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First firing of wood boiler, draft control appears not working

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by mpilihp, Sep 7, 2008.

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  1. mpilihp

    mpilihp Feeling the Heat

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    Hi All we gave the wood boiler a try this morning, I turned the oil boiler off last night and fired the wood boiler up at about 8AM. Its a Marathon Logwood conventional unit. It heated up fine, the circulator kicked off and I got hot water flowing through the oil boiler (set in series now) and at about 9am we had hot water to shower with, COOL!

    But a few things, first it appears the Ammark draft controller isnt working, it never lowered the arm down.

    2nd, the temp/pressure gauge on the top of the wood boiler I dont think is reading temp accurately. I have inline temp gauges on the wood boiler output and the input and the output got up to 220 deg and the return was coming back at 215 so the wood boiler should be at least 215 deg I would think, but the temp gauge on the wood boiler was reading 160 max.

    3rd - I did get a ghost flow through the first floor heat zone so I do think ill need to change that circulator out for one with an IFC. the 2nd floor didnt appear to get warm.

    So, anyone know about these Ammark draft controllers? Can I get a replacement? Can I take it off and clean/test it?


    Thanks for the help

    ~ Phil

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  2. MrEd

    MrEd New Member

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    I know nothing about your particular unit, but is it really possible to get 220 deg water out of your system? It should be steam at that point, not water. Anything above 212 should be boiling...

    If it really did get above about 210 or so, on my Tarm that would force my overheat zone to open automatically (even if it wasn't calling for heat) in an attempt to cool down the system - is it possible that your unit turned your overheat zone on and that's why you got flow thru the baseboards?
  3. mpilihp

    mpilihp Feeling the Heat

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    Hi Ed im no expert but Im quite sure that when under pressure and with no air space to expand, water will not turn to steam. I had 3 gauges all showing the same thing, two were at 220 and the return one was at 215.

    I know it was pushing the limit, the pressure relief valve on the boiler was dribbling water out so it was ready to go Im sure. I manually shut the damper door and turned on a heat zone to help disapate the heat.

    ~ Phil
  4. in hot water

    in hot water New Member

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    Is it possible you have an air bubble around the gauge and draft control probes? If so they will not read the correct fluid temperature. Sometimes you can lossen them and burp the air. carefully at those temperatures!

    Yes with no, or light load you could easily run in excess of 200F. At 10psi in the system the boiling point should be around 239F.

    Does the boiler have a temperature and pressure relief valve? It may be seeping due to pressure? What is the pressure in the system or maybe the pressure function of the gauge is bad also?

    hr
  5. mpilihp

    mpilihp Feeling the Heat

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    Hi hr the temp/pressure gauge on the wood boiler has a T at its base with an air bleeder on it, good idea that there could be air in it even above the T. My other thought was the gauge probe isnt far enough into the boiler to get an accurate reading and so Im going to try removing the T and air bleeder and then do as you said loosen it slightly to allow the air out.

    As for the pressure of the system, it was at 20psi before I installed the wood boiler so thats where it is now. (water feed with pressure valve is on the oil boiler). When the temperature was reaching 220 it was the oil boiler's pressure relief valve that started spitting.

    I think the pressure gauge is correct as it was matching the oil boiler pressure gauge reading.

    ~ Phil
  6. mpilihp

    mpilihp Feeling the Heat

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    In another thread someone stated they found a source for the Samson 5D regulator for $78. I called Marathon boiler co and they have them but are charging $125. From the discription I gave him he thinks the overtemp link in it went and its shot. The adjustment nob at the top doesnt have any tension on it, turns easily.

    Does anyone know where these can be purchased online?? Ive searched with no luck. A local company here sells them but will only sell to a vendor...

    ~ Phil
  7. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Which company?

    Joe
  8. mpilihp

    mpilihp Feeling the Heat

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    Hi Joe yes an online source for draft regulators such as the Samson 5D, Samson doesnt appear to sell them directly online. A local dealer of a different make wood boiler (Biasi I think) wont sell it to me directly so I was looking for an online source.

    Thanks ~ Phil
  9. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    I was wondering which local company won't sell them. It's possible that I may have an account with them, and could get them to sell it.

    Joe
  10. mpilihp

    mpilihp Feeling the Heat

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    Hi Joe sorry, this is the company:

    Bell Pump Co. - Dealers
    56 Airport Road
    Waterville, ME 04901
    Ph.: 207 873-1107
    Fax: 207 872-2418

    This is pretty close to me, 45 min away, I did find a dealer for Samson regulators from the Samson site but its in NY, awaiting for a price quote from them. Cant imagine its that involved to come up with a price for it, not like he has to configure something from multiple components. He send me an email saying he would get back to me in a few days with a price quote...
  11. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I have an account with them. Get me (email would be easiest) all the information on the exact part number, and your name, and I'll tell them I'm having you come in to pick it up.

    Joe
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I always liked Samsons better than Ammark - but sold a bunch of both and they worked.....

