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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    6

    Excessive Fan Noise & Vibration - Burnham Independence PV Steam Boiler

    I am a semi-retired mechanical engineer and a former commercial & industrial boiler consultant. I am currently dealing with a residential client in a very difficult situation and I need your help.

    My client owns the bottom floor of a 3-story condo. Each floor has it's own gas-fired steam boiler located in the basement. Recently, one of the owners of an upper floor condo installed a Burnham Independence PV steam boiler right below my client's bedroom. The boiler was very poorly installed, is extremely noisy and I was called in to investigate and facilitate discussions between the parties on how best to address the excessive noise and vibration. While it initially looked like a horribly sloppy 3" special vent pipe installation was causing all the noise and vibration, that problem has been addressed and it now appears that boiler's induced draft fan is really the true noise and vibration generator. The poorly installed vent pipe was just amplifying, transmitting and disguising the real noise source.

    Other than replacing the brand new induced draft fan with another identical one, is there any adjustment, fix or modification that can be done to alleviate the inducted draft fan noise on this particular Burnham unit? The owner of the boiler is loath to spend another penny on an already costly investment... especially given the terrible, sloppy work by her installer... but the fan noise is still unbearable in the ground floor condo. Any help or advice here to point me in the right direction on a permanent fix would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Dougster
    Last edited by Dougster; 02-26-2007 at 03:03 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    1,213
    You should contact Glenn Stanton - Burnham - manager of training. www.burnham.com
    Last edited by Moose; 02-26-2007 at 04:31 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    You should contact Glenn Stanton - Burnham - manager of training. www.burnham.com
    Thanks Moose, but for right now I'm more interested in any helpful owner or independent installer feedback on this particular unit that might be out there. If not, this whole dispute will need to progress to litigation very quickly. The first floor noise is unbearable and yet the boiler owner doesn't care to spend any more money because she cannot hear anything two floors up... but my client can't call someone in to physically fix it because he doesn't own it. Unless I can pinpoint a simple and specific fix (and it's exact cost) we are all headed to court.

    I did get an opportunity this afternoon to see an Independence PV taken apart and was able to examine (and photograph) the fan housing and components for likely causes of noise and vibration. My best guess is that the fan itself (or fan shaft) is bent or out of balance, not running true and hitting sheet metal. It runs extremely close to the sheet metal on the motor drive side, virtually touching at times... especially when cold. This means it is unlikely that washers or shims could be inserted somehow from the outside to stop the fan from hitting the housing. Very disappointing.

    Dougster

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,109
    Since few of us have heard an Independence PV, (we're mostly dryheads) we can only guess from experience with inducers that replacing the assembly would solve the noise & vibration.

    It would be wise to holler at Glenn just for advice. If he doesn't see this here, leave a message at www.heatinghelp.com on The Wall and he will see it for sure.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    Since few of us have heard an Independence PV, (we're mostly dryheads) we can only guess from experience with inducers that replacing the assembly would solve the noise & vibration. It would be wise to holler at Glenn just for advice. If he doesn't see this here, leave a message at www.heatinghelp.com on The Wall and he will see it for sure.
    Dryheads? Now that's a new one on me. Never heard the term!

    The "PV" is just Burnham's latest "pressure vented" boiler. It uses an induced draft fan and this new stainless steel "special vent" piping (Z-Flex et al) to exit horizontally out the sides of older buildings... often where the existing chimney is not up to snuff for a new code boiler installation. The problem here is clearly the induced draft fan... a real piece of work in my view... and yes, replacing the fan in kind might help for at least a little while (long enough for my client to sell and move!?! ). But I have reason to believe that the boiler is not supported properly, will continue to flex and eventually over time the new fan will make just as much noise as the current fan unless something else changes (e.g., the fan to housing spacing).

    Dougster
    Last edited by Dougster; 02-26-2007 at 06:52 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    79

    Dougster

    The Independence PV "Power Vented" boiler has been out for several years and has been a very dependable boiler. Any noise you may be hearing with the induced draft fan assembly could be a number of things. First lets concentrate on the blower and motor itself.

