. We have a protective cap on top of it for the last 3 years, and I think if it was clogged, the damper vent would stop working within hours.

Can anyone please tell me what else can I try replacing or what can I do? The gas flow is normal, the thermocoupler was just replaced and works just fine. Winter is pretty much over for this year, but I am always thinking ahead.

All suggestions are appreciated!
 

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You probably have a negative pressure in your house and air coming down the chimney.

When the boiler runs often it keeps the chimney warm and a warm chimney has a continuos draft UP it as heat rises. When it is cold and stagnant it may have no draft until it warms up. By that time it has spilled fumes out and the switch is doing it's job.

You need to have the chimney properly checked by a chimney sweep company or Pro.

It may be dirty or collapsing. If it has a liner that liner may be rusted thru. I have seen them rust thru and air gets thru the bricks outside if the mortar is bad. Then the air gets into the liner and causes a downdraft.

Or you got something exhausting more air out the house than can get in fast enough. A powerful kitchen exhaust fan running with a central vacuum or clothes dryer can do the trick. You may need a combustion air pipe installed in the furnace room.

I would get the chimney inspected first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I guess I will then have the chimney checked as your answer sounds logical.

Is there anything special that the chimney guys should use or do to verify what maybe wrong with it? Do they use cameras like the for sewers? Any ideas what this might cost (the inspection).

I just want to make sure I don't do more than I need or have them do a solution which will have them coming back very year trying to "re-fix it" so that they can charge me more and more... on purpose
Much thanks for any additional the input!
 

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It depends on the company and what reputation they have.

I would try find a chimney cleaning and repair company and check the BBB etc. They also do fireplace chimney repairs and furnace liners. Most of them I suspect will go from the top and take off the cap and look down plus remove the cleanout/inspection cover at the base of the chimney.

Some HVAC techs only go from the bottom as they don't all have ladders on their trucks.

A chimney is not rocket science.

It is either intact with a proper liner and the brickwork is properly mortared or not.

If it needs repointing/having the mortar repaired they should show you the falling out/missing mortar. Mortar is important so the chimney does not fall over/apart. If you don't have a brick chimney and just one that goes thru the house then the liner needs inspecting.

They can then just look up from the bottom opening with a mirror. All depends on what method they prefer.

I have seen liners get rusted thru and if it goes below ground level dirt can fall in if the brickwork or the chimney is leaking or has gaps in it. The dirt can block the chimney.

All kinds of nasty scenarios.

Get a reputable company and be there when they inspect it. NO reason they can create work year after year. Once it is fixed it should last 10-20 more years.
 

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A spill switch is a normally closed switch. So its not getting stuck open. Something is causing it to open. It is protecting you from harm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I want to thank again for all of the inputs to my situation. Yesterday, I finally had the time to take a peek at my chimney with a buddy of mine. As one can see by the photos attached, it looks pretty good when we opened it. Just a few very small rocks (which we since removed with a commercial vacuum), and there is nothing that is really blocking the clay chamber. I also stuck my hand inside (as far as I could), and I could easily feel a small draft, which in my opinion shows that the air is flowing. I am also including a photo of how the chimney top looks like from the outside.

https://chimney2017.imgbb.com/

I realize that there might be a crack or two in the clay lining somewhere inside the flue, but if there was a piece or whole section missing, I would most likely find broken clay pieces laying at the bottom. There were none.
Sure, I can still hire a professional to put in mirrors (camera) and do a more extensive inspection, but from my own investigation, I am not sure I need to do anything else seeing what I saw.

Any other input / comments?
 

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Thats a Terracotta chimney. And its not sealed properly at the bottom. So your losing draft for the chimney from that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thats a Terracotta chimney. And its not sealed properly at the bottom. So your losing draft for the chimney from that.
Are you saying that the space to the right of the clay opening could be the culprit? If so, how is it usually fixed and the cost of something like that?

Thanks...
 

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Cement.

Terracotta is not actually approved as a chimney liner(the combusted gas byproducts eat it and the mortar joints). And should have an aluminum or stainless steel liner in it.
 

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I agree. It is OK for oil but with gas where I am it must be lined.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you AGAIN for your replies. So, is it possible to insert aluminum/stainless steel lining inside the 8x8 existing clay or this procedure requires major "surgery"?
 

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The size of the liner is determined by the BTU's input of your boiler and hot water heater if you have a gas one going into it. Also has to do with the gas/fuel code for your area and height of the chimney/feet of rise from basement to top. I doubt you need 8", most likely 5 or 6".

