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    Beating a dead horse. (48 Posts)

  • Harvey Ramer Harvey Ramer @ 5:31 PM
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    Beating a dead horse.

    I suppose this is like beating a dead horse, has anyone heard a specific reason that Burnham does not allow gas conversion burners.

    I had a call tonight to convert one but, I had to tell him no, because of Burnham's position on the matter. I did not want to assume liability on the appliance because if anything bad were to happen, my fault or not, I could be in trouble.

    Harvey
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 10:09 PM
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    The answer changes

    seemingly according to who you talk to.

    There really is no technical or safety-related reason it won't work, if a current-model burner such as the Carlin EZ-Gas is used. What model Burnham was this?

    And, anyone want to start a pool on when the consistent naysayer shows up in this thread? I'll take Monday morning, when Burnham's offices open again.................
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • Mark Eatherton Mark Eatherton @ 11:41 PM
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    What would really be cool...

    And I don't recommend ANYONE try this, other than the fine folk at Burnham…

    Take a large stainless steel mod/con style burner tube, covered with the usual cloth and or chain mail cover, connect it to a neg reg as valve, set a sensor in the condensate area near the steam line, and run the boiler up to steam, and then as the boiler approaches the vapor production set point, it begins modulating, but not condensing.

    I saw a couple of burner tube manufacturers, gas valve makers, and blower manufacturers at AHR that I am sure could work up a neg-reg gas train with an EBM Pabst blower (is there any other?), use an off shelf PLC controller, and let it rip.

    If you've ever taken the Lochinvar factory tour, and you went through the gas lab, you know the radial radiant energy power of this burner. It is amazing…. Knock your eyes out energy.

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • SWEI SWEI @ 11:42 AM
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    Sounds a lot like the Midco LNB

    that Jstar and MarkS are tinkering with http://www.midcointernational.com/products/low_nox/
  • JStar JStar @ 8:36 AM
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    Midco

    Please keep Mark's name ahead of mine. He is the mastermind behind the EcoSteam modulating boiler, I just tightened a couple of bolts and stuck a probe in the stack.
    - Joe Starosielec
    732-494-4357
    j.star@thatcherhvac.com
    http://thatcherhvac
    http://facebook.com/thatcherhvac


    Guaranteed performance. Guaranteed energy savings.

    Serving all of NJ, NYC, Southern NY State, and eastern PA.
    Consultation anywhere.
    (Formerly "ecuacool")
  • Aaron_in_Maine Aaron_in_Maine @ 6:33 AM
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    Monday

    Monday morning before 10am. Lol
  • billtwocase billtwocase @ 7:04 AM
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    reason?

    boiler sales. They don't profit from conversion burners
  • Robert O'Brien Robert O'Brien @ 8:22 AM
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    Boiler sales?

    i bet if they offered a gas burner option for the Megasteam they would pick up market share
  • billtwocase billtwocase @ 9:59 AM
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    No doubt Rob

    only if
  • jumper jumper @ 1:16 PM
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    is it a matter of efficiency?

    If an oil fired boiler receives a significant amount of heat by radiation, then does it require a higher BTU gas burner?
  • Mark N Mark N @ 1:28 PM
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    Market Share

    All companies are in business to make a profit. Burnham already offers a gas steam boiler, their Independence Boiler. What is Burnham's market share with their Independence boiler?
    Maybe by offering the Megasteam with a gas gun option the market share they would gain would be at the expense of their Independence boiler and possibly their profit margin is higher with the Independence then the Megasteam.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 1:43 PM
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    UL Listings?

