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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    20

    Bypassing an Auxiliary Gas Solenoid

    I had to make a borderline call other day. We have a Community building that has an Early Childhood Education Center in it. The Heating/Cooling system is a hybrid system with a Hot Water Boiler, Cooling Tower, Heat Exchanger, and Water Source Heat Pumps in each room/ Pod. The Boiler was down. The problem on the Boiler was an electric solenoid valve that was bad. I didnt have a replaceable coil for it so I removed the plunger out of it and modified the remaining rubber diaphragm so it would feed the main gas valve with about 11inches WC of LP. My Dept General Manager said we had to get the system up so I decided to alter the valve. We ordered a new valve which is two days out. I tested the Hi Limit Control and that works properly. The system is on an Energy Management system so we can monitor it regularly from our office and we physically stop by and check it periodically while we are waiting for new valve. How often do other techs have to make borderline decisions regarding similar [safety} devices.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southold.calm
    Posts
    5,414
    Early Childhood Education Center, Kids, School you’d better hope the parents or local building department never find out!

    If your general manager wants it bypassed then he can do it after you clock out.

    Never bypass a safety devise.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Atlanta,GA.
    Posts
    863
    DONT BYPASS SAFTIES, you are now liable and could do prison time if someone dies or gets injured, you can ask the lawyers if you dont think so, if it doesnt work overnight it or leave it off until you can get the correct replacement part

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
    Posts
    5,058
    X3

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    435
    Quote Originally Posted by chillerout1 View Post
    DONT BYPASS SAFTIES
    Agreed.

    Sometimes you will have unhappy customers but you have to explain to them the danger of making such an alteration. As far as your manager goes, he should know better and should not recommend something like this.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Croatia
    Posts
    51
    i'm far away from oregon, but i believe what you described is illegal anywhere in the world where there is any gas systems regulation in place.

    not only that you must not bypass solenoid valve, but i cannot fully understand what solenoid valve has to do with pressure regulation, is that combi valve that includes solenoid valve and pressure regulator in one housing?

    even if it is so, solenoid part is dedicated to on-off function, while pressure regulation part should work without outside power source (should be self-acting).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    20
    Quote Originally Posted by Drazen View Post
    i'm far away from oregon, but i believe what you described is illegal anywhere in the world where there is any gas systems regulation in place.

    not only that you must not bypass solenoid valve, but i cannot fully understand what solenoid valve has to do with pressure regulation, is that combi valve that includes solenoid valve and pressure regulator in one housing?

    even if it is so, solenoid part is dedicated to on-off function, while pressure regulation part should work without outside power source (should be self-acting).
    Its a solenoid valve wired to the same terminals as the main gas valve. Its just upstream of the main gas valve. Its an independent part of the gas valve. I pulled the plunger out of it and had to modify the rubber diaphragm because it still restricted gas flow even though the plunger was removed. It only supplied 6inches WC to the main gas valve until I modified the rubber diaphragm.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Croatia
    Posts
    51
    Quote Originally Posted by TimTech1 View Post
    Its a solenoid valve wired to the same terminals as the main gas valve. Its just upstream of the main gas valve. Its an independent part of the gas valve. I pulled the plunger out of it and had to modify the rubber diaphragm because it still restricted gas flow even though the plunger was removed. It only supplied 6inches WC to the main gas valve until I modified the rubber diaphragm.
    i can only guess that, as it is not intended at all that such valve works when de-energized, gas pressure is not sufficient to open it, but in any case it looks like main safety valve.

    now that you modified diaphragm, it is not enough to replace solenoid, but i think you will need to repair the whole valve. in legislations i worked in, that valve had to be certified and periodically inspected by authorities. that's very serious thing what are you doing, your yelling boss will not go to prison instead of you, he will just say "i did not know it's serious issue",

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    20
    Actually worded that wrong. It wasnt part of the Main Gas Valve. i meant to say its independent of the Main Gas Valve. I wouldnt mess with the internal parts of a gas valve.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada Occupation:Interprovincial Plumber, Commercial Gasfitter Interests:
    Posts
    2,412
    You just messed with the internal parts of a gas valve. Just guessing, but I doubt that it will get below freezing in Oregon tonite. Cool kids and staff ain't life and death emergency.
    I love my job, but paydays Thursday

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada Occupation:Interprovincial Plumber, Commercial Gasfitter Interests:
    Posts
    2,412
    Now for the second part of this discussion. I'm guessing that you don't feel right about playing with the valve. Good. Live and learn. Lots of stuff goes on like this all the time. Look at the wall of shame. Next time ask the boss if they really want the liability. It's your ticket on the line and your personal reputation.
    I know it can be tough to buck a boss, so maybe after the valve is replaced mention to him something like- Hey boss, we really dodged a bullet that time. If something had happened, and even if it wasn't our fault we would have been screwed.
    Get him thinking for the next time.
    And don't let us scare you away.
    I love my job, but paydays Thursday

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    20
    Quote Originally Posted by rich pickering View Post
    Now for the second part of this discussion. I'm guessing that you don't feel right about playing with the valve. Good. Live and learn. Lots of stuff goes on like this all the time. Look at the wall of shame. Next time ask the boss if they really want the liability. It's your ticket on the line and your personal reputation.
    I know it can be tough to buck a boss, so maybe after the valve is replaced mention to him something like- Hey boss, we really dodged a bullet that time. If something had happened, and even if it wasn't our fault we would have been screwed.
    Get him thinking for the next time.
    And don't let us scare you away.
    I felt it was a reasonable risk. The hybrid system only calls for less than 80 degree water from the boiler. The water source heat pumps in each room does a bulk of the heating. I wouldnt have done that alteration had the Boiler needed to run full blast and supply all the heat. I tested the High Limit Aquastat several times by shutting off the Supply Circulator and the Hi Limit shuts down the Main Gas valve every time. Theres a low water cutoff. I used to work for a Propane company so I performed all the tests. Leak test, operating pressure test, and regulator lockup pressure tests. Ill admit my ego played a part. Our Head Electrician/Building Operator/Hvac guy quit recently so our GM was saying we need to call an outside company in. Our community is on the verge of financial collapse so having someone charge us 2000 or so dollars to say yes its broke didnt seem right. Ill order a replacement coil for the new valve so if it happens again well have the coil on hand. Thanks for all the responses.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    1,482
    so,,,maybe you're a hero. But not without sacrifice. Your boss is surely the guy at fault, but you did the deed. Don't bypass safeties. Your fanny is hanging out a country mile. Just NEVER bypass a safety device!!!!!
    One way to outthink people is to make them think you think. They'll think you're not really thinking what you're trying to get them to think you think...........

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