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PB105 and PF100 burn pot hump and crack failure

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by exoilburner, Feb 18, 2010.

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Has your Harmon PB105 boiler or PF100 furnace burn pot failed with a hump or crack?

  1. YES - my PB105 or PF100 burn pot HAS failed with a hump or crack.

    100.0%
  2. NO - my PB105 or PF100 burn pot HAS NOT failed with a hump or crack.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. wil lanfear

    wil lanfear Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    May 10, 2008
    Messages:
    458
    Loc:
    vermont
    Prior to testing the stainless burnpot I mentioned to my dealer my opinion on the material to make the burnpots which he supposed to have passed on to Harman, they decided to make it using stainless steel instead.

    http://www.sandmeyersteel.com/A600.html

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  2. slowzuki

    slowzuki Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Messages:
    485
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    I'm not familiar with how these boilers are arranged or function but exposing a drilled plate like that to heat cycles is expected to warp or bubble. The cracking is likely related to the heating and cooling cycles and fairly thick plate combined with the small holes leading to stress concentrations.

    Is the plate air cooled via the holes?
  3. Skippydo

    Skippydo New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Butler, Pa
    Wil:
    First time on this post WOW, still a lot of problems out there with the burnpot, I see.
    This is my third year with the PF100, and luckly, no problem with the burn pot. For
    whatever it is worth, I start the unit up on Auto, then switch to Manual and run on manual
    till next cleaning. Have mentioned this in the IBURNPellets.com.

    Will keep checking this site out....
  4. Bill Bennion

    Bill Bennion Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    59
    Loc:
    Lee, NH
    Just finished installing new burn pot on PB 105 with 15 fin igniter. High temp SS on burn surface. We will see if this solves the distorted surface issue! I will be keeping Harman updated as heating season progresses.

    Posted this this week and am disapointed to hear that Wil is still having the problems
  5. stan240

    stan240 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    7
    Loc:
    eastern wa
    On my 4th season with the PF-100, have the burnpot problem now. Does anybody have a cheap place to order them? Replaced my auger motor 2 seasons ago and locate dealer hosed me for $360. Also should I replace the Igniter now that it is out?
  6. Bill Bennion

    Bill Bennion Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    59
    Loc:
    Lee, NH
    The burn pot should be covered under the 6 year gold warranty.
  7. Bill Bennion

    Bill Bennion Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    59
    Loc:
    Lee, NH
    Wil, Have you heard anything new from Harman? I have not seen any problems yet with my ss burn pot, but given your results I expect to see problems develop in time. Did you speek with Barry at Harman at all?
  8. stan240

    stan240 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    7
    Loc:
    eastern wa
    Great info, Have the burnpot issue took it off and cleaned up with a grinder with a wire wheel attached. Had a friend weld a piece of stainless steel to cover the whole. Drilled new holes in the patch and works great so far. new problem is the igniter. Is there a easy way to replace them. got the burnpot off without any problems just don't know how to get to the wires for the igniter. Have a picture of this patch if anyone ways to see it.
  9. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2008
    Messages:
    424
    Loc:
    NW Washington State
    stan,
    Really glad you are trying this. How big was the new stainless steel patch you put in your burn pot. Did you weld it so it was flush with the surface of the hole plate? Were any holes welded over?

    I was thinking that this may be the only option owners have if Harmon does not get with the program. It doesn't seem like it would be a difficult job for someone with a little welding experience. And it would be possible to try a piece of the hi-temp steel that "wil" was talking about in an earlier post.

    The igniter is pretty easy to remove. You may need to cut the tie-wraps on the igniter wires. They are located under the sheet-metal cover that is screwed to the bottom of the pellet hopper. Then you can pull the igniter and wires out thru the burn-pot cleanout hole. Pull the wires out until you can see the wire connectors and disconnect them. The igniter mounting screws are located above the burnpot cleanout cover screws. Be sure to remember the orientation of the igniter mounting bracket; it can be installed reversed. AND PULL THE NEW IGNITER WIRES BACK INTO THE AREA UNDER THE COVER. Otherwise the connectors may melt.
  10. stan240

    stan240 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    7
    Loc:
    eastern wa
    the patch is about 2 inches square, its pretty flush. We drilled new hole because some were covered. I have a pic but it to big for this site, don't know how to resize it. My 2c on this is, most are probably scraping the burnpot when it is hot and the metal it much softer. I think that spot gets the extra pressure because its much easlier to reach. Orderd new pot and igniter but will probably wait until summer to install. This is my 5th season on this unit and my heat bills went down by2/3 vs propane forced air. we average about ten tons per and we just love the nice warm heat. House is 2700 sq and two story with vaulted ceilings and lots of windows. Payback on this unit was 1.5 years.
  11. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2008
    Messages:
    424
    Loc:
    NW Washington State
    If you look at the post with the 4 pictures on the first page of this thread they show the deterioration of the metal on the underside of the plate. It looks like metal is flaking off in the bad spot from the inside of the burn-pot. So it is getting thinner and weakening.
  12. Dbbitt

    Dbbitt New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    8
    Loc:
    Eastern PA
    maybe they should cast that surface of the pot like the lid that is on top of the pot or maybe make a ceramic part replacing the welded in surface of the burn pot.. the ceramic wouldnt be changed by heat and if it is smooth would be easy to clean. Maybe they could make the surface a replacable part instead of the whole burn pot thus reducing the costs and end user replacable.
  13. Dbbitt

    Dbbitt New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    8
    Loc:
    Eastern PA
    I just called the dealer to send me a new burn pot. i was cleaning my unit and the bubble was in the pot i replaced last year. I asked him to call harman and see what the send.
  14. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2008
    Messages:
    424
    Loc:
    NW Washington State
    Dbbitt, thanks for the posts. I am kind of anxious to see how stan240's welded patch fix works. If it lasts and does not affect furnace operation it might be a fairly simple permanent fix. Would be able to experiment with some different types of plate too.
  15. yargyamel

    yargyamel New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    NH
    My PF100 started operating for the winter 2006/2007. My burnpot has been replaced once and is cracked again. I have had some issues related to the furnace running and several components have been replaced but they did not replace the burnpot a second time. I need to check my warranty again. I know it says 5 years and I don't recall the three year limit on parts the dealer mentioned or what is written in the newer manuals. I use about 8 tons per winter to heat about 3500 sf, replacing 1000 gallons of oil. When the furnace runs good it is great but yesterday the house was not staying up to temperature and so I turned the furnace control to off and turned the oil burner back on. This morning the fire was still burning at a minimum flame in the burnpot so something is not right. I get the impression the manufacturer is not making things right, because if they were the dealer would be trying to make it right. As much as I like the unit sometimes I wonder if I got a lemon or it is not ready for prime time. My 20 year old oil burner starts every time but I hate using oil, especially foreign oil !!!!
  16. stan240

    stan240 New Member

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    Nov 28, 2010
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    Loc:
    eastern wa
    My patch only lasted 1 month, but the thought was there. Replaced with new burnpot and igniter. New problem auger not feeding enough pellets. Will empty the hamper and hope its something simple.
  17. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    424
    Loc:
    NW Washington State
    stan: Did you cut out the bad area of the burnpot plate and weld in a new piece of plate or weld a patch over the bad area of the plate?
    What type of weld did you use, arc, gas ????? Would be nice to know in case someone wants to try it again with a different process.

    When mine goes out of warranty and I have to buy a new pot I'm going to take the old one to a welder and try this.
  18. stan240

    stan240 New Member

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    eastern wa
    We just patched over the old area. New patch failed in the in the same spot. I saved the old burnpot and going to my friend who welds for a living and have him look at it and make a better repair and use it for a backup. Have some pics will try and post.
  19. stan240

    stan240 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
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    Loc:
    eastern wa
    Here are the pics. One is the burnpot repaired, the other one is the patch that failed and lastly what was keeping the auger from feeding. Try the obvious with your auger problems, emptied the hooper and there it was. When they ship the pellets on top of the pallet is a thick piece of cardboard. My thoughts are that when they were loaded on my trailer the forklift pushed the cardboard into the bag. The pic shows a small piece of the bag and the cardboard. I just usually tape bags when I get home. The forks just pushed all that stuff farther into the bag.

    Attached Files:

  20. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

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    424
    Loc:
    NW Washington State
    Thanks for the good updates and the pictures. The pictures really add a lot.
  21. Pellet_Dog

    Pellet_Dog Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    51
    Loc:
    NE PA
    This problem needs to be attacked just like fixing rust on a car. Cut all the bad metal out and weld a new piece in or the cancer will just come back and spread.
  22. Skippydo

    Skippydo New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Butler, Pa
    Interesting what happened today while cleaning the PF100. You guys might alrerady do this,
    but this is the first time for me. I cleaned the burn pot, cleaned underneath, and then I took
    the end of the screwdriver which I use to scrape the scale off with, and taped the top of the
    burn pot. I cannot believe the amount of soot that fell from underneath the burn pot.
    I just said "WOW". I was truly amazed.
    And I did notice a hotter burn.

    And then, I had to replace my water holding tank. The bladder went in it.
    Don't know if you use those new connections where you just push them together.
    Can take a variety of pipe, copper to plastic, etc. no more heating and soldering. In a split
    second the connection can be made...
  23. stan240

    stan240 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    7
    Loc:
    eastern wa
    I think you are right. I will have my friend just make a whole new top plate and use some better steel. Plus he will probably do it for a case of keystone. Great forum btw.

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