    The induced draft fans we use are made for us and we do not test run every one before installing them in our equipment. For the most part they are harmonicly balanced as to not cause any noticable noise levels. Because they indeed are made by "humans" they occasionally may encounter human error problems and may need to be changed out.

    We mount these to the boiler canopy with a rather thick gasket that should help dampen any vibration from a squirrel cage in the blower that is not perfectly balanced. This, however, is not the case with the field installed piping on the outgoing side of the blower assembly. We advise checking to see of the pipe is suspended with metal hanger straps to the floor joist and to also check for a good tight fit where the pipe penetrates the wall through a wall thimble to the outdoors. The pipe generally fits loosely in the thimble and may rattle around a little if it isn't sealed up with some high temperature silicone sealant. If metal straps are used, try removing them briefly to see if the sound goes away. If there is a minute misbalance in the fan the straps will tend to accentuate it by creating a sounding board effect through the floor joists to the walls above. If this is the case, rubber bushings under the strap to joist connectection will help tremendously.

    I hope this helps.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by glenn stanton View Post
    The Independence PV "Power Vented" boiler has been out for several years and has been a very dependable boiler. Any noise you may be hearing with the induced draft fan assembly could be a number of things. First lets concentrate on the blower and motor itself.

    The induced draft fans we use are made for us and we do not test run every one before installing them in our equipment. For the most part they are harmonicly balanced as to not cause any noticable noise levels. Because they indeed are made by "humans" they occasionally may encounter human error problems and may need to be changed out.

    We mount these to the boiler canopy with a rather thick gasket that should help dampen any vibration from a squirrel cage in the blower that is not perfectly balanced. This, however, is not the case with the field installed piping on the outgoing side of the blower assembly. We advise checking to see of the pipe is suspended with metal hanger straps to the floor joist and to also check for a good tight fit where the pipe penetrates the wall through a wall thimble to the outdoors. The pipe generally fits loosely in the thimble and may rattle around a little if it isn't sealed up with some high temperature silicone sealant. If metal straps are used, try removing them briefly to see if the sound goes away. If there is a minute misbalance in the fan the straps will tend to accentuate it by creating a sounding board effect through the floor joists to the walls above. If this is the case, rubber bushings under the strap to joist connectection will help tremendously.

    I hope this helps.
    Hi Glenn - Thank you for replying. Everything you have said here rings true. Originally the problem *did* seem to everyone (including my client and the owner) to be a vent pipe installation issue... actually several of them. The vent pipe was not hung in accordance with your installation instructions. Not even close. It was direct (hard) coupled to the 1st floor condo owner's floor boards (not the floor joists) using 2-1/2" electrical conduit clamps and 3/8" rod and rod flanges. It was only supported in 3 places... wrong places, in fact... and all three of those supports pulled loose several times before I was called in. The vent's wall penetration was a sloppy, vibrating mess. The installer should have been ashamed. Even after several service visits to correct at least some of the sloppy work, most of it remained.

    But at this juncture, all of the vent pipe and pipe supports have been replaced, refitted and upgraded. The vent penetration has been fixed. There are now 6 vent pipe supports isolation-mounted to newly installed 2x4's bolted directly to the floor joists. Virtually all vent-induced floor/wall vibration and noise is gone. All that remains is the noise coming from the induced draft fan, amplified by the boiler's sheet metal housing.

    The induced draft fan noise is loudest during cold starts. As the fan heats up, the noise is slowly reduced... apparently due to a widening / opening up gap between the fan itself and the sheet metal housing on the motor side. The cycle starts all over again with the next cold start. The noise during these start-ups is loud enough to awaken anyone on the first floor. Even while playing loud music or watching television, the condo owner can still hear it. The noise becomes a mere background nuisance noise after the fan fully heats up to its normal (high) operating temperature.

    The induced draft fan, fan shaft, fan housing and/or fan motor are clearly to blame. The fan is obviously hitting the sheet metal housing until the shaft heats up and expands enough to form a gap... or at least less of an interference. It would help me most to know if these components are in any way permanently adjustable to increase or otherwise correct fan to motor-side fan housing clearance... or if the remedy must be complete induced draft fan & fan housing replacement. Thank you again for your interest and help.