    I don't care one way or the other. But it may have something to do with insurance liability and that the UL listing for that particular oil boiler/burner was only "listed" for oil. To have it "Listed" probably means serious testing and related costs. And paying the CSA and UL their Vigorish fee's.
    Burnham's liability insurers may not be willing to cover liability for a unlisted use. Therefore, if someone installs a gas conversion burner and someone dies, there's no recourse to Burnham because they do not approve of the conversion.
    I once did a job where a residential side of a building faced and connected to a commercial use side. They needed a 2 hour separation fire wall. They could have done it with 2 sheets of 5/8" sheetrock. But, someone made a mistake and it needed to be a 4" block wall. Both were listed systems. But 2 sheets of 5/8" sheetrock in this application wasn't. The owners tried to get 6" of solid 5/8 sheet rock approved. There is no testing for 6" of sheetrock. It costs well over $100,000 to have an engineering company do the testing and get it listed.
    There's no money in that for Burnham.  
  • RobG RobG @ 1:50 PM
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    Megasteam

    If they offered the Megasteam with a gas or oil "kit", wholesalers could stock two boilers for the space of one. I would think that it would make the boiler more attractive to stocking wholesalers, in turn increasing their market share.

    JMHO,
    Rob
  • Harvey Ramer Harvey Ramer @ 7:31 PM
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    Boiler Type

    The customer told me over the phone that the boiler is a burnham v8 series steam appliance.

    I explained to him that burnham doesn't condone converting their boilers and will void the warranty.

    He replies. Does it cause any mechanical malfunctions or safety concerns?

    I said, not that I'm aware of. As know it's a company policy and I don't know the reason why.

    He said. Well I don't care about the warranty. If it breaks I'll just get a new one. Are you going to do it or not?

    I said, well I'm not entirely comfortable accepting the liability associated with an unsanctioned conversion. All the while I'm thinking, this is so stupid. It would be perfectly fine. But, what if?

    He said, Well if you are not going to do it, I will find somebody else that will.

    I said, I'm sorry, and that was that.

    All the while I'm thinking to myself, that is exactly what I would do if I were in your shoes.

    So the bottom line is this. The boiler is going to be converted to gas regardless of how Burnham feels about it. The customer thought the whole thing was idiotically stupid and assured me that he would not buy another Burnham, ever. 
    You have to ask yourself. Who gained anything out of this? I didn't, the customer didn't and Burnham didn't.

    I think US Boiler would be smart to publish a paper drawing a clear line on this and stating all the facts, whatever they may be, so everybody could appreciate their decision on the matter.

    Harvey  
  • Harper111 Harper111 @ 1:23 PM
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    You made the correct call

    One would bet that if you called your insurance company, or the customer's, that they would not be covered in the event something should go wrong.

    Either way, sine most would probably agree they make some of the best products on the market, it would probably be best if they just bought an entirely new Burnham unit that is under warranty and has greater efficiency.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 11:12 PM
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    It took

    two more days... I would have lost the bet. 
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • Jason Jason @ 7:53 PM
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    Gas conversion

    All I know us the oil boiler I&O states it cannot be converted to a gaseous or solid fuel. I was told the boiler must be certified for gas and oil to allow the conversion otherwise it is a code violation. Just my 2 cents.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 8:13 PM
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    Who, exactly

    told you that?
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • Mark Eatherton Mark Eatherton @ 9:29 PM
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    Question...

    In looking at their I&O manual, and parts break down, I see that a person can do DHW with an internal coil (optional), but I am somewhat confused. THe coil is above the water line, in fact in the steam dome. How does one keep their house from overheating if they chose the DHW option? Or is it a seasonal preheat situation with another DHW system to top it off, or am I not looking at the drawings correctly…

    http://cdn.usboiler.net/products/boilers/megasteam/assets/manual.pdf

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 11:47 AM
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    What I see from looking at the picture in the manual

    is that the coil does appear to be above the "lowest permissible water level". But the probe-type low-water cutoff will stop the burner and call for water well above that point. And, on a gravity-return system, the water level will rise above the cutoff level as the water returns from the system, so the effective working water level should cover the coil.

    That said, we've never installed a MegaSteam with a coil.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • ChrisJ ChrisJ @ 8:56 PM
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    Burnham

    There is a good chance that if Burnham did allow conversion burners that I would have a Megasteam in my basement instead of a WM EG-45.  That would've been enough to change my mind.
    Weil-McLain EG-45 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. Using Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment to greatly reduce corrosion in the boiler.

