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Unbalanced Flame on Bryant Conversion Burner

Rob_40 Member Posts: 55
I have a one pipe steam coal boiler that was converted to gas.  I was lucky enough to find the installation instructions for my Bryant conversion burner online.  I am including two images of the assembly.

The burner is really two separate half round burners.   Each burner is controlled by an orfice adjustment screw.   When the thermostat calls for heat, and the burners are lit, one burner has blue flames that are about two to three inches tall, while the other burner has blue flames about 1/2 inch tall.   I cannot visibly change the flame height on either side with the adjustment screws.  I cannot lower the tall flames or raise the short flames.   I have made several 360 degree revolutions of the adjustment screws in both directions.

I am wondering about screwing in the adjustment screws on the short flame side to see if I can even shut off that burner, and then back it out again to see if it clears the orfice. 

I dont know how long this condition has lasted, as I have only recently been paying close attention to my heating system.   I have lived with it for the last 11 years.

I am very reluctant to disconnect the burner and remove the assembly to inspect the jets that feed the burners.  This looks a lot more complicated than the water heater I installed.  

This is a boiler that I will hope to replace within the next 12 months.   So this is just some maintenance I would like to do, so that the heating system is running at its best for this heating season.

Thanks in advance for any advice.


  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,628
    Those old Bryant atmospheric

    conversion burner orifices have a tendency after many years to get corroded over and need cleaned. The rods also come loose and turning them does nothing if they are not connected.

    The danger of getting in to work on them is that the ceramic baffles when they get old are very fragile and they do not make those anymore.

    Do you have a door on the front of the boiler? That would allow you some access to the orifices which are located inside the burner head but I would be very careful you do not break the ceramics.

    If you could find an old gas man he would be able to help you out. What is your location?
  • Rob_40
    Rob_40 Member Posts: 55
    I Can Probably Reach Into the Boiler To Clean The Burner

    Thanks for answering my query.

    There are two doors to the boiler that were not sealed shut.  One large square door that opens to the top of the ceramic baffles, and a short and wide door at the pilot light level.   I recently removed the baffles to vacuum out the burner area.  The baffles look fragile, but I was able to return them without mishap.   If I remove the baffles again, how do I go about cleaning the adjustable orfice?  I live in Ridgewood, New Jersey.

  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,628
    I really do not think

    you want to tackle that job unless you have direct access to the air shutters on the burner. You will have to remove the burner heads. I can't really explain further without being there with you. I suggest you get a professional to look at this burner.

    Once any adjustments are done and input determined after making sure you are firing at the design rate of the system a combustion analysis should be done with an electronic analyzer.
  • Rob_40
    Rob_40 Member Posts: 55
    Flames More Balanced

    I shut off the gas, allowed the boiler to cool down and removed the ceramic baffles and the cast iron plate that holds the baffles.   Looking with an inspection mirror I saw the gas riser to the burner was attached to the base with a screw and decided I couldnt remove the burner because I couldnt reach the screw with a screw driver.   I removed the long adjustment screws and discovered that the ends had bent and broken tips.   I dont know how much was broken off each tip.   I roughly straightened the tips and cleaned up the ends with a file.  I cleaned the old sealing dope on the threads and put on new teflon sealing dope.  I took clothes hanger wire and poked it through the right burner adjustment screw hole, and through the orifice, wondering if there was blockage to explain the low flame height.  I thought I felt something move out of the orifice.  After screwing the adjustment screws back into the burner manifold, I turned on the gas and the left and right burners had equally tall flames.  Turning the adjustments screws had no effect changing the flame height.   I closed each primary air flap until the flames had yellow tips and reopened slowly until they disappeared, as directed by the installation manual.  As a result, the flaps are more closed.   Here is a photo of the adjustment screw tips:
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,903
    You still need

    to have it tested with a digital combustion analyzer. Sure, you could have a nice blue flame, but that does NOT mean you are not making Carbon Monoxide.

    I realize they didn't have these analyzers back in the day, but that doesn't mean you don't need to test older equipment. By testing, I've been able to get some rather old equipment to burn clean, possibly for the first time since they were installed.

    Even though you plan to replace that boiler soon, get it tested. Try the Find a Contractor page of this site to locate someone near you.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,628
    I commend you rob you did a good job

    but as Steamhead suggested an analysis needs to be done. As it stands now the orifices are probably wide open and I am not sure if they can be adjusted based on your explanation. That being the case the burners may now be over-fired for the combustion chamber. Those old units however are somewhat forgiving when they are over fired as long as everything inside the unit is in good condition.

    I posted on the Wall looking for someone in the Ridgewood area to try and contact you so they can do a final setup and combustion test.
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