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Gas conversion burner of choice for a Burnham V-905?

0409004090 Member Posts: 142
Presently set up for oil and using 4.0 GPH, this 1997 small commercial steam system has operated with a great track record mechanically. 

Would simply like to switch to gas. 

What's the burner of choice?   Faceplate tag reads 668MBH and 4.65GPH


  • Harper111Harper111 Member Posts: 26
    It is not permitted and will fail inspection

    Burnham strictly forbids any gas conversions.

    This is strictly forbidded and Burnham considers this unsafe. Burnham will recommend to any inspector calling to fail any gas conversion attempted on an oil boiler that was not originally fitted with one.

    There are plenty of replacement gas approved boilers that Burnham can offer that will certainly pass inspection. A replacement is your only approved option.

    If you decide to proceed anyway with a conversion, please be aware your Burnham warranty will be immediately null and void, in addition to all liabilities fall solely on yourself if anything should ever happen.

    Do yourself and you family a favor and stick with safer options rather then trying to save a buck.
  • 0409004090 Member Posts: 142
    This one does

    This boiler is designed to be set up firing with gas or oil.  Ratings are on the nameplate and referenced in my initial inquiry.

    There's a plethora of gas firing conversion burners available, I don't know one from the other worth hoot so am asking here.
  • Harper111Harper111 Member Posts: 26
    It depends on how it came out of the factory

    Unless the boiler came with the multi-fuel Carlin Oil/Gas burner from the factory, then you will be required to install a whole new boiler. Burnham does not support or certify it any other way. The same previous statement still holds true.
  • JStarJStar Member Posts: 2,668
    Gas conversion

    Harper, please don't use scare tactics here. It is completely unwarranted and highly misleading.

    The manual says that it is approved for any fuel type. Please delete your posts.
    - Joe Starosielec
    [email protected]
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 3,895
    I commisioned a

    Gas/Oil for a  905 in a church about a year ago Power Flame model C1-GO-10. If you want5 just gas I think a JR15 Power Flame would be a good choice.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 11,323
    Harper, this isn't the first time

    what is your connection to Burnham?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • Harper111Harper111 Member Posts: 26
    Call the manufacturer yourself then!

    If it did not come out of the factory in that exact gas supported configuration, the statement still holds true.

    The manufacturer is very much against installers and homeowners doing conversions if not originally built to that specification. It is completely unsupported and considered dangerous if not officially approved by the manufacturer and is redesigned like this out in the field.

    Do yourself a favor and get yourself a new Burnham boiler that is more efficient and setup for gas already.
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 4,406
    not a concern

    Thousands of boilers get converted to gas every year and if the work is done correctly by someone who knows what they are doing and inspected there is no safety risk. If the boiler manual says it can run on gas then that is the end of the story, What could be safer than having a gas burner inside hundreds of pounds of cast iron if it's done correctly?

    I had a new Smith boiler installed last year with a gas gun on it and it saved me just about half on my fuel bill compared to the oil setup I had. The gas inspector looked at it and signed off with no quibbles after verifying the gas leak test.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 11,323
    You keep "harping" on this

    but you haven't answered my question:

    What is your connection to Burnham? Do you, or do you not, work for that company?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    The boiler is 16 years old

    so how much skin does the manufacturer actually have left in the game?
  • Harper111Harper111 Member Posts: 26
    Insurance and Township Code Officials would care

    One would bet that their home owner insurance company and township would care that they are running an unapproved configuration and design to a boiler that the manufacturer does not permit nor condone.

    But if all parties are willing to take that risk and liability, so be it. Just get it in writing.
  • Harper111Harper111 Member Posts: 26
    What does it matter either way?

    Friendly advice and different perspectives appear to be what this board is all about.

    Best to let the person asking the questions get all inputs and make their own decision.
  • Harper111Harper111 Member Posts: 26
    Call Carlin and see what they say

    Ask Carlin as well what model burners they officially support for Burnham Oil Boilers for gas conversions.

    You will get a consistent story. They are in lock-step with the manufacturer providing the same sound advice. Best to replace the entire boiler if not per manufacturer supported specifications.
  • Harper111Harper111 Member Posts: 26
    The point even further substantiated here

    "Language from a national code system on installation of gas conversion burners — language adopted by the board and cited in the GAMA letter — that states “in no case should the appliance be modified beyond the recommendation of the appliance manufacturer.”

    “In my humble opinion, if you are changing from No. 2 [oil] to natural gas, you are modifying the appliance,” Bangor Fire Chief Jeff Cammack said."

    Good luck with it no matter what direction you decide to take.
  • 0409004090 Member Posts: 142

    Thanks, especially to Tim.  I see on other threads that you've done over 3,000 conversions over the years and your recommending the JR15 Power Flame carries clout.  I emailed the company asking if they could recommend someone in the area fluent with installing the product.

    The OEM Burnham recommendations are for a Gordon s4.2-G-0, a Power Flame JR15A10 or a Webster JB1G03.  Not having a clue what's proven as reliable over the years, I appreciate the experienced help here.

    I think Harper's warning intent is good, but if one takes a look at the article he linked to it's relevant to those switching fuels on boilers that may not designed to be used with gas.  Clearly not applicable here.

    It seems on the face of things it would not be cost effective to replace the boiler at this time for something slightly more efficient.  The boiler has been a reliable workhorse and met needs well.  Should I also be looking into replacing it?
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 11,323
    It matters

    since you always jump into threads about converting Burnhams and say exactly the same thing. Even though, in this case, the boiler manual specifically says the V9 series can be fired with either oil or gas.

