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Boiler/pump failed, any advice?

6 replies [Last post]
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Joined: Apr 28 2007

Hello All, would appreciate any insight to my new problem.

My family moved into our Lucas Valley Eichler around Thanksgiving. We negotiated a home warranty into the purchase, which we've already used twice--once for a dryer failure which turned out to be a flakey breaker (scary) and once for a failed light switch.

A little background on the system: original boiler, pump and plumbing from a 1962 Double-A frame. AO Smith pump, Hydra something furnace, original reservoir, a veritable trip down memory lane. It had run amazingly quietly before all of this.

Night before last, I was awoken at 3AM by a racket coming from the garage. Clanging and loud clicking is really the best way I could describe it. Not eardrum shattering but definitely something was wrong. I cranked the thermostat all the way down and it stopped. I went back to sleep.

I went out yesterday and got some 20W 3-in-1 oil and oiled the pump. It appears to have been maintained and there was actually a decent amount of what appeared to be very clean oil in the reservoir in the 3rd oil hole (the one that's not for the bearings). Turned up the thermostat again and ran back to check on it. Same noises, but I was able to determine that the furnace was apparently firing correctly. I was not really able to tell definitively where the ticking and clanging was coming from as I didn't feel super-comfortable putting my head in immediate proximity to the system in that state. I put my hand on the pump and couldn't tell for sure if it was running or the cause of the commotion. Weird.

Anyway I let it go for about a minute in that state and it never improved. Afterwards, I felt the pipes and the one from the boiler to the pump was scalding hot, the one to the reservoir was warm and the one on the other side of the pump was cool, as was everything else. To me, this would seem to indicate the pump stopped working, but I've never worked with anything even remotely close to this.

The warranty company is saying they're not covering any heater that uses water, so we're working with that right now. But I was wondering if anyone can shed any light on the situation. Does it sound like the pump? Is this how they fail? Is there anything I can do? I have young child and I'd prefer not to let this go for a week while the warranty company denies the claim.

Joined: Apr 20 2006

Brrrrr. Your pump picked a cold spell to quit on you. Between the electric motor and the water pump, there is a small coupler. There are some springs that connect the two halves of the coupler. Your local hydronic service company likely has the part you need on a service truck. Call them before your pipes freeze...not to mention your children.

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Joined: Apr 28 2007

Randy from Dura-Foam wrote:
Brrrrr. Your pump picked a cold spell to quit on you. Between the electric motor and the water pump, there is a small coupler. There are some springs that connect the two halves of the coupler. Your local hydronic service company likely has the part you need on a service truck. Call them before your pipes freeze...not to mention your children.

Thanks for the info, Randy! When I had a flashlight angled just right yesterday, I did see a spring at the bottom of the pump. I was thinking it may have been there since the Nixon administration and wasn't related to this. Any chance I can just "slip it back on" or is it something a trained pro has to do?

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Hmm...

I don't know much about the radiant boilers but if it's banging, you probably want to check that it has sufficient water. A slow leak can cause the water level to fall.

So:
- check your pressure gauge. I believe it should be somewhere between 12-18 psi
- check/open your emergency fill valve to make sure it is not seized.

Anyway, just a thought.

Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

Joined: Apr 20 2006

Dear Classic Mustang,
Changing the coupler is easy for someone with experience. This link shows what a different model of coupler looks like.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.ntsupply.com/images/pr...

price: about $10.00 which seems a little too cheap.

Your old coupler is likely beat up and has other broken springs. I think a service call would inexpensively get you house livable again.

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Joined: Apr 28 2007

Randy, your way sounded great but no one wanted to repair the original pump. As it turned out, the warranty company covered a pump replacement so that's what we got. It's been going for 8 hours now and starting to make a dent in the permafrost that coats the windows....

We were warned about the potential side effects of putting in a new pump without a valve of some sort to bleed the air out of the system. So we don't have that. Any input on that?

Joined: Apr 20 2006

Once you get your slab warmed up and dried out...things should improve. How much did the parts and labor cost for the new pump? The installers should know how to check your system and fill and bleed it if needed.

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