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Noisy Burnham Alpine

Tim McElwain
Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,466
I have not had the opportunity to hear too many of these run and the ones I have heard were not unusually noisy. There is a customer who has had an ongoing problem as you will see from here e-mail to me.

However, the horrible humming noise we are hearing throughout the house still remains.  It is loudest for some reason in the two bedrooms on the opposite side of the house from the boiler and two floors up! I understand that the fan inside the boiler must run almost continuously, but the quietest place in our home when the fan is running is within 5 feet of the boiler.  The fan noise is dramatically amplified when you place your ear directly against the 4-inch PVC exhaust is this noise that seems to be running through our copper pipes and is heard EVERYWHERE! 


The noise keeps us up at night.  We had several relatives over yesterday and they could not believe the noise...

Has anyone had these kind of problems with Alpine?



  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    Got FLEX connector???

    I had an old Burnham atmospheric many years ago that made a high pitched hum that the homeowner threatened to sue us over if we could not eliminate it.

    It was the flexible gas connector that was the offending component, and it too could not be heard in the same room as the appliance, but on the other side of the house, it was notable, and obnoxious.

    Eliminated the flex connector and everything got quiet, including the customer, thank goodness...

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • AFred
    AFred Member Posts: 81
    noisy alpine

    We had a noisy alpine, it was a alp150. It says right in the book to run a 3" exh and a 4" intake. We were in a hurry (it was december) we cheated and ran the intake in 3", the noise went away after running it in 4" and tuneing it. I was one of 2 journeymen on the job, Shame on us both for not testing it the day we fired it up. Thankfully we did a nice clean install, the customer still only had good things to say about us.
  • ed wallace
    ed wallace Member Posts: 1,613

    if this boiler has a smart valve have them turn gas off disconnect the flue piping and run the boiler see if that helps customer is getting a harmonic noise it might be hard to locate the noise
  • Pablo22
    Pablo22 Member Posts: 4
    How do you tune?

    My alpine 210 wall mount howls  and you hear it throughout the house.

    I also tend to suspect a resonance of some sort.

    How do you tune the system? I can feel the vibrations in the exhaust but not the intake.

    Is it better to fasten the exhaust in more places or isolate it from the building?

    Does the the wall mounting make a difference ? should the furnace be mounted through rubber pads?

  • bils150
    bils150 Member Posts: 7
    Alpine 150 very noisy

    Any advice? I recently converted from oil to natural gas. We had a alpine 150 installed. When it was forst installed it was quiet except for the venting portion which made sounds like a tuba blowing and lasted 10 seconds or so. Well a month later the noise can be heard throughout the house, and it now vibrates to the point if you set a dime on top of boiler it vibrates off onto the floor. I do not know when it is making the noise it just does. I have contacted the installer and he states it is running as expected. He says the noise is normal. How is this posible? I bought this because he sid it was a excellant and quiet boiler. I have a Weial-Mclain in old house and it was flawless. Please tell me what I can say or have the installer check. I am not opposed to paying someone else to come fix the boiler. I spent all my savings on this and am afraid the furnace is not safe to run and will stop running as tje worst of winter occurs. Any suggestions or help would be kindly apppreciated.

    thank you and Happpy Thanksgiving to all.

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,471
    edited November 2012
    Noisy boiler

    I think the local Burnham rep should be willing to inspect this boiler, and either pronounce it noisy, or reassure you that it is normal.

    Visit their website, and find the name of the rep for your area.--NBC

    whoops, correction, meant to say Burnham. manufacturers reps can often be of great help in resolving "issues"-at least peerless was.
  • HDE
    HDE Member Posts: 225
    Alpine boiler is a Burnham\US Boiler product

  • Steve Whitbeck
    Steve Whitbeck Member Posts: 669

    Is it a multi zone system?

    If you turn off that zone does the noise stop?

    If it does stop it could be a water velocity problem or a possible obstruction.
  • bils150
    bils150 Member Posts: 7
    Noisy Burnham Alpine

    What is a w-m? This is a Burnham Alpine Boiler
  • gennady
    gennady Member Posts: 819

    I installed few of those and they run with no noise at all. Very quiet boiler. Check if system pump is not over sized, that might cause pipe vibration.
  • Steve Whitbeck
    Steve Whitbeck Member Posts: 669

    Ok - is this sound a humm or is it a howl. If it is a howl then it sounds like the combustion is not set properly. does it make this noise at all speeds or only at low fire. Lean condition or not enough exhaust back pressure can cause a howl at low speed.

    What are the intake and vent lenths and count the 90* and 45* in each pipe.

