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Boiler flame too big?

Ying
Ying Member Posts: 58
Boiler is a Burnham independence steam boiler. I think I had a little flame rollout yesterday, there were flame inside the first burner tube connected to the manifold.

So I took every tube out and vacuum them and the chamber. After that the flames looks abnormally high/big to me. Maybe cleaning it lets the natural gas run better.

Anyways, see video of the flame below. After 10.seconds it gets really big and all over the place, and is turning the side panels all red.

Can someone on the site educate me on weather or not that flame size is normal? And can I do anything about it? Like lowering the gas pressure to get smaller flames.

Thanks in advance.

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Comments

  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,336
    I Usually don't touch these but you might have put the air out of adjustment to each tube.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,838
    That boiler probably has a step-opening gas valve which comes on at a low flame, then goes to full flame after a few seconds.

    The video didn't work for me, but I wouldn't run that boiler until you've had it checked out. I'm sure the cleaning was needed, but a combustion test is needed too. Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Intplm.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,107
    I have an IN-5 and that flame looks too large. do the easy thing and call someone in.
    HVACNUT
  • Mike
    Mike Member Posts: 94
    The flame does not like right. Turning the side panels red? Shut it off. Call someone to check it out. It doesn't look safe.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,276
    I think your fine but get someone in to check it. Disturbing the burners could cause issues and you need a combustion test

    You will see orange & red streaks in the flame when you are moving around in front of the boiler it stirs up dust...that's normal

    If by the side panels you are referring to the refractory insulation inside the boiler next to the burners they will get a little red occasionally.

    If you are talking about panels on the outside of the boiler.....not normal shut it down
  • Ying
    Ying Member Posts: 58
    Im in Brooklyn NY. Tried calling a few people from google, seem like no one is working Sunday night. Will have to try again on Monday.

    The one guy who answered told me to call my gas company when I said I was looking for a combustion analysis on my boiler.

    This is the thing I need to get done right? From researching online it checks CO levels, but does it adjust how high/big the flame will be?

    In the mean time can I lower the gas pressure on the honeywell gas valve a little? Will it get the flame down a bit?

    As for air adjustment, the burner tube thing does not have any adjustable parts and I put them back all in the same place.

    And for the side panels, yes I am talking about the refractory insulation inside the boiler next to the burners, you can see it in the video, toward the right side in the back. The back corner turns red when flame hits it.
    The panels outside are fine, abit above warm but not hot to the touch.

    The things that are a little on the hot side on the boiler besides the main pipes are the pipes connecting the pressure relife valve, half of the pigtail connecting the pressuretrol and the sight glass valve and half of the sight glass with water in it.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,336
    The gas company advice ! Sounds like that is your best bet. If they do service in your area? Give them a call. Better safe than sorry.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,462
    There is nothing you can or should do without knowledge and the proper instruments to apply that knowledge.
    Do not try adjusting the gas valve yourself.
    If you saw fire in the open end of a burner tube it may have been blocked inside, think spiders, and you may have cleared it when you pulled and cleaned the tubes.
    You need a knowledgeable tech there to tune and adjust further.
    Get it done this week.
    You mentioned CO, Do you have a working detector?

    Intplm.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,107
    edited January 2019
    google the manual for your boiler. somewhere near the end it tells you how to clock your gas meter to match what your boiler requires. you can do that much, now ,until someone can get there. My flames are 3-4” tall
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,061
    Let me just add that if the flame is actually touching the refractory anywhere -- no good. Get someone who can actually use the necessary meters to get it adjusted right.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Ying
    Ying Member Posts: 58
    edited January 2019
    multiple co detectors. added an extra one today just in case.

    Not too concern about the hight of the flame. 4-5 inchs for a in6 burnham. More concern about how wide spread the top tips of the flames are. They seem to jump around vigorously, which will lead to the flames touching the side of the refractory insulation inside the boiler next to the burners, and turning them red.

