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I have a hypothesis about why Burnham IN boilers rust out above the water line.

13

Comments

  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,452
    edited March 2020
    I have always felt the chlorides was a bit of a ruse. But the 3-pass design most definitely is not. I’ve never seen a 3-pass block corrode.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,759
    What's Burnham's answer for gas customers?
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    Hap_Hazzard
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,452
    They don’t have one. Weil EG or Peerless 63
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
    ethicalpaul
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,452
    But I don’t think Burnham minds. Both Burnham and ourselves find the early failure rate of IN boilers to be profitable...
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,781
    I'm not familiar with the EG, but Peerless boilers have a significan't amount of area above the waterline that's pinned and in contact with the flue gases. Mine's at least 37 years old, so maybe chlorides are a factor, unless the castings are really a heck of a lot thicker, at least in that area.

    Do any of the water treatments/additives help with chlorides? I can't think of an easy way to remove them other than RO or distillation, but maybe they can be chelated somehow.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,256
    @New England SteamWorks
    Why would uninsulated mains have an effect on rotting a steam boiler out?
    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
    ethicalpaul
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,452
    You know, I knew that once, and it actually made sense. But now I am drawing a blank...
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,452
    At any rate, there is no question in our minds that Burnhams drop like flies compared to other makes.

    Except the MegaSteam. Which we dearly love and which has yet to have a single known failure.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
    ethicalpaul
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,216
    There are simply more Burnham boilers. Use of excess fresh water, and poor near boiler piping are why all boilers fail. Chlorides just speed up the process. It is not insulated or uninsulated mains.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,256
    Uninsulated mains are just radiators.....

    I've heard cooling condensate isn't good though.
    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
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,317
    There is an area between Boston and Providence where the ground water has higher levels of Chlorides so if your water is drawn from wells you have to be aware of this. If your water comes from the MWRA that water is sourced from the Quabbin Reservoir which does not have high levels of Chlorides.

    That said my V7 was on deaths doorstep when it was replaced at the ripe old age of 13, it was just a bad design.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,872
    I think a good number to know for both water and steam boilers is the TDS of the water. While it doesn't specifically indicate what is in the water, it does indicate the water needs to be treated when the TDS number is high. Most all the boiler manufacturers show acceptable levels for Ph, hardness, TDS. Some break it down further. A sample sent to a lab will breakdown the water to all the components, like chlorides.

    TDS is easily tested on the job site with a meter costing under 100 bucks. All water based contractors including solar, GEO, chillers, etc should own a TDS meter.

    Most of you already do, it's basically an Ohm meter :) TDS meters readout in PPM an easier number to understand.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    SuperTech
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,781
    How do you convert Ohms into TDS, and how far apart should the electrodes be?
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,872
    Use the Ohm meter to get a rough idea, The TDS meter does adjust for temperature and has a more accurate readout as the probes are locked in position.

    Here is the meter I use, it checks both Ph and TDS. the Ph component does need to be checked and adjusted from time to time. Depends on how often the porous glass bulb is exposed to fluid.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Hap_Hazzard
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,781
    edited March 2020
    Thanks. That's good to know.

    I already have a pH meter. They're great because you can measure fluids other than clear water, as they don't rely on colorimetry. I also have reagents for testing hardness, alkalinity, phosphate and pH, but it would be nice to have a quick check for TDS so I can decide if I need to do further testing. I've seen TDS meters for less than $20, but I don't know how good they are. Maybe the Ohmmeter would be close enough.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,256
    I use a TDS meter to prove how pure my steam is. My wet return measures around 2 PPM and the boiler is usually around 500 PPM.

    Ph I just go by the color of Steamaster anymore. If it's purple and not blue I'm happy. The few times I've checked it, it was around 9.
    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
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,872

    Thanks. That's good to know.

    I already have a pH meter. They're great because you can measure fluids other than clear water, as they don't rely on colorimetry. I also have reagents for testing hardness, alkalinity, phosphate and pH, but it would be nice to have a quick check for TDS so I can decide if I need to do further testing. I've seen TDS meters for less than $20, but I don't know how good they are. Maybe the Ohmmeter would be close enough.

    I would get a TDS specific meter, look online should be under 100 bucks for a good quality model and brand.

    Beyond what tools you already have I would send the sample off. Rhomar offers different levels of testing and has a steam specific product, as most do.

    With an analysis report back they usually offer recommendations of what steps to take. It's knowing how to correct the fluid, once you have a filled system, especially large systems containing 100s or 1000s gallons.

