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Burnham LEDV3-TBI replace, or can it be cleaned?

kckenkc Member Posts: 1
I have a Burnham LEDV3-TBI with a 40 gallon super-store for hot water - it is a steel boiler with tubes around a core barrel - the tubes have spiral baffles in them. During the last cleaning, the cleaner told me the lower baffle tubes were so clogged that he could not remove the baffles, so he only cleaned the top ones - he left the baffles out saying that would allow the boiler to breath better. He said because of this, the boiler was on the brink of failure and would cause a lot of damage to my system when it fails. Obviously he told me I needed a new boiler and gave me a quote for a replacement right away (a pretty pricey one based on the other estimates I got from other reputable firms). So now, I have a boiler with the bottom tubes all clogged, and the top tubes with no baffles in them. I called another local guy, and he suggested I replace the top tube baffles, and also said I would certainly benefit from a new boiler from an efficiency standpoint, but also said the "failure" warning was a bit overblown given the boiler has been working fine, is not leaking, and I don't smell anything coming from it... He suggested I use it through the winter and then replace it in the spring/summer when the prices are much more favorable (he also pointed me at some mass-save stuff that offers rebates and financing options for boiler replacements). In any case - I have received a couple quotes for the replacement so looking for advise on the following before I make any commitments:

1) Should I replace this thing ASAP at a premium, or wait till Spring and replace it then - will likely save more by waiting based on what I hear as I don't think I will save that much oil by upgrading now - I only burn about $1000 of oil a year so even if that gets cut in half for the remainder of winter, I'd only save $200-$300 by paying the premium replacement price.

If I do keep it:
2) Should I replace the baffles, or leave them out - One guy says it needs to "breath" and the other guy tells me without the baffles, I'm just sending a bunch of extra heat out the vent.
3) Should I try to apply a little extra elbow grease, and time, to dig out the lower baffles, or will doing this risk damaging the boiler?
4) If it does fail, will it really ruin the rest of my system? I have 2 heat exchangers (one in the attic and one in the basement) - if a steel boiler leaks/fails, does that really cause a failure of the heat exchangers too?

Any advise is very welcome.



  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,343
    Neither answer is necessarily correct. You should have one of us take a look at it. Go to Main Site, then Find a Contractor, and follow the instructions to search in your area. I'd bet it can be cleaned, re-baffled and work great.

    Of course if it's anything other then an accumulation of soot from poor maintenance, things could change. But you should really get some more eyes on this thing.

    Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • Aaron_in_Maine
    Aaron_in_Maine Member Posts: 315
    I cleaned this one and it works great now. Had to really work at getting the baffles out but they came out. I have had one I couldn't get two baffles out on the very bottom. But it's still running as far as I know.
    Aaron Hamilton Heating
    [email protected] yahoo.com
  • burnerman_2
    burnerman_2 Member Posts: 297
    Unless I'm mis informed The baffles are in there for better eff. so yes it will work.. but be less eff.... I have about 5 I service best to run hot before tune-up .. at least 15-20 minutes. I also have one that has 4 missing baffles and 4 near the bottom no matter how hard I try will not come out It is on it's 5th year like this.
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,362
    Those units are bad at condensing on start ups, and the condensate collects on the bottom baffles, and then turns into cement with the typical "ash" coating on the baffles. They can be very difficult to get out. I usually use vice grips and a hammer on the really tough ones, but have had good luck just twisting and pulling on most of them. These are very tough steel boilers and I doubt you could hurt one.
    You absolutely need the baffles if you want it to have the proper efficiency it was designed for.
    The best thing these need to stop this is proper piping with a bypass.
  • scraphound
    scraphound Member Posts: 7
    This post is a bit old but I will put in my two cents worth since there isn't much online about the LEDV boiler and I just cleaned one out. The turbulator tubes are essential for the proper functioning of the boiler and you can get new ones. It will run without them but not efficiently.
    The machine was inoperable for an extended period. I put in fuel and, after bleeding, it fired right away. There was immediately a smell of exhaust in the boiler room and a visible sign of blow-by at the edge of the door. I snugged up the bolts on the right side of the door but the problem persisted, so I shut it down. When I opened the machine up (you have to disconnect the safety interlock plug or it won't let you open the door) it was packed full of soot. I got a bright shop light and looked... and looked. Behold! I found a screw had fallen from somewhere and lodged in the door hinge on the top left side. Who knows how long it had been there. It was the reason the door wasn't closing tight. It was the reason exhaust was leaking out. Never the less the machine needed a major cleaning.
    Some of the turbulator tubes came out fairly easily, but as noted by a previous contributor, the ones on the bottom seemed to be glued in with concrete. It can take quite a bit of work to get them out, but persistence pays off. I grabbed the end of the turbulator with a pair of channel locks (vice grips would have been better) and twisted and pulled (if you twist it counter clockwise it will try to come out because all of it but the farthest away end is twisted like a screw) I got it to come out a bit then tapped it back in to break the "concrete" loose. I kept working it like that and eventually it came out (every one of them). A couple of times I was tempted to quit but I kept at it. Persistence paid off. I got them all out.
    Use a 1" brush to clean them out and MAKE SURE YOU DON'T HIT THE BACK WALL. It's best to put some sort of limiter on your brush so there is no way you can poke it in too far. The length of the turbulators show how far in it is ok for the brush to go. I brushed it, vaccumed it (wearing proper PPE in the process because the dust is hazardous), put it back together. Because I had removed the foreign object from the upper hinge on the left it closed tightly and didn't belch fumes. Now it runs like a champ. This is a good, efficient boiler. There are hundreds installed in the Bering Straits region of Alaska.
    I was surprised not to find a video of the process for this boiler on the web. I would appreciate links to some info... I did run into some issues not mentioned in this post. The manual is rather sparce. Thanks in advance
  • Alaskaheatman
    Alaskaheatman Member Posts: 1
    I have successfully removed many stuck or broken baffles inside of the Burnham LEDV models. A piece of inch and a quarter copper tubing was all I needed. I gently tapped the copper tubing down the baffel hole and allowing it to pinch onto the baffle as I tapped it in.   This method has worked for me  several times.