    Are the wide tips due to too much gas or too much air draft? There is a draft near the boiler about the same hight where the burners are.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    I think you also have the front panel off that is also lined with refractory. I also have a Burnham and my flames certainly have a different pattern when I have that cover off.
  • Ying
    Ying Member Posts: 58
    @Fred yes, having the front panel on helped a little, which is why I think it might just be a air thing. Drafts blowing it around, as nothing has changed besides a windy day.

    Will try closing the window abit when I get home today, not sure if that will help. Currently window is about 3 inches open in the boiler room.

    Also saw something online about calculating the input gas from the gas meter and coverting to btu to see if it is around what the plate on the boiler says. Anyone know how it is done.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    @Ying , I'm sure that open window, on a windy day has a big affect on how the burner flames behave, especially if that window is directly across from the burner and is the type of window that is hinged across the top and opens from the bottom, directing air towards the floor.
  • Ying
    Ying Member Posts: 58
    Had a contractor from the find a contractor part of the site came over.

    CO levels were fine and Oxygen was too high.

    But gas pressure he said was 8, about twice the level where it should be. It was dropped, but he said that somehow the gas valve was not working correctly, which might be why there is a lot of oxygen. It is getting replaced tomorrow.

    Flames are much lower now. And now it takes about 9 minutes after the inital start up for the pressure to build to 2.5 psi before pressuretrol shuts off the boiler and still 2.5 minutes for psi to drop to about .5 for boiler to start. This compare to 3 minutes to build up to 2.5 psi and 2.5 minutes to drop to .5 psi.
    Which cycle is better? for getting heat and saving on fuel.

    Low gas pressure, 2 times less, means that Im using less gas per minute right? But it takes 3 tine as long before the boiler shuts down now. Overall will I be spending more money on gas this way?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    Both times are too short for pressure to build to 2.5PSI. How much over sized is the boiler? Do you have good main vents on each Main?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,838
    No. If the flame is too high, the boiler won't be able to capture the heat and a lot of it will go up the chimney. And if the flame is touching the cast-iron sections, it can create carbon monoxide, which is unburned and therefore wasted fuel. He's doing it right.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Ying
    Ying Member Posts: 58
    boiler is oversized and no main, understand that both time is short. Just asseting the 2 situation at hand
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,945
    Fred, from reading his other posts, IIRC he has no main vents.
  • Ying
    Ying Member Posts: 58
    @Steamhead that will explain why my boiler room is not as hot as it was since I started to tune the boiler. It use to be like 90 degrees there.

    Another quick question, there and no air intake tubes for the boiler room. We have a window thats use to get fresh air into the boiler room. How big should the window be opened to have the boiler working properly. As it will be getting to like 6 degrees in the next few days and boiler room no longer that toasty, dont want pipes to freeze and burst.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    @Ying You have to get Vents on those mains! That's going to save more fuel than anything.
  • Ying
    Ying Member Posts: 58
    Yes, I understand that a main will help alot and think that it is something I can do myself, just waiting for weather to get warmer so I can do it slowly without rushing.

    See my propose plan in picture. I think this will be the best/easiest way for me to go about it


  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,336
    @Ying , Looks like you have a good plan in place. You will probably need to crack off one or both of those black cast iron 45deg. elbows to give yourself some more room to fit the pipes together. Plus , you will need a union or two. Have you ever done that before?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    @Ying , Why not just drill a 1/2" hole in that last horizontal nipple and use a service clamp there to install your vent(s) ? I think that would be even easier
    Intplm.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,276
    When your new service tech comes back have him install air vents. You wasting more money in fuel and wasted time than it would take to have a professional fix your system especially if you wait for warmer wether
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,336
    @Fred has a great idea using a service clamp. One rated for steam. Excellent Idea.
  • Ying
    Ying Member Posts: 58
    @Fred what type of service clamp is suitable for steam pipes giving the expansion due to heat. Wont there be a leak as the pipe expands and contracts. Also I thought service clamps are used to cover holes not to make one.

