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Burnham Revolution Correct Installation?

lp20thlp20th Posts: 7Member
I recently purchased a home that was built in 2003 and has an original, propane-fueled Burnham Revolution, Model RV5PSL-12 boiler. I am questioning its fuel consumption as it seems excessive to me and from what I have learned this system may have been installed incorrectly.

Here is some background:
The home is located in New Hampshire.
It has about 3000 sq. ft of heated living space.
There are 3 zones for heat and also an indirect domestic hot water tank.
The home is not occupied full time, for about 3 weeks a month it is unoccupied and the t-stats are set to 58 degrees during those times.
The home is well-insulated, 2x6 construction, and has high quality windows and doors.
Since October, on average, it is using about 100 cubic feet of propane in a 24 hour span of time. The propane is metered at the house as it is drawn from a community tank.
The system itself has a Burnham VS3000 mixing control and also has a Taco SR504 4 zone controller. Each zone has its own circulator pump.
It appears the aqua-stat is set to 210 degrees.

In doing some research I found the zone circulator pumps may be installed in the wrong location.
This installation has the circulator pumps connected to the return side of the boiler, which I believe is the left front pipe when looking from the front of the system. From what I have read they are supposed to be located on the supply side, the left rear pipe. Could the way they are presently installed interfere with the systems internal circulator and cause excessive fuel consumption?
I have attached a photo of the system.

Additionally, prior to purchasing the home the House Inspector made an observation that the radiators in all 3 zones took a long time to heat up. At that time he also noted that the heat loops had antifreeze in the pipes which had never been serviced. He thought that there was a possibility that the anti-freeze coagulated overtime and was causing a slow flow. He recommended that the system be purged and refilled with fresh water. Additionally all the flange gaskets in the system should be replaced as they were covered in blue residue due to the antifreeze. The former home-owner agreed to have the system serviced and the recommendations were completed prior to the purchase. I don’t know how familiar the service company that performed the work was with the Burnham Revolution systems. The original home-owner claims the system worked well without any issue but I do suspect he had excessive fuel consumption and just assumed this was normal.

So my questions are related to the proper location of the circulator pumps and any impact that this may have on the systems operation and effeciancy.

I also would like to find a highly recommend authorized service/installation dealer in the New Hampshire area that I could contact. I would really like a knowledgeable, Burnham trained service technician to look at this system and determine if there are any issues with it.

Any technical explanations and information that someone could share and/or provide any recommended service company contacts would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much.


  • ZmanZman Posts: 4,867Member
    There are some things that could have been done better on your install. Pumping towards the expansion tank is one of them. I don't see anything, aside from the boiler being oversized that would effect efficiency.

    A cubic foot of propane contains 2,570 Btu's. Your observed use of 100 cf in a day indicates that the 130,000 btu boiler was running just under 2 hours that day. What that means really depends on the weather that day.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,825Member
    Setting the aqua stat so high as 210 deg. might indicate a band aid compensation for some slow heating, which could be due to air or debris in the pipes.
    Look on the Burnham website to see what approved companies might be in your area.—NBC
  • ZmanZman Posts: 4,867Member
    @kcopp may be in your area. I have no idea if he is certified by Burnham. He is certainly qualified.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 2,125Member
    I dont know the flue gas temps on that but frame out and put a thimble and some metal at the breach. Keep the insulation away.
  • lp20thlp20th Posts: 7Member
    Thank you all for the comments. My biggest concern lies with correct placement of the zone circulator pumps. I have read in a few places, and also see it in illustrations in the installation manual where it was indicated they should be on the supply side not the return side on the Revolution. Apparently if they are on the return side they interfere with the proper operation of the internal circulator operation and could cause ineffiecant operation.
    I did ask the question directly to USBoiler (Burnham) but have not received a response. I would like to confirm if this is true.
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,825Member
    The online manual should have suggested piping diagrams.—NBC
  • John Mills_5John Mills_5 Posts: 903Member
    Should the Revolution be vented in stainless steel? Looks like single wall out the side of the house.
  • ZmanZman Posts: 4,867Member

    Should the Revolution be vented in stainless steel? Looks like single wall out the side of the house.

    Good eye on the vent, I believe you are correct. That is a big deal from a safety point of view.

    I do not think there is an internal circulator. The circulators on the return will make air elimination more difficult but will not effect efficiency. Revolution I&O Manual.pdf
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • lchmblchmb Posts: 2,923Member
    How is your how water heated? Where in NH are you located? And who is your supplier? first thing I'd do is turn the aquastat down to 180 and see if the house has any issue's heating.. dont think it will..
  • lp20thlp20th Posts: 7Member
    The photo that I attached may be at a bad angle to see everything. The large pipe coming in through the outside wall that is surrouded by insulation is an intake for combustion air. Not as easily seen in the photo is the exhaust vent to the left. If you look closely back to the wall you can see the proper thimble to which it is attached to provide a wall vent path.

    From the installation manual the piping diagram shows the zone circulators on the supply side.
    The system does have an internal circulator, also shown in the piping diagram, where its speed is controlled by water temp. With the zone circulators presently located on the return side I suspect it may be an issue.
    The Revolution is a discontinued model and I am hoping to connect with someone who is very familiar with these systems and could help me verify if this is truely an issue.
    If so I would like to get it corrected.

