Pilot light problem on Burnham boiler (standing pilot light)


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Old 10-24-13, 06:39 PM
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Pilot light problem on Burnham boiler (standing pilot light)

I have a 1983 Burnham gas boiler with a standing pilot + thermocouple.

The thermocouple seems to work. That is, I can stop depressing the knob in PILOT position, and the pilot stays lit--if the thermocouple has been heated for 40 seconds and is glowing. But then I notice a problem that may be cause for concern...

Now, I set the thermostat call for heat. The main burner fires up nicely. But if I turn the knob all the way to ON, the pilot light shuts off completely. I can only get it to re-light if I back away from the ON position just slightly.

1. My concern is that the pilot light will not be on the NEXT TIME that the house calls for heat--and that I could end up shooting the main gas into the home. (And, of course, if I force the pilot light to stay on, then I worry that it will leak gas if it blows out).

2. Here is another BIG concern. I just noticed that once the pilot is lit--I can set the knob to OFF, and the pilot stays on. Of course, it wasn't like this all winter. It was fully off. But now, I wonder if it was only off because of the thermocouple safety!

Please consider calling me on this one (phone number [removed] below). I am very tempted to shut down heat to the house and replace the entire pilot solenoid assembly. But hopefully, it is a minor issue and someone has seen this problem before (?)

--GarMont, [phone number removed, please read the forum posting rules - NJT moderator]
 

Last edited by NJT; 10-24-13 at 08:22 PM.
  #2  
Old 10-25-13, 10:15 AM
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With all due respect, this sounds like something that a tech should be looking at.

When you turn the knob on the gas valve to OFF, it should go OFF, no questions asked.

In my opinion, replacing a gas valve is not something a DIYer without ADVANCED skills should attempt. Yeah, I know, it's a piece of cake... famous last words...

But, only you know your own limitations, so consider carefully what you want to attempt to do yourself.
 
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Old 10-25-13, 04:09 PM
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I am very tempted to shut down heat to the house and replace the entire pilot solenoid assembly.
In my experience, the pilot control is an integral part of modern gas valves - there are exceptions, but not I think for a 1983 unit - and they are not considered replaceable, at least not by us mere mortals. A boiler's gas valve is akin to a Swiss watch or a carburetor for a Ferrari - and they are essentially sealed. New, replacement gas valves aren't all that expensive. In the meantime, your setup is potentially dangerous. Immediately shut the manual valve ahead of the boiler's gas valve.
 
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Old 10-25-13, 05:31 PM
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In the meantime, your setup is potentially dangerous. Immediately shut the manual valve ahead of the boiler's gas valve.
Yes, that boiler is officially "Cyber Red-Tagged".
 
 

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