    Tell us everything.
  • bils150
    bils150 Member Posts: 7
    Answers to questions Noisy Alpine 150


      Ok I did th best I could at getting you some info.  The total sq footage is 2428. House is two story garrison with a 1 bedroom in law apt. 5 zones. No it does not matter if 1 zone is calling for heat or 3 zones sound is the same.

     floor plan main house is 24 x 30

    43 x 14 in law apt

    Here is the venting lenghts.

    19 inch GRAY straight

    2 in collar

    9 inch staight pipe, 45 degree angle to the right, 16 inch straight, 6 inch 15 degree left, 5 inch 15 degree right, 10 inch straight, 5 inch 15 degree left, 5 inch 90 degree, 9 inch straight, 90 degree 5 inch going straight up, 20 inch straight, 90 degree to right, 8 inch T opened and top and bottom.

     This is the exhast and the intake is very much the same because they run next to each other. I think it is something with the angels and the way it vents. But I am not a HVAC tech.

    The window on the front shows the noise is directly after it says pre ignition test and 5 seconds later it ignites and there is runble and then the furnace does it's vibrating thing and it last from 20 seconds to 4 miutes. I have noticed the colder it is outside the louder it is.

     Ihope someone can give me something to take to the installer. He is coming tomorrow and I know he is going to tell me it is normal and I have to live with it.

    Please help me with advise.


  • Ray_Landry
    Ray_Landry Member Posts: 6

    I have had this happen when the boiler is set up too lean, also had a lochinvar with a gio hx that had a fan which was not properly balanced. Replaced the fan and the issue went away. Start with checking combustion.
    Ray Landry
    Landry Mechanical Inc.
    Oxford, Ma
  • Steve Whitbeck
    Steve Whitbeck Member Posts: 669

    YUP - sounds to me like a lean condition.

    That is a giononi style boiler.

    May need to get the factory rep out there.

    Unless you can find someone that knows how to adjust the offset screw. ( pressure regulator built into the vavle)

    This is not a throttle screw adjustment.
  • Steve Whitbeck
    Steve Whitbeck Member Posts: 669

    If you are using wet rotor pumps - they should make more noise than the boiler if the covers are all on.

    The noise only starts AFTER the burner is lit tells me it is not a blower problem.

    If the installer can't get it quiet than tell him to call the factory rep or pay for someone that knows how to set one of these boilers up.

    Had the same problem here with a Munchkin 399M that was installed by a big local company. Customer was complaining that the boiler wouldn't throttle down without going out. They called the local HTP distributor. Said distributor called me to see if I could go fix the boiler since there guy was in the hospital ( Heart attack )

    It was real strange for both of us ( met with one of the installation companys service men) Big company doesn't always mean better. ( I am a small company - at this time.)
  • Jason_13
    Jason_13 Member Posts: 297
    edited November 2012
    Throttle screw adjustment

    This sounds like a throttle screw adjustment to me. I bet the O2 is in the 7% range.

    I find these work best at 5.6% to 6% range on the 02. The rumble should go away. Did the tech do a combustion test? If so what was the O2?

    I have seen this with different unit and the throttling screw and lower O2 resolves the problem. If the tech does not know or did not test get him back out there.
  • Steve Whitbeck
    Steve Whitbeck Member Posts: 669

    Throttle screw ONLY adjusts high speed ( max fire ) setting.

    Offset controls the mixture accrost the entire fire range.

    The boiler starts at approximatly 50% fire rate.

    The noise starts at burner ignition ( 50% ) That means offset adjustment.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,559

    I think that combustion should be the the first suspect. Chances are it is to lean.


    I was under the impression that throttle adjusted the gas across the whole range and the that the ratio adjusted was used only when you could not get both the high and the low fire correct.

    If his high is in range and low is still out, the ratio would need to be adjusted.

    I know this is true of the honeywell. I have less time with the dungs.

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • bils150
    bils150 Member Posts: 7
    thank you

    Thank you for all your help so far. The boiler guy came out this am and told me there is nothing to adjust and of course the boiler did not make any sound. Oh and as added bonus he informed me that these boilers are crap and very expensive to fix once they break. Nice guy to sell it to me and then tell me it is crap. I should have stuck with a W/M

     So anyways  Ihave called the REp and he is going to come out and look at it. I will keep you all posted on the end results.