    Thanks again everyone for all the info, suggestions and insight. It's much appreciated and I look forward to additional comments.
  • lp20thlp20th Posts: 7Member
    Domestic water is heated by the boiler. There is an indirect holding tank with an internal heat exchanger. The water heater looks like a 4th zone having its own circulator pump. I am in Antrim NH. The propane supplier is Allan & Mathewson out of Rindge NH.
    From what I understand the aqastat is supposed to be set at 210 with this internal circulator system.
  • kcoppkcopp Posts: 3,324Member
    Zman said:

    @kcopp may be in your area. I have no idea if he is certified by Burnham. He is certainly qualified.

    Thanks but I am over in the Seacoast.... that is over 90 min from me.
    I would start at the beginning and see what the heatloss is.
    Im thinking the house is under-radiated and probably not as tight as you may think it is.
    Circulator placement will not have a huge effect on gas usage. Minor maybe...
  • lp20thlp20th Posts: 7Member
    Here is a cut-away photo from the sales brochure and also the piping diagram from the installation manual. The cut-away shows the internal circulator and also there is a Y pipe that is part of the internal circulator loop.

  • ZmanZman Posts: 4,867Member
    Well sure enough, they piped it internally for primary/secondary. Your circs on the return still should not be effecting efficiency.

    If your operating aquastat is at 210, that will cost you a bit. You should be able to run that in the 160-180 range
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,727Member
    I would think the aquastat is a high limit and would have no bearing on system operation but I would set it at 190. I doubt the circulator location is causing much of an issue. Antrim is a cold spot I have relatives their. I suspect this is a "ski slope" house. The high limit set point points me to sluggish heating, maybe not enough radiation. More radiation=lower water temp=fuel savings.

    Nothing in the picture jumps out at me. I would start from scratch, heat loss, check radiation size , piping size, boiler size and see where that leads. I agree with @kcopp on that.

    The designer may have just missed it.

    Under radiation will cause the boiler to short cycle on high limit and waste fuel.

    watch the boiler and see how often it cycles during cold weather
  • billtheplmbr3845billtheplmbr3845 Posts: 38Member
    I believe the revelution boiler requires the water temp around 200* per their instructions. I also remember having a similar call last year, it was the vs3000 controll and the internal circ pump not working, letting only luke warm water in the zones. House would stay at like 64* all the time. I think you can bypass the vs control to check the primary circulator. I just changed the primary circ cartridge and it resolved the problem . If I remember correctly you move wire 1 to 3 on the vs control to give the circ power on a heat call, check the wiring diagram to be sure.
  • lp20thlp20th Posts: 7Member
    Searching older threads, I found several references to the circulators which keeps pulling me back to the possibility of incorrect installation. Here are some quotes, including one from a USBoiler rep.

    Also found a detailed picture of the mixing piping.

    “the 210F is for the VS3000 mixing control to run the internal primary/secondary loop. Do not lower it. The differential on the vs3000 is ~30F so the control can have long efficient burns and still keep the return temps from truly condensing, as well as control the speed of the internal circ. It runs the internal pump at slower speeds at lower return temps. I think the crossover point between lo and high is around 160-170F.”

    “I have a question about the installation pic that is somewhat related to this thread. I am assuming thats a BURNHAM REVOLUTION boiler. It looks just like mine. Now I'm only a HO, but it looks like you have the circulators attached to the RETURN and not the SUPPLY side. Originally thats the way my REVOLUTION was hooked up.”
    The install manual explicitly shows in the piping diagram on pg. 49 the circulators attached to the supply side. 2 1/2 yrs ago when I moved in, when Burnham would speak to a HO I spoke to Dave, who told me, because even then I thought there was too much gas usage, "make sure the circulators are on the supply side". The builder made the plumber come back and switch them to the supply...just fyi...”

    “Check and see if your have the circulator on the feed or the return. The Burnham Revolution has an internal circulator that gives it it's efficiency rating. If the circ was put on the return the way most plumbers install them it will not work correctly. The two circulators (internal to the boiler and return) will fight each other and you will lose. It will not work and will cost you a bundle for no heat. Call Burnham and speak with a tech. If you can get one!”

    “As John indicated, his circulators are indeed on the supply main of the boiler. As viewed from the front of the boiler, the left front pipe is the return and the left rear pipe is the supply. Putting the pumps on the return will end up with them prohibiting the internal circulator to do its job of variable speed blending. They need to be on the supply where their discharge head will be reduced through the system piping by the time the flow reaches the return and internal bypass. Just curious....where are your circulators mounted?
    Glenn Stanton
    Manager of Training
    Burnham Hydronics
    U.S. Boiler Co., Inc.”

  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,727Member
    Looks like your right. May not be the total fix but yes you should have them moved. Burnham's "primary-secondary internal piping" is not typical primary secondary so there instructions need to be followed.
  • lp20thlp20th Posts: 7Member
    I would really like to find a pro in my area who has expierence with this system. It is a discontinued line, how long ago I don’t know, but hopefully there is someone out there in my area I can find.
    In the meantime, it’s the middle of winter, it’s running and providing heat, and it has been set up this way since it was installed new in 2003. I don’t want to upset the apple cart during the heating season.
    So if anyone thinks of a name in the south western New Hampshire area please let me know. Thanks.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,727Member
    must be someone in Keene
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