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Burnham oil boiler

H2Oradiators
H2Oradiators Member Posts: 10
I have the following oil boiler in my home, installed by the previous owner in 2008. It supplies seven cast iron radiators, all on one zone.



Burnham low pressure

Tankless hot water

Model # PV86WT - TLWF

Serial # 64837652



During a recent service call (replacing oil tank level gauge) the Tech told me that he has seen a bunch of Burnhams with cracked blocks and other issues. He also said that it was very inefficient (effectively wasting 50% of the potential energy in the heating oil.) He finished by claiming that the system he recommended would save me two tanks of oil per year, and never give me a problem.



It felt like I was dealing with a used car salesman. However, is this a boiler I should be concerned with?



Thanks!

Comments

  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,260
    edited December 2010
    car salesman

    Cracked blocks are usually caused by improper installs. Burnhams did have a problem with failures doe to chlorides in the water supply but they were not the only ones. The failure would be a hole at or above the normal water line in steam boilers. The newest boilers design has changed to alleviate that problem but water quality is a concern with steam boilers.



    My Burnham V75 steam boiler was installed 14 years ago. In that time I've replaced the pressuretrol, the R8184 burner control, and the ignition transformer on the boiler itself (oil co did the burner control I did the rest). That's not bad for 14 years, the boilers running just fine - knock on wood.



    If this is steam then you should try and fire the boiler anytime you add water so that you drive off any dissolved oxygen in the added water. Be wary of auto feeders unless they have a meter to tell you how much water they are adding. Where do you live and who supplies your water?



    IMHO that guy was trying to get a sale for a new boiler on the books.



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,049
    Only seven radiators?

    Either they're humongous rads, or that boiler is way oversized......................
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,049
    edited December 2010
    Oops

    double post. I hate when that happens...............
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • H2Oradiators
    H2Oradiators Member Posts: 10
    Thanks for the input!

    @ Bobc -- Thanks Bob. Sounds like my initial instinct was correct



    @ Steamhead -- Yeah, they seem pretty big, but I am not that knowledgeable about radiators, so...



    @ SLO-115 -- Yup, only seven. Actually, there were eight, but the one in my nasty old back house was burst, and has been removed. Not sure where I would find the BTU info, but if someone points me in the right direction, I can probably find it.



    The house is just about 2800 Sqft, although the 3rd floor has no heating (yet). I think the previous owners had plans to expand the system, as there is a 4 zone module on the unit, as well as 4 valves that are not connected to anything. The supply and return lines in the basement are all 2 inch pipe, and then it necks down to 1 1/2 when it goes vertical to the upper floors.



    This is at least the second or third heating system the house has had. There are patches in the wood floors from what I assume were un ducted registers, from first floor up to third floor for heat to rise through the house. Also, I sort of suspect that it was heated with steam at one point, which might account for those 2 inch pipes in the basement.



    Thanks again for everyones input! I can try and post some pictures of the thing if anyone is interested.
  • H2Oradiators
    H2Oradiators Member Posts: 10
    Rookie

    I should add that I am a rookie when it comes to both oil boilers and radiators. All of my previous experience has been with gas/forced air heating, so I am definitely looking to educate myself.
  • H2Oradiators
    H2Oradiators Member Posts: 10
    Pictures

    Here it is...
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Burnham Boiler

    Boy, could I have fun with this. Nice install. Too bad the used car sales person was a dubber and didn't know what they were looking at or talking about.

    See those two balancing cocks on the return? Check those out and figure out how it probably splits the house into two circuits. It will either be one side of the house and the other. Probably both floors. Not to worry. If you put a circulator in each side allowing you to have two zones and all you added was two circulators. You can now control half your house at a time.

    Because it is a hot water system, you can lower your boiler water temperature and heat the house with lower water temperatures.

    Then, there is the tankless. You can add a storage tank and circulate the water through the tankless. 

    The boiler change was a nice job. Adding a storage tank will really save you some money.
  • H2Oradiators
    H2Oradiators Member Posts: 10
    Savings on storage tank?

    What kind of savings are realistic with a storage tank? I have been considering this, since i used most of a tank of oil heating water over the summer. I would love to cut down on the use of oil just to keep tap water warm.



    Thanks again for everyones input!
  • World Plumber
    World Plumber Member Posts: 389
    Run time

    How long does the burner run on a call for heat? Does it keep cycling on and off? Has the firing rate been dialed into the load or are you just sending excess heat up the chimney?
  • H2Oradiators
    H2Oradiators Member Posts: 10
    Run times

    It will run for a fair amount of time when the programmable thermostat brings the heat up, but it does not appear to short cycle. The thermostat is currently set for 62 overnight, 68 in the morning, 62 during the day, and 68 again in the evening.



    I am uncertain what you mean with when you ask if the firing rate has been dialed into the load.
  • World Plumber
    World Plumber Member Posts: 389
    Fire

    If the burner stays running most of the heat cycle and maintains house temperature in the cold, your firing at the right rate. If the burner runs for short burst, shuts down then refires your producing more BTU's then your using.
  • H2Oradiators
    H2Oradiators Member Posts: 10
    Boiler run time

    OK, at noon today I cycled the boiler up from 65 to 70 degrees. It took 43 minutes, and the boiler was firing the entire time. In fact, even after it was done firing, the temperature continued to rise (due to those big cast iron radiators, no doubt,) to 72 degrees. So, I would guess that I can set the high end a few degrees lower than what I ultimately want to achieve, since the radiators continue to throw heat for so long.



    As of this post, the house has only dropped to 69 (mid coast Maine, and snowed most of the day.)



    During that same time period, the boiler has fired at least 3 times to keep the tap water hot.



    So, it sounds like it is firing at the right rate for heating. What about the tap water?
  • World Plumber
    World Plumber Member Posts: 389
    indirect or tankless coil

    Do you have an indirect or a tankless coil? With a tankless coil you'll often find higher high limit settings so they don't run out of hot water. Depending on the radiation you may be able to turn it down. If you go too low your house won't get warm in the coldest outdoor temperatures.

        You will often see a temperature over shoot when you move a hydronic system several  degrees during the extra run time the radiation gets hot and continues to warm the room after the boiler shuts down. Does it seem to be OK when you leave the t-stat set. If not they look at your t-stat anticipator setting.



          Sounds like your firing at about the right rate.
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