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Gas problem with a Burnham Holiday boiler.

Dear masterplumbertom,

Four years ago I bought a great home in NJ (07506) built in 1960. The Burnham Holiday is set up with zones for hot water base board heating. There is a separate hot water heater.

Just had a frightening event.

The boiler has a constant on pilot light with no thermocouple for safety.

Recently the pilot light went out, the thermostats were calling for heat and the main gas valve was open for hours.

Luckily the bulk of the gas vented outside through the chimney.

Is there a safe way to add the safety of a thermocouple that would break the circuit to open the main gas valve without major rework?

Thank you,

Please send me pictures of the gas valve and pilot, Yes replacing the gas valve with a new one will solve the problem, 

Thanks for asking me to take pictures. Once I got in there, I saw there is a thermocouple (White Rodgers Automatic Pilot type: 30A48-5) on the side of the  White Rodgers Gas Valve type: 25D46-206. The small copper line runs from the pilot light to the gas valve.

It never occurred to the two geniuses from PSE&G that the thermocouple failed...  Duh!  The pilot light is out and there's gas RUSHING through the valve coming in from the street.  Decided to share the pics anyway.  Please don't be offended with my labeling the pics.   

Regards, and I appreciate your quick response...

burnham_gas_valve          burnham_pilot_light          old_burnham_gas_valve
Wait Sir, Replacing the thermocouple will not solve your problem. The thermocouple holds an electromagnet valve in the gas valve open. When the thermocouple fails the electromagnet valve closes preventing the gas valve from releasing any gas. This means that your gas valve (the one with the button on top is defective and needs to be replaced. If only the thermocouple failed you simply would not have any  

heat, you would not have any gas going to the burners, Don't use this boiler til you get it fixed, it is very dangerous.

A simple 24 volt standing pilot gas valve will replace the gas valve and the regulator above it with one small unit. see example.


This may not be a perfect fit for your boiler but I wanted you to see the type of valve I am talking about.

Many thanks.  Got it!  If the thermocouple went bad, or the pilot light went out.... the gate should have closed and cut off the gas.

Since the gas remained on... either the circuit did not cut or the valve was stuck. 

While my wife and I exchange this word when one of us does something extraordinary to help the other... I have been authorized to dub YOU our HERO tonight. 

Amazing to find an experienced honest person... on the internet, no less.  Too bad you're not in NJ. 

The good news is that I have a service contract on the boiler.  Just need to tell them what to bring. 

My sincerest thanks!  Anywhere I can post something to a website promoting what you do? 

Truly Grateful, 


You are welcome, I'm not aware of any place to post good news about people and websites, Maybe I will create a website for people to do that. Thank you for using The 24/7 Help Line.

Thomas Petito Reardon.