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Thread: Gas Boiler Question

  1. #1

    Default Gas Boiler Question

    I noticed last night that the thermostat was dropping, but thought that was due to me working on the front door and leaving it open for a little bit. But overnight it never did warm up and noticed I wasn't getting any heat out of the radiators. I checked the furnace and the pilot light was lit but I usually have 5 or 6 flames in there firing up. I tried turning the thermostat all the way off and then back up to 70 or so. The pilot light would fire up but the rest of the burners wouldn't. I could also smell a little gas by the furnace. Wasn't sure if that was normal or not.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    A gas smell is almost never normal.

    There are all sorts of interlocks in a boiler that could prevent it from firing: low pressure, low water, thermocouple (not sensing the pilot is lit), defective gas valve, over temperature (this may have occured and tripped a safety device requiring a manual reset); plus, probably others.

    So, you'll need to dig out the service info and trace things to see if all of the interlocks are closed to allow it to fire. It could be a defective switch, or a real safety issue.

    If you really do smell gas near the applicance, I'd call for help and maybe get out of the house while doing it - things can go boom. All it takes is the right fuel/air ratio and a spark to literally level a house.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    San Diego


    If you smell gas, even faintly, go outside the house with a cell phone and call the gas company. They will have someone there before you can hang up the phone. This is a free service they provide, because the bad publicity from someone's house turning into toothpicks is bad for business. I am serious about this. The gas company WANTS you to call them. If there is no problem, that's fine. If there is a little problem, they usually won't fix it but often will tell you exactly what's needed. If it's a big problem, well, that's why I say to call NOW. They will NOT hate you for this .. they really WANT you to call on these situations.

  4. #4


    Thanks everyone for the input. Once I made it back home last night I discovered the gas smell was no longer there... i took a look at the assembly and found that the "thermal element lead" was snapped. It looked like it had been saughtered on in the first place. ended up calling the heating & air company and they had to replace that part.

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Default gas smell

    Around here if you call the gas company about an odor, and it is not on their side of the meter, they "lock" the meter and tell you to call a plumber to find and fix the leak and they will turn the gas back on AFTER it is inspected and approved and the city calls them to have service restored. I tell people to call the plumber first and if he finds it on the company's piping then you can call the gas company.


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