Boiler gas control problem

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by exlibris, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. exlibris

    exlibris New Member

    Sep 3, 2009

    Last February my Burnham Series 2A boiler quit working. I went through the diagnostics and determined that it was a bad gas control valve. When I took off the unit a number of small silver metal flakes fell out. I tapped it against my bench and even more came out, so I vacuumed inside of the unit to get any more that were there, re-installed, and it worked for a few days. Then it quit for good. I replaced it with a IN3-IN6 (VR8204C3007) purchased from pexsuppy,com, and the unit worked flawlessly for the rest of the Minnesota winter, which seemed to last until June.

    A few days ago I started up the boiler for the season, and it worked for about three days and then quit with the same symptom: pilot lights, but the main burner does not. There is voltage on the MV-MV/PV terminals. And once again there were silver metal flakes in the unit. I tried clearing it again, but no luck- the main burner does not fire.

    I guess I will order another replacement, but am wondering if it is just bad luck that this one died too, or if there is something wrong with my gas lines or connections, which is creating these silver flakes and clogging the gas control unit.

    As background, two years ago I swapped out my whole gas system. I moved up to a high pressure line, running through flexible copper from the meter to a Maxitol regulator. From there it hits a black pipe manifold I wrenched together. After the manifold there is another couple of feet of copper tubing which joins a few feet of black pipe from the original configuration. There is a trap in this hard pipe, just before the boiler, where I would think that metal filings would land if they were being generated up stream.

    I hate the thought of buying another $100 gas control if it too is going to fail. And I am very curious as to what these silver metalic bits are... and whether they are the actual cause of my problem. At first I though they were just thread filings from when I built the manifold, but some of them seem to be flat, like it is the lining from inside a pipe. or like it is solder flakes (but there are no brazed or soldered joints in the system).

    If anyone has any insight, I would be grateful for advice. I would be happy to send photos. Also, I should mention that I did pull a permit on the job and the city plumbing inspector checked off on the work / materials. This was a big DIY job for a person who had never worked with gas before, but it was lots of fun. Hopefully I did not botch anything too bad on the pressure switchover and I am just looking a fluke double failure of the control unit. Temps in Minnesota are getting down into the 20s, but my wood stove an another gas fireplace should keep us alive until I figure this out!


    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
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