Boiler just died


  #1  
Old 12-30-06, 06:31 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Boiler just died

I bought this home a month ago and the boiler just died....it was burnham 170K BTU . I had a heating company take a look...they said it was going to cost me $5500 to replace the unit.

Do you guys think this is a fair price? are there any cheaper brands out there? I read somewhere that the most of the houses have larger capacity units than needed. Would it be safe to downsize? How does one calculate what size boiler one needs?

thanks!
 

Last edited by christy123; 12-30-06 at 07:22 PM.
  #2  
Old 12-30-06, 06:52 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: usa
Posts: 839
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
heatloss

You can go to www.slantfin.com and use their heatloss software to calculate your home's heatloss and gain. That will give you a good idea on the size of the boiler you will need. If the contractor doesn't offer to do a heatloss, don't use him.

Cost? Worry about finding someone who is honest and professional. You will save *nothing* buying a cheap boiler over a good one by the time labor, markups and other costs are figured in. Stay with a good brand! Burnham makes good boilers. Biasi, Buderus, Crown, Viesmann (sp?), Ponsetti also come to mind. There's a good price spread amongst those brands, but they are good. No one can give you a price without seeing the job. How much is being done? How many zones; are they circulators or zone valves? Is the contractor replacing everything in the system, or just doing a wham-bang swap out???? Find a GOOD contractor. That's the key.

Pete
 
  #3  
Old 12-30-06, 07:30 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
The above quote is for a simple swap...it is one zone system with no circulators or zone valves ....
 

Last edited by DIYaddict; 01-09-07 at 09:50 PM. Reason: quote removed
  #4  
Old 12-30-06, 07:37 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: usa
Posts: 839
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
swap out

It's hard to say regarding the price. The quality of the contractor is a main concern. Personally, I'd go over to heatinghelp.com and look for a heating professional in your area. Cost is hard nut to crack. Hacks sometimes charge as much as good professionals.

Are you planning on dumping the house in a year or two? Cheapest price would be having someone grab a cheapy off the floor at HomeDepot and dropping it in for you. But, you're going to get what you pay for! If you go for "cheap", make sure the guy at least pulls a permit and does it legal!

Most boilers are oversized; especially if any new windows
or insulation were added since it was installed. Who's going to handle warranties or failures down the road? Those are all things to consider for the long haul.
 

Last edited by radioconnection; 12-30-06 at 07:58 PM.
  #5  
Old 12-30-06, 07:58 PM
Who's Avatar
Who
Who is offline
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: San Jose
Posts: 2,066
Upvotes: 0
Received 2 Upvotes on 1 Post
Okay

What fuel and what boiler was it that they were going to sell you? Are you in a high rent neighborhood? Let's start there and we can give opinions on the quote but be objective about this.
 
  #6  
Old 12-30-06, 08:10 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
it was burnham 170 K BTU ...i believe model 407....I am in Rhode Island...and the neighborhood is high rent for the state but nothing like Boston or NYC..runs on Gas
 

Last edited by DIYaddict; 01-09-07 at 09:50 PM. Reason: quote removed
  #7  
Old 12-30-06, 08:16 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 12,682
Received 41 Upvotes on 39 Posts
Boiler Died

What do you mean by "died". About the only thing which would justify an emergency replacement is a hole in the boiler. The Slant Fin calculation is good but if you have steam heat the boiler has to be sized to match the existing radiation unless you plan on eliminating some of it.
 
  #8  
Old 12-30-06, 08:23 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
you are right!...there is hole in the boiller...it is sort of bowed out....the water cutoff system failed and the boiler cooked itself....

yes i do have steam heat and the radiators are old.... I believe the home inspector told me that house had 2 pipe system... Do you guys think this is a good time to switch to waterbased heating using the current radiators?
 

Last edited by DIYaddict; 01-09-07 at 09:51 PM. Reason: quote removed
  #9  
Old 12-30-06, 08:34 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: usa
Posts: 839
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
suggestion

i'd go to that website I mentioned and enter your zipcode under the find a professional section. Steam heating is a real art. You want someone who is well-versed in the field, with a lot of experience. I see a few guys listed near Providence who mention steam heating on their websites. It wouldn't hurt to get a get estimates and talk to a few different pros to get some idea what you need and where you're at.
 
  #10  
Old 12-30-06, 08:46 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 12,682
Received 41 Upvotes on 39 Posts
New Boiler

I hope you are not dealing with a home warranty situation.
 
  #11  
Old 12-30-06, 09:02 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
radioconnection,

will call and get some more quotes
 

Last edited by DIYaddict; 01-09-07 at 09:51 PM. Reason: quote removed
  #12  
Old 12-30-06, 09:12 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
IS placing radiator valves a good idea?
 
