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Burnham Holiday boiler - burners won't come on

Nando Member Posts: 2
Hello, I have a very old (60s?) Burnham Holiday burner for a hydronic baseboard radiator system that I cannot get the burners to light on.

I have gone through a bit of trouble shooting with it. The pilot light is on. I have tested the voltage across the valve -- the manual says it should be at least 19.5VAC and it reads 22.8VAC. I have manually turned the valve on and confirmed that the burners will light at full blast, so no clogs.

As far as I can tell, and with the help of the manual, either the thermocouple or the valve are dead. The manual suggests replacing the pilot and thermocouple assembly first and if the burners don't light then replace the valve.

Does that sound like the best course of attack?

Also, I am a bit lost as to what parts to get, it seems that the original pilot did not have a thermocouple and has been replaced with a unit that does have this safety measure. . . probably when the valve was replaced. The valve is now a White-Rodgers unit and not the Honeywell that is listed on the manual, so I am at a loss as to pilot and thermocouple part I am looking for.

I am attaching a few photos of the (possibly) offending parts.

I would appreciate any and all feedback. Thanks!


  • Paul S_3
    Paul S_3 Member Posts: 1,257

    Nando....if you have 24v at the gas valve(at those red and white wires )and the pilot is lit ....then the problem is that plug in mercury switch.....that switch SHOULD switch over once it heats up when the pilot is lit.....that part i believe is obsolete and is very expensive if you do get it.....you should convert the system over to a spark ignition Y86 kit.....or you can use a V800 standing pilot gas valve that would use a thermocouple....both are made by honeywell....PAUL S
    ASM Mechanical Company
    Located in Staten Island NY
    Servicing all 5 boroughs of NYC.
    [email protected]
  • Nando
    Nando Member Posts: 2
    Thank you!

    Paul, thanks for the quick reply.

    I am researching the parts, but I think I may call a technician to come in and install the new valve. I was hoping my issue was electrical, or that I could just swap the thermocouple for a new one. I don't feel too comfortable fitting a new valve on a gas line.

    This heater keeps on ticking like a champ. I have no reason to believe that if I replace this valve the boiler won't keep working for another 5 years. When we bought the house back in '06 the home inspector told me I should replace the heater right away due to the fact that the unit was way past it's service life. . . My inclination is to keep it going until it begins to leak, and then reevaluate.

    Thanks again for your help!
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,588
    Good idea to get a

    professional to take a look at it. If the decision is made to retrofit it over there are several options:

    1. Convert to Powerpile using a Honeywell VS820A gas valve with a Q314 pilot and Q313 pilot generator. This would allow the system to be placed on manual in a power failure with gravity feed of heat as the circulator would not work. What relay do you have on the boiler? 


    2. A Honeywell 24 volt valve VR8300A with a Q314 pilot and a Q340 thermocouple.
This discussion has been closed.