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Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on April 23, 2014

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I don't make the rules here

@ April 2, 2014 12:45 PM in Value of converting oil/steam to modcon gas?

and neither does anyone else in this thread. That's Dan's job. But for those who say they don't want to start another argument or debate, it might be better if they simply avoid posting in threads where that is likely to happen.

Of course if this thread gets too nasty, Dan will likely just pull it like he did last time. That, again, is up to him.

Just sayin'.


@ April 2, 2014 12:28 PM in Need used or cheap commercial steam boiler

do you want to rip out the steam? That would cost them even more money, and you say they're struggling. 

If this is gas, you might look at a Dunkirk D247 or Utica JD series boiler. They're not my favorites, but they do offer lower prices. But you couldn't use that burner with them.

Need more info

@ April 2, 2014 12:16 PM in Webster's the trap

take some pictures of this thing, also the system it's used on and post them here. 

Around here

@ April 1, 2014 11:11 PM in Burnham gas conversion

inspectors don't care as long as the installation meets Code. We have never had an inspector ask whether the conversion burner would have been an OEM option. UL has listed these burners for conversion/upgrade installations as well as OEM use, and Code requires equipment to be UL listed. So do insurance companies.

The installation itself must meet the ANSI Z21.8 standard, with the gas portion meeting NFPA 54 or whichever Code is used for gas in your area. So there are the standards: UL approval, ANSI Z21.8 and the gas code.

For generations, coal-fired boilers and furnasties were converted to burn oil or gas instead of being completely replaced (OK, some of these things should have been replaced instead of converted, but that's another story). So there is more than enough precedent for converting oil-fired boilers to gas. Some of these boilers were made by companies that did not survive the Depression (1929, not 2008) so it would have been impossible to coordinate with their manufacturers. The solution was to establish Codes and standards for the equipment and workmanship, which we still have.

ISTR the auto manufacturers once tried to void their warranties if any non-OEM parts were used on their vehicles. The outcome was that they would have had to prove the non-OEM part caused the failure to deny warranty. I don't have the details on this though, maybe someone out there would know who was involved.

Burnham is basically shooting itself in the foot over this. Most people would react that if they have to buy a new boiler, it won't be a Burnham. That's a shame, since the MegaSteam could have been a real game-changer for them.

The MPO and the W-M Ultra Oil

@ April 1, 2014 8:53 PM in Burnham MPO IQ147 or Weil Mclain WGO3

are both 3-pass boilers, which are much easier to service than pin-type ones, even if a pinner is warm-start. If those two makers were the only ones available, I'd use an MPO or Ultra Oil.

Other good 3-pass boilers are the Biasi and its relatives (Solaia, Tri-Fire etc.) and the Slant/Fin Eutectic.

The most important factor is a proper installation.

Here we go again

@ April 1, 2014 8:40 PM in Burnham gas conversion

There is a certain person who will almost certainly come on here and try to discourage you from converting that boiler.

There is apparently some sort of political situation within Burnham where one or two people in the company are opposed to this. It certainly is not a good business decision, since a gas-fired MegaSteam would sell extremely well. Like it or not, oil heat is circling the drain except in areas with no natural gas, and it makes no sense to tie your best equipment to a declining fuel source.

I can find no technical or safety reason that a modern gas burner like the Carlin EZ-Gas or the Riello would not work in a MegaSteam. If it were mine, I'd convert it.

Smith 8 series boilers

@ April 1, 2014 8:32 PM in To convert or not

run very well with Carlin EZ-Gas burners. Smith actually sold them with these burners.

But you say this is a steam system- is the circulator you mention pumping the Amtrol?

Not a draft hood

@ April 1, 2014 8:30 PM in Draft Hood

a double-swing barometric with blocked-flue switch.

If you're thinking of doing the conversion yourself- don't. This is not a DIY project. Hire a knowledgeable, experienced pro who has the proper equipment to set up a burner.

Especially if your budget is short

@ April 1, 2014 5:52 PM in Value of converting oil/steam to modcon gas?

keep the steam, and either replace the boiler or, if the existing boiler is fairly new and in good shape, install a gas conversion burner in it. There's nothing wrong with steam except to someone trying to sell you a tear-out job.