    What I have learned is "fix the water" before you add it into any system is the best, less expensive and longest lasting solution to many if not most of the fluid quality issues I see out there.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Hap_Hazzard
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,781
    There are a lot of TDS meters for under $20, but this seems a little too good to be true.
    https://www.amazon.com/Lxuemlu-Professional-Temperature-0-9999ppm-Aquariums/dp/B079DN9DRS/
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,256

    There are a lot of TDS meters for under $20, but this seems a little too good to be true.
    https://www.amazon.com/Lxuemlu-Professional-Temperature-0-9999ppm-Aquariums/dp/B079DN9DRS/

    According to that, unless I misunderstood, it goes in increments of 10 ppm and it's error can be as high as 200 ppm. 2% of full range.

    Looks like garbage.
    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
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,781
    ChrisJ said:


    According to that, unless I misunderstood, it goes in increments of 10 ppm and it's error can be as high as 200 ppm. 2% of full range.

    Looks like garbage.

    I think you misunderstood. "±2%" means a reading of 100 ppm might be as high as 102 or as low as 98. Considering a $28 Honeywell thermostat can be off by as much as 7%, I'd say ±2% for $15 is pretty damn good!
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,872
    I'd certainly try one for that $$.
    That is less than a latte at Starbucks. If you ask for almond milk substitute :)
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Hap_Hazzard
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,256
    > @Hap_Hazzard said:
    > (Quote)
    > I think you misunderstood. "±2%" means a reading of 100 ppm might be as high as 102 or as low as 98. Considering a $28 Honeywell thermostat can be off by as much as 7%, I'd say ±2% for $15 is pretty damn good!

    I may have.
    Doesn't 2% FS mean 2% of full scale?
    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
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,872
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,781
    I'm pretty sure it's auto-ranging, so FS doesn't mean that much. If you were to measure 1 volt on the 100 volt scale of a volt meter with an accuracy of ±2% FS, it would be 1 volt plus or minus 2, which would be a lot, which is why you'd want to use the appropriate scale. Auto-ranging makes it impossible to use the wrong scale. If it doesn't verify I'll send it back.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,781
    hot_rod said:
    Did you notice the meter they advertise on that page has the same accuracy for $60 plus shipping?
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,515

    Too bad the manufacturers can't come up with something decent that will last. Maybe they don't care about steam......it's strictly a replacement market......but there's a lot of steam heated buildings that will always be steam.

    People get sick of boilers rotting out will only turn them towards scorched air.

    One word: MegaSteam.

    But Burnham/US Boiler gets the vapors and throws tantrums when we talk about firing MegaSteams with gas burners. Too bad, because we could sell this combination easily.

    You can't fix stupid...........
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    ethicalpaul
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,781
    Steamhead said:

    One word: MegaSteam.

    But Burnham/US Boiler gets the vapors and throws tantrums when we talk about firing MegaSteams with gas burners. Too bad, because we could sell this combination easily.

    You can't fix stupid...........

    Have they ever given you anything remotely resembling a rationale for their intransigence?
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,515
    Nope.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 999

    I'm not familiar with the EG, but Peerless boilers have a significan't amount of area above the waterline that's pinned and in contact with the flue gases. Mine's at least 37 years old, so maybe chlorides are a factor, unless the castings are really a heck of a lot thicker, at least in that area.

    Do any of the water treatments/additives help with chlorides? I can't think of an easy way to remove them other than RO or distillation, but maybe they can be chelated somehow.

    When doing combustion analysis of an Independence boiler that is midway through a cycle, the stack temperatures are quite high, probably 150 F higher than a Peerless 63 or 64 series. The rated thermal efficiency of the Burnham is only 77.5%, whereas the Peerless is 79.5 to nearly 80%. The waterline in the Burnham drops significantly when steaming ( increasing stack temps), whereas the Peerless does not. The very high stack temps probably caused by the low operating water lines of the Burnham Independence are probably the main contributer to the early failures. The area of pinned surface above the operating waterline ( not the static waterline) of the Peerless is much less than that of the Burnham. This is a consistant pattern I have seen between the Burnhams ( and others like the Crown using the same casting) and the Peerless.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    Hap_HazzardSuperTech
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,256
    edited March 2020
    > @The Steam Whisperer said:
    > (Quote)
    > When doing combustion analysis of an Independence boiler that is midway through a cycle, the stack temperatures are quite high, probably 150 F higher than a Peerless 63 or 64 series. The rated thermal efficiency of the Burnham is only 77.5%, whereas the Peerless is 79.5 to nearly 80%. The waterline in the Burnham drops significantly when steaming ( increasing stack temps), whereas the Peerless does not. The very high stack temps probably caused by the low operating water lines of the Burnham Independence are probably the main contributer to the early failures. The area of pinned surface above the operating waterline ( not the static waterline) of the Peerless is much less than that of the Burnham. This is a consistant pattern I have seen between the Burnhams ( and others like the Crown using the same casting) and the Peerless.

