Hydrotherm boiler pilot not lighting/cleaning info

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Old 10-20-16, 07:39 AM
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Hydrotherm boiler pilot not lighting/cleaning info

Hydrotherm boiler circa 1970 model HC-145. Pilot should auto light as per hydrotherm manual (HC-D and HC-E manuals). There is also a sticker on the boiler listing procedure to start and it does not say hand light. It would say hand light wouldn't it?? I am not certain this is the correct manual as my boiler does not have a letter anywhere I can see. It must be close though. If anyone has or knows where I can get the HC-A,B,C manuals (I assume they exist) I would appreciate it. Mine has to be one of those. Or.. if anyone knows about how to tell exactly what model mine is.

This has a "power pile" and 4 terminal gas valve. I did hand light last night and turned on each of 3 zones, one at a time an bled air. Each had the correct response from the boiler in that the burners fired and the zone valves opened. Bottom line: once I hand lit, everything worked fine. (mostly. Will start a new thread for other non pilot light issues).

The question is How to troubleshoot this? And.. I am 99.9% sure this is an auto light. How to tell if it is hand light. I swear I had this shut down 2 years ago in the spring and simply followed the directions on the boiler.

Images follow. Advice.. ideas.. all welcome. Thanks everyone on here. Advice is highly appreciated.


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  #2  
Old 10-20-16, 10:50 AM
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It would not have a Powerpile if it had automatic ignition. The Powerpile, when heated by the pilot flame generates enough electricity to open the gas valve to the main burner. Yes, this means the boiler can operate without any outside (utility) power however the circulating pump(s) will still need utility power.

There are very few boilers or furnaces still in service that use a Powerpile energized gas valve. Most "standing" (continuous burning) pilot lights use a thermocouple that generates only enough electricity to hold the primary gas valve open and the burner gas valve is powered by utility power or mechanical/hydraulic means.
 
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Old 10-20-16, 10:59 AM
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I did hand light last night and turned on each of 3 zones,
You could never hand light an automatic pilot.
Pretty old boiler..... last of a dying breed.
 
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Old 10-20-16, 11:44 AM
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That fuel valve, Honeywell CS5296A, is shown as obsolete on the Honeywell website - no longer supported, even with instructions. I think that older pilot-lighting instructions are often described in the fuel valve manufacturer's instructions - maybe not in the boiler manufacturer's instructions - thus allowing the boiler manufacturer to switch between gas-valve suppliers depending upon availability, etc.

Personally, I would replace that powerpile valve with a modern unit. I experienced an older gas valve that stuck open - truly frightening.
 
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Old 10-20-16, 01:47 PM
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Thanks. I will put this matter to rest and look into replacement. I must not have extinguished the pilot apparently. thanks thanks thanks thanks everyone.
 
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Old 10-20-16, 03:16 PM
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That sounds like a good plan. I would recommend a conventional gas valve with a thermocouple and standing pilot. A standing pilot is simpler and uses an insignificant amount of gas. You probably can mount the thermocouple tip in place of the powerpile? You will need a 24-V transformer to supply control voltage through your wall thermostat, aquastat, to the gas valve, etc. The best thing is to get a replacement valve that fits the physical dimensions of your existing gas piping.

If you decide to hire the replacement done, it shouldn't be a huge job. A replacement 24-V gas valve might set you back about $200 or less.
 
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Old 10-21-16, 07:14 AM
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Burner cleaning and or removal for old hydrotherm

Happy Friday everyone. I think this is the last leg of my journey through boiler repair. I noticed a large amount of crud near the pilot flame and it also looked weak. So.. I shut it down, grabbed a vacuum and tried to clean off a bunch of junk. Pilot looks much better but sadly this somehow made so the burners wont fire. Gas valve was working night before so seems its not that. I think I knocked some of the crud into something that is blocking gas flow. If this does not seem like a realistic possibility, I am open for ideas.

I removed sides of the boiler and do not see how to access the burner area. I am planning to vacuum and wire brush to clean. Anything else??

I don't see any openings into the burner area though. There has to be a way to vacuum in there but I am not seeing how to get in there. Any ideas?
 
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Old 10-21-16, 10:07 AM
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I combined this post with your existing thread as it incorporates needed information.
 
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Old 10-21-16, 10:37 AM
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An image from the front. I don't think its designed to clean from the front. You can kind of see the powerpile and the pilot. I knocked a bunch of crud off it. I am surprised the pilot would stay lit seeing the amount of junk I knocked off.
 
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Old 10-21-16, 05:49 PM
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Something else is wrong

I see a couple of burner tubes in the photo. I can't imagine how cleaning off the pilot would clog all the burner orifices. Something else is wrong.

Do you have a handy neighbor or relative that can help you?
 
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Old 10-22-16, 06:46 AM
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My thought was I knocked crud into the closest orifices to the pilot. Pilot could not reach out to unclogged orifices. I do not know how this all works though so can't logically conclude my thought pattern is sound or not. I did blow some air from a distance onto the pilot and something caught for 10 seconds or so. A short amount of time anyway. I think time for service call and saving pennies for new boiler. Unless anyone has other words of wisdom.
 
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Old 10-22-16, 07:24 AM
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Mike Lawrosa (plumbing moderator) has a similar boiler. You might try shooting him a PM (private message) as he doesn't check in as often as he used to due to a heavy workload. A PM will send notification to his personal E-mail.

I'd offer you my thoughts only it has been at least fifteen years since I saw a Hydrotherm boiler and I didn't pay much attention to it at that time.
 
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Old 10-22-16, 01:19 PM
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If the pilot is lit and the gas valve is not opening to fire the boiler you need to check all wireing..

Wires to the gas valve and your t stat wireing..

Also do a voltage test of the power pile..

second test here.. Should be around 600 mv open circuit..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRjX5m0zHUU
 
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Old 10-23-16, 06:10 PM
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Success!!! today I put everything back together. Took a wire brush best as possible around the powerpole/pilot area. Then took a small headed vacuum attachment and sucked up anything I could. I was able to get a bit deeper. When I called for heat it fired instantly. I don't know if it was the vacuum or time since I didn't touch it since Thursday. Before lighting I looked in and can see several piles of material, rusty looking in nature on top of the area that flames. Very much would affect the flame. Also weird looking objects best described as cherry stems. No but I wonder if it's more normal than I think? Attached a few images of the flame. How does it look?? If you look just to the left of the power pile, you can see a orange flame area brighter than the rest. This is the area I saw one of the largest piles of material.

The second image is something I'm curious if anyone may know what it is. It's on the copper between the drain valve and the boiler. All three zone pipes have this.

Thanks everyone.. my boiler has been running for hours now. I think the job is done...idea what they were but could easily affect the flame. This does not seem good,

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Last edited by Dan.NY; 10-23-16 at 06:25 PM. Reason: Add jpegs
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Old 10-23-16, 06:14 PM
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post the pics please. .
 
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Old 10-23-16, 09:24 PM
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Jpegs added . Sorry about that. Not sure what happened.
 
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Old 10-23-16, 09:30 PM
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The screwdriver slot device is a balancing valve, sometimes used for zone isolation when purging if a proper isolation valve is not fitted. Keep the slot aligned with the piping unless you have problems with zones not heating properly.

You didn't ask but I will add, get some garden hose caps (with hose washers) to screw on the purge valves. It keeps the system tight even if the purge valve has a slight leak.
 
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Old 10-23-16, 10:28 PM
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Here is a vid of my old cast iron burners,,,


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoxgfORyfIo
 
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