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HELP!! -- steam furnace problems--pressuretrol?

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Posted by Nick on December 12, 2007 at 08:42:57:

HI guys:
I've been having some problems with my steam furnace and came across this site and hope someone can be of help since my plumber appears to be stumped. We recently had some home renovation done which included some new piping for radiators and the addition of 3 new raidiators. Shortly after we started to heat the house a couple of months ago, we had problems with the furnace surging and shutting off. very little heat was coming through the radiators. Called the plumber who did the install and they thought that some of the oil from the new piping and radiators had made its way into the furnace and was preventing steam from forming. They flushed the furnace and poured in some green liquid (sorry I'm drawing a blank on the name) which was supposed to break down the oil and other sludge. The system began to heat properly.
Over this past weekend, the furnace stopped working. I attempted to drain some of the water out to see if it was dirty, and nothing originally came out of the drain. I then tapped on the valve and initially some dirty water came out followed by clear. I refilled the water level but nothing happened. In looking around, I bumped against the pigtail below the pressuretrol and the system fired. I also noticed that the screw for the cut-in control had come loose and was not attached to anything. It would heat up to the set temperature but would not refire again without the pigtail being gently tapped. Plumber came back on monday and indicated the problem was the pressuretrol which had fallen apart inside. He rebuilt it and fired up the system. Again, the same thing happened (of course after he left)--the system would fire initially and heat to the set temperature, but as the temperature would drop, it would not refire without tapping the pigtail. Plumber came back yesterday and replaced the pressuretrol. This has not fixed the problem as the system still fires intially but does not refire without tapping the pigtail.
Does anyone have any ideas as to what the problem might be? I am afraid the easy out for the plumber is to simply state I need a new boiler. But it seems to work fine once it gets fired. Any and all help would be appreciated as we are cold and slowly going broke.

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