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How to Clean Gas Boiler Burners - Before beginning boiler maintenance or repair including cleaning the gas boiler burners on any boiler it is important to follow all safety procedures. Turn off the gas to the boiler at the gas cock. This is located on the gas line and turn off the gas valve on the boiler. Additionally turn off the main power to the boiler at the circuit breaker. Never ignore safety procedures when performing maintenance on any type of mechanical or electrical equipment.
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How to Clean Gas Boiler Burners - Maintenance

How to Clean Gas Boiler Burners | HVAC Maintenance

The Burners under this small boiler are round and extend under the boiler

How to Clean Gas Boiler Burners - Periodically it helps to check and clean the gas boiler burners for a couple of reasons. First of all, it ensures the burners are in proper mechanical order. Additionally, that the burner will reliably do the job of properly and evenly burning the gas in the combustion chamber. It also adds life to the gas boiler burners if the burners are properly cleaned. Little things like insects and dust and dirt can be removed. Furthermore, this enhances the combustion process making things more efficient and reliable. Before doing this procedure, consult a professional if there is any doubt. Safety first.

So the benefits of cleaning the burners help keep the boiler running and adds life to the gas boiler system. This article DOES NOT apply to condensing boiler systems and it is recommended that you hire a plumbing or HVAC professional to perform periodic maintenance on condensing boilers as condensing boilers are more complex than the atmospheric boilers referred to in this article. Additionally, Pulse type gas boilers will also require the attention of a trained professional for periodic maintenance.

How to Clean Gas Boiler Burners - Materials

The burners for your atmospheric gas boiler can be round as shown in the photo to the left, ribbon type burners that flat looking, or the cast iron type burners on older boilers which are very rugged and durable and will likely last for the life of the boiler. All these types of burners can use periodic cleaning and maintenance. When I perform maintenance on a gas boiler I remove these burners, clean the gas burners thoroughly, wipe the gas burners down with an oil rag soaked in WD-40, clean the burner box completely, inspect the heat exchanger with a small inspection mirror and a flash light, and replace everything as it was before I disassembled the burners.
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Safety is important especially around gas appliances. If you are uncomfortable working on a gas appliance call a professional to do this work for you. A professional can check other things that need periodic inspection and maintenance.

Standing Pilots

Care should taken with the pilot tube if the gas boiler is standing pilot or if the gas boiler is intermittent pilot electronic ignition. The pilot tube is 1/8 inch and made of aluminum. Care should be taken with the pilot tube not to crimp it as this will cause problems. The pilot burner tube extends from the gas valve and attaches to the pilot burner itself. The pilot burner assembly is attached to one of the burners usually with a couple of machined fine thread screws.

You can use a 7/16″ wrench to loosen the pilot burner tube from the valve. This will free it when the burner is removed so you will not crimp it. It is prudent to clean the pilot burner also while you have it out. You either use compressed air or simply blow on the pilot burner tube to it out and make sure there is nothing that can block the orifice in the pilot burner. That will cause the boiler not to fire so cleaning it is a good thing that adds reliability to the boiler.

How to Clean Gas Boiler Burners - Hot Surface Ignition

Another thing to be aware of is the boilers that use hot surface ignition to light the main burners. A burner that is lit with hot surface ignition will not have a pilot burner tube. The hot surface igniter lights the main burners directly without a pilot light.   It is important that you are very careful with the hot surface igniter. Do not bump it or even touch it as you can break it or damage it. This will result in a service call from a contractor to replace the hot surface igniter. Follow the instructions above about cleaning the burners while being careful not to damage the hot surface igniter. Assemble the burners as they were and you are ready. Ready to test the boiler to make sure it fires and works properly.

How to Clean Gas Boiler Burners Conclusion

Finally, Proper maintenance is important for any mechanical equipment. Especially for a boiler. This keeps it operating efficiently and reliably over the heating season. Proper boiler maintenance including clean the gas boiler burners will help you avoid a cold night or cold day during the winter. That’s the time when you need the boiler the most. I have answered service calls where the boiler failed for things as simple as a spider in the burners. The spider blocked the gas from getting to the igniter or pilot light. Clean the burners and you can avoid these simple problems that can occur during the heating season.

To learn more about HVAC and heating systems use this resource.

How to Clean Gas Boiler Burners

How to Clean Gas Boiler Burners