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Buying some parts just in case for home steam boiler

skimmer Member Posts: 32
Hi All,
I have a Burnham Independence IN4 (NG) with standing pilot boiler in my home. The boiler is about 12 years old and I have not had any problems at all. One pipe steam system with hot water system off the boiler for the basement.

I am thinking about buying some replacement parts to keep on hand for the inevitable time I have a no heat situation in the middle of the winter. From what I can see the most likely part to fail first would be the thermocoupler and maybe the Honeywell gas valve.

I am thinking of buying those 2 parts just to have as "insurance" and not having to run to Home Depot out of desperation (and less quality too)

Any pro's advice?? Any other parts do you think I should have? Not worried about the damper or other devices/switches that can be temporarily bypassed.. And to be clear when I mean temporary I mean for an hour while I babysit the boiler just to get the heat on -not bypassing something for a few weeks!

There is a transformer mounted to the junction box on the boiler and a second transformer/relay module under the front cover... Don't know if these parts are likely to fail first..

I know its a matter of likely hoods but I figure after 12 years it cant hurt to have a couple of essential parts available

thanks in advance!


  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    I have a Burnham also. I would suggest a couple spare sight glasses and the gaskets/washers that is used to mount the sight glass, a couple spare Main vents (the BigMouths are fantastic), a spare Pressure relief valve, maybe a spare probe for the LWCO, a couple spare Thermocouplers, maybe a spare Pressuretrol.
    Most of these items can be reused if/when the boiler has to be replaced. I'm not sure I'd spend the money on a new gas valve. They are pricey and often too boiler specific, just to sit on a shelf and maybe never get used.
    delta T
  • skimmer
    skimmer Member Posts: 32
    I have the 67 LWCO so no probe needed and it does need to be cleaned out or replaced come to think of it..

    Gas valve -yes they are expensive, I wonder what the life expectancy is? I figure the thermocoupler is approaching its end of life from what I have read

    Pressure relief valve-- do those ever go bad? How would you know?

    Pressuretrol--- I think they are around the same cost as the gas valve ( i have the honeywell with the glass/plastic front and main and dif settings)

    thanks for the advice!
  • Paul S_3
    Paul S_3 Member Posts: 1,257
    Also have a spare pigtail on hand .... preferably brass one....
    ASM Mechanical Company
    Located in Staten Island NY
    Servicing all 5 boroughs of NYC.
    [email protected]
    delta T
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    @skimmer They recommend you test the PRV annually by opening it and making sure it reseals. Be careful of the steam though. I think they suggest it be replaced at least every 10 years. You know for sure you have a bad one when it starts to drip and the boiler pressure is in the normal range.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    You would probably lose your electricity before you lose your heat......then that would mean both.
    I would have a good size UPS power supply to run your boiler. Lucky with steam having to power controls only.
    For this situation for customers with small generators, I remove the service switch and replace it with an outlet. Then put a power cord on the boiler/furnace and plug into the new outlet. At blackout time the generator or UPS is what you plug the boiler into. If you have the generator you can walk extension cords around the house to run the fridge, sump pump etc, while rationing out power from a small generator.
    A proper clipboard commando inspector would condemn the boiler/furnace on a field installed cord as not to code. But he could not tell you why, in common sense language, that it would be unsafe.
    What is unsafe is some one trying to back feed their house with a generator with cobble-jack wiring.

    As for parts, I would concentrate on what makes the fire to make the steam. That is the T-couple, gas valve and some 24 VAC power supply. Myself, I could jumper any control device while I sit right there and monitor the system. Most people are not qualified to do this.....don't try this at home or anywhere else. The object is to overheat the house to prevent freezing. Then shut it off until the temp drops to a dangerous level.
    As I said few people should try to do this. We are now in a conditioned environment of automation to where most of us can not do these things safely.

    How many people even know what a clutch is anymore. :'(
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,605
    On my intermittent pilot boilers, I keep on hand (or need to replenish) a pilot assembly, ignition control module, LWCO probe, sight glasses (pre cut!), A roll of Blue Monster sealing tape, renewal parts for thermostats & valves (pneumatic, ala$), renewal parts for the mechanical LWCO, water treatment, & a multimeter. Most of these are the same across the two boilers, so it's not quite as bad as it sounds, but I know I won't get the call until 5 on Friday if anything ques working. :/;)
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,728
    JUGHNE said:

    How many people even know what a clutch is anymore. :'(

    Nowadays we call it the "Millennial Anti-Theft Device" >:)
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    A year or 2 ago carjackers forced a women out of her car in front of her house in Omaha. She run back inside and the police were there before the bad guys could figure it out. :)
  • skimmer
    skimmer Member Posts: 32
    Thanks for the advice, Im going to keep a few spare parts on hand just in case..not every part of course but the few that would be most likely to give trouble in the event there is trouble on the night of a snowstorm (when of course is when things would go wrong)
  • skimmer
    skimmer Member Posts: 32
    Oh i have a vaporstat, not a pressuretrol.. Will replace if needed..Not going to stock that one..

    BTW,, my current PRV is rated for 30 PSI and Ive seen them on supplyhouse.. Also see a 15 PSI on supplyhouse for "all residential steam boilers"

    Should I stick with another 30 PRV or go with the 15??
  • skimmer
    skimmer Member Posts: 32
    i just realized I have a hot water system off this steamer and it should be 30psi with the water trim?
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Code requires a 15 PSI maximum relief valve on a low pressure steam system.
  • skimmer
    skimmer Member Posts: 32
    My mistake..I was looking thru the install manual and misread.. I eyeballed it today and it is 15 PSI rated