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Orlan 60 Scary night!!

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Gilby, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. Gilby

    Gilby Member

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    Hey again guys. Small recap...I have the Orlan 60 that pumps water to coils in two furnaces to heat my house. I inherited the boiler when I bought the house and have had my fair share of issues getting it to work properly. Happy to say you all here have made it a warm winter!

    Recently, our outside temperatures have been warm. Up to 60 during the day...down in the teens at night. Not bad for a March in Wyoming. Since I'm running low on wood and trying to limp my way to spring/summer, I didn't run my unit at all this past weekend. Last night it was a tad chilly so I decided to load my boiler and heat my house up. This brings me to my current problem....

    When my boiler and house are both up to temp, everything functions beautifully. The problem occurs when I'm starting up the boiler from cold and the house isn't quite up to temp. My pumps just randomly shut down. I'll have the bottom chamber open and one furnace on warming the house. My water temp will hover in the 160's - and with the chamber door open, the boiler can handle the load and warm the house at the same time. A few times I've gone out to check on it and the water temp is 195 or even E1 or E2. The pumps will just shut off on their own and the water temp keeps growing and my furnaces are blowing cold air.

    Last night I had the scare of my life. I had a fire going and warming the water. Bottom chamber was open. I checked the water temp and it was at 165. I turned BOTH furnaces on to begin warming the house. Shouldn't have been an issue, but obviously the pumps stopped circulating...thus my furnaces blowing cold air and my water temp climbing rapidly. Literally not even five minutes later I heard a horrible loud hissing sound coming from my garage. After a swear word, I sprinted out to see the largest, loudest, hottest steam and water bath taking place. My garage is 30 feet wide. The water blowing out of the top of my boiler soaked the far wall...and would have probably gone 60 feet had there not been a wall there. I'm pretty sure it fried my garage door opener. I never did get it to function again. Hopefully after a couple days of drying out it'll work. Needless to say....an utter mess...and quite scary. If you've had it happen, you know...if you haven't...I can't explain the sound or size!!

    I obviously closed the chamber and the damper and pushed start to get the pumps moving water while it was blowing up. Both furnaces were on...so it cooled down pretty quick. I had no water pressure left so it took awhile to repressurize. The water temp was as high as 260 degrees. Oops. It ended up cooling down and settling in at 174 as I mopped up water and dried off everything in the garage. I was hesitant, but I still ended up loading the boiler and my house was warm all night. Being a rookie, I believe my boiler did what it was suppose to do in that situation. Did I do any harm? I had no leaks anywhere after it all took place, but after it cools down today, I'm curious to see if things start to drip.

    Short story long...why do my pumps not function when I'm warming the boiler?? I've never had them quit while the house is warm and the boiler is idling...only while I'm warming it up. Is it requiring extra electricity for those pumps to push colder water? Shorting it out? I have to push the start button and you'll hear the pumps kick on and start circulating water and the pipes will warm up. Sometimes while I'm standing there, they'll shut off on their own again even though the furncaces are calling for heat. More than once just jiggling the controller will kick them on. Bum controller? loose wire? I'm not sold on either because it ONLY happens while warming. Any suggestions??!?!?

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  2. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    First and foremost, why was water blowing "out the top of the boiler"? Your pressure releif, if it meets code, should point down and exit not further than 6" from the finished floor. If your pressure releief points up this is a very dangerous setup (as you have now seen). I'd recommend correcting this issue immediately.
  3. Gilby

    Gilby Member

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    Beats me! I can't imagine that had I been standing on the other side of the garage I would have been in good shape. I'll take a pic of the setup and post later today so you can see and possibly advise. I've found not much of this setup would be considered up to code.
  4. mr.fixit

    mr.fixit Member

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    You really shouldn't operate the boiler with the lower chamber door open for any length of time. Its ok to crack slightly when first lighting a fire to get the draft going but then it should remain closed.Running it open is like venting your chimney indoors!

    After repeated overheats you probably have air in the system.

    Is the main pump on the back of the boiler controlled by the EKO controller? Does the little green light on the controller come on when the pump does?

    I think the last time you posted with problems no one here could really understand how your plumbing arrangement worked. Is it still the same?

    This summer might be a good time for a re-do on the plumbing and add even a small amount of buffer/storage,it would help alot with the over heating.
  5. Reggie Dunlap

    Reggie Dunlap Feeling the Heat

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    I'd fix that pressure relief valve ASAP before someone gets badly burned...
  6. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin TarmSalesGuy

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    Lyme, NH
    get a qualified heating contractor in there before your next fire. Shut that thing down until you have had a professional diagnose and fix these problems.
  7. Gilby

    Gilby Member

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    Wyoming
    Easier said than done. Podunk Wyoming. There is a guy here that has an outdoor unit that kind of "figures things out"...but the boiler I inherited was a do-it-yourself from a guy that learned most of what he learned off of this website...order the Orlan...and installed 98% of it himself. Not sure where to turn to find someone that knows these systems and how they're supposed to be installed. I'll do some looking around.
  8. Gilby

    Gilby Member

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    Here is a pic of the release (or at least where all the water and steam blew out of). The pipe is the vertical pipe out of the top of the boiler. About 6.5' off the floor I'm guessing? High enough to spray 30 feet!

