WM Evergreen Blower Fault - intermittent, 2nd replacement in 18 months

Discussion in 'Boiler Forum' started by CoHotelier, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. CoHotelier

    CoHotelier New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Location:
    Colorado
    Folks,

    About a year and a half ago I replaced an aging Lochinvar Fin-Tube model with a new Weil-McClain Evergreen Series, Model 220. The swap was done in early spring of 2016. December of that same year (9 months or so later) the unit began sporadic lock-outs due to Blower Fault usually during the Pre-Purge cycle.

    I contacted WM and after a bit of back and forth (check this, test that), they agreed the blower was to blame, and authorized a warranty repair on the blower and controller.

    Today, 11 months later, the problem resurfaced. The new blower motor is about 11 months old and it is faulting and causing lock-out during Pre-Purge.


    If I stand at the boiler and command the different blower speeds, the return signal is in-line with desired results. This is a sporadic issue - and since the blower replacement last December, I'm thinking it can't possibly have anything to do with the main control board, or the wiring to said board. The vent/intake piping is all full 4" terminated at a WM branded plate outside. The manual says that a blower fault during startup indicates that either the blower didn't required speed for ignition, or didn't return to full stop when 0% signal was commanded. If the damn thing is just finicky, is this something that a field rep could "reprogram"? We're at 7,550ft altitude, and the blower has been set to 7500ft.

    I'm going to call WM in the morning again - but each time I replace this thing I'm paying shipping through the local distributor, and because this boiler servers our business ( a motel ), I am going to need the replacement part asap... like yesterday.

    Lastly, we just built a new 4-room building in April of this year and put one of these boilers in that building. If this new boiler also starts having blower faults at the 9-12month mark, we're going to have a real problem.

    Any help or insight is appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Pete
     
  2. CoHotelier

    CoHotelier New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Location:
    Colorado
    Called and spoke with WM.

    2 blowers in 18 months is odd, sounds abnormal. I'm guessing no known problems with the blowers then.

    When it goes into pre-purge mode it starts the blower to about 50-55% and reads over 3krpm.

    When it has faulted, the fault diagnostic screen shows an input of 0% commanded signal and the output screen shows 0 (zero) blower rpm.

    This seemed to puzzle the tech, because pre-purge includes a command to start the blower... so at least the output commanded signal should show something and then the blower isn't responding, but it's recording it as it's neither commanding nor recording any blower speed.

    We talked about air/pressure potentially moving the fan as it enters prepurge (an external wind gust, or whatnot), and the "reported" rpm on no commanded speed is then causing the fault code. I attempted to replicate, slowly spinning the blower while the boiler entered pre-purge. Boiler didn't care... reported no rpm, and spun up to Pre-Purge speed with no error. I tried it both directions, no difference.

    I'm going to call him back and let him know the test was negative, that spinning the blower prior and into pre-purge didn't cause a thrown code.

    I wonder then, what the control panel looks for regarding the blower immediately upon entering pre-purge, or if maybe there isn't enough delay and an older blower doesn't respond quite the same and that spin-up delay causes the fault. The 0% commanded and 0rpm is the kicker - seems it's something happening before the blower has a chance to spin up.

    If I don't want to keep throwing parts (the same part) at it, what should my next course of action be? Field rep for on-site review? How?
     
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. CoHotelier

    CoHotelier New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Location:
    Colorado
    Just wanted to update for anyone else...

    Talked to a local, well known and reputable, mechanical installer (he also sells/installs WM as his primary line)... Halfway through my story he stopped me and told me that every Evergreen series boiler that he's installed up here (Estes Park, 7500ft) has had to have the blower replaced. He actually stocks the part because it's been so consistent in failure.

    He said recently his supplier sold him the same model blower for all three boiler sizes, whereas originally there were different size blowers for each boiler size. I checked and WM has published an addendum to the manual that outlines the change - the blower model previously used just for the 220 is now to be used for the 220, 300, & 399. My first blower lasted just 8 months or so, this one has lasted 11 months, and it's out of warranty.

    I'm going to buy a blower out of pocket from him so that I have an extra on hand. Shouldn't have to do that, but it's the only thing that will give me peace of mind in thinking that my replaced blower is just a ticking time bomb and knowing I can't afford any down time.

    Very frustrating to hear... but glad to know I'm not alone on this one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  5. CoHotelier

    CoHotelier New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Location:
    Colorado
    Wanted to add a chapter to this, hope it helps the next guy (or tech).

    The boiler started going into lockout again this evening.

