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standing pilot vs intermittant pilot

keep it simple , if you have seen any of the old manufacturers' manuals, they all, boilers especially , suggested that the pilots should be keot on all the time! They prevent nuisance leaks around drain cocks air vents, circulator gaskets, and near boiler fittings as well , intermittent pilots installed on old systems are a waste , of time and money , the only rare occasional pilot outage problems that couldn't be explained - then and only then would I try it ! By the way , that one I came across, I removed cause I was able to find the outage problem !


  • TCC Ohio
    TCC Ohio Member Posts: 1
    pilot conversions

    I have an older American Standard steam boiler with a standing pilot ignition. Last year my service guy suggested I replace the pilot with an intermittant electric pilot which he said should save me a lot of money over a time. Of course he wanted several hundred dollars to do the conversion which I though was too expensive. Now that gas prices have soared I'm wondering if I should do the conversion. Would this be wise and would I really save any money?


  • Arthur
    Arthur Member Posts: 216
    Standing pilot??

    Well it depends on how much gas you use over a season, If you only use say $800 of gas a season your saving depending on how much time the main burner was on against the only the pilot running but you would only use approx $3-6 worth of gas, so it make take you years to make up the difference in saving and pay for itself.
    There is arguments about the pilot causing condensation or not causing condensation depending who you listen to, I mean the pilot usually is a very small flame approx 5 Kw a month if you pay say 10c a kw thats 50c a month. and when the main flame is running it's contributing to the heat into the boiler (a Very Very small amount admittingly)
    Pilots are one of the simplist system and while you might need a thermocouple now again they are less expensive to maintain, electric systems with probes can go wrong too.
  • will smith_4
    will smith_4 Member Posts: 259
    I agree-

    Keep It Simple. You will step over dollars to save pennies if you convert to intermittent. Spark ignitors are service calls waiting to happen, and usually on Christmas Eve. I feel the same about most of the high efficiency "improvements" I've seen. The hard sell we hear is that we will all save on our fuel bill. Pish posh. The truth is that whatever you may save in converting from a standing pilot to intermittent should be placed in an interest bearing account to be used only when paying for the replacement module, sensor, or ignitor. And have your checkbook ready when you see the difference.
  • jim lockard
    jim lockard Member Posts: 1,059
    I am

    with Will, keep the standing pilot. I personally wish we could go back to them. Life was so much easier, I know the drill pump the pilot, replace the T-couple. life was good. J.Lockard
  • carol_3
    carol_3 Member Posts: 397

    I'll vote for the intermittent pilot. I love mine because the pilot never blows out. I got it 15 years ago once my (then) husband figured out that I knew how to light a pilot, and had to start taking my turn getting out of bed in the morning to light the darn thing. Knock on wood, but I've never had any trouble with my IP retrofit.
  • will smith_4
    will smith_4 Member Posts: 259

    We've had standing pilots in our furnace and in our boiler for the past 12 years. Three thermocouples between em. Next door neighbor has had two modules replaced in their furnace over the same time span. Wanna guess the cost difference?
  • Standing pilot

    I heard in one of Timmie's gas classes that you have to think about pay back period. The small amount of fuel saved can take years to pay back the parts and labor.

    Electronic controls have come a long way over the years. I bet 8 or 9 calls out of 10, a contractor blames the ignition control and there is nothing wrong with it. I can't tell you how many times I hear "changed the ignition control and still doesn't work" and when we start trouble shooting we find some other reason. Many times I have the technician put back the "bad" ignition control afterwards and prove it is "good".
  • will smith_4
    will smith_4 Member Posts: 259
    Joe-you're right

    There are plenty of times when a tech blames the module, or the ignitor, or the sensor-without properly troubleshooting the problem. I've seen it a lot- carboned up sensor/ignitor, plugged pilot runners(York RTUs). Every system makes sense on paper, and there is always a better mousetrap. From my standpoint, I want a standing pilot. I know I get lower efficiency, but long term costs will be lower.
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