  #13  
Old 12-30-06, 10:17 PM
HVAC-EMT's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: The Berkshires
Posts: 152
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Question How big is the hole? Can it be fixed?

The price sounds reasonable to me. Did they give you any specifics (make, model, efficiency, literature?). Will they be replacing it with the same model? Your homeowners insurance may cover some or all of the replacement cost, depending on your coverage. Are there rebates from the gas co.? How much? What is the time frame? Do you have an alternate heat source? Was the LWCO being flushed regularly? Is the new one going to have a probe type LWCO? Did they do a heat load? Did they say they would? In a steam system, the boiler should be sized according to the radiator output, not neccessarily the house load. Do they know this? Does this company service what they sell? If they don't, they might not know about problems they may cause by installing them wrong. I reccomend having the boiler put up on blocks, even if they are only a couple inches high. This could reduce the likelyhood of flooding or moisture on the floor affecting the boiler and it's performance.
How big is the hole? I've fixed steam boilers that had leaks in them. It's a gamble, but it could work. Today I had one that started as a pin hole leak that wasn't detected for months, if not years because the boiler was hot all the time to make hot water off the tankless coil, so the water evaporated before it got to the floor. Eventually, the bolt that held the boiler sections together rusted out and broke. The boiler worked it's way apart and sprung a big leak at the push nipples between the sections. So what I did was told the customer that the boiler should be replaced, but after hearing that they were in no shape to pay for a new boiler, I suggested trying to fix it. I went and bought some "boiler liquid", stainless steel threaded rod, nuts, and lock washers. I pulled the old bolt out and inserted the threaded rod, tightened the nuts and lock washers onto it, cranking it as tight as I could. This pulled the sections together, slowing the leak to a trickle. I then got the boiler up to temp where it was just about to make steam. I pulled the relief valve off and poured the entire contents of the bottle of boiler liquid into the hole the relif valve was in, and reinstalled the relief valve with several wraps of teflon tape. I then turned the boiler on with the thermostat turned way up. I added water to the boiler till it was up into the pipes, but not in the radiators. I then turned the pressure-trol all the way up to 9 PSI so that the boiler wouldn't shut off unless the pressure exceeded 9 PSI. Within about 5 minutes, it went from a steady stream running down the outside of the boiler, to just barely a trickle. About 20 minutes later, just steam was coming out. I let it run like that for several hours, then turned the pressure back down to about 2 PSI. All the leaks had stopped, so I drained the system down to the normal operating level and adjusted the pressure down to 1/2 PSI. I will check it again in a week or so. Customer was thrilled to get a bill for $300 instead of $5-7K. Now if this is a big leak inside the boiler, just replace it. If it is a small leak though, you may want to consider this option. If this is not an option though, Converting to forced hot water may be an option to consider at this time. I highly reccomend looking into the Buderus wall hung boiler for this application. Bigger rebates are usually available for condensing boilers.
http://www.buderus.net/Default.aspx?tabid=874&cid=26&spid=89&ctitle=wall%20hung%20model
It is fully condensing with an outdoor reset control with a fully modulating ceramic burner and continuous circulation. This means that instead of cycling on and off with extreme fluxuations in radiator temps, they will stay a constant temperature only changing if the demand increases or decreases. If you were to go with a different HW boiler, you would want constant circulation with outdoor reset (such as the Logamatic control) or a primary/secondary injection system to prevent shocking the boiler (going from 180 degree's to 80 degree's so quick, it cracks the boiler). I don't know any of the contractors down that way, but some of the distributors are listed here:
http://www.buderus.net/WheretoBuy/tabid/841/Default.aspx
They may be able to help you find a contractor near you that is reputable. One down side is that converting to a circulating hot water system will be considerably more in the short term. If too many leaks are found in the system, it might make more sense to just remove all the radiators and install either baseboard or panel radiators.
http://www.buderus.net/Default.aspx?tabid=920&cid=14&ctitle=multi-purpose
If you have only one floor above an unfinished basement, this will be easy. If you have more floors, getting the piping up to them may be a little more complicated, unless you don't mind opening up some walls and ceilings or floors. If you really want to go all out, radiant heat is the most comfortable and efficient method of heating.
http://www.viega-na.com/shell1.asp?pageId=5
Unfortunately everything comes with a price tag. How much are you willing to spend? Are you living in this house or renting it out? Are you paying for the gas, or is someone else? You could easily spend $50K or more if you got all the bells and whistles (heated towel warmers, radiant snowmelting with a snow sensor, radiant heat in every room each with their own thermostat, top of the line boiler, heat recovery ventilator, etc...)
So many decisions!!! So, how big is the hole?