    I was able to watch it happen, and it my surprise, the boiler went directly from a call for heat (hadn't satisified output temp yet) to pre-purge for the same input. In that instant, the boiler commanded 0% fan, and the fan reported 0rpm. It then went into lockout. I disconnected the fan controller harness (leaving the power harness connected) and nothing happened. Usually when you disconnect the controller harness, the fan will ramp up to 100% duty cycle until the controller harness is plugged back in. It happened so quick, and I was now thinking about getting my hands on a blower at 6:15p on a Saturday, that I didn't voltmeter the harness to see if 120v was being sent to the fan module or not.

    Either way, I don't understand why the boiler would suddenly command pre-purge during an uninterrupted call for heat burn cycle.

    I called the mechanical company's after hours number and got ahold of the same tech after he called me back. He offered to meet me at his shop and he'd sell me a blower. I drove over and at 7:30pm on a Saturday night in our little mountain town, Brett @ Advantage Mechanical really came through.

    I brought the blower back to the Inn, installed it, and all seems to be well.

    For what it's worth, it is the latest part number, it is now spec'd for all three largest Evergreen sizes, and the controller looks completely different. It's clearly a different manufacturer. It's quieter, but that may be the "newness." The older one had "FASCO" molded into the side, the new one doesn't have anything molded into it, just a sticker near the controller that states "enhanced version" and Made in Germany.

    I'm going to call WM on Monday and figure out how to get them to refund me for the blower purchase, or swap my bad, now uninstalled, blower, for a new one as a backup. It's my understanding that the residential warranty is 2 years on parts, 1 year for commercial use - but I think an exception should be made as we're clearly working with a faulty part/design/construction.

    Here's to hoping this is resolved, and I hope the info I've provided helps the next guy who runs into a blower fault with an Evergreen EVG boiler.
     
  6. CoHotelier

    CoHotelier New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Location:
    Colorado
    To circle back, maybe this helps the next guy.

    A month or so ago the new boiler (the second of this model we have on-site) also began blower faulting. When I took the faulty blower to them, they immediately handed me a new model blower. Turns out they have a list of customers with the evergreen boilers and have sourced new blowers for ALL of them.

    Lastly, I still get intermittent hardware fault manual lockouts on the original evergreen. Probably happens 8-10 times per year. The screen at the time will show hardware fault - 1, but then when I go to diagnostics error reporting history, it's saved as hardware fault - 2, every time. Usually on "post-purge 1" (which is my dhw).
     
  7. George J Ramos Jr

    George J Ramos Jr New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2019
    Location:
    New York
    Hello, quick question, does the newer blower solve the issue. I am considering getting this boiler for a 5700sqt ft home. The btu needed is 350btu, evergreen has a 399btu model. However I am afraid of buying this boiler as I am not extremely mechanically inclined and replacing the blower seems like it can be involved.

    How do you like its performance so far? DO you regret buying it?
     
  8. CoHotelier

    CoHotelier New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Location:
    Colorado
    I say this, regrettably, as a SPX and FLOW shareholder - the parent companies of W-M.

    The blower is easy to replace. I know because I've done it three or four times between two boilers.

    We currently have TWO of these boilers, one gets a LOT more work than the other. The harder worked one is the one that has had problems from about 8 months into its life. The other, lesser used model, had faults until the blower was replaced, and since then has been alright.

    I can't even begin to tell you the number of times I've wanted to throw the first boiler in the river.

    After the second blower replacement I was still getting intermittent faults.

    I had wired an alarm to it that would send a text message when it faulted, so at least then I could get to it and reset, or have someone else reset it. You know how obnoxious it is to go on vacation, after a long and busy season and have to just "hope" that your boiler won't randomly, and for no good reason, shut down while you're gone? The alarm relay stopped functioning, so I then replaced the main ignition control and comm board - with the identical model and software version (no update). The relay works again, and it hasn't hard faulted since.

    After the majority of the fault issues calmed down, the heat exchanger started a pin hole leak near a stainless weld at the inlet. WM sent a new heat exchanger that was single boxed and looked like it went through the damn great war. the inlet line punched through the box and was bent about 20deg of perpendicular. They then sent another h/e that was double boxed and arrived undamaged.

    Since the replacement of the main board, it has seemed to be better. I've already decided if it continues to give us grief this next winter that I'm going to replace it. That's right, a $5k boiler, $5k install, and I'm ready to trash it after four years.

    The Pros are it's efficient and the controls are pretty slick.

    The cons are it's not reliable, manual faults for no reason, the manual and trouble codes are OBVIOUSLY a poor port over of the previous generation control module and faults, with important information left out.