    Steam system pictures updated 6/5/14.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#
  • BobC BobC @ 7:49 AM
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    I talked to them

    when i replaced my v75 boiler and was going to switch to gas. I told the salesman i was interested in using a Megasteam on gas and he told me that would void the warranty on the boiler because it was not certified for gas. He sounded apologetic about it so I suspect this rule is coming from on high and may have more to do with legal issues than anything else.

    I ended up installing a Smith with the Ez-Gas on it. The only people still using oil are those with no other option. With all the problems we read about with the IN series gas steam boilers I'm afraid Burnham will be reduced to selling buggy whips soon.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 84,200 BTU, Single pipe steam

    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in

    3PSI gauge
  • Mark N Mark N @ 8:27 AM
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    Dead Boilers

    The only problem I've seen here on the Wall with IN series boilers is rotting out from excessive feed water and bad piping. Any boiler will rot our from excessive feed water or water with excessive chlorides or low PH. No brand of boiler is exempt. The boiler can't be blamed for water quality or system problems. I don't know why Burnham won't offer their Megasteam with a gas option. How many other companies have certified their oil boilers to be used with gas? Only 2 I've heard of are Slant-Fin and Smith.
    This post was edited by an admin on March 2, 2014 8:31 AM.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 7:56 PM
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    Add to that

    Columbia, whose CI boilers are supplied by Utica. On Weil-McLain boilers it depends on who you talk to.

    But I'd go ahead and convert it- if done right you won't have a problem.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • bob eck bob eck @ 7:36 PM
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    Burnham

    LIABILITY the Burnham Oil boilers were tested and certified for Oil only. Not oil / nat gas / LP gas. If you convert a Burnham oil boiler over to gas the warranty ends and you the contractor are taking on the liability if something should go wrong. If I was asked to put a gas burner gun on a oil boiler I would contact the boiler manufacture and ask them if they approve doing this and if so with what brand gas burner gun is approved. Also if this effects their warranty.
  • Harper111 Harper111 @ 9:17 AM
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    Nicely stated

    It may be technically possible but is it worth the liability risk?

    One could guess that there is probably no insurance company in the entire country that would insure an owner or contractor in this circumstance.
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 10:18 AM
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    Switching from oil to gas

    Since there seems to be a general trend to switch, rather than fight, more manufacturers will see the necessity of certifying their boilers for gas guns.--NBC
  • Harper111 Harper111 @ 3:30 PM
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    Just buy a new one

    With the efficiency being so high on the newer units, customers should just buy a brand new one. It makes very little sense to upgrade a 60 to 70% efficiency unit. The money saved from the efficiency would more than pay for the new unit in a short time period.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 11:19 PM
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    Harper111's record is still perfect

    he hasn't posted here at all except to try to scare people away from conversion burners. Info is here:

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum/profile/5513749/Harper111

    But we just got two more conversion burner contracts. Go ahead Harper111, keep on telling people to waste their money by throwing away their relatively new boilers- they'll just sign with someone like us who can offer them a better deal. Trolls do have their usefulness.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    This post was edited by an admin on March 6, 2014 11:23 PM.
  • Harper111 Harper111 @ 8:36 AM
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    Does your insurance cover all liabilities for you?

    The biggest question is whether your insurance will cover all liabilities for anything going wrong if or when the modifications fail. This is a conversion that is not certified by the manufacturer after all.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 12:26 PM
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    As long as

    the conversion burner is listed for conversion use- which they all are- and is installed according to the procedures set forth in the burner's manual, there's no problem.

    You really need to read your history. Decades ago, when oil and gas began to replace coal as the fuel of choice for home heating, boilers were rarely replaced. Instead, they were updated with listed conversion burners. Many such boilers were made by companies that did not survive the Depression- the one that began in 1929, not 2008- so it would have been impossible to contact the manufacturers. The solution was for UL and other agencies to specifically approve these burners for conversion use when installed according to very specific instructions.

    This system still exists today. Look in the I&O manual for any current-model conversion burner, or on the burner itself if you encounter one, and you will see the listing information.

    Tim McElwain, a gentleman who we all respect, has said he has never had a problem with the many (thousands?) of conversion burners he has installed. He is one of the best in the business, and has set many examples for the rest of us to follow. I am certain that if there were any issues with these burners he would be all over it.