    Dougster
    Last edited by Dougster; 03-08-2007 at 10:32 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    79

    Induced Draft Fan

    The induced draft fans are only supplied, installed and available to Burnham as complete assemblies from the fan manufacturer. They are covered under the one year parts warranty from original date of installation. The Burnham part numbers are as follows for the blower assembly and related gaskets.

    PINPV-3 and PINPV-4

    Blower Assembly - 6111714
    Blower Gasket (1 required) - 8206048
    Orifice Gasket (2 required) - 8206042

    PINPV-5 and PINPV-6

    Blower Assembly - 6111715
    Blower Gasket (1 required) - 8206049
    Orifice Gasket (2 required) - 8206035

    I hope this helps.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by glenn stanton View Post
    The induced draft fans are only supplied, installed and available to Burnham as complete assemblies from the fan manufacturer. They are covered under the one year parts warranty from original date of installation.
    Thanks Glenn. The offending boiler was installed in the fall of 2005, so it is no longer under warranty. Believe it or not, my client has been suffering with the noise and vibration problem in varying degrees of severity for two full heating seasons now... and the problem is still unresolved. It is not a simple thing to resolve such a problem when the offending boiler is not your own. In my opinion, this type of boiler should never have been installed in this particular application. The proximity of the required boiler location to my client's bedroom and the required vent routing were a disaster waiting to happen.

    I will assume from your reply that the various induced draft fan components are not considered by Burnham to be adjustable for clearances, tolerances, balancing or out-of-round condition and that induced draft fan assembly replacement is indicated.

    Once again, I thank you for your input.

    Dougster

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    79

    Noisy Fan Assembly

    Dougster,

    There really isn't much that can be done to adjust or tweak the fan assembly since it is in an enclosed metal assembly. At this point in time I would ask that you contact me at the e-mail address posted in my profile with your contact information and the jobsite address along with the model and serial number of the boiler. When I receive that info I will put you in touch with our Field Tech Representative who will assist you and the installer in resolving this matter to the best of everyone's satisfaction. I see you are in the Boston area.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by glenn stanton View Post
    Dougster, There really isn't much that can be done to adjust or tweak the fan assembly since it is in an enclosed metal assembly. At this point in time I would ask that you contact me at the e-mail address posted in my profile with your contact information and the jobsite address along with the model and serial number of the boiler. When I receive that info I will put you in touch with our Field Tech Representative who will assist you and the installer in resolving this matter to the best of everyone's satisfaction. I see you are in the Boston area.
    Thanks very much for the offer, but this is where the ownership issue and condo politics really get in the way. This boiler does not belong to me or to my client. Neither of us have any authority to authorize work on it or even access that particular locked area of the building's basement without the owner's key and permission. I will print and pass on copies of your offer to my client and to the boiler's owner along with my written report.

    Dougster

  12. #12
    Hi Guys,

    This post was really helpful for me and I have a follow up question. I have a Burnham PV-3 boiler (#P-203PV-WP1) and I believe that moisture got into the blower and corroded the blower wheel. The whole thing was making a terrible racket and finally died.

    I'm looking for the parts mentioned above ( 6111714 8206048 8206042) and I can't find them any where on the net. Can you recommend a place to find the parts?

    Thanks,

    Dan

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,837
    Quote Originally Posted by DanS View Post
    Hi Guys,

    This post was really helpful for me and I have a follow up question. I have a Burnham PV-3 boiler (#P-203PV-WP1) and I believe that moisture got into the blower and corroded the blower wheel. The whole thing was making a terrible racket and finally died.

    I'm looking for the parts mentioned above ( 6111714 8206048 8206042) and I can't find them any where on the net. Can you recommend a place to find the parts?

    Thanks,

    Dan

    I've kept my mouth shut through this whole thing as it was being handled by true professionals. At this posting, I've got to draw a limit. Professionals do NOT purchase off the internet. We have a good supply chain set up and can get whatever we need through that chain. So Mr. Do it youselfer, go away. If you don't want to call a pro, freeze for all I care. Sorry but I have no use for DIY when it comes to the safety of heating products.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

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