    Thanks your all so very kind and helpful

  • Jason_13
    Jason_13 Member Posts: 297
    Throttle screw

    On the dungs gas valve the throttle screw is the O2 adjustment which affects the range. The offset is for low fire. If you look at the O2 VS rpm scale. If you make the high adjustment O2 and jam it into low and the O2 is too far off than adjust the Offset to make it match.
  • MikeL_2
    MikeL_2 Member Posts: 288
    Incorrect " Cracking " pressure

    I had a similar high pitched vibration issue with a Viessmann modcon that took some time to identify and solve. After a very orderly process of elimination, we found that the spring tension of a check valve on the piping for DHW was too high..................
  • Mike_at_USB
    Mike_at_USB Member Posts: 9
    edited November 2012


    I asked our engineering department about what is being described here, and their response is along the same lines as what some of the posters here have indicated. What is likely happening is a direct result of a lean air/fuel mixture. If that's the case, the noise will go away when the combustion properties (O2, CO2, and CO values) are set within the following ranges:

    5.0-6.0% O2 (9.0-8.5% CO2), less than 100ppm CO

    Best course of action would be to consult a professional who is trained in combustion analysis and is familar with the Alpine to properly set the combustion. Hope this helps.
  • Gordan
    Gordan Member Posts: 891
    Mike, quick inquiry...

    Not to hijack the thread, but a customer of mine is experiencing failure of his Burnham Alliance A40 at the hand hole and cover. There is no evidence of corrosion on the tank in general but right at that spot where the cover meets the tank via the gasket, corrosion is so severe that perforation and crumbling resulted. Some research has turned up the notion of crevice corrosion, which is usually the result of a design issue (tight places where stagnant water can result in locally very different - and aggressive - chemistry than the overall tank.) Is that something Burnham is aware of and has some sort of recommendation for resolving? Has it been addressed in its current indirect product lineup? Thanks in advance!
  • Mike_at_USB
    Mike_at_USB Member Posts: 9
    Alliance A40

    Sure Gordan,

    The problems associated with agressive water conditions have been addressed in the current product lineup. The Alliance series that is currently offered is a stone-lined tank (Alliance SL).
  • Gordan
    Gordan Member Posts: 891
    I see that the design of the port is different

    It seems that an effort was made to get rid of the gap between the cover and the tank where metal would be exposed to stagnant water, so this would appear to be a better design. It's not clear to me from the picture in the manual, however, whether the entirety of the wetted surface is either the hydrastone lining or the plastic o-ring housing. Would you be able to tell me? Also, any suggestions for your Alliance A customers with corrosion issues other than "buy our product that doesn't have this design issue?"

    Thanks again!
  • Mike_at_USB
    Mike_at_USB Member Posts: 9
    Alliance A40/Alliance SL

    I'm going to contact you off the board to answer specifics about the SL.

    In regard to your question about Alliance A, my recommendation would be to contact Customer Service, they will be best able to respond.
  • JeffGuy
    JeffGuy Member Posts: 81
    edited November 2012
    But the manual

    I have an Alpine 210 installed last year. I have to say I think it is a great unit, and I've been very happy with it. But it is also quite noisy, and I certainly know when it is running no matter where I am in the house. I assumed all mod-cons were noisy (my previous boiler was a 1940's cast-iron coal conversion so what do I know) but this discussion is relevant to me. I'll do more checking to see if it could be the same thing.

    In any case, the I/O Manual (Table 23) specifies an oxygen in the range of 5.6 to 8.0 for High Fire, and 3.2 to 9.2 for Low Fire. I assume my boiler was tested to be in this range when it was installed, but not necessarily in the 5.0 to 6.0 range. It sounds like the range in the manual is too liberal? Has the manual been corrected?
  • bils150
    bils150 Member Posts: 7
    noisy Alpine

    Can any of you tell me how the home owner (buyer) of the furnace can get a hold of a service rep. I have been trying all week. I have called the Burnham 800 number and was told that only the installer or a licensed plumber can speak to them. Well I have had my plumber call (or so he claims) and he says that Burnham is not contacting him back. I am so frustrated with this.  I am at the point where I do not care about the plumber that installed it. It is evident he knows nothing about this boiler. Nor do he workers.

      One thing I have noticed is that as the temps get colder and drop below 35 it is getting louder and vibrating more and more. Is it possible for this to blow up or something. My wife and kids are going crazy scared over this.

      These adjustments that are being mentioned are these made outside on the gas meter or directly on the furnace? When the furnace is check  for the pressure etc doesn't this require some type of tools? All the guy did for me was make a adjustment outside the house on the gas meter. It didn't make a difference same results. He told me these furnaces are enclosed and have no adjustments that can be done.

    I am so frustrated. Anyone want to swap this for a nice  W/M I know those are good boilers this one I have my doubts about it.


    again for all the help and support.

