AquaTherm Meltdown

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

SplittingLogs

Member
Nov 20, 2015
24
Wisconsin
Hey guys, Ya'll have helped me out with multiple issues so far, so I'm coming to you again about my old chunk of metal. Sorry if this is a bit long.

We installed a used AquaTherm last year and have had nothing but trouble. The installer left the broken old pressure temperature gauge in there rather than replacing it, so we were never able to see how hot the stove was getting or what our true pressure was. Meanwhile, it was boiling over all the time. I put more water in it regularly, but we eventually had a fullblown meltdown. It melted the light switches that run the pump and the fan, and also melted components such as the aquastat.

The guy came back out and replaced many of the parts, including the gauge and some of the wiring. For the most part, everything worked well for the rest of the burning season. The only minor issue we seemed to have was the expansion tank (one of the few non-replaced parts after the first meltdown) wasn't quite right. It would often say zero pressure, unless it got really hot, and then the pressure was off the charts.

That brings me to a couple weeks ago when we had meltdown #2. The light switches that control the pump and fan melted, as did the gauge and release tubing in the back (you'll see the warped / twisted tubing in the pics). It didn't seem quite as bad as last time, however. The aquastat seemed to survive, and the wiring looks good. I've decided that if these meltdowns are going to be a regular thing, I should try to figure out how to fix them on my own rather than relying on the other guy, even though I'm an admitted novice. Here's where my questions start. (And please forgive me if these are stupid questions. I'm honestly just trying to find my way here.)

1- I rewired the light switches, but the pump and fan still won't turn on (even after I kicked up the heat in the house). I believe the unit has power and the wiring is good because the two lights (one internal, one external) come on. I've also swapped the old-school fuses just to be sure. I don't see any reason they wouldn't kick on, but it's not happening.
--Am I missing something basic? For instance, does the wood stove need to be full of water with a fire going? Could it be that the aquastat melted (even though it looks fine on the outside) and thus isn't regulating the temp and telling the pump to kick on, etc.?

2- I see two hose bibs on the back (see pics). Do you know which one I would use to fill the unit? I'm assuming the green one that goes directly into the unit, but I want to make sure. Up until now I've filled it with an inside port, but without a pump and pressure...

3- On an old unit like this, are the parts pretty much plug and play, or is there more to it than that? I've found the parts online to swap out pretty much everything (aquastat, gauge, expansion tank, etc.), and the prices don't strike me as extravagant, but I don't know what I don't know when it comes to installing.

The hope is to keep this thing alive for a couple more winters and eventually invest in a brand new stove, but I'm not sure if that's how the situation is going to play out. If I can't keep the thing running for more than a month or two at a time, I may need to pull the trigger sooner than later. At any rate, I appreciate any thoughts you may have. Thanks!

Boiler Back 1.jpg Boiler Back 2.jpg Boiler Back 3.jpg Boiler Back 4.jpg Boiler Back 5.jpg Boiler Switch 1.jpg Boiler Switch 2.jpg Hose Bibs.jpg
 

sloeffle

Minister of Fire
Mar 1, 2012
1,020
Central Ohio
The hope is to keep this thing alive for a couple more winters and eventually invest in a brand new stove, but I'm not sure if that's how the situation is going to play out. If I can't keep the thing running for more than a month or two at a time, I may need to pull the trigger sooner than later. At any rate, I appreciate any thoughts you may have. Thanks!
With the tax credit expiring at the end of 2023, I definitely buy something before then. They credit drops down to 23% next year vs 26% this year. You'll also burn a lot less wood with a EPA approved stove. Most folks burn about 50% less.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,333
NE Ohio
With the tax credit expiring at the end of 2023, I definitely buy something before then. They credit drops down to 23% next year vs 26% this year. You'll also burn a lot less wood with a EPA approved stove. Most folks burn about 50% less.
For sure.
It actually drops to 22% next year (not to mention price increases) then gone. It covers the whole install too...so if you need/want to upgrade the underground lines, or anything like that..