    We haven't installed nearly the number of conversion burners Tim has, but like him we've never had an issue- just a lot of satisfied customers.

    Harper111, do you have anything else to contribute to this board besides anti-conversion-burner zealotry?
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    This post was edited by an admin on March 7, 2014 12:44 PM.
  • Harper111 Harper111 @ 1:58 PM
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    Which company is providing a conversion kit?

    Which conversion company has an approved and certified gas conversion kit for a non-approved Brunham boiler?
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 5:53 PM
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    I think it's time

    for you to do your own research. 
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • ChrisJ ChrisJ @ 3:35 PM
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    Efficiency

    Harper111,
    I believe the boilers guys have in mind in this thread are 85% or greater many of which are not very old. In fact, many are brand new and have never been fired on oil.
    Weil-McLain EG-45 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. Using Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment to greatly reduce corrosion in the boiler.

    Steam system pictures updated 6/5/14.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#
    This post was edited by an admin on March 6, 2014 3:36 PM.
  • Harper111 Harper111 @ 8:42 AM
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    95% then

    Boilers like an Alpine 95% condensing boiler are, in my opinion, unbeatable in the marketplace. The fuel savings from replacing the entire boiler would more than pay for itself rather than doing a conversion on older less efficient equipment.

    With the fantastic reliability and overall fuel savings, it is a great choice.
  • ChrisJ ChrisJ @ 8:51 AM
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    Interesting

    It's interesting you recommended a Burnham brand boiler. Why not a high efficiency cast iron Weil Mclain?

    See, thing is, my system is steam and companies like Burnham refuse to update their steam boilers so I'm stuck with 82% for NG or 86% for oil.

    As a homeowner, if my installer told me he could not convert my Burnham from oil to gas and they are the only manufacturer that doesn't allow it I would tell him fine, install a new boiler but I don't want a Burnham. Especially when a Burnham NG steam boiler is rated 82% AFUE and a Megasteam is 86% AFUE. Great, buy a new boiler with a lower rating.
    Weil-McLain EG-45 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. Using Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment to greatly reduce corrosion in the boiler.

    Steam system pictures updated 6/5/14.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#
    This post was edited by an admin on March 7, 2014 8:52 AM.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 12:46 PM
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    I think that's another indication

    he is involved with Burnham. He refuses to tell us anything, but one day we'll find out for sure. 
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • jonny88 jonny88 @ 10:15 PM
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    if he does work for burnham

    over the last year I installed 8 burnham ES2 and one ESC.Of the eight ES2 6 had to have their pilot assemblies replaced and also the ESC.Whats your thoughts Harper on this great brand.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 10:24 PM
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    And the ESC has been recalled

    along with the PVG and SCG:

    http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/US-Boiler-Recalls-Home-Heating-Boilers/
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • JohnNY JohnNY @ 9:25 AM
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    Burnham

    Lots of boilers have been recalled and there's no point in dumping on Burnham in this thread. I've installed ~50 Burnham products in the past 12 months and stand behind every one of them.
    I've had plenty of bad parts shipped with new boilers of all makes right out of the box.
    It happens and there's no greater occurrence with Burnham over any other brand.

    I'm not a fan of selling/installing conversion burners on boilers that are over ~10 years old, but maybe that's just a personal preference.
    When I asked a tech support guy at WM about another issue he said the company considers their residential-grade boilers to be a "20-year appliance".
    And again, I'm of the mindset that a powered burner offers more variables to how well, or not well, a boiler may be running than that of a fixed set of burner tubes in an atmospheric boiler.

    The obvious counter to that argument is that the powered burner offers more firing options, but those options are implemented at the whim of the service tech, whomever that may be.

    We Americans tend to keep boilers in operation far longer than we ought to. It seems like if it’s not actively leaking from the heat exchanger or on fire we deem old boilers to be perfectly fine based on nothing other than when we raise the thermostat we get warm radiators.

    Clearly, the people offering informed opinions here are not included in this statement (Steamhead has my unwaivering respect and always will), but while there is certainly a place for conversion burners, my experience is they are far too often sold as cheap options to get a job when a far better long-term solution may be to replace the boiler.
  • JStar JStar @ 9:34 AM
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    Boilers

    So how do you convince a homeowner to remove an 85%+ boiler with a power burner, and install an 82% atmospheric boiler?

