Burner-OUT : How Old Do You Think I Am?

Is it burner out?  Let’s see…Do you want to guess my age?  People usually say 40 years, sometimes 50, and those young punks say 20, like that’s supposed to be old!  Actually, I’m 5.  Shocking, right?  So, how come I look like I blew up?

For those of you who are new to the world of getting your heating appliance serviced, I’m here to tell you from unfortunate experience, what it looks like when you don’t.  

What’s Changed?

I was factory installed in 2015, as part of a project to bring hot water heating to my homeowners in West Vancouver.  On that day, I was shiny, bright new silver.  My body was perfect – uniform and trim, perfectly aligned with rings as crisp as any.  Now, I’m sort of slumped over. I have a large hole in my side. I’m misshapen, and the worst part is that anytime someone touches me, a few more bits crumble off.  Even in my current job as an admittedly sub-standard, waterless flower vase, I continue to flake and disintegrate at an alarming rate.  If anyone knocks me to the floor I’m finished.

What am I?

If you haven’t guessed yet, I am a burner from a natural gas boiler.  Every year my owners should have had the entire heating appliance serviced as recommended and supported by Fortis BC with their appliance service grants.  My former owner would have saved $50 this year.  Instead his bill was in the thousands as years of neglect meant an early end to the life of the entire boiler cabinet.  Cleaning the burner (me!) is one of the important steps that are completed while performing this annual maintenance.  

What should you do?

It’s important to be aware that not all annual service providers are created equal.  The equipment necessary to check for an efficient air to gas burn ratio (a combustion analyzer) and measure the proper gas pressure (a manometer) are expensive to buy and have to be re-calibrated every year.  The company providing this equipment to every technician, for every service demonstrates a passion for both the environment and the safety of my homeowner which I would have appreciated benefiting from!  

Your Environment and Safety

Yes, I said environment and safety.  You would think that the only risk to the homeowner who doesn’t faithfully book this annual service was the risk of carbon build-up and component destruction: The truth is, it goes much further.  Did you know that when I’m burning improperly it results in fuel not being properly burned fully, causing higher consumption and pollution into our atmosphere?  Not only that, but the emissions from a poorly calibrated heating system mean higher levels of carbon monoxide in the flu vent. That leads to such a high risk of household danger that if I hadn’t blown up, I would have been ‘red-tagged’ and shut down in accordance with the BC Gas Safety Branch safety requirements.

High Danger Signs

  • Pilot light outages and/or yellow or wavering burner flame 
  • Continuous or intermittent odor 
  • Booming noises upon start-up 
  • Dying house plants 
  • Condensation on the inside of the windows   

The Favour

Do us both a favour.  Do your burner, ignition module and spark igniters a favour.  Do your family and the earth a favour.  Get your system checked this year, and every year.