Calling all Garn Owners

hedge wood Posted By hedge wood, Jan 3, 2019 at 9:33 PM

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  1. hedge wood

    hedge wood
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    Mar 1, 2009
    76
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    Loc:
    Eastern NE
    So here I am in the year number nine with my Garn 2000 and it has developed a leak. It's leaking into the fresh air intake pipe and leaking out at the air intake out side. I am also seeing some moisture high on the intake collar inside the firebox door. Probably leaking in that area into the intake pipe. Water is clean you can look in the lid and see the burning chamber. I always drain some off bottom every fall and it's never bad. I have Y strainers ahead of my four heat exchanger's and I pull them every fall and there never bad. I work maintenance at a factory and we have a lot of hot water systems , boilers, cooling towers so we have the equipment to test water so I check it couple times a year it's been ok. So what happen? I losing around a gallon a day. Here we are in the middle of high usage time so I don't want to drain it and see if I can repair it. Called Garn and it appears they are going to be no help. When I wrote the check for $15,000 I sure thought it was going to last better than this. I got $30,000 in the hold system and I did all the work other than spray foaming the under ground lines. $30,000 grand would have bought a lot of propane in the last nine year. So here the question anyone else have any problem or am I the only one that got one built on a Monday?
     
  2. maple1

    maple1
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    Sep 15, 2011
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    Ooh, man, that's tough. Sorry to hear. Don't think I'm any help to you, but good luck!
     
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  3. jebatty

    jebatty
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    Jan 1, 2008
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    Did you have your water chemistry checked regularly, at least annually, and adjusted with additives as needed to meet Garn standards? For an open system, like Garn, water testing and treatment on a regular basis is essential. I'm only personally familiar with one Garn system, with its first heating season in 2009. No leak issue.
     
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  4. TCaldwell

    TCaldwell
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    Oct 26, 2007
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    Annual water testing could have seen the beginning of this year’s ago, if you can weld it’s all fixable
     
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  5. hedge wood

    hedge wood
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    Mar 1, 2009
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    I don't think water quality will be the cause of this problem . As I stated in the original post the water has been checked and maintained. I work at a factory and we have lots of heating hot water systems, boilers, cooling towers. We have the equipment for testing and salesmen all the time that I have bought chemical from. It has been maintain to Garn's standards.
     
  6. eauzonedan

    eauzonedan
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    Jan 21, 2011
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    Bayfield Co. Wi
    Bummers x 10. Only a couple things come to mind and they most all require draining the beast. Water chemistry has been noted. Also check for possible stray electrical currents. The only other likely culpret might be a bad weld but I know they claim double pass welds from both sides which should make it unlikely. Also look for a possible source from the outdoor air inlet like rain water/critter poop or ?? Maybe pull the inlet screen for a look see. If it’s on the tank side - the only way to know what you’re dealing with is a drain and inspection from the bowels of the beast. The best to hope for - is something very localized like a bad weld as it’s a pretty simple and less expensive fix. A localized welding fix should only be a couple hundred bucks and a Garn is about the only one you have internal access to do it. Draining this time of year however just plain SUCKS and is an ugly thought. Please keep us in the loop...... My gut thinks Garn would have access to fabricated steel from their sources if any component like an air pipe section is needed. Also consider maybe pressurizing the air intake pipe before you drain - and see if you can spot any bubbles from the manway entrance?

    Feeling your pain with a 5 year old 1500 and hoping this is not cantagous. Dan
     
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  7. TCaldwell

    TCaldwell
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    Oct 26, 2007
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    Loc:
    860-868-9014 h 203 948 0864 c nw corner ct.
    If not a water quality issue, what are you thinking? When the anode rods were going south, I noticed some minor pitting, due to the timing I tried jb marine weld, 4 years later it’s still intact.
     
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  8. hedge wood

    hedge wood
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    Mar 1, 2009
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    My thought is there is a bad weld on what I would call the air collar around the door. As far as anything getting in the air intake is a no go the cover and screen have always been in place. Not a good way to pressure the air intake pipe as it would be hard to block off the opening's at the collar. All I can hope for it is a weld that's accessible threw the manhole so I can repair it with the Garn in place. Not planning on draining it until spring unless the leak get's worst. I don't want to put it out of service this time of year as I would have to buy some propane and this is not the time of year to buy propane. I am just trying to find out if anyone has had any issues. When I bought this nine years ago I spent the extra money to buy a Garn so by the time it had a leak 20 or more years later I would not be living on this farm or would be out of the wood cutting time of my life.
     
