Renewing 1958 American Standard HW Wood/Coal Boiler

Old 08-14-06, 10:59 AM
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Renewing 1958 American Standard HW Wood/Coal Boiler

Hi all,

I have recently purchased a home with a oil hw system, also plumbed in is a 1958 American Standard cast iron wood/coal boiler. This was used until fairly recently by previous owners and home inspector said it appears in good shape. However, the boiler putty between the sections is cracking and falling out. Do I have to take the sections apart (4 vertical sections) in order to redo the sealing material, any other recommendations on things to check when firing up an older hw boiler?. I'd love to be able to use this boiler as a supplement with the way oil prices are going.

Old 08-14-06, 06:28 PM
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I serioulsly dislike cast-iron sectional boilers and I have never paid much attention to them. If by "boiler putty" you mean some compound that is used to seal the gap between sections on the outside (under the wrapper sheet metal) to seal the combustion gases inside the combustion chamber then yes, it can be replaced. Be forewarned that the existing compound MAY contain asbestos.

It will not be necessary to disassemble the sections to do this, in fact I very strongly urge you to NOT do any disassembly of the sections as it will most likely leak afterwards.

As for things to look for...yeah, leaks and cracks. I would urge you to do a "hydrostatic test" on the boiler. This would entail removing the safety valve and plugging the hole it came from. Using an accurate pressure gauge installed and letting all of the air out of the boiler while filling and then closing it up tight, add more water SLOWLY until the pressure is 1-1/4 times the safety valve setting. Do not exceed this 1-1/4 times pressure as it will severely stress the boiler. Leave this pressure on the boiler while inspecting every single square inch that you can see, looking for even the tiniest of leaks. You may find leaks at the "push nipples" between sections, that is probably not too serious as they will often seal when the boiler is hot. Any leaks anywhere else are serious concerns.

Yeah, I have a few more precautions for you at a later time.
Old 08-14-06, 07:04 PM
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Joint sealant

Other than the part about sectional cast iron boilers, which happen to be my preference, I totally agree with Furd. To seal between the sections you can use kaowool rope. You will need to chink it in using a mallet & wooden wedge (unless you happen to have a chinking chisel).
Old 08-15-06, 04:44 AM
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thanks a lot for the info. These boilers were very common in this area (east coast Canada) and I hope to track down somebody familiar with them to give me a hand in setup and operation.

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