    Atmospheric boilers are set up on the whim of the factory assembler. Who do you trust more, your own technician with an analyzer, or a production-line worker with a pneumatic drill?

    If Harper actually works for Burnham, then all he is convincing me to do is to never buy Burnham. This is a very distrubingly sneaky tactic, to come on here and peddle their products. Maybe a phone call to US BOILER will confirm his affiliation?
    - Joe Starosielec
    732-494-4357
    j.star@thatcherhvac.com
    http://thatcherhvac
    http://facebook.com/thatcherhvac


    Guaranteed performance. Guaranteed energy savings.

    Serving all of NJ, NYC, Southern NY State, and eastern PA.
    Consultation anywhere.
    (Formerly "ecuacool")
  • JohnNY JohnNY @ 9:39 AM
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    You can't have it both ways

    If you don't trust the factory to consistently manufacture a boiler to perform at its best, then you can't trust their ratings either.

    Again, the 85% rating on that boiler depends on the performance of that power burner.
  • JStar JStar @ 10:06 AM
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    Ratings

    I don't trust the 82% rating either.

    All I know is from what I see in the field. Atmospheric boilers need just as many adjustments as a power burner. I've almost never fired up an atmospheric boiler and walked away without making adjustments. The excess air and O2% are always way high, and combustion efficiency is way low. And should we even get started on the horrible engineering behind draft hoods? I've seen draft hoods allow massive backdraft without shutting down on safety. Never seen that with a draft control and safety switch.

    I do agree that the most important factor with any boiler is the installation and set-up. We install both wet-based and atmospheric boilers. We all see some horrible work being done by other "experts". Incompetency and ignorance in this field will never go away. All I can do is offer the best solution possible, and not worry about catering to "the next guy". I also completely inform my customers about the future possibilities of needing service from a company other than my own. 90% of them don't see it as an issue. It may be naive, but I have to operate my business as if I will be around forever. I should be the only company servicing my installs for their entire life.
    - Joe Starosielec
    732-494-4357
    j.star@thatcherhvac.com
    http://thatcherhvac
    http://facebook.com/thatcherhvac


    Guaranteed performance. Guaranteed energy savings.

    Serving all of NJ, NYC, Southern NY State, and eastern PA.
    Consultation anywhere.
    (Formerly "ecuacool")
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 11:54 AM
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    There are some boilers we wouldn't convert either

    if the boiler is undersized (just ran into one the other day), grossly oversized, in poor condition, inherently inefficient etc. But most recent wet-base boilers run very well with good conversion burners.

    If we do replace a boiler, especially a steamer, we lean toward a wet-base/power burner unit because of its better thermal efficiency. And we stock parts for the burners we install, so there should not be any servicing issues.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • billtwocase billtwocase @ 9:43 AM
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    very well said Johnny

    No manufacture is exempt from product failure, it is how they deal with and improve is what separates them from the rest. I am among those that want to see a unit be capable of performing for 20 years.I like getting my money's worth out of something, and don't take part in the throw away mind set of today's society. I am a true Yankee. Things should be made to last, and preferably made right here
  • ChrisJ ChrisJ @ 9:49 AM
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    Better or worse

    As a homeowner I didn't interpret what Steamhead said as an insult to Burnham. My opinion was he was saying Burnham isn't necessarily any better than any other brand of boiler.

    My opinion was and still is the person who installs the boiler is far more important than the name on it.
    Weil-McLain EG-45 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. Using Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment to greatly reduce corrosion in the boiler.

    Steam system pictures updated 6/5/14.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#
    This post was edited by an admin on March 9, 2014 9:50 AM.
  • JohnNY JohnNY @ 9:52 AM
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  • JohnNY JohnNY @ 10:14 AM
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    Admittedly a minor point, but..

    ...after hurricane Sandy, I had people temporarily operating their atmospheric boilers off the cigarette lighters in their cars.

    Most power burners draw far too much power to do that.
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