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conversion burner

j a_2
j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
I am looking at a friends old American standard steam boiler twice converted...presently it has a gas conversion kit, installed quite some time ago...I would like to install a conversion burner as I feel it is his most affordable option at this time...I install boilers for a living however have always stayed away from conversion burners....On a side note I have come across several situations lately that a conversion burner would be the right call..Mostly steam because steam  is very limited on efficiency.....I would like your thoughts and I will not attempt a conversion without proper training.....Tim I have attended your school once before..and found you very interesting...and I trust  your opinions...

Comments

  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 988
    Conversion burners

    If you are in Canada (I doubt it), several areas will demand an on site certification and and others forbid it. As soon as you do any work that changes things, the new gas code will apply. That means a chimney liner is required. NFPA 54 specifies (10.5) that the installation of coonversion burners must conform to ANZI Z21.8 .NFPA 54 also specifies that a suitable vent (B vent, single wallpipe, listed chimney liner or special vent) be used.

    We usualy will replace the boiler to improve efficiency and conform with local requirements.



    Henry
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    re

    I definitely follow all state and local procedures and safety should always be our number one concern....However my question is this, with proper training are conversion burners a viable option when the customer cant afford a new boiler...Assuming all else is o k
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    New boiler will save a lot on steam

    84% on steam with a gas power burner and a Smith or Slantfin steam boiler. ALso the boiler being the right size for the system will save.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,840
    edited August 2010
    Which American-Standard boiler

    is it? Some old boilers were so inefficient it doesn't make sense to do anything but replace them.



    The Smith (8 series) and Slant/Fin (Intrepid) boilers Charlie mentioned, when equipped with manufacturer-approved power gas burners, offer better thermal efficiency than the typical atmospheric boiler. Atmospherics burn with more excess air and they lose a lot of heat from their base assemblies. Gas companies love atmospherics since they use more fuel, but the rest of us should steer clear of them.



    Steam is not necessarily "limited efficiency" if done right. You have to look at the whole system rather than just the boiler. But that seems to be too much work for some.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    ja

    Its all very interesting however no one has given a direct answer with a good reason to back it up......Yes i will follow the state and local plumbing and gas code to the tee....yes I will do a complete system survey and make all necessary corrections I go by experience, common sense, and what I have learned on this site and most of all Dans books....without his readings I would not be anywhere near as confident as I am now when replacing a steamer......But hear is my question   and the reason for my question....Its tough out here for many people both young and old  as I am sure all of you know....When someone wants to convert from oil to gas I don't disagree with them....If that person has a fairly new boiler or for that matter an older boiler and it is piped correctly all else put aside does a conversion burner make sense both safely and economically......I use a combustion analyzer before and after each job and supply the customer with a printed copy...  Like all I stand behind my work 100 percent and dont want any trouble    JA
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    ja

    Its all very interesting however no one has given a direct answer with a good reason to back it up......Yes i will follow the state and local plumbing and gas code to the tee....yes I will do a complete system survey and make all necessary corrections I go by experience, common sense, and what I have learned on this site and most of all Dans books....without his readings I would not be anywhere near as confident as I am now when replacing a steamer......But hear is my question   and the reason for my question....Its tough out here for many people both young and old  as I am sure all of you know....When someone wants to convert from oil to gas I don't disagree with them....If that person has a fairly new boiler or for that matter an older boiler and it is piped correctly all else put aside does a conversion burner make sense both safely and economically......I use a combustion analyzer before and after each job and supply the customer with a printed copy...  Like all I stand behind my work 100 percent and dont want any trouble    JA
  • Well, my $.02 are

    You say it is gas now? What does it have, an old "upshot" type and you`re thinking a "power" gas burner?

    Likely the combustion chamber is in poor shape, or not even there now, as you know, flame-impingement can finish-it pretty fast.;-) 
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,480
    If this boiler has

    an old atmospheric upshot or inshot conversion burner with a dry base I would not recommend installing a power gas conversion burner as the labor to build a combustion chamber and refurbish would be excessive. If the boiler is over 25 to 30 years old I also would not recommend doing a conversion.



    I agree and would recommend listening to Steamhead as he has done several new oil boilers for steam with a conversion to a gas power burner as recommended by the manufacturer. He has had excellent results. I would also recommend getting some training before jumping into doing a conversion.
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,480
    I do not recommend

    using "B" vent with conversion burners due to the possibility on some boilers of high stack temps.



    A point however to remember is that if the boiler now there is working fine with the existing venting arrangement and we follow a like pattern the exception rule allows for the chimney or vent to remain as is unless local codes determine otherwise.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,840
    edited August 2010
    And the best person to train you

    is Tim.



    Since the boiler is an American-Standard we know it's older than 1970 or so. Is it an A-3 series? Arcoliner? Something else? Take a pic if you're not sure and post it here.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    If you want a direct answer here it is.

    If things are hard people have less money to waste and there is no point in putting a new burner on a boiler that old. You would be doing them a disservice. When things are tough people can not afford to do a job twice.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    re re

    Thanks much for your response ,your answer is obviously your opinion  But I am still looking for a good technical answer.... I ask you this, if a gas fired steam boiler  has been maintained by the book since installation and the venting system is in good working order what is the gain from installing a new boiler...If I accomplished a proper combustion test and came up with 80% efficiency, tell me whats the gain   Jay
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,085
    MegaSteam

    Would give you 7% better efficiency from the get go. Warranty would be another added benefit. Once converted, you on your own if there was anything left on the warranty. It is an older boiler, is the investment worth taking that chance. 



    The other may be the size of the boiler itself. I know it is a steam system but has anyone sized the sqft of EDR of all the rads?  I might take it a step further if it were my house and find out a cost to conver to hot water, gas with a mod/con.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    Boiler may be over sized

    and I would bet dollars to doughnuts it is. also the innards are coated with 50 pounds of sludge and rust and this is insulating the water from the heat source.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,480
    Here is the deal

    I for one would like to see a picture of the boiler so i know which boiler we are dealing with. Is it a wet base or dry base setup?



    Right up front you need to calculate square feet of radiation and compare with a heat loss on the property. People add windows and insulation so all that changes things. Because it is a steam system from way back it was probably over sized to begin with.



    Next if you go with a conversion burner the boiler should be cleaned/refurbished to do it right for me that is a one day to day and a half job. Some I am sure will find fault with that but we are trying to do this right to get maximum efficiency.



    Then local codes will dictate needed chimney repair or relining.



    There may need to be a combustion chamber built, if you have never done that you will need to find someone who can, oil guys are good at that.



    The install of the burner is next and you want to make sure it is sized and fired at the correct input. A combustion test should be done next and anything less than 75% combustion efficiency will need to be improved with baffling or other means.



    When you get all done the total cost may equal what a new oil steam package converted to gas would cost.
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