Tom
 
  #14  
Old 12-30-06, 10:56 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
I dont know how big the hole is but when I opened the water valve , all the water came down through the floor and collected on the floor...the boiler base seemed to be bowing out....

they said that they will just replace the boiler with same make/model/capacity.. didnt say anything about testing....i didnt ask either...but because he said that he will just replace the unit...i doubt if they would do any testing....

I have owned the house for one month and during this month it was flushed atleast twice....heating tech said that inside of the LWCo has completely frozen,....he said that the previous owner probably didnt flush it regularly.

Does home insurance cover the boilers?..didnt know that but would be great if they did.

i cant spend too much on heating....i may not live in the house for more than 3-4 years...
 
  #15  
Old 12-30-06, 10:59 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
when you talk of rebates...do you mean energy star rebates....? Also does buderus make good steam heat boilers?
 
  #16  
Old 12-31-06, 05:08 AM
X
Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 2,338
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Steam is a different animal than hot water. You need to find a good steam guy who knows how to pipe steam and most importantly size the boiler to the radiation.

You might be a candidate for some new vents. All the more reason to find someone good who can honestly assess the situation.

The new Burnham Megasteam boiler runs at about 86% AFUE and is highly regarded. http://www.burnham.com/megasteam/index.htm

Steam to hot water conversions have a lot of potential issues and I wouldn't go that route in a crisis, especially since a very high-efficiency, high-quality steam boiler is available. Takes more thought, evaluation and planning.
 
  #17  
Old 12-31-06, 08:13 AM
HVAC-EMT's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: The Berkshires
Posts: 152
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Lightbulb insurance

Insurance companies will often cover boiler replacement if it is verified that the problem was due to failure of the LWCO. I'll let you know more later.
 
  #18  
Old 12-31-06, 11:25 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by HVAC-EMT
Insurance companies will often cover boiler replacement if it is verified that the problem was due to failure of the LWCO. I'll let you know more later.

that is a great.....thank you
 
  #19  
Old 12-31-06, 11:27 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
xiphias,

yes..steam boiler looks like is way to go ..I am not in a position to put to much money into this house. may not live in the house for more than 3-4 years.
 

Last edited by DIYaddict; 01-09-07 at 09:52 PM. Reason: quote removed
  #20  
Old 12-31-06, 05:24 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
http://www.burnham.com/megasteam/index.ht....


this one seems to be an oil based boiler .i have gas based eating in the house... Can you recommend a comparable boiler that work with gas?
 
  #21  
Old 12-31-06, 05:32 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 12,682
Received 41 Upvotes on 39 Posts
Gas/steam boiler

You might want to look at Burnham's Independence or Independence PV boilers.
 
  #22  
Old 12-31-06, 08:22 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Can steam heat be zoned?
 

Last edited by christy123; 12-31-06 at 08:45 PM.
  #23  
Old 12-31-06, 11:00 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
would I be able to do the heat loss calculations myself or only pros can do it....by the way the link for heat loss software in a previous post isnt working....are there any other sites that offer heat loss calculations.
 
  #24  
Old 12-31-06, 11:11 PM
HVAC-EMT's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: The Berkshires
Posts: 152
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Buderus doesn't offer steam boilers

Originally Posted by christy123
when you talk of rebates...do you mean energy star rebates....? Also does buderus make good steam heat boilers?
Steam heat isn't used in Europe. Buderus is in Germany. Warehouse in NH.
Yes, energy star rebates.
 
  #25  
Old 12-31-06, 11:36 PM
HVAC-EMT's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: The Berkshires
Posts: 152
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
zoned steam

Steam can be zoned, but at a very high price. I've only seen steam zone valves in very expensive houses. Adjustable vents is a much cheaper alternative. I reccomend Heat-Timer Varivalve adjustable radiator vents. They are a little pricier than most at $25-$40 each (depending where you buy them), but well worth the investment because I have never seen them fail like most will, and they work very well with a large maximum opening. They are very quiet, and can be closed to almost eliminate heat in rooms where none is needed. I'm not sure if they can be used in a 2-pipe steam system though. If the new boiler has an intermittant pilot (instead of a standing pilot) it will likely be eligible for an energy star rebate. Unfortunately, gas fired steam boilers don't get much more than 82% efficiency at best. Call your insurance co tuesday morning to find out about coverage.
 
  #26  
Old 01-01-07, 12:04 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
I called the insurance company. csr entered the claim and told me that someone will contact on tuesday...dont know if it will work but atleast didnt get rejected outrightly.

In my state rebate is just $200 for e star rated systems.

found the valves u mentioned http://www.pexsupply.com/product_dtl.asp?pID=3840&brand=Varivalve&cID=362

$18 a piece
 
  #27  
Old 01-01-07, 12:10 AM
HVAC-EMT's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: The Berkshires
Posts: 152
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Thumbs up Excellent price! I thought $25 was a good deal!