  9. eauzonedan

    eauzonedan
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    Jan 21, 2011
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    A couple more thoughts if you think the issue is at or near the air collar

    I spent 20$ on a little usb lipstick camera that hangs off my laptop. Has its own light source and is great for exploring nooks and crannies. The wires are pretty fine so you need to zip tie something heavier to allow you to bend and push from the back. Good idea to run storage temp down first.

    I note a manual reference in the use of the high tech airflow device (aka the brick) and that if it’s misplaced - it can potentially cause warping or cracking of the air collar. Might be worth sniffing in that area......

    Mine came with a piece of insulation and heavy gauge sheet metal in this area of the front of the firebox. I see it’s available as a Garn part. Any chance this was not used 10 years back? Kieth the parts guy is knowledgeable an helpful on all things Garn

    Hope it holds together till spring

    Dan
     
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  10. hedge wood

    hedge wood
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    Mar 1, 2009
    76
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    Loc:
    Eastern NE
    Dan
    This one didn't have that metal. Like you say this one has run a fire brick in that area. The moisture that I can see around the collar coming into the fire box and probably going into the air tube is up high not down low were your talking. A camera may work to look into the air holes on the collar up top. I don't have a laptop but may know some people with a drain camera. If we can get it to spring well just drain it completely and inspect it. I just hope I can fix it in place removing it to repair it is not something I want to have to do.
     
  11. eauzonedan

    eauzonedan
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    Jan 21, 2011
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    Here is the part listing. It lists for a 1500 and I assume the 2000 as they’re mostly interchangeable. They must have had a reason to come up with it...


    Home / GARN Parts / 1989 - PRESENT MODELS: / GARN Model 2500 / Heat Shield with Pad P-0023
    p-0023__heat_shield_with_pad.jpg
    Heat Shield with Pad P-0023
    $ 87.00

    Quantity
    SKU: P-0023
    Description
    Heat Shield:

    • Protects the air collar from heat
    • Prevents physical damage to air collar
    • 1/4 inch, high-temperature pad is included
    • Heat Shield is 10 ga steel.
    Fits:

    • Fits 1350 thru 2500 (1989 to Present)
    • Does not fit the GARN 1000 or the 3200
     
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  12. hedge wood

    hedge wood
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    Mar 1, 2009
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    Dan
    Mind didn't come with a heat shield. If I get this leak fixed in place I may add that. Looking at the parts list you posted looks like they also now have a flow stabilizer to cut down puffing also.
     
  13. salecker

    salecker
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    Aug 22, 2010
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    Any chance you can try a bush fix for the year?
    Under water putty for fixing boats,JB weld has putty that will dry in water i used some to fix a small leak on a plastic fitting on the bottom of my water tank.
     
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  14. heaterman

    heaterman
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    Oct 16, 2007
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    Garn rep here...Michigan licensed boiler installer.

    In my time with the Garn I have encountered very few leaks in them if proper water chemistry is maintained.
    Can you tell me what specific additives have been used in your unit?
    Also the hardness and TDS of the fill water?
    Has the unit ever been drained and cleaned inside since installation?
    Those might provide a clue but regardless of that it's probably going to require draining and welding to solve the problem.
    Yes it's a PITA but at least it can be done without cutting the thing apart like many others require.

    It will say this...I've always paid attention to location of the intake/exhaust in relation to prevailing wind on the ones we've installed.
    The Garn is basically what would be termed a sealed combustion system, meaning it uses no air from inside the building.
    We see problems with modern gas fired boilers which due to venting errors or simply installation circumstances which are caused by inhaling exhaust back into the air intake.
    This flue gas is corrosive to some extent in gas fired appliances but far more so in wood burning equipment. It suppose it's possible that
    something like this has occurred. It would be interesting to learn whether the pitting or hole came from the water side or the air side of the intake pipe.
    Assuming the leak is in the pipe itself and not a weld.
    The intake pipe is one piece and welded in on both ends, inside and outside the pipe.
    I have never seen or heard of a leak in the intake pipe or the welds in the years I have worked with the company and the unit itself.

    Just bite the bullet, line up a welder, drain it and be done with it. It sucks but you might better take take care of it before winter really gets set in.
     