I contract it out to a pro Chimney company. It is not a easy job to shove a one piece liner in. My guy does it with 6 foot long sections of pipe. I saw a safety video of a guy falling off a roof trying to install a one piece liner.

It got stuck and he yanked too hard to pull it back out and then it let go and he fell off the roof. Now he is paralyzed. Lousy way to spend the rest of your life thinking about saving a buck or two. Better to get a Pro IMO.
 

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Thank you AGAIN for your replies. So, is it possible to insert aluminum/stainless steel lining inside the 8x8 existing clay or this procedure requires major "surgery"?
Pretty easy to do a liner in your chimney. What size you'll need depends on the total BTU of the equipment. But doubt you would need more then a 6". Might only need a 5". Both will drop down your chimney easily. Just make sure you get a pull cap when you order the liner.
 

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How high is your chimney.
 

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If distance from boiler to chimney is less then 10', a 5" liner will be fine. If more then 10', then you need a 6".
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Everyone,

Once again thank you for all your very helpful comments that you gave me this past May. As "heating" season is going to start soon here in the Northeast, I will be again relying on my gas boiler again.

Since the last posting here, I had a professional come out here to clean & inspect the boiler, double check the chimney (he stuck a mirror into it and we both saw daylight) and he proclaimed the unit in perfect working condition. The Pro did advise me on two things that I wish to run by you all for further opinion, lf you don't mind.

1) The Pro advised (he has over 30 years of experience) that I should get a "better quality" spill switch than the one that I currently am using. The one I have (and already changed 2 times) is the one that is made specifically for this unit (rated at 210F):

http://www.supplyhouse.com/Weil-McLain-510-300-013-Spill-Switch-w-Reset-210-F

He said I should get a better quality one made by Field Controls, something like:

http://www.supplyhouse.com/Field-Controls-GSK-4-200-Gas-Spillage-Sensing-Switch-w-Manual-Reset

or even

http://www.supplyhouse.com/Field-Controls-FTS-6-180-Safety-Switch-w-Manual-Reset-120-240V

Now, my question is this: Since my Weil-McLain EG-45 SPDN unit is rated at 210F, and I will put a spill switch that is 200F or even 180F rated, is that okay? The Pro did confirm that my existing spill-switch location is in the right spot and that I do not need two of them for my type of a unit.

2) As far as the Vent-Damper (to remind, I installed a brand new one last winter, made by Field Controls). The Pro said that he would just leave it in MANUAL mode. When I asked him about the danger of having "bad gasses" leakage into the house, he stated that the boiler will shut itself off as there are other protection sensors there and that this AUTO function is now included into the Vent-Dampers more for better efficiency of the unit than for safety. Is he right?

I should also add:

a) I do have a 4" clean-air going into the boiler room directly from the street (boiler room being a closed-off section with 2 doors, with two return 20 inches x 8 inches ventilation grille's that have the air escape into the rest of the basement). The actual room measures 6 feet long x 7 feet wide x 8 feet high and only contains the gas hot water heater and the gas boiler.

b) On the advice of the Pro, I tried turning on the heat (via my Thermostat) a number of times during the summer's hot & humid days (it was like 80F in the room, so I had to set the Thermostat manually to 82F). The unit started-up every time without problems and I let it work for 5 mins or so before turning it off. The Pro said that during the very humid days that the heavy air that gets trapped in the chimney could force the Vent-Damp to trigger the spill switch. It never did.

I await your comments. Thank you again in advance for your time and knowledge.
 

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Vent dampers were never for safety/your safety. They were always for efficiency.

Putting a lower temp roll out in, just means it will trip quicker.

It may be that the vent damper is not always opening, and that is when the roll out trips. So setting the vent damper to manual and having it always open may indeed stop the roll out from tripping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Beenthere: Thanks a lot for the answers.

So if I set the Vent Damper to MANUAL, and the boiler gets past 200F or 210F (depending on the type of spill-switch that I end up using), will the spill-switch still trigger the boiler to shut off due to extreme heat? If yes, will the vent damper close and would need to MANUALLY reset by pressing the button on the spill switch (as I've had to do in the AUTO position) in order for it to restart?

If the above statement is true, then what, how much efficiency do you think I will loose by running the VENT in MANUAL rather than AUTO? I believe that the Pro who visited me was trying to tell me with these "older" systems, its almost unnoticeable.

Thanks again!
 
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