    I wouldn't buy another. Given that at that time it was a relatively new and highly heralded product, I would have thought they'd be interested in it at the very least as a field case study for product troubleshooting and improvement. Nada.

    If you go this route I can't promise that you'll have problems, but I can promise there's a chance you will.
     
  9. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Location:
    01609
    Unless this is an uninsulated house with leaky single pane windows with some glass missing there's no WAY it needs anywhere near 350,000 BTU/hr of boiler for space heating. That would be over 60 BTU/hr per square foot of conditioned space. Reasonably insulated houses with double panes tight enough that you can't fly a kite indoors on windy days would come in under 30 BTU/hr per square foot even if the house was very leaky, under 20 BTU/hr per square foot for most houses. I'd be surprised if the loads even called for 150,000 BTU/hr (a ratio of 26 BTU/hr per foot) and it's probably lower than that.

    How was that 350K number determined? (That was the size of a pre-existing boiler, perhaps?) It's very common to find cast iron boilers 3x or more oversized for the space heating loads in the northeast, and replacing like-for-like is usually a mistake.

    What other loads is the boiler serving? (Heating domestic hot water for 10 bathrooms plus a swimming pool? Snow melting on a 1/4 mile long driveway?)
     
  10. George J Ramos Jr

    George J Ramos Jr New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2019
    Location:
    New York
    It is just a standard 5700 SQFT house that has a 350btu boiler. It has forced hot air. I was simply trying to match the btus. It is insulated well. However it was a foreclosure and the owner didn't turn the boilers on which resulted in busted pipes.
     
  11. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Location:
    01609
    Get a professional room-by-room Manual-J load calculation from a certified engineer or qualified architect, or even a RESNET rater before proceeding. Boiler replacement time is an opportunity moment to right-size it, which improves both comfort and efficiency.

    Was/is the forced hot air one or several hydro-air coils, no radiators or baseboards, radiant floor? If yes, report back the model numbers, and correlated it to the Manual-J load numbers of the rooms each serves.

    How is the domestic hot water being heated? How many bathrooms? Any big soaker tubs?
     
  12. CoHotelier

    CoHotelier New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Location:
    Colorado

    Great point Dana. I always appreciate your help.


    George, I didn't even pause on your load, but Dana is correct.

    We have an Evergreen 220 that runs a 18 room motel built in 1968 with 23 fin/tube zones that range from 4ft stick of baseboard to 20ft stick of baseboard, a few 3/4, although most 1/2." It also runs a 80 gal SuperStor side arm for DHW @ 160deg. I think we're around 5.5-6k sq ft off the top of my head. We use a boiler buddy (THANKS DANA) to keep short cycling down on the small runs, and I have the boiler fire after a 10min delay at call for heat. The main heat pump (grundfos magna3 which is an awesome pump for maintaining performance regardless of zone lengths or head) will run instantly on call for heat, and will cycle water through the heat loop and into the Boiler Buddy and usually that will satisfy a short call in a small room without even firing the boiler.

    Needing 350k btus… wow, I couldn't even imagine the load to require that in a home.
     
  13. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Location:
    01609
    Glad to hear the Boiler Buddy solution is working out!

    There are many luxury palaces out in the Hamptons (eastern Long Island ) that actually have a need that much boiler- not for space heating, but for extreme domestic hot water (ab)use.

    For a "normal" 5700' home anywhere in NY state 350K is extreme overkill, but if the heating system's output is similarly oversized hydro-air handlers it may require either replacing them with right sized hydroair to get the sizing down to a more reasonable level. Oversized hydro-air is the opposite of "comfort", and if the coils were freeze damaged too, not just the pipes, it's a good time to consider replacing it all with right-sized equipment. But oversized radiators / baseboard can be a good thing for comfort and efficiency, and would not force one into going with an oversized boiler.

    What ZIP code is this house located in?
     
  14. Yukonheat

    Yukonheat New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2019
    Location:
    Alberta
    I have had the exact problem on a Evergreen 299 recently. Called WM and they are sending a new blower up, but the heat has been down for 4 days, luckily it hasn't been too cold up here...
    Also I just installed a WM Evergreen 130 and it has been throwing intermittent hardware faults and pressure switch faults, unit is only 3 months old and replacing the board.
    I really liked these units and installed about 8, but about half of them have given me trouble within the first year, so I may be switching to a different model or brand, I also don't want to have wake up in the middle of the night on vacation wondering if one of these units has shut down and the house is freezing over.
     