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  15. hedge wood

    hedge wood
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    Mar 1, 2009
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    Loc:
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    Heaterman
    I wondered where you were at. You had wrote a lot about Garn's when I was shopping for a wood boiler. The unit has only been drained and refilled when it was first installed. Water has never tested bad and I always drain some off the bottom every year and it is always clean. I don't have a test handy for hardness of the water that has been added. The water that has been used in it is haul in for a good source. As stated before water has been maintained. I am not going to mention the chemical company I have used but there a major supplier to the industrial world. Water has been checked again after leak started and it's still ok. The flue is located were the intake is not pulling the exhaust in. Unless it starts leaking a lot worst I am not going to drain and clean it and try to repair it in the winter. I am not set up to haul a couple thousand gallons of water in the winter and like I stated before Jan is no time to buy propane. I don't have enough in my tank to get me by till spring if the leak couldn't be fixed. I just hope were ever the leak is it can be repaired in place.
     
  16. gfirkus

    gfirkus
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    Nov 28, 2014
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    Does your water test cover sodium clhoride?
     
  17. maple1

    maple1
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    Sep 15, 2011
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    I would suspect, that your water quality would always be suspect from a Garn POV, unless you had test result data to share with them.

    That said, here's hoping for a bad weld & 'simple' weld repair.
     
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  18. hedge wood

    hedge wood
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    Mar 1, 2009
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    I under stand that. I have been in the repair, maintenance field for 40 years I have two degrees from tech schools.The chemical company that has done the testing deals with lots of water systems. This unit has been handled with kid gloves. If it needed better water care than I gave it the average homeowner doesn't have a chance. I could have kept the paper work from the testing but what would have been the point. There is no long term warranty. When I invest $30,000 in a system I don't take maintenance lightly.
     
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  19. Holley

    Holley
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    Jan 15, 2010
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  20. Holley

    Holley
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    Jan 15, 2010
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    This is Chris Holley. We are the Northeast Reps for GARN. Sorry to hear you are having a problem with your GARN. As Heaterman said earlier, leaks are pretty rare on GARNs. We have only ever seen one weld failure and that was on a unit that appeared to have been dropped in shipping . The factory paid for everything involved (welding, inspection, water chemicals etc) to have that unit made right. The only corrosion leaks we have ever seen here were beneath, and caused by, heavy built-up sludge on the bottom of tank. An industry wide failure of anode rods was responsible for a sludge like problem a few years back and GARN has since discontinued the use of anode rods for that reason.

    Of course none of what I've just said is very helpful to you because you DO have a leak. Have you taken a good look (with a strong light) into the top of the tank. Unless you are seeing some kind of heavy buildup on the air intake tube it's pretty unlikely that you have a corrosion leak. If the tube itself is not leaking, that would leave only the welds between the tubing and the front and the rear ends of the tank as possible sources of the problem. Both welds are very accessible for welding repair if necessary. If fact every factory weld on the unit is accessible after the unit is drained.

    I'd be very curious to know what you can see now by looking down the intake tube from the rear of the unit. That's a ten foot long tube and I would think you might be able to see the start of where water is entering that tube. You could also take a 3 to 4" hole saw and cut a hole into the front of the air collar opposite where the intake tube ends and inspect the tube from that end too. You'd need to drill and tap holes around that new hole for a cover plate and gasket afterwards but that's really no big deal. An electrical work box cover plate would do the trick and make that area easier to clean for maintenance.

    As an aside, your GARN did come with that heat shield and pad that was mentioned earlier...they all did, but it shouldn't be related to your problem.

    Have a close look at the drawings on the GARN webpage https://www.garn.com/how-garn-works-full/ to see where the intake tube is located. Let us know what you find. If I can be of any help, feel free to PM me.
     
  21. Holley

    Holley
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  22. hedge wood

    hedge wood
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    Mar 1, 2009
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    Chris
    I did miss speak when I said it didn't have the heat shield it does. Thanks for the post. Drilling the air collar is not a bad idea. I am seeing some moisture inside the door in the firebox up in the right corner standing in front of the door. That's why I think it is a weld that is leaking water into the air collar and coming out the intake pipe. I hoping the leak stays manageable for the rest of the winter. Like I posted before I don't want to put it out of service until spring or maybe even summer when I have time to deal with what ever caused the leak. I just hope it is a problem that can be repaired in place.
     

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