    Do you feel me running my EG series 3/4 up the gauge glass increases thermal efficiency any noticable amount?

    I started running it between 1/2 and 3/4 full when I found it didn't cause any issues with carry over.

    My hopes were to keep the upper area of the block cooler.
    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
    ethicalpaul
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 999
    It probably helps a bit running it higher for efficiency. Longevity is probably the biggest gain. Was it 3/4 full during the run cycle or 3/4 full static? A flue gas test would tell the story best.
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  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,256
    > @The Steam Whisperer said:
    > It probably helps a bit running it higher for efficiency. Longevity is probably the biggest gain. Was it 3/4 full during the run cycle or 3/4 full static? A flue gas test would tell the story best.

    3/4 when off.
    Running it's still 1/2 full or more. So significantly higher than most.
    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
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,781
    If it's cooling the block better, that extra energy must be going into the steam. Also, assuming you had been getting corrosion at the water line, you've now moved the water line to an area that hasn't been corroded yet, so it's like resetting the clock on life expectancy, I hope.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,781
    Steamhead said:

    Nope.

    That's got to be frustrating. Here they have a boiler that can beat all the atmospheric boilers on efficiency, but, while everybody's switching or has already switched to natural gas, they only want to offer the least efficient, lowest longevity boiler for that market. I'm no MBA, but that doesn't sound like any way to run a business.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    BobC
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,256
    > @Hap_Hazzard said:
    > (Quote)
    > That's got to be frustrating. Here they have a boiler that can beat all the atmospheric boilers on efficiency, but, while everybody's switching or has already switched to natural gas, they only want to offer the least efficient, lowest longevity boiler for that market. I'm no MBA, but that doesn't sound like any way to run a business.

    The IN series is a better money maker.
    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
  • Precaud
    Precaud Member Posts: 369
    ChrisJ said:

    Do you feel me running my EG series 3/4 up the gauge glass increases thermal efficiency any noticable amount?

    Assuming your EG has the water line marked on the boiler, I'm curious; where on the gauge glass is the same height as the water line? Shouldn't that be your "reference" or target for gauge glass level?
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 999
    Correction>>> the thermal efficiency of the Burnham is 79.5%... I suspect the thermal efficiency ratings must be when the boiler is operating at its normal water line, not at its typical operating water line. There is no other sensible explanation as to why the Burnham's stack temps are so much higher than the Peerless. The water line in the Burnham drops many inches when running and the Peerless only a couple, leaving a lot more metal exposed with no water behind it in the Burnham
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  • Tim_D
    Tim_D Member Posts: 74
    The corrosion shown in the first post in this thread is most likely due to carbonic acid.
  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,172

    Correction>>> the thermal efficiency of the Burnham is 79.5%... I suspect the thermal efficiency ratings must be when the boiler is operating at its normal water line, not at its typical operating water line. There is no other sensible explanation as to why the Burnham's stack temps are so much higher than the Peerless. The water line in the Burnham drops many inches when running and the Peerless only a couple, leaving a lot more metal exposed with no water behind it in the Burnham

    Could it be the IN has much narrower sections then the 63 and EG. I noticed all the narrow section boilers, ECR, Utica, Dunkirk, and Burnham when operating at full steam they really see the water line drop. Piping also plays a big part as does dirty water. As we’ve seen on here and in the field I’ve never seen a properly piped ECR, Dunkirk, or Utica boiler, however I also don’t see nearly as much corrosion from those boilers as I see in the mentioned Burnham products.
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  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 999
    I believe the Durnkirks and Uticas have so much water flying around inside the top of the casting that it scrubs alot of heat from the castings, keeping the top of the castings cooler. The Independence"s big steam chest is probably working against the longevity of the boiler. I have been using the Crown version of the Independence for a while, and are starting to make plans on dropping the Crown and switching to the Dunkirk as my lower cost option to the Peerless 63/64. I just had a Independence I installed in 2004 fail. Full drop header, water treated with Rhomar and a tight 2 pipe system... no obvious reason for this failure. When we get it apart I'll report back.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    ChrisJethicalpaulSuperTech