Coming from four generations of Oswald heating specialists, I was excited to see a well maintained Burnham boiler, when my wife & I bought our first family home in upstate New York. Burnham’s V8 4-section oil-fired water boiler generously heated the 50-year-old, 1400 sq. ft. house along with providing hot water for the two bathrooms and kitchen. Let’s keep in mind that the house had been vacant for a number of years prior to our taking occupancy.
While tankless coils are a commonplace feature for these workhorse boilers, I was on the fence about using a domestic coil for our hot water system. How much money would we be wasting on oil during the summer months to run the entire boiler just for hot water? Since the coil was already in place, I decided to go ahead with the tankless coil and it seemed to work just fine in January and February. We never ran out of hot water, which was a major plus in keeping my 8-month pregnant wife comfortable...happy wife, happy life!
I noticed in March, however, that the water level in the boiler was rising and the safety valve was leaking when the boiler turned on. We discovered a pinhole in the coil which caused the domestic waterline to leak into the boiler sections, ultimately flooding the boiler. Since the house had been unoccupied for a few years prior to our moving in, the copper pipes were starting to stress under the renewed flow of water in the system.
To make matters worse, it wasn’t just the coil that was leaking. Pipes all over the basement started spraying water through pinhole leaks. This was the result of hard well-water with no water conditioning or filtration system, along with standing water sitting in pipes for the last few years.
With some guidance from Team Oswald, I decided to replace the factory-installed 4GPM coil with a 6GPM Burnham Tankless Coil from Diversified Heat Transfer. The capacity upgrade would ensure plenty of hot water for my growing family, even if we needed to add a bathroom! FYI, most boilers, like Weil Mclain, Smith, and Slantfin to name a few, can accommodate a tankless coil.
The installation was simple. We drained the boiler, removed the old coil, popped in the larger Burnham coil and we were up and running in no time at all. To err on the side of caution, I installed a water softener and water filter at the beginning of the water line coming into the house.
After installing an Indirect Water Heater to make the coil more efficient, I was keeping my family warm with an efficient and effective heating system during the cold months and operating a 24/7 water heating system for far less money than operating a separate thermal heating and water heating system in the house.
At Oswald Supply, we sell replacement coils for all manufacturers on our site, including Peerless tankless coils, Weil Mclain, Smith, Slantfin, Burnham and more. My name is Robert Oswald, and I look forward to sharing more heating insights on our new blog. Feel free to comment or respond with any topics or questions you’d like me to cover.
*This blog is intended for informational purposes and as a common-sense guide for home-owners and heating professionals. Before you undertake any repairs or maintenance, please consult with a trained licensed professional for product selections and installation techniques.