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Operating noise in a Burnham Indepence PV?

Ssammy
Ssammy Member Posts: 9
Hi there. I'm a homeowner currently taking bids to replace a broken natural gas, steam boiler. Because I would prefer taking out my chimney (for future remodeling), I have been looking into alternative venting options. While collecting bids from plumbers, only one has suggested the Burnham Independence PV. I have a family member who is sensitive to noise and vibration, so I am concerned after reading a few things about this model in this and other forums. Does anyone have experience with this draft-induced boiler?

Comments

  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Power Vent

    Most any power vent system will have the unavoidable noise and vibration. A lot of it can be contained with proper suspension and vibration eliminators. You can install a fair length of pipe with the power vent, so you could pick a spot in the house that's far away from common areas and bedrooms.



    I'm personally not a fan of Burnham. If installed properly, any manufacturer can be used with a power vent.
  • Ssammy
    Ssammy Member Posts: 9
    A video would be great

    Thanks for your reply. My home does not have a large footprint, but there is one full floor between the basement and the 2nd floor with bedrooms. Are there any videos on this website or another that has an example of a draft-induced system? I'm told it is not as bad as a system with a power vent added on. But if I could hear for myself I might be able to decide whether to go in that direction.
  • Dean_7
    Dean_7 Member Posts: 192
    edited August 2014
    Noise

    I am a homeonwer have a Burnham Independence PV boiler. Our bedrooms are on the second floor and you can't hear it running. You can hear it if you are on the couch in the living room which sits almost directly over the boiler. But the noise is minimal. I have heard a lot of forced air systems that make more noise. However this is our second Burnham boiler. The first one rotted out and started leaking after only 8 years (see picture) and Burnham refused to even discuss anything about the failure. It was replaced with a new Burnham because the original installer pretty much made us an offer we couldn't refuse. Other than the short lifespan of the first boiler we have been happy with the unit and how it functions 
    Ssammy
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,473
    Why did it fail?

    Is your system using too much water? That type of boiler is very sensitive to having fresh water added. If you do have to add water, make sure you bring the system up to steam right after adding the water. If you have a auto fill without a meter on it you could be adding more water than you realize.



    Does your water have high chloride content? Some areas between Boston and Providence has high chloride content and that can rot a boiler block.If your not sure you could have your water tested. Keeping the PH of the boiler water at 9 or 10 can inhibit corrosion as long as the chloride content is low.



    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
  • Dean_7
    Dean_7 Member Posts: 192
    Failure

    Evidently the boiler failed because of chloride content of our water. This boiler was maintained properly and did not use much if any make up water. The water line was stable and pH was maintained accordingly. What we didn't know was the water from the city which comes from wells instead of Lake Michigan, like most Michigan communities along the lake shore, is high in chloride and that the city had even closed down a well that was located on the street we live on decades ago because of it's chloride level. Even though I'm just a homeowner I have Dan's books and have read The Lost Art of Steam Heating several times. This system is controlled by a vaporstat, has Gorton #2 main vents and runs on 6oz of pressure. While trying to understand the reason for the failure it was Burnham's refusal to discuss the issue that was so irritating.
    Ssammy
  • Ssammy
    Ssammy Member Posts: 9
    Noise in Burnham Independence PV

    Dean, thank you for this report on your boiler. My home is similar - bedrooms upstairs and couch above boiler. I do get the feeling this boiler is not the most popular, although it apparently is the only one that allows you to directly vent a steam boiler without a separate power vent. I'm hoping for 30 years, 8 is discouraging.
  • Ssammy
    Ssammy Member Posts: 9
    I'm following up this post - we did get the Burnham, an INV-PV4. Seems like our experience is similar to what Dean had described - we definitely hear it on the first floor, and feel the vibration at our dining room table, which sits above the unit. The 2nd floor, where the bedrooms are is far enough away that there is no vibration and the noise is distant.
  • Ssammy
    Ssammy Member Posts: 9
    What we hadn't expected was the smell! It is awful and we have had to open our windows and run fans in the basement. We have been told that this is normal and once the factory oils inside the unit burn off, the smell will dissipate. If anyone can weigh in on how long that can tak, I'd love to hear it.
  • Steve_210
    Steve_210 Member Posts: 645
    Jstar just curious what do you use if you do not like Burnham I have to say I really love their products and the after sales service
    For the record I am no way affiliated with Burnham or any other manufacture I'm just a contractor
    I guess it's just a personal preference but I am curious
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,700
    Is the smell from the boiler or possibly from the pipe dope they used on the pipes? I have a little odor from my new install, but nothing I ever felt the need to open windows for?! That sounds a bit crazy to me. Perhaps someone else has experienced this and can offer some insight?!
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,473
    When I had my boiler replaced in 2012 you could detect the smell of pipe dope in the cellar but nothing upstairs. Do you know if they added anything to the boiler water? If so you might be smelling that in the air from the radiator vents.

