Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.

If you've found help here, check back in to let us know how everything worked out.
It's a great way to thank those who helped you.
Need to contact us? Visit

Burnham Steam Boiler

emodiemodi Posts: 1Member

We have 2 concurrent problems. In 2008 we had our old steam boiler replaced with a Burnham model PIN75NI-ME2. We've had a cold winter in NJ and we have heard the water filling often which we were told we should rarely hear. On 2 occasions since January, we have found sandy water on the floor in the basement. We are having a room added on the back of the house and when I showed the contractor the water on the floor (thinking the foundation was disturbed) he suggested I call the boiler people. Sure enough when they arrived (the same people that installed the boiler), they found the cast iron block inside the boiler was corroded and now has holes in it. We are shocked this could have happened so quickly when our old boiler was ancient! The concern now is why and how to avoid it moving forward??

Secondly, one of our guest rooms on the second floor has always been a bit chilly. We are careful to replace the valve air vents as needed (Varivalve) but the original pipe was downsized in a renovation prior to our ownership. It went from 2" (throughout the house) to 1-1/4". During this recent work, that same pipe had to be relocated so I mentioned it to the heating contractor. They assured me the 1-1/4" should be ok. We closed the door to the room last night to "test" and although the radiator was hot this morning, the room was at least 10 degrees colder that the others and the hallway outside the room. I'd appreciate any feedback, suggestions, comments you have.


  • JohnNYJohnNY Posts: 2,190Member
    Tell your heating contractor to show you calculations. You can't downsize steam piping without doing the math. A 2" steam main carries nearly 300% the amount of steam that can be delivered through an 1-¼" pipe.
    I'm in Orange. Who is your contractor?
    For installations, troubleshooting, and private consulting services, find John "JohnNY" Cataneo here at :
    "72°F Mechanical, LLC"
    Or email John at [email protected]
    John is a professional Master Plumber, licensed by The Department of Buildings of The City of New York, and works extensively in NYC while consulting for clients in and out of state.
    Boiler might be under warranty (good luck getting warrenty honored). Most likely cause is adding to much water to boiler. Adding lots of water to boiler can prematurely rot out boiler. Either eliminate auto feed or get auto feeder with digital readout(so you will be aware if there is excess feeding). And of course, find and fix leaks.
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,770Member
    An automatic water feed, and a system leaking steam could be the cause as so much fresh oxygenated water can rust out the boiler.
    Another possibility could be excessive chlorides in the water, or in cleaning products stored nearby causing graphitic corrosion.
    Yet another cause could have been an improperly piped boiler causing excessive water level movement, and associated thermal shock-Can you post some pictures of the boiler and its piping?
    As long as the boiler was properly installed, piped, and skimmed, there may be a residual warranty on this, but probably for parts only.
    Check the slow radiator by firing the boiler after a rest, and making sure that steam is arriving at all radiators at the same time on the floor. Whether the pipe size is adequate depends on the radiator size.--NBC
  • lchmblchmb Posts: 2,891Member
    how about pictures of your current boiler and close boiler piping? To include the top and rear of the boiler...
  • the_donutthe_donut Posts: 374Member
    Also not a huge fan of varivalve vents. They vent radiators fast, but you want steam mains to vent fast and radiators to vent slow.

    Issue could be that 1-1/4 supply, or more likely, when they bushed that line down, they didn’t use an eccentric bushing (or reducer coupling) and now water pools in the 2” section of that horizontal run. This water condenses steam.

    Another possibility is poor venting on the steam main in that direction. Pictures of near boiler piping, steam mains and risers/runout will be helpful.

    As others have said, auto feeder shouldn’t run. If it is. You have a leak somewhere. Find it, or it will kill your new boiler even faster than the last one.
  • PhilDavidPhilDavid Posts: 63Member
    Are there two risers coming off the boiler? There should be and is often not the case. I see it a lot. Steam rushes out of the boiler carrying water with it and tilts the water line toward the single riser. With the water line tilted, cast iron near the burner that is normally wet is now dry and very vulnerable to cracking.
    Please post pics of the near boiler piping.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,264Member
    Probably because I am old I think there is no way an 8 year old boiler should fail unless it has been very, very severely neglected which I doubt
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,513Member
    > @EBEBRATT-Ed said:
    > Probably because I am old I think there is no way an 8 year old boiler should fail unless it has been very, very severely neglected which I doubt

    Most modern boilers rott in 8 years if you look at them wrong. This is why I use water treatment.

    Previous owner of this house had a V8 rott out twice in 8 years.

    All of that do realize it's not 2016 anymore right? We're all two more years older than that.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • newagedawnnewagedawn Posts: 549Member
    warning anything Burnham is prone to defaults, STAY AWAY !!!!
    "The bitter taste of a poor install lasts far longer than the JOY of the lowest price"
  • New England SteamWorksNew England SteamWorks Posts: 1,214Member
    Send us some pics of your boiler and the near-boiler piping please.

    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,264Member
    @ChrisJ , LOL guess I slipped a gear!!
  • Mark NMark N Posts: 1,066Member
    Newagedawn, what defaults are anything Burnham prone to? What about the MegaSteam?
  • FredFred Posts: 7,733Member
    My 35 year old Burnham defaults to "RELIABILITY"
  • Dave0176Dave0176 Posts: 1,021Member
    The Burnhams depend on water quality and proper maintenance. I’ve just seen in our area the NJ coast I guess with the very salty water being this close to the ocean here you need to to pay close attention to the maintenance and water, Burnhams neglected here just rot in up to 10 years time.
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,726Member
    We have this problem with Burnham Independence boilers in the Baltimore area too, and the water around here is pretty good. As it stands, the only Burnham steamer we'd install is the MegaSteam.
    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.
  • New England SteamWorksNew England SteamWorks Posts: 1,214Member
    Mark N said:

    Newagedawn, what defaults are anything Burnham prone to? What about the MegaSteam?

    The MegaSteam is excellent.

    Otherwise, we don't go near Burnham...

    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
  • FredFred Posts: 7,733Member
    So strange that they can put out a quality product like the MegaSteam and can't do the same across their other product lines. I guess I'll be looking elsewhere when mine fails. keeping my options open.
  • newagedawnnewagedawn Posts: 549Member
    the gaskets are prone to leak, could stay here for days an tell stories of leaking burhams, but hey keep installing them, wont be long before you see it yourself, im not a fan, can you tell, lol
    "The bitter taste of a poor install lasts far longer than the JOY of the lowest price"
Sign In or Register to comment.


It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!