    As for drilling the hole, do I need to drill it with threads?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    edited January 2019
    @Ying , see the picture of the Steam rated service clamp that @Gary Smith (I think) installed. No threads are required in the hole you drill.

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/comment/1543586#Comment_1543586
  • Ying
    Ying Member Posts: 58
    @Fred thank you so much, this looks even easier and may work better too
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    Ying said:

    @Fred thank you so much, this looks even easier and may work better too

    I agree. It will be easier and will minimize water getting into the vent.
  • Ying
    Ying Member Posts: 58
    edited January 2019
    Update on the flame situation. So guy came back to replace the gas valve this morning.

    With new valve and gas pressure set to correct level, 3.5 water column, flame is the same as before everything, same as it was in the video. Still think it is normal.

    I kinda perfer the flame level with the old valve, with after bring the gas pressure down to the same 3.5, flame was about half to 2/3 the size.

    See picture of the combustion test results. Not so different. Mybe I should've kept the old gas valve. Felt like hundreds spent for a replacement that didn't help at all. The only thing worth it was the test done showing things were safe.


  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,276
    Excess air is down, efficiency up, C02 up, stack temp up

    Your flame has more gas now than it did after his original adjustment. Who knows about the video picture as no test was done.

    It is checked and is safe. That is worth something. Flame can only be checked with combustion test equipment. A visual may or may not be reasonably accurate.
  • Ying
    Ying Member Posts: 58
    edited January 2019
    The test was definitely worth getting done regardless of anything since one has not been done for a long time.

    Just double thinking that new valve, seem like the old broken one was working better.

    The first test was at ok level and if valve did not open all the way, we migh be using less gas overall and flame at a good level.

    Should I lower the gas pressure more myself?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    @Ying, if it's any consolation, how old is that boiler? If it has a Robert Shaw gas valve on it, they seem to have about a 17 year life. My Burnham boiler is 36 years old, original gas valve lasted 17 years, replacement lasted 17 years and I'm 2 years into the second replacement. So, if yours is anywhere near 15 to 17 years old, better a proactive new gas valve than a failed one on a frigid winter's night. JMHO
    Intplm.
  • Ying
    Ying Member Posts: 58
    Date on the plate next to low pressure boiler says 01/2009, so 10 years.

    Gas valve is a Honeywell VR8200C3005.

    See picture of plate below. How bad will it be if I lower the gas pressure myself on the gas valve.


  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,129
    Asking respectfully, why do you keep wanting to lower the gas pressure to the manifold? Not that I'm opposed to it if it makes sense in some kind of plan, especially with the help of a tech, but you just had the guy out and he set it to spec, so why not let it run at spec for awhile and do the one thing that will help you most which is to get a vent on your main?
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    JUGHNEIntplm.FredCanucker
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    @Ying , now that you've had a new gas value installed and a Combustion test, don't tamper with it. Anything you "adjust" will affect the combustion and the general performance of the boiler. It is set as well as it is going to be.
  • Ying
    Ying Member Posts: 58
    edited January 2019
    Performance and safety is 2 different concerns.

    The main vent is just performance, which I know will help a lot with the gas bill and all, but not urgent and won't cause any big problem.

    Fire on the other hand can cause damages. With the test done, I'm not worry about CO level, just that the flame might be too big. Which almost all that reply said the flames in the video is not normal.
    And when I ask the tech guy, I didn't get a straight answer as to my concern of how big the flame is and if it is normal. All I got was a "well, everything is set where it should be, it is what it is". That's not very reassuring.

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,129
    Fair enough, but you are putting both at risk by blindly adjusting the gas pressure, no?
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Ying
    Ying Member Posts: 58
    @ethicalpaul yeah, I see your point. Just a little worked up over price and result.

    Didn't mean to come across a ****, but forgive me for being a little unsatisfying when I spent closed to $1K for minimal results.