Where are you located?

First replace the vent

@ April 1, 2014 1:36 PM in Riser Venting damaging ceiling

that's probably a Hoffman #4A, 41 or 43- I can't see the thread size.

Then as NBC says, make sure the boiler pressure is not too high. It should never exceed 2 pounds, and should run on ounces on all but the coldest days of the year.

Not only does higher pressure shorten the lives of vents and other components, but it also wastes fuel. Low pressure is in both your interests.

That company is still in business

@ April 1, 2014 12:09 PM in McDaniel #16 Steam trap

Don't run the boiler

@ March 30, 2014 9:20 PM in what is it? where does it go?

until the new chamber kit is installed. Part of the reason it's there is to keep the flame from overheating the cast-iron at the rear of the boiler. Another part is that it keeps the flame temperature high enough to help prevent sooting. 

In the third pic

@ March 29, 2014 11:12 PM in Help! I have no main vents! + problem radiator

the first elbow is installed wrong. It's a reducing elbow turned on its side, creating a water pocket. A main vent installed there will be hammered to death.

Have it repiped, either with an eccentric reducer or by running the pipe full size to the wall and making the reduction where the pipe turns down toward the floor. While doing this you can add a tee for the main vent.

How long are those steam mains, and what pipe size?

Good place to start

@ March 28, 2014 10:18 PM in Herman Nelson, Trane unit heater sizing

is here:

If you can't find anything else, go by the capacity of the steam pipe feeding the heater.

The problem is the piping

@ March 27, 2014 11:33 PM in Steam problem

it's not high enough to separate the steam from any water trying to leave the boiler along with the steam. Also, each steam main needs its own takeoff from the header.

That looks like a small Peerless boiler. Here's one we installed- see the difference?

How long are those steam mains

@ March 27, 2014 11:18 PM in radiators hissing from vents, one valve shooting water

and what pipe diameter? If you're not sure of the latter, just measure the outside diameter- pipes are designated by inside diameter but we can tell this from the outside diameter.

This info will help us make sure your main vents are properly sized.

Also, please post a better pic of the steam piping directly above the boiler. It doesn't look right, but we would like a better view before getting more specific. This piping is crucial to proper steam production.

There's nothing inside that trap

@ March 27, 2014 5:27 PM in Steam Trap - Kelmac Jr. Retarder ?

because someone removed the element. So for now it's wide open with nothing to keep the steam from reaching the return lines. Check with Tunstall, see if they have a replacement that will fit.

That boiler is a re-branded Dunkirk, and it's not piped correctly by any stretch of the imagination. It needs to be repiped. I'll see if I have some Dunkirk install pics.

South Park?

@ March 27, 2014 9:20 AM in Do you ever get sick of looking

More like Beavis and Butt-head.............


@ March 26, 2014 9:35 PM in 10 PSI versus Maid-O'-Mist

don't put that much pressure on the vents.

Depending on what system you have

@ March 24, 2014 1:08 PM in END OF MAIN AIR VENTS

it might not need F&T traps. Post some pictures. 

Can't go wrong with either one

@ March 24, 2014 12:45 AM in Advice on Oil Boiler Replacement

as long as it's installed properly. That's most important.

I prefer chimney venting since it does not add any moving parts to the job, and you don't need to worry about finding a safe place for a sidewall vent. Definitely line the chimney with a proper stainless steel liner.

Both makers sell gas burners for their boilers.

I would say

@ March 24, 2014 12:33 AM in Want to move from oil to gas boiler. Best way forward?

that at least 70% of boilers we encounter are oversized, some by ridiculous amounts. This is what happens when people guess, or size boilers based on what was there, etc.

Why would you want to buy a boiler that's bigger than you need? It will cost you more to buy, will need bigger gas piping, and cost more to operate. Makes no sense to me.

A heat-loss calculation is not a big deal, now that we have computer programs to do them. Do yourself a favor and have a calculation performed.
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