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14 Year Burnham Boiler Cracked Leaking Carbon Monoxide

I help take care of my elderly neighbors house and this year her gas boiler died in early summer. It is a Burnham gas boiler model PIN5SNI-ME2.

The plumbing company came out and spent a whole day fixing it. Then a couple days later it broke again. They came out a second time with 2 trucks and 3 guys working on it for hours. There were wires and electrical books everywhere. I tried to ask details on what they thought it was but over an hour into it they said "we're figuring it out". Eventually they said they replaced some parts. It was warm so no need to use it anymore. Now when she tries to start it up for the first time this fall it is not starting.

So the plumbing company comes out again and the guy has bad news, it is cracked and there is the possibility that carbon dioxide could leak. I try to ask how this is possible it is only 14 years old and he didn't really give an answer, just that it happens. I see posts on here about boilers cracking and leaking water, nothing about them cracking and leaking carbon monoxide. It does not leak any water.

Does Burnham do any kind of warranty? This seems like a manufacturer defect if the boiler is able to crack and leak carbon monoxide.


Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,426
    You need a different tech. One who actually knows boilers. Granted, there are some plumbers who do -- but it isn't their trade. Find an HVAC company that knows what it's doing.

    You might be able to find one with "Find a Conractor" on this site, or if you tell us where you are we may know someone in your area we can trust.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    mattmia2
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,516

    You need a different tech. One who actually knows boilers. Granted, there are some plumbers who do -- but it isn't their trade. Find an HVAC company that knows what it's doing.

    You might be able to find one with "Find a Conractor" on this site, or if you tell us where you are we may know someone in your area we can trust.

    Agreed. Go here to find one:

    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    mattmia2
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,362
    Or post where your located .....someone may have a recommendation for your area
  • JeffFoster
    JeffFoster Member Posts: 4
    I am in Waltham, MA.

    We are using one of the most highly recommend companies around. They've been around for decades.
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,522
    I have also been around for decades. Doesn't mean that much. Cracked boilers are easy to check. Fill it up with water. Fill to the top of the glass plus another minute or two, to ensure that the boiler is totally full. If water comes leaking out then you know that it's cracked. If not then it's not. At least in my part of the world, Burnham boilers did not last as long as other boilers. Of course water quality may be an issue.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,999
    Is the boiler hot water or steam? If it is hot water and it isn't leaking water it isn't cracked. If it is steam you have to flood it and see if it leaks as steam doctor said. It sounds a lot like they don't understand how it works and can't figure out the control problem so they are trying to sell you a new boiler instead of calling someone for help.
    MikeAmann
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,426
    Water quality in Waltham may have been an issue in the past; parts of Waltham were not Quabbin water, but local wells, and they had very high chlorides.

    That said, see if you can persuade @New England SteamWorks to come take a look. They're busy -- to put it mildly -- but they do know what they are doing with heating systems. I'm sure your plumber is very good indeed. But does he know heating? Doesn't sound like it, or at least the folks coming out to look at your system don't.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,258
    I am in Waltham, MA. We are using one of the most highly recommend companies around. They've been around for decades.
    Considering how simple the wiring in a boiler is and how simple the entire system is that's pretty sad that they needed books all over and 3 guys.

    All they needed was 1 guy who knew even a little of what he was doing and the wiring diagram on the boiler cover.  Most could figure it out without the diagram, no books, no confusion.



    Doesn't mean that the boiler is ok but I do agree with everyone else. You need a different company.
    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
  • JeffFoster
    JeffFoster Member Posts: 4
    mattmia2 said:

    Is the boiler hot water or steam?

    It is a Steam boiler.

    Couldn't the crack be where the burning fumes has to go up through the casing but not necessarily be where the water/steam is?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,426

    mattmia2 said:

    Is the boiler hot water or steam?

    It is a Steam boiler.

    Couldn't the crack be where the burning fumes has to go up through the casing but not necessarily be where the water/steam is?
    It could. But that would mean that someone didn't set up the draught properly... strike three! You're out!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JeffFoster
    JeffFoster Member Posts: 4
    edited September 29
    So my neighbor decided to go ahead and have the boiler replaced. I suggested we get a quote from somewhere else but she wanted to go with the same guys because she trusts them.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but a boiler of this size should only take 1 day to replace. Especially if you have 2 guys working on it. My neighbor was told it would take days. They are in the middle of the second day with another 2 guys.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,362
    You can't do the whole job in a day and do it right in most cases. If you just want it slapped in that's another story.

    Every job is different. skimming (if they even do it) takes time. So does the piping unless there using copper with propress or megapress on steam, Then there is wiring, flue & chimney liner, fuel and start up and combustion test, backflow preventer and domestic water
  • captainco
    captainco Member Posts: 662
    Over the last 40+ years I have talk to many consumers who used contractors that they trusted because they were really nice. Unfortunately the contractors were endangering their lives because of their lack of current technology. Just make sure they do a combustion test on the boiler. If they don't say it is necessary then they are dumber than you think!!