Boiler noise - what can be done?
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Thread: Boiler noise - what can be done?

  1. #1
    BCSB Public Relations Array kerunt's Avatar
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    Boiler noise - what can be done?

    Need some advice...

    I moved into a new place a few months ago. My windows face another building ~10 meters away. In between the buildings is a pathway with grass and bushes, and behind the bushes there are vents (on the other building). I didn't notice these vents until I started living here, and the vents come from a boiler which serves both our buildings. Initially, the vents would blow out air for 5-10 min, stop, then turn on in another hour or so. They also seemed to not stay quiet at night. Today they've been running all day, non-stop. Thees things are not quiet - it's impossible to sleep with an open window, as it feels like there's an airplane taking off in the room. Even with all windows closed, it's still quite noisy inside. To top things off, it smells like propane right outside them for the last couple days.

    The resident 'caretaker' doesn't give a crap. Emailed the head of strata (couldn't call as she's "in the field" today) and should hear back from her tomorrow, but I'm fully expecting a "that's just how it is" response. Can the city or inspectors be brought into the picture? Who/what? The noise seriously affects the "liveability" here.
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  2. #2
    I like traffic cones :S Array made Man's Avatar
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    There are silencers avaliable for vents. Usually installed on pressure relief valves, steam vents etc.

    Look it up. Do research. Present prices to strata.

    Come to think of it.... cant think of a reason it would do that.

    Bs safety authority is in charge of pressure vessels. Just a tip. Steve mightbhave something to add.
    Last edited by made Man; 10-10-2012 at 08:42 PM.
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    Registered User Array avocet's Avatar
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    If council refuses to upgrade the system to make it quieter, then prepare for battle.

    Goto the canlii website and research case law. Get your ducks lined up and do some research regarding local bylaws etc.

    Are you an owner? If yes, then line up your ducks and present to the strata. Get into your own strata bylaws and see what sort of noise bylaws it contains. There are usually bylaws regarding use of machinery/equipement past certain hours for noise consideration. Things like dryers and washers etc. a boiler should fall into that category, and the strata needs to abide by those laws as well.

    Document everything. And don't take lip service. The council will try and ignore your problem. Do not back down.

    City ordinance will usually contain something like 75 db max sustained noise during time hours. Sustained noise in new west is three minute of 15. To rent a decent db meter... There is a place in kerrisdale I think... Google it. Or buy a cheap metre from the source or online. A rented unit should be calibrated and will hold more water from a legal standpoint.

  4. #4
    Registered User Array Booger's Avatar
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    what city are you in? Generally there are noise and health by-laws that they have to abide by.

  5. #5
    Dam I got old fast Array FZrrr's Avatar
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    It's the boiler room air vents Max not the pressure relief discharge piping vent, it that was blasting off every hour there would be many other problems.

    The air discharge fans control the air temp in the boiler room and are likely controlled by a thermostat in the boiler room, warm day's the fans will run more and will run less as the outside temps drop.

    These fans are normally small axial fans (propeller fan blade) hence the incessant drone, I mitigated but not solved the issue by installing a variable speed drive to mach the air flow with the heat load from the boiler room and the fans ran longer at lower speed but on hot days they run full speed. Radial fans are quieter like a furnace fan but are larger and more expensive because you have motors, bases, fans and fan housings.
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    If you rent and do not own, I would suggest moving the hell out.
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    I like traffic cones :S Array made Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FZrrr View Post
    It's the boiler room air vents Max not the pressure relief discharge piping vent, it that was blasting off every hour there would be many other problems.

    The air discharge fans control the air temp in the boiler room and are likely controlled by a thermostat in the boiler room, warm day's the fans will run more and will run less as the outside temps drop.

    These fans are normally small axial fans (propeller fan blade) hence the incessant drone, I mitigated but not solved the issue by installing a variable speed drive to mach the air flow with the heat load from the boiler room and the fans ran longer at lower speed but on hot days they run full speed. Radial fans are quieter like a furnace fan but are larger and more expensive because you have motors, bases, fans and fan housings.
    ah. makes sense now.

    i've ran into nothing but issues with VFD. Bloody things kept busting, costing 2K every couple of years to replace and kept killing the motors. Had something to do with effects of variable speed drive that caused bearings to fail prematurely. was supposed to be fixed by special bearing grease, but i left that job before the final results were in.
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    Dam I got old fast Array FZrrr's Avatar
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    There are minimum speed for motors to maintain proper bearing grease flow internally and normally it's 40 percent also overspeeding a motor to about 35 percent before cooling fan load starts to ramp up.