    Attached Files:

  9. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    As mentioned above, there is supposed to be a pipe affixed to the outlet of that, that would turn & run down towards & almost to the floor - by rights, it should run to a drain.

    I wonder what else is wrong? Better load up on pictures, think you might be needing them here.
  10. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    And that, my friends, is why we have building codes.

    Scary stuff! You really need to have someone look at your system.
  11. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

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    Then why didn't you just say so to start with? For a while there I thought you were endangering the occupants, driving up my insurance rates, and embossing an invitation to the heavy hand of government to supervise us all for no good reason. But if it's not easy enough to suit you, then alrighty!

    --ewd
  12. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    No disrespect to Tarm Guy, but I'm in the same situation regarding "local experienced contractors" in Podunk, Tenn about gasser boilers. If you're like me, you've found your most experienced help right here. Particuarly since you have a EKO.
  13. Gilby

    Gilby Member

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    Loc:
    Wyoming
    Fully appreciate the sarcasm. I know nothing about these boilers. I'm trying to learn, thus the questions. I contacted an Orlan dealer and the guy had a strong accent and said he has no reps or contacts in Wyoming and basically hung up on me. I called a local dealer that sells outdoor units (not Orlan), but doesn't install them due to liability reasons. He suggested I have a plumber and/or electrician come out to inspect. I have already had a plumber at my house to the tune of $78 an hour "trying to figure out my system." For a lot less than $78 an hour, I can learn just as much here as he knows surveying what I have. I realize that what I have might not be the safest - but the first thing I always realize is I don't know what I don't know. I had no idea my boiler would react the way it did in that situation last night. Nor did I have any idea that the blowoff was installed inproperly. Now I do and I'll get it fixed.

    For the record, I sell insurance for a living...so my carelessness driving up your rates just makes me more money. Seems like a win win for me.

    My point was simply I have exhausted my efforts to find someone in my area that knows these boilers. Like stated previoiusly, my best source of information has been you guys and this website. If you can help, great. I appreciate it.
  14. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Bright side - the blow off did exactly what it was supposed to do. It was just mis-directed (and nobody injured, thankfully).

    Try looking for heating contractors maybe? A good one should be able to size up your system & point out difficiencies in relatively little time. Not all plumbers have a lot of experience with hot water heating systems. Gassifier/Orlan intricacies? I think the best source for that is right here - although sometimes it takes a while to sort things out over the internets.
  15. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Here is what I'd recommend: Take photos of every possibly angle of your boiler. Start with all of the near-boiler piping and then also take some photos anywhere you see anything "interesting" happening. Post your photos here in a new thread and you'll get loads of feedback. Maybe we can find a smoking gun (or steaming, as it were?) quickly and get you squared away. You have a top of the line boiler on your hands. You should be able to load it and walk away. We need to get to the bottom of your plumbing and/or electrical problems.

    We can help!
  16. taxidermist

    taxidermist Minister of Fire

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    Do what Stee said and we will get ya going.

    Also tell us what pumps you are running.


    Rob
  17. ihookem

    ihookem Minister of Fire

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    I know how O.P. feels. I got an EKO 25 and no one ever so much has ever seen one or heard of one. The guy who did mine said it was like any wood boiler. It isn't, but kind of is. My plumber never even heard of an OWB. Hard to find guy that really know.
  18. taxidermist

    taxidermist Minister of Fire

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    AHHH YES I remember you now!!!!!

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/88446/

    I think you need to do some re plumbing.

    Take pictures and edit in picasa try to type on the pics what goes where too.

    I see kinda a bypass loop at the boiler with a 3/4 pex? line coming off the top?

    You need to look at my pics of my piping from my blog to get a idea of what it should look like. Dont worry about my danfoss bypass I installed that because i installed my boiler in a un insulated barn. Your pics show you are circulating right around your boiler with 1 pex line coming off the top. What size pex is that? Also I cant belive your plumber friend did not have a cow when he seen where the pressure relief valve was.........

    We will start there.