    So again, do you work for Burnham? If not, what is your motivation?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 3,895
    Just find someone

    who is reputable to install the burner. This back and forth about Burnham has gotten a little old. The truth is if you change a thermocouple from a Robertshaw to a Honeywell you are changing design and you are liable. There is an ANSI Standard for installing conversion burners it is Z21.8 2002 so go ahead. What is your location perhaps I could recommend someone?
  • j aj a Member Posts: 1,619
    My Opinion

    This is my opinion only,and its based completely on what I have read and how I interpreted

    it…….Page 5 of the online manual is worth the read……My opinion is it is not convertible…The same holds true for residential boilers except it is on page 9.. The book and the A J D has the final say,,in my state…..Maybe different in others…..
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 3,895
    J A what publication

    are you referring to? The one referenced above doe not even have a page 9 ?????
  • j aj a Member Posts: 1,619
    v9a series

    v9a series boiler online i and o page 5…..That is the boiler in question and again that is how I interpret it…Just giving my opinion…..Final say is the A H J and manufacture of appliances, not me….Hope I helped…Not trying to direct anyone, as this form,to me is the opinions of many pros. like yourself…My reason of interest is I was recently asked to convert exact same boiler…..thats it…As for page 9 of residential it may be page 8 or 9….but its there
  • Jim DavisJim Davis Member Posts: 578
    Burnham V-905

    How many coal boilers were converted to gas or oil without the manufacturers approval?  Why do burner manufacturers call them retrofit burners not replacement burners?

    For person that are afraid to do their job should not be in this business.  Burnham's literature specifically states this boiler can be operated with Gas, Oil or Gas/Oil.  Doesn't mention with their permission.

    Since when isn't a contractor liable for the work they do??  I don't see manufacturers ever taking the bloame for anything.

    I guess if this boiler was steam and you wanted to convert it to hot water that would be a modification that wasn't approved either.

    Since when is a Fire Chief an expert boiler/burner man.  I bet he never asks for our help when he is at a fire!!!

    Stupid is what stupid does.  If you are stupid, don't do it.  If you are a competent contractor do your job.

    I truly believe there should be a catagory on all these HVAC talk sites named:

    Mechanical Morons-Submit Your Ignorance
  • 0409004090 Member Posts: 142
    edited October 2013
    Keeping on track

    This post is regarding a Burnham V-905.  I was asking for a recommendation for a brand/model gas burner to have installed as I don't know which over time has a proven track record and is reliable.

    Page 7 refers to the various burners the 905 accepts:,d.dmg&cad=rja

    The Burnham V9A-xxx series JA refers to is a newer model.

    I think JA has good intentions and wouldn't go so far as to be critical.  A quick look shows the similar looking newer V9A series might actually not be a candidate for conversion.  Regardless, Google search results mix the V9A with the V905, and it's easy to fall off track.


    Added:  What I believe JA found, and from the 2010 V9A series boiler installation manual, page 5.  This is not the boiler we own, but has a similar model series number:

    "This boiler is designed to burn No. 2 fuel oil, natural and/or LP gas only. Do not use gasoline, crankcase drainings, or any oil containing gasoline. Never burn garbage or paper in this boiler. Do not convert to any solid fuel (i.e. wood, coal). Do not convert to any gaseous fuel (i.e. natural gas, LP)."
  • Bob HarperBob Harper Member Posts: 732
    call mfr

    The mfr can advise you if this unit is approved or not for a gas conversion burner. Note that often a mfr. will not list a gas conversion not because it is a problem but they didn't want to spend the money to test it. Unless a mfr. issues a written warning specifically forbidding gas conversion then it may be allowed. Technically, you are supposed to present your documents to the AHJ and have him sign off. As for the liability, yes, there is liability with everything you touch, even where the mfr. tested, listed or otherwise approved it. As one who works in product liability, let me just say that a listing is not a guarantee of safety or performance and a testing  lab can issue a listing even when a unit fails-trust me.

    To reduce your liability the most while affording the most protection for your client, perform combustion analysis.

  • Jim DavisJim Davis Member Posts: 578
    gas burner

    The Power Flame burner would be an excellent choice.  I sold Power Flame and Burnham for many years and found they perform quite well together.

    Hundreds of thousands of pieces of equipment have been modified over the years for many different reasons.  With proper care and proper combustion analysis there never were any problems.  The skill of the technician play the biggest part in whether something will work properly or not, not the suggestions of others that have never done the work. 
  • 0409004090 Member Posts: 142

    With Tim and Jim suggesting a Power Flame, that's it.  Off to find an installer.

    Thank you!
  • Jim DavisJim Davis Member Posts: 578
    Modifying Equipment

    As Bob knows, there are no manufacturers that approve any modifications to their equipment in the field.  I think that should already be known by those on here after reading the fiasco with the Rinnai water heater.

    Once in a while a local code official will be open minded about some of the things we do, but then someone that has very little knowledge about the mechanical operation of equipment is hardly the person I look to for advice or approval.

    As soon as a manufacturer says it is okay to do something they become liable.  This is not going to happen.  It is their job to cover their butts and it is our job to cover our butts.

    Competent and qualified contractors should not be afraid to do their job.  There would be a whole lot of dead people out there if I had let others dictate what can and can't be done in the field.  The field is not a lab with fixed conditions.  Infinite variables rely on infinite adjustments and modifications.  Changing from an oil burner to a gas burner on a boiler that is approved for both shouldn't be considered any problem at all.  Timmy knows and Bob knows and I know.
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