Originally Posted by christy123
I called the insurance company. csr entered the claim and told me that someone will contact on tuesday...dont know if it will work but atleast didnt get rejected outrightly.

In my state rebate is just $200 for e star rated systems.

found the valves u mentioned http://www.pexsupply.com/product_dtl.asp?pID=3840&brand=Varivalve&cID=362

$18 a piece
That is definately cheaper than I have ever paid for them. $15.49 each when purchasing 10 at a time!
 
  #28  
Old 01-04-07, 10:39 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Looks like the insurance company is going to cover the replacement minus the deductible. Guy said I would need to send in the receipt. Is that common? What am i going to do..not install the boiler?
 
  #29  
Old 01-04-07, 10:48 PM
Ed Imeduc's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Mountain Williams Missouri
Posts: 17,505
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
Wink

For sure get 3 bids for a new boiler.
 
  #30  
Old 01-05-07, 09:36 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
I had a guy who works for the heating company offer me to install the boiler for $800. Would it be safe? Would it void warranties?
 
  #31  
Old 01-05-07, 11:14 PM
Who's Avatar
Who
Who is offline
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: San Jose
Posts: 2,066
Upvotes: 0
Received 2 Upvotes on 1 Post
install a boiler that you'll buy, he'll buy or will fall off a truck?
 
  #32  
Old 01-06-07, 05:53 AM
X
Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 2,338
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Beware the hack.

Get three bids. ***Check their references!!*** Make sure they will size the boiler correctly.

You pay for wasted fuel from an oversized boiler for the rest of its life.

You pay for a poor or incorrect install typically by hiring the guy you should have hired the first time to come make it right.

Been there. Done that. Don't make the same mistake.
 
  #33  
Old 01-08-07, 07:52 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
So what is the correct way to get the correct sized boiler for steam heat. I heard "heat loss calculations" are for "water heat" heat only
 

Last edited by DIYaddict; 01-09-07 at 09:53 PM. Reason: quote removed
  #34  
Old 01-08-07, 08:12 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: usa
Posts: 839
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
sizing

For steam the boiler is sized to the existing radiation in the house.
 
  #35  
Old 01-08-07, 08:15 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by radioconnection
For steam the boiler is sized to the existing radiation in the house.
Could you please explain that......

I had a guy look at the house. he did some calculations and then suggested to get the same capacity boiler as the current boiler.

I just want to double check before i get the boiler installed/
 
  #36  
Old 01-08-07, 08:22 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: usa
Posts: 839
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
radiation

The contractor will walk through every room and measure all of the radiators and size the boiler accordingly. That is the only way a steam system will work properly. What he suggested probably means the original boiler was sized properly to begin with.
 
  #37  
Old 01-08-07, 08:53 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
He did walk through all the rooms and took measurements....he made his calculations based on the meausrements...
 

Last edited by DIYaddict; 01-09-07 at 09:54 PM. Reason: quote removed
  #38  
Old 01-08-07, 09:01 PM
HVAC-EMT's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: The Berkshires
Posts: 152
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Smile Picking a contractor

Originally Posted by radioconnection
The contractor will walk through every room and measure all of the radiators and size the boiler accordingly. That is the only way a steam system will work properly. What he suggested probably means the original boiler was sized properly to begin with.
Get several estimates. The cheapest isn't always the best. Make sure that you pick someone who measures all the radiators height and depth of each section, counts how many tubes in each section, and counts how many sections in each radiator. Weil-McLain makes a great radiation calculator booklet, but I can't put my hands on it right now. I've found that what often happens when this is not done, is that the contractor will just look at the tag on the boiler to see what the btu output is and either match it or put in a boiler that is 10-15% bigger just to make sure it is big enough. 15 years later, this cycle will repeat, and an even bigger boiler will go in. By doing the calculations required, I've actually put in a boiler that is half the size of the one I replaced. The only "complaint" I had was that the radiators didn't get as hot as they had before. Previously the old boiler would overshoot the setting on the thermostat, and the radiators would get hot and cold. With the new boiler, on warmer days (40's-50's) the radiators would only get hot on the first few sections before the thermostat satisfied. The only time the radiators got hot all the way across was when the temp outside was -20F. This gave the customer more even heat, and after getting used to the change (and cheaper gas bill), they were quite happy. By properly sizing the boiler, you will also save $$$ in efficiency. Oh, don't set back your thermostats more than a few degree's when it is very cold out because it will take a while to catch up on the coldest days. Also, make sure they give you a quote and contract to review before committing. How long will they take? What kind of warrantee does the boiler have? What components are included? Is it a standing pilot or intermittant ignition? