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Forum topic by AlaskaGuy posted 03-08-2015 12:35 AM 689 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1775 days


03-08-2015 12:35 AM

I have a Weil-Mclain Gold-CV natural Gas Boiler model GU-4 . It’s about 15 years old. I have an intermittent miss firing problem that goes in spurts. I will runs for long periods with no problems and for no apparent reason it will miss fire several time in a day. When it does miss fire all I have to do to get it to fire is to flip the power supply switch off and back on and it fires.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!


12 replies so far

View bobkberg's profile

bobkberg

420 posts in 2539 days


#1 posted 03-08-2015 05:31 AM

Hi Alaska Guy,

I checked with a couple of friends who live in Alaska and here were their suggestions:
1 – possible water in the gas line – would require a water filter/dehumidifier
2 – Possible problem with the power supply (if yours uses a spark lighter)
3 – nozzle might be dirty and need cleaning out (don’t ask me how)

The fact that you mention flipping the power switch off and on tends to point to #2

Good luck with that.

-- Bob www.singularengineering.com - A sideline, not how I earn a living

View Dez's profile

Dez

1162 posts in 3543 days


#2 posted 03-08-2015 05:36 AM

I am NOT an expert..
What is the boiler used for … Ive sees uses from forced air heat to hot water – heat or not..
If you are having an “intermittent” problem the first thing you look for is bad connections (Corrosion and weak connectors) and then look at the sensors – temperature etc.
To me it sounds like a bad or lightly corrosioned plug/connector somewhere..?

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

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Dez

1162 posts in 3543 days


#3 posted 03-08-2015 05:38 AM

I am NOT an expert on boilers even though I had a low pressure license…..
What is the boiler used for … I’ve sees uses from forced air heat to hot water – heat or not..
If you are having an “intermittent” problem the first thing you look for is bad connections (Corrosion and weak connectors) and then look at the sensors – temperature etc.
To me it sounds like a bad or lightly corrosioned plug/connector somewhere..?

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1775 days


#4 posted 03-08-2015 06:20 AM

The boiler heats my house through baseboard fin tube.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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English

517 posts in 943 days


#5 posted 03-08-2015 01:39 PM

What type of flame detection does your boiler use, There are several types. Some use a thermocouple, some use aflame rod ( a stainless steel rod in the path of the pilot flame), others use a infrared sensor.

Thermocouples crack and can cause a intermittent failure.

Flame rods conduct a current from the rod to ground using the flame to complete the circuit, Yes fire will conduct electricity. If the rod or the ground connection is dirty, usually the inside of the pilot gas tube, the boiler will receive reduced signal. This can and will cause intermittent failures.

Infrared can get intermittent failures from the electronics or I have seem a spider build a web in the sensor tube and the web cause intermittent failures.

As for recycling power to get it to light. That would be normal anytime the unit fails for any reason the controls are required to lock out the boiler so that you have to attend to it.

Hope this helps

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

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AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1775 days


#6 posted 03-08-2015 07:25 PM

It has electronic ignition with a igniter. I have alway been told that igniter’s are either good or bad period. Then someone on the net said that not necessarily true and I should put in a new one. I put in a new one last night and it’s working fine at the present time. This by no means it is fixed. Only time will tell if that was the problem.

What type of flame detection does your boiler use, There are several types. Some use a thermocouple, some use aflame rod ( a stainless steel rod in the path of the pilot flame), others use a infrared sensor.

Thermocouples crack and can cause a intermittent failure.

Flame rods conduct a current from the rod to ground using the flame to complete the circuit, Yes fire will conduct electricity. If the rod or the ground connection is dirty, usually the inside of the pilot gas tube, the boiler will receive reduced signal. This can and will cause intermittent failures.

Infrared can get intermittent failures from the electronics or I have seem a spider build a web in the sensor tube and the web cause intermittent failures.

As for recycling power to get it to light. That would be normal anytime the unit fails for any reason the controls are required to lock out the boiler so that you have to attend to it.

Hope this helps

- English


-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View NoThanks's profile

NoThanks

798 posts in 995 days


#7 posted 03-08-2015 07:33 PM

No expert on boilers, but I am a master boiler.
In fact, whenever the wife needs water to boil for hot dogs or spaghetti, potatoes, whatever,
I’m the first person she calls.
I can get a pot of water to boil in no time at all.
(It’s easy when you know what your doing.)

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View English's profile

English

517 posts in 943 days


#8 posted 03-08-2015 11:23 PM

electronic ignition with a igniter is what lights the flame, there has to be something that senses that the flame has lite. This is what I was describing.

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

View CueballRosendaul's profile

CueballRosendaul

484 posts in 1606 days


#9 posted 03-23-2015 05:11 PM

Did the new igniter fix the problem? I have a Weil McClain boiler and fin tube as well. Ours has never had that issue, but I did have a furnace that was doing exactly that. It would try to fire, sometimes it would work, others not, but always if I flipped the power off and waited a few minutes, it would work fine for a while. It turned out to be the control circuit board was bad.

Even older boilers and furnaces have so many safety items on them that it’s hard to diagnose and fix without throwing darts at the problem. With our furnace, we figured out the logic behind the failure by changing various parts and reading the troubleshooting guide. Turns out that my igniter and flame sensor were fine, but the board has a delay timer that was bad. So although it would go through the sequential steps, it would “forget” the time and was thinking that too much time had elapsed and it wouldn’t trigger the next step.

I had also learned in the exercise how to “hotwire” the thing to work in the event of a failure at a critical time. I wanted to be able to bypass that circuit board, and I needed to at one point because I ordered the board online and it took a couple weeks to get, but it was in the dead of winter. It’s handy knowledge to have in the event of a major disaster.

Now that I live in a house with a boiler, it’s much simpler but still similar in many ways.

On a side note, is your boiler quiet? Ours was knocking and banging this winter so I siphoned a gallon of vinegar through the system to delime the heat exchanger. It was doing what they call “kettling” which is localized boiling on the heat exchanger. After the vinegar treatment and a fresh flush and fill, it runs so quietly we have to put a hand by the tube to see if its on. I wish I had done that treatment 5 years ago when we moved in.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4169 posts in 3208 days


#10 posted 03-26-2015 04:19 PM

AlaskaGuy – - does it initially fire and go out… or not fire up at all sometimes?

When I had the issue that our Nat Gas burner would ignite for maybe 5 seconds, then shut off… what it was is a dirty thermocouple (temp sensor).

If there is crud on it, it is slower to read that teh burner is on and coming up to temperature fast enough… so it is a safety shutdown – thinking the burner would otherwise be filling the basement with Natural Gas.

I just took it out and cleaned it with emery paper and it worked fine.

We put in new Gas Forced Air 2 years ago…. so I can’t go take a pic.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1775 days


#11 posted 04-01-2015 07:51 PM

Thanks for all the replies. Sorry for taking so long to respond. It took me awhile to check everything out.

Bottom line is I had to replace the control module. (electronic board the controls everything)

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View CueballRosendaul's profile

CueballRosendaul

484 posts in 1606 days


#12 posted 04-03-2015 12:58 AM

Bingo. I figured it was the board. Glad you got it fixed.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

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