    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
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Steve said:

    Jstar just curious what do you use if you do not like Burnham I have to say I really love their products and the after sales service
    For the record I am no way affiliated with Burnham or any other manufacture I'm just a contractor
    I guess it's just a personal preference but I am curious

    I seem to always be "too bold" in discussing my opinions about manufacturers on this forum. To be honest, though, I see that as the only way to influence changes in boiler manufacturing. If we don't discuss the bad parts, nothing will change for the better.

    With that being said, I'll keep it light...

    - I've seen MANY leaking Burnham boilers; mostly under 10 years old. Some with perfect water and maintenance conditions.
    - They only provide 2" riser tappings, instead of 3"
    - My few experiences with tech support were unpleasant. The individuals I spoke with were very condescending and rude. Their customer service is great, but tech support is lacking.
  • Steve_210
    Steve_210 Member Posts: 645
    interesting, what do you normally use.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Peerless, for the most part. Although their tech support is essentially non-existent. But, we don't have any issues with their boilers, so support isn't an issue. We used to use Smith Series 8 boilers for almost every job, but they've recently been discontinued. We still use Smith for our commercial jobs.

    The things I look for in a boiler are steel push nipple construction, overall weight of the sections (the heavier, the better), range of BTUH size, and supply riser size. Peerless satisfies all of those points for me. I only remember seeing one Peerless steam boiler with leaking sections.
  • Ssammy
    Ssammy Member Posts: 9
    The smell appears to be coming from the unit itself, and possibly the new pipes. A bit of the smell is in the outside vent and little vents on the radiators, but that seems residual. It is the basement that really reeks. My plumber came back and skimmed a 2nd time and I don't see any oil in the glass, so I'm thinking that isn't the problem.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,700
    This might sound like a crazy question and probably difficult to answer, but what does it smell like? Anything you can compare it to? Has your contractor actually smelled it or just working from what you are telling them?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Was this boiler packaged or knocked-down? Was anything left inside the boiler case to melt and burn?
  • Ssammy
    Ssammy Member Posts: 9
    KC, yeah hard to say what it smells like, but my contractor does also smell it. He thinks it smells like burning oil, to me it just smells toxic, but also kind of sharp. Maybe "acrid" a good word.
  • Ssammy
    Ssammy Member Posts: 9
    JStar, the boiler appeared in my basement in a package and was installed a few days later.
  • Don_197
    Don_197 Member Posts: 184
    I am betting you have a family member with Aspergers?
    Long Beach Ed
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,473
    have you been able to localize the spell to a specific area or component? Sometimes new electronics will give off an acrid smell when first being powered up.

    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
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    This is just a guess as I am not there to smell or see it but it is probably oils from the machining process and the smell is lingering in the insulation under the jacket and someone in the home has an acute sense of smell.
  • Ssammy
    Ssammy Member Posts: 9
    Mystery solved for those still interested. The Burnham rep said the smell was CORNSTARCH, which they add. He said that in some cases it can be strong and take a while to burn off, but that it will. I think what I could be smelling is the factory oil mixed with cooked (or rather burnt) cornstarch.
  • Dean_7
    Dean_7 Member Posts: 192
    Smell
    We had somewhat the same experience when the new boiler was started but the smell wasn't very strong and stopped after a short while. I just attributed it to the manufacturing process.