    Motor function requires the stator and rotor to be magnetized and the heat generated is dissipated by the internal motor cooling fan, once the speed changes the cooling capacity changes and if it is exceeded by the motor load the temp increases untill equilibrium is reached hence the shorter life of the motor if itis not sized larger to compensate, there are motors spec'ed for variable speed service.
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    BCSB Public Relations Array kerunt's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback guys. I'm in New West & I own. Will research noise bylaws. I know my own strata bylaws restrict noise from 11pm - 7am, but I don't remember seeing any db levels there. Will have to double check.
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  10. #10
    I like traffic cones :S Array made Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FZrrr View Post
    There are minimum speed for motors to maintain proper bearing grease flow internally and normally it's 40 percent also overspeeding a motor to about 35 percent before cooling fan load starts to ramp up.

    Motor function requires the stator and rotor to be magnetized and the heat generated is dissipated by the internal motor cooling fan, once the speed changes the cooling capacity changes and if it is exceeded by the motor load the temp increases untill equilibrium is reached hence the shorter life of the motor if itis not sized larger to compensate, there are motors spec'ed for variable speed service.
    from talking to the electricians it wasnt to do with heat, but with the way current was flowing through the bearings. failed bearings had some sort of ... hard to explain artifacts on them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by made Man View Post
    from talking to the electricians it wasnt to do with heat, but with the way current was flowing through the bearings. failed bearings had some sort of ... hard to explain artifacts on them.
    Any mention of a wiring fault?

  12. #12
    I like traffic cones :S Array made Man's Avatar
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    it was a re-occuring issue on multiple motors and VFD. electricians had dozens of years of combined experience. dont think wiring was the issue.
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    Fuh-coffee we will go Array carbonfibrerocket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by made Man View Post
    from talking to the electricians it wasnt to do with heat, but with the way current was flowing through the bearings. failed bearings had some sort of ... hard to explain artifacts on them.
    Current flowing through bearings? That doesn't sound right.

    Are you sure it wasn't the insulation on the windings that was breaking down and shorting out? This could also make it appear like a bearing problem, maybe...
    VFD's use IGBT's, a hightech type of bipolar transistor to switch the incoming AC, to DC which then uses pulse width modulation to generate little DC pulses that essentially recreate an AC waveform except the voltage and frequency are totally variable as per required speed and torque.

    Depending on the incoming voltage of the VFD, mostly seen in 600V 3 phase rated inverters, these IGBT's as they create these little DC pulses, will also generate short super high voltage spikes as they switch which will slowly eat at the insulation of the motors. It usually only happens when the motor is mounted far away from the VFD, there's a chart in the manual of the VFD somewhere about the safe operating distances for each rated voltage

    In this case, the way to save your constantly blowing motors is to install a three phase load reactor between the VFD and the motor. It electrically isolates the two and essentially 'absorbs' these spikes which can damage the motor winding insulation. They are pretty cheap and can save ths motor blowing problem.

    Then there is the other side of the coin and the problem has nothing to do with anything I talked about. Odds are you're using single phase VFD/motors anyhow...should be similar principle though...

    Gnight

    Yura, sorry man I got nothing on the vent issue....
    Last edited by carbonfibrerocket; 10-11-2012 at 12:35 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by made Man View Post
    it was a re-occuring issue on multiple motors and VFD. electricians had dozens of years of combined experience. dont think wiring was the issue.
    It sounded like you guys basically had all those nasty IGBT related problems described in the article.

    http://www.gorhamschaffler.com/vfds.htm

    Here's the one relating to the bearing problem.

    The last issue causing problems with motors in VFD applications is the problem of motor shaft currents, which can cause motor bearing failures. VFD's using IGBT's create an electrical field around the shaft of a motor which acts much like a capacitor. This excess voltage creates current on the motor shaft, which may discharge through the motor bearings, possibly causing premature failure. This problem occurs most often with motors being driven by VFD's at a relatively constant speed such as in clean rooms. Reliance Electric has introduced Current Shield Motor Technology and offer a motor designed to eliminate the objectionable currents. This motor should be considered for any critical application, especially if it is unlikely that the motor speed will vary significantly during normal operation.

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    Registered User Array CanadianBird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerunt View Post
    Thanks for the feedback guys. I'm in New West & I own. Will research noise bylaws. I know my own strata bylaws restrict noise from 11pm - 7am, but I don't remember seeing any db levels there. Will have to double check.
    For what it's worth, and maybe you're aware already, but attend every meeting and you can, as an owner, attend council meetings. Things get done better from the inside, imo. Better still, try to get elected to the strata. Good Luck. This is what I did at a building that we have a suite in and where our oldest and her husband live.
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