    Rob
  19. huffdawg

    huffdawg Minister of Fire

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    Have you had a look at your y strainer on the suction side of your boiler circ. pump?
  20. huffdawg

    huffdawg Minister of Fire

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    that 3/4" pex must be a feedwater supply?
  21. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    Do what several have mentioned and get a digital camera and take shots of every angle at the boiler and other places in your system. Post them here so we can all see them and help you out. It won't cost you anything but some time and I know we can help you. I have to mention a few things about the operation of your Orlan that you should know. I fire up from cold status quite frequently and you only want to have a few small splits 3-4 when starting a fire with the bottom door open. I use a propane torch and some thin cardboard (12 pack beer type) to light it and let it roar for maybe 15 minutes with the door open and these 3-4 small dry splits of wood. This is when I usually haul a load of wood in from the wood pile, sweep up, etc. and should I happen to get distracted this is not enough wood to cause an overheat. Your Orlan and all down draft gassifiers like it are meant to burn wood from the bottom up in the upper chamber. You don't want a whole load of wood burning all at once with the lower door open. The 15 minutes will get your 3-4 pieces red hot and the start of a coal bed. This will allow you to load up the boiler the rest of the way to the top on these coals, close both upper and lower doors, pull bypass back, and hit start on your controller. You described "warming your boiler" with the door open and also running the 2 furnaces to start warming the house. This is not the way the Orlan is suppose to work. Once you have it loaded, all doors closed, bypass pulled back, the boiler should be allowed to reach operating temp before it starts to even think about warming the house. I have my boiler controller set to start the pump at 165 an shut back off if it falls below 160 (5 degrees less). Your Orlan will gassify best when kept hot at least 160 in my opinion and I think many here have found this to work best for them too. This is using the buttons to toggle through the approximately 25 settings (see manual) not the dial on the right. The rotary dial on the right sets your boiler target temp and the fan or fans will start to slow down when you approach that temperature. I set mine at 182 since I have no storage and if the house is not calling for heat it can easily creep up several degrees (~190) when the boiler fan is not running. This is what we call idling. Those with storage will probably set their dials at 195 (the max) because the storage will absorb all the heat. The EKO or Orlan's will kick on the fan(s) for about 5-10 seconds every 15 minutes or so while idling to keep the coals at the bottom of your load hot even when there is no demand. When my temp drops to about 175 or so the fan will start up again trying to maintain that 182 temp. If the house load drops the boiler temp down to 160 my boiler circ will stop running in order to let it catch back up. I used to have this set much lower like 145 but the boiler seem to never reach higher temps and would smoke considerably more out the chimney. Basically you want to get it hot and keep it hot (160-185) until you run out of wood. Those with storage probably shoot for (160-195) until they run out of wood. An Orlan is not meant to run at 145-150. If you got your boiler up to 260 during the last overheat you may have damaged something like the controller's sensor. Does it still work OK? Do you have any gauges that could verify if it still reads accurately? The circ on the back of your boiler should be wired into the controller and will cycle appropriately to keep the boiler at the right temperature. In your last overheat, you wondered why the pumps weren't running to keep it from overheating. A boiler with a load of wood and lower door open is like a runaway freight train and it might be that the boiler circ couldn't pull off enough heat to keep it from overheating. On the other hand, if the doors and bypass were closed the fans would slow down and stop to control the temp even if the circ wasn't pulling any heat toward the loads. Many of us here have horror stories of leaving the bypass open on accident after loading which is another thing that could lead to an overheat of your chimney because the heat is not even flowing through the heat exchanger tubes. I didn't have a dealer or any boiler people nearby here in Nebraska either but learned everything here on hearth. They are many of us that were in the same boat at one time trying to troubleshoot a problem and just needed a little help. Best thing is the help here won't cost you a dime.
  22. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    Sorry Gilby, I now see you posted pics on a previous post and I see your diagram. I think Heaterman described what I'm seeing. You have kind of primary/secondary setup but no circulator on the primary loop. This could be why works sometimes but other times it doesn't. I went the P/S route because it seemed the most forgiving and didn't require any balancing between the different loads. It does use an extra circulator that runs all the time which is one downfall. Huffdawg and others have skipped the primary/secondary and use a hydraulic separator instead. If you can find a 100-150 gal tank and want to do some plumbing or have a buddy that could help this summer it would be time well spent. You have a very good boiler, I wouldn't fight next winter without getting it set up correctly. You could get another circ for the primary loop but you would need to change your loop to the closely spaced tees if you want it to work right all the time. Look at Huffdawg pics. That buffer tank (hydraulic separator) is probably the ticket. I don't want to redo my setup but if I found a tank I just might.
  23. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    I didn't Know anything about plumbing boilers until I found this sight. I also couldn't find anyone to do the install. All the info
    you need is here on this sight if you read the stickys, Follow links to info/resources, Do searches, and ask questions. I managed to
    install mine acceptably from what I learned here.
  24. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    Just looked at the pictures from your old thread. I'd take time this summer to redo your near boiler plumbing. I dont see how it could work right the way it is.
  25. huffdawg

    huffdawg Minister of Fire

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    It don't see a termovar or danfoss tempering valve either .

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