    Frustrated Bill
  • JeffGuy
    JeffGuy Member Posts: 81
    edited November 2012
    In a similar - not same - boat

    Throttle screw and combustion oxygen tuning are done on the boiler (it's called a boiler not a furnace). It requires taking the jacket off the boiler, and requires a combustion analysis tool that is very expensive and needs to be kept calibrated. I can't think of anything that can be done at the outdoor gas meter, other than make sure it is turned on. Tell your installer you want him to perform a combustion analysis because you think it is too lean. He should know what you mean - the adjustment process is explained in the Installation/Operation manual - if he says he can't do a combustion analysis then he probably doesn't own the tool, and you should find someone who does. The fact that he can't get through to the Service Rep sounds suspicious - my plumber always got through the couple times he called during installation - the wait wasn't that long.

    I think this is a good boiler - mine has been installed for a year and has never had any problems. It is louder than I would like, so I may have the same issue you do. Mine does not vibrate, however, it just howls when running on high.

    I don't think there is any danger - unless it is vibrating so hard that it might come off the wall or loosen the gas line. The boiler has lots of safety interlocks. But the adjustment, if that is what is what's required, should cut the noise according to the people here who know what they're talking about.

    You wrote earlier that: "The boiler guy came out this am and told me there is nothing to adjust and of course the boiler did not make any sound". He is wrong that there is nothing to adjust - but why didn't it make any sound when he was there? In your other posts it sounds like this always make noise and vibrates?
  • bils150
    bils150 Member Posts: 7

    I am not sure. That is our dilemma. When he (tech) was at the house we tried everything to get it to vibrate it would not. The only thing I can think of that we have noticed is that when he was out at our house the outside temp was in the high 40's. When it gets colder below 35 is when the vibrating and shaking of the pipes occur. The vibrating used to only last for 5 or 10 seconds it now lasts during the entire run time and when it stops it makes a loud rumbling noise and then comes to a stop.

      I tried to video tape it on my tablet and showed the tech that a washer sitting on the boiler dances across the top onto the floor and I put the tablet near the back of the burner where the exhaust and intake pipes are so he could hear the sound and he said it doesn't mean anything to him unless he sees and hears it. I asked him what about checking the oxygen flow etc and he said it was a closed unit factory set and nothing to adjust.

      It is so frustrating that they claim they have to hear it rattling and rolling and burping etc to figure it out. I am glad they don't work on my cars breaks. I would be dead by now.

    Thanks for all your help. Your advise is at least giving me ammunition to go back to the plumber and tell him there is testing that he can do. INSIDE not outside. Now I am worried he adjusted the outside gas that my genrac generator wont run right.  Grrrrrr


  • JeffGuy
    JeffGuy Member Posts: 81
    I/O Manual p.87

    There is a detailed explanation in the manual of how to do a combustion analysis test of the boiler, including how to force the boiler to run on high. Forcing it to run on high is done with the touch panel on the front - if your tech didn't do that then the reason it didn't vibrate probably was that it was warmer outside and not running on high. Make sure the tech doesn't try to tune the boiler unless he has a combustion analysis meter (this is the expensive tool). If he adjusts it without a meter then he actually could make it dangerous by generating too much carbon monoxide.

    Is it possible he turned down the gas supply rate from the outside? That certainly doesn't sound right especially if you have other gas appliances.

    Here is a link to the I/O manual (you should have gotten a hardcopy with the boiler - make sure it stays with the boiler; I put mine in a folder and tacked it to the wall):
  • Gordan
    Gordan Member Posts: 891
    Another possibility for why it wasn't rumbling

    Colder air is denser and therefore the same volume has more oxygen. I'd expect it to burn a bit leaner in colder weather than in warm, but I could be wrong about this.
  • bils150
    bils150 Member Posts: 7
    Problem Solved!

    I would like to thank all of you for your assistance and vast array of knowledge on Boilers and helping me get my noisy Burnham to purr like a kitten. All I can say is folks if you own one of these and it is making ANY sounds then I suggest you get a person that has the tools and knows how to service one of these. They require special tools and someone that is up date date with boilers to set them up. The Rep from Burnhan came out did a complete check up oxygen etc and the issue was the boiler was running way to lean. Took him a hour or less in and out and I can proudly say after 3 months of aggravation it is finally over and working like something new should.

    Thanks again you were all great!

  • Nate87
    Nate87 Member Posts: 3

    I put in a alpine 80 and it was making a loud noise from the flu. Talked to burnham and the problem was we needed to add more CO2. It's been running fine ever since
This discussion has been closed.


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