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12,000+ boiler cycles in 2.5 years? Burnham ES2-3

alheim Member Posts: 68
My Burnham ES2-3 electronic control shows over 12,000 boiler cycles in the 2.5 years that it has been installed. Say there are 160 days per year that require heat, that works out to about 30 cycles per day (12,000 / (2.5 yr * 160 days)) - that is if there was a call for heat 24/7, which there is not.

The boiler doesn't seem to "short cycle", when I watch it operate it seems to run for a solid 10+ minutes to hit the high limit setpoint (depending). The boiler (70k input) is properly sized for heating demand / heat loss, as are the emitters (panel radiators w/ TRV's - no TRV's in the vicinity of the thermostat!).

Am I correct in thinking that a cycle is a the opening of the gas valve / firing / closing? (Not necessary the number of calls, or, times that the vent damper has opened/closed.)

Is 12,000 cycles excessive for this period of time?

The house itself is old and drafty. I am thinking of replacing my cheap programmable thermostat with one that allows me to limit the maximum number of cycles per hour to (rather than calling for heat with every 0.5 or 1 degree change in temperature - unspecified in the literature).

Regardless, I am very happy with the performance of my system that was designed with all of your help a few years ago! I also quite like the ES2. We are in the midst of a serious cold spell in NYC, highs in the teens/20's for well over a week straight.


  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
    How many total hours has it run? I have a Burnham ESC4 without the Control Panel Display, but the circuit board inside the front panel will display total cycles and run time in hours.

    I write the numbers down every fall at the start of the heating season just to keep a record of it. Mine is a bit oversized as I had planned to add my new garage radiant slab to it (next summer I hope).

    Anyway, I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I remember that it computes out to an average of 18 minute cycles.

    What kind of emitters do you have? I have a converted gravity system with large radiators, and I ended up setting my high limit at 160° which is 5° higher than the hottest I’ve seen the system at design temp. Otherwise I noticed it will cycle continuously at that set temp til the stat is satisfied (and I mean light - run 2 minutes - hit limit - shut off for 2 minutes - repeat). So I set it slightly higher to prevent that.

    Given what I know now, I definitely would’ve nursed my old boiler thru another winter and gone for a modcon. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about it, it would light in late October and run continuously until April. Ha!
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
    And I hear you on the cold...it’s been -10° to -27° here all week. Ugh. I live near Duluth, MN. Brisk!
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
  • Leon82
    Leon82 Member Posts: 684
    My boiler is 2 years old and has about 1400 cycles with about 5078 hours.

    It has ran for over 24 hours straight at times. Last night was one. We are going to have a cold week in CT also
  • rbeck
    rbeck Member Posts: 56
    A cycle is every time the gas valve opens and proves flame. If the gas valve opens and something is wrong and pilot would not prove it would not add to the cycle count.
    I do not believe your cycle rate is extreme.