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Help Please request, had a scary event with EKO 60

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Guastini, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Guastini

    Guastini Member

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    The door popped open while we were sleeping and filled home with smoke. Escaping heat or flame damaged insulation on ceiling. Thankfully the floor joists above did not catch on fire.
    It's a bit of a mystery. When the smoke detectors went off my son, wife and I all ran to check the boiler. My wife got there first and found the power to the control panel off and the door open Smoke and flames coming out. The power panel was dead when i found it and it wont power back up.
    I've owned the gasser for about 6 winters now. When i first bought it it had a fiberglass gasket that leaked a bit. A year later they were selling a new thicker round fiberglass gasket surrounded by an orange silicone casing. This new gasket does seem to work better, but the door had to be moved out a bit to compensate for the thinker gasket. The new location of the door has caused lots of wear and tear grinding of the latch and the catch. My guess is the latch was just catching at the end of a wear point and either let go, got hit with a falling log, or perhaps popped from expansion or contraction associated with heating and cooling. I will have to modify the latch before loading firing again, but i dont quite understand what happened to the control panel. Could it have failed before the door popping open or did it fail as a result of the door popping open? Could it be a fail safe?
    Any experience you might be able to offer is appreciated. Thanks

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  2. Adabiviak

    Adabiviak Feeling the Heat

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    I got nothing (not familiar with that system at all), but I'm glad things turned out (relatively) ok - that could have been disastrous.
  3. mwk1000

    mwk1000 Member

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    I have same unit , based on your description I have to bet that you cooked the controller since it is right above . Enough heat to damage the ceiling could certainly have ruined the PCB board or other parts. I was just going to go for the newer gasket after many patches on the old one are not holding up. I think I'll just opt for some new rope at the local fireplace store. I did have the handle pins come out and used a bit of silicone to cement them in.

    That is about the worse nightmare you can have with one of these. I forgot to close the damper one night and I noticed ( weeks later ) that the insulation on the back side of my piping had melted. What a wake-up call that was ! I painted the knob RED so we never forget again.
  4. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    So thankful you were able to respond quickly to such a terrifying event. Could have been very bad. Thankful with you. If your door latching mechanism is anything like mine on the BioMass it would require an enormous amount of force for the latch to fail. Which also would require almost complete sealing of all entrance and exit paths in the upper chamber to generate big pressures. I'll make a guess here that my 60 class door is 24" x 18" = 432 in^2 x 10 psi = 4320 lbs force and half that load is shared by the door hinges so ~2200 lbf on the latch. I'm pretty certain the ECO and BioMass latches are very similar over center devices. Bottomline, I think it's unlikely anything close to 10 psi could be generated and the latch probably would be fine if you did, and something else would blow. My bet is either the latch wasn't all the way home, or it's worn out and lost it's over centering capability. So glad you escaped tragedy. Probably an easy fix.
  5. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    I'll second the "cooked" controller. I'd think the heat melted something, have you checked the fues in the back? My RK has one, not sure if yours does too.

    TS
  6. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Scary situation! I would be taking a good hard look at that door latch! You are one lucky guy better go play the lottery..

    Ray
  7. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Smoke detectors and CO detectors are mandatory and this is why. You never know when something unforeseen will happen.
    raybonz likes this.
  8. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Your door latch is an easy fix - you can use a spare flat plate screw driver to place between the latch and the strike plate when you close it. I did this a couple times to go "super tight" on my door to break in the seal. A welded on piece of metal would be better, however.

    Good luck with your repair! Controllers are cheap in the grand scheme. I guess I'll be the lone dissenter on the cooked controller idea. Based on how far the controller is set back from the door opening and the metal ledge you have over the top door I'd be a little surprised if the heat from the flames coming out the door cooked it. If the face is melted off, then yes, it's cooked. But if the knob/face are still intact I'll wager a bet the controller was dead before your door popped.
  9. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Knock, Knock..... Guastini?? You out there? Wa'd ya find out.
  10. Guastini

    Guastini Member

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    thanks all for the help., the controller shows no sign of melt or heat damage, but nothing happens when you switch on the power . I was dead when we awoke and shut the boiler door.
  11. Guastini

    Guastini Member

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    i still have not afforded the storage tank is it really worth it?
  12. Guastini

    Guastini Member

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    thanks for the help. How's the storage working out. I have not yet spend the time and money. I heat a 3800 sq ft home and domestic water. I burn about 8 cord a year and still wonder about adding storage. Also wondering if 1000 gallon storage system can be integrated into a solar hydronic system for summer domestic and spring and fall heating assistance
  13. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    Do you have any pictures?
  14. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Storage is move a convenience item than anything else. I couldn't heat with wood if I didn't have it due to work schedule, however. So for me it's a necessity and it works flawlessly.
  15. Have you checked that you have power at the controller?

    I had a renter that had a minor stove top fire. He put it out quickly with no damage. But the stove wouldn't turn back on. He said the circuit breaker hadn't tripped so I called a sparky. First thing he did was turn the breaker completely off and then back on. And everything was fine. Something about it overheating and internally tripping but not completely tripping the lever because the breaker was old.

    Also make sure that none of the emergency switches, at the top of stairs etc. got turned off in the excitement.
  16. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Is there a thermal fuse part of the control system or other type designed to fail in the event of a fire similar to what is used for an oil burner? These typically are ceiling mounted above the furnace..

    Ray
    mikefrommaine likes this.
  17. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    http://www.johnstonesupply.com/stor.../oil-heat-controls/controls//prodL41-916.html

    This is the device I am talking about.. It should have a red plate and may look a little different.. This particular one is designed to open at 165 degrees and they are one-time devices so must be replaced if they open.. They will kill power to the furnace if the temp is exceeded.. My switch looks like the one in the link below:

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/TC-2-Thermal-Cut-Off-Switch-95010A/202274778#.UYT4vKx2m00

    Ray
  18. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    With a solid fuel appliance the last thing you want is to cut power in an over-temp situation. Stopping the flow of water through the boiler would be worst case scenario with a firebox full of wood, plenty of natural draft and a raging fire burning.

    Those switches, I assume, are intended to stop the flow of fuel (oil, gas) more than anything. That's not possible in wood burners, unfortunately.
    woodsmaster and raybonz like this.
  19. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    It is possible that the OP has one and this would cut off power so it's worth mentioning. If the furnace has a combustion blower it might be used to shut it down and slow the fire down. I don't know the specs of the OP's wood furnace..

    Ray
  20. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Personally I wouldn't want a furnace that becomes dangerous if you lose power.. So what happens if you do lose power even with a UPS and it doesn't work for whatever reason?

    Ray
  21. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I do....I have one just like it. He shouldn't have a thermal fuse on his EKO 60 no matter what.
  22. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Every wood boiler suffers from the same potential issue. We deal with this issue in a number of ways. First is to install a heat dump, usually fin tube, in a location above the boiler. This dump zone is activated by a normally opened valve that opens if it looses power. The dump zone "should" be able to remove adequate amounts of heat the prevent damage to the system. Second, many of us use battery backups to enable the pumps to continue in the event of power failure. And last, those of us with storage can effectively design in a heat dump by elevating our tanks above the boiler. Thermosiphoning "should" keep the water moving enough to prevent damage.

    I wasn't necessarily saying our units become unsafe if they loose power. I was just trying to say that the thermal fuse idea is a bad idea on these types of units because we do so many things to protect against power failure and pump shut down/lack of water flow. It's worst case for us but we've all designed in fail safes to deal with it. The thermal fuse is anti-fail safe for us.
  23. I've got a thermal switch on my boiler. Figured in a worse case scenario such as the OP experienced it's better to kill power to the fans. I'd rather worry about having to replace an overheated boiler than my house.
    raybonz and 711mhw like this.
  24. JTWALL

    JTWALL New Member

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    100_5216.JPG 100_5217.JPG
    Good day. I am not sure if you are still looking for a solution to the door opening on your boiler. If so, I think this will work. My situation was that when the boiler went into gasification, it could be very violent; the pressure inside the combustion chamber was great enough to force open the bypass lever. That allowed all the fire to go straight up the chimney! After happening twice, I decided to make a change.

    I had some scrap U-channel (actually it is metal wall shelving supports) that I cut and formed to fit snugly over the bypass lever It sits on top of the bypass metal rod between the door and the vertical section near the bypass lever knob. This prevents the bypass lever from opening no matter what and would also keep the loading door from opening also. I am including a couple of photos. It was easy to make and provides peace of mind! If you have any questions, please let me know. Regards JT
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2013
    hobbyheater and raybonz like this.
  25. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Nice work JT!

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