  15. camper4

    camper4 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2020
    Location:
    NY
    Hi all, about to do the blower replacement on EVG 299. Instructions call for disconnecting gas from Venturi, which seems unnecessary. Any thoughts on skipping this step? Or if not, why it’s necessary?
    My boiler works fine but then intermittently shows a lockout blower fault, so I’m hoping the new blower fixes this.

    I should add that the lockout seems to occur when a majority of the radiant zones are turned on (ran the whole night last night before faulting at 7AM). The DHW seems to be fine for days without a lockout (or, if it does lockout, the hourly auto resets clear the error).
     
  16. CoHotelier

    CoHotelier New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Location:
    Colorado
    Sorry to dredge this up. Ours continues to hard fault, requiring a manual reset. Usually it occurs if the unit gets a domestic hot water call while the baseboard is already calling as well. It shows as any number of faults - so I don't even trust what the unit is "saying". Very frustrating. We've replaced boards, both comm and main, blowers, etc.

    Sometimes it will show as a input temp exceeding output, sometimes just a raw hardware fault. During HW fault, it will be EITHER 1 or 2. I thought I was on to something when I got to watch it happen once, it flashed the input exceeding output temp for a split second before it flashed and stuck a generic hardware fault. I dont know where to go from there. I believe the programming for these units is too sensitive, but I'm just a random "homeowner" and don't have any way to apply pressure to W-M to get them to make these things right.

    We get the same issue with our other Evergreen W-M system as well, so I know it's not the way that it's piped, as each is piped differently.
     
  17. fitter30

    fitter30 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2020
    Occupation:
    Retired service tech
    Location:
    Peace valley missouri
    Hard wire a surge protector to incoming power and check all ground terminations from boiler to panel to ground rod.
     
  18. CoHotelier

    CoHotelier New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Location:
    Colorado
    Fitter, I appreciate it. I'll double Check.

    We have 2 evg220s. They are on the same property lot, but two different buildings. Each building has its own meter, and it's own power from 2 separate pole transformers. (This isn't to imply its clean power, just that they're on different sources.) One is 2017 new construction, the other is older construction. One is piped into a boiler buddy to prevent short cycling on very small calls, the other is piped traditionally. They were installed about 2 years apart. (2015 & 2017)

    Both exhibit the same random lockouts. I've wired a simple alarm to the alarm contacts so that I get an email alert when they lockout. Sometimes they lockout and don't close the alarm contacts. :rolleyes:
     
  19. fitter30

    fitter30 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2020
    Occupation:
    Retired service tech
    Location:
    Peace valley missouri
  20. CoHotelier

    CoHotelier New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Location:
    Colorado
    Yes, thank you. I actually bought an extra new (updated p/n) blower out of pocket just to have one on hand.

    That's part of the frustration. The first boiler had TWO blower replacements before Weil acknowledged a problem and started using the blower used in the larger boilers for the 220 as well. Early on, each of the 3 sizes had their own blower. Then they just spec'd the one blower for all three. I think 220, 299 & 399 iirc.

    The other frustrating thing is the error that shows on the screen at the time of the fault isn't necessarily the error that shows on the flag error history. That is, the blower faults weren't showing as blower faults, sometimes they would show as hardware faults (1 or 2). Now I rarely if ever get a blower fault (after the replacememts), but I just get generic hardware faults. Usually during pre or post purge. As I typed above, one time I physically watched it flash a water temp error code and then it immediately went into lockout and show hardware fault, which was not the code I saw. My frustration with the port over of code from the ultras (what I think they did) was the hardware fault code points to a Ram or Rom error. Well that ain't much help, and swapping boards seemed to help at first but the errors started showing up again.

    I really do appreciate late your help - and I don't mean to stonewall your suggestions, it's just been frustrating.

    When WM first swapped to a single blower, the local supply house shipped out pallets of blowers to the local plumbers that had installed these boilers - they proactively sent one for every 220 they had installed. That's how widespread the failures were.

    I'm convinced WM knows these boilers have issues, but they aren't confident in the fix. Although admittedly the mass blower replacement program DID stop my blower fault lockouts.

    I've just resigned to the idea that they'll both get replaced once I have another $20k laying around, and I'll consider any brand other thanWM.
     
  21. fitter30

    fitter30 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2020
    Occupation:
    Retired service tech
    Location:
    Peace valley missouri
Similar Threads: Evergreen Blower
Forum Title Date
Boiler Forum Alpine 150 noisier after blower changed Nov 11, 2018
Boiler Forum Copper hot water coil with blower. Feb 28, 2016
Boiler Forum Pump ony runs when burner/blower are on Dec 16, 2009

Share This Page