    They both have a replaceable cartridge inside, but since they are not sold in a lot of places, these could be tough to find.

    It is correct that those boiler temps are much too high! The boiler should maintain 160 to 190.

    Do you know how to adjust the Ammark?

    I think you do this:
    1. Heat the boiler to 180 degrees
    2. Set the Ammark on 5 (I think)
    3. Adjust the chain so the draft door is just slightly open and there is pressure on the chain or cable.

    If set correctly, what will happen then is:
    1. When the boiler heats up a few degrees hotter, the draft door will close.
    2. When it cools off a bit, the draft door will open further.

    I think the Ammark works best when the arm is in a slightly down position. It must be tightened nice and snug against one of the flat sides of the arm.

    Samsons are set in a similar manner, except the markings are for Degrees C, so you set at 80.
  13. mpilihp

    mpilihp Feeling the Heat

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    Hello Craig thanks for the run down on setting the draft regulator up. I assumed the unit I had was an Ammark but its actually a Samson (can barely see the name in the dial) I removed it and there doesnt appear to be much to it. I dont see how you get inside it. THere is a set screw holding the plastic knob on and IM guessing removing that gains you access to get inside it.

    Ive got to drain the system to take care of a leak and also re-positioning the temp/pressure gauge so its sensor gets inside the boiler and hopefully reads more accurately. I will try your process next time I fire it up and have a new regulator installed.

    Thank You

    ~ Phil
  14. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Once the set screw is removed, the black cap will screw off - inside is a cylinder - I call it a hydraulic cylinder, although I have heard it is filled with some kind of oil or beeswax. That thingy provides the push to raise the draft door.

    If it is a Samson, the position of the arm is not as important - anywhere from about 30 degrees down to 30 degrees up (off of level) should do the job.
  15. mpilihp

    mpilihp Feeling the Heat

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    Hi thanks when I get my new Samson I will set it up as you recommend. Luckly, a contact at Samson in Canada got back to me and I was able to order it from them for $77 US dollars and shipping.

    I fired it up again tonight with a plug where the Samson goes and got it up to 170, unfortunatly my flue temp was getting pretty hot, over 600, with a wood stove I tried to stay under 500, what flue temp should I expect to be running to get the marathon boiler up to the 180-200 range??

    What temp do you have the marathon boiler circulator aqustat temp set at? I was thinking of having mine start at 150.

    Part of my problem Ive discovered is the gauge for temp and pressure on the marathon was connected via a T and had a air release valve on it. With that it wasn't reading over 140, even though the water coming out was at 220. I removed the T and its now the gauge on the boiler is reading much higher, similar to the exit water temp now. The aqustat to start the circulator is also connected via a barrel connector and sets it high. I have to set the aqustat to 125 to start circulating when the boiler reads 150/160... Im thinking its the same trouble and needs to be lower in the boiler.

    I set up a cheap webcam above the boiler temp/pressure gauge so I can suto monitor it from upstairs as I get used to it.

    I took a shower tonight on water heated by the marathon, I think its great!

    Thanks to all your help, Ill keep posting on my progress.

    ~ Phil
  16. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Using a boiler like this without a safety draft control (something that closes the draft when it gets hot like the Samson) could be dangerous. Hopefully you have an overheat zone of some sort wired in!

    Stack temps can certainly vary, and I doubt such a boiler would approach the efficiency of an EPA or modern woodstove.

    Gauges should be located directly in the boiler near the top - or in another place where they read the warmest water temp. The controls should be set so that the boiler temp rarely gets below 140 and above 190. Ideally, 160-190 is perfect.

    Of course, things will run differently when it actually gets cold and the thing is really fired up.
  17. Jeff S

    Jeff S Feeling the Heat

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    Mpilihp - could you tell me where or even better the web site where you got your samson regulator,Jeff
  18. mpilihp

    mpilihp Feeling the Heat

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    Hi Craig ive been running just as it was a wood stove and it was working pretty well. I also have a web cam on the temp gauge that I could watch and there is a aqustat set to turn on a zone pump at 200 deg.

    I installed the Samson today after I fixed the leak I had in the piping. I noticed it didnt appear to be in the COLD position I was expecting. IE the moving part in the draft control with the lock screw to hold the draft arm was pointing DOWN when it was cold. THats the position Id expect it to be when it gets hot, IE move the arm to the lowest postion. I have the unit installed with this lock screw facing outward over the door side facing away from the boiler. With the unit already in the DOWN position it means the only way it could move is UP. I figured id fire it up and follow the directions you gave me above. Got to 180 (it hadnt moved) and set it to hold the door slightly open,. It got up to 200 and my overtemp aqustat kicked in and no movement.

    I also did have it set to 80 as you suggested.

    So Im at a loss. THere is tension on the knob so I think its working...

    Is the draft control soposed to be facing the other direction? IE the moving part with the locking screw to hold the arm soposed to be facing inward over the top of the boiler and toward the back? THen again the boiler got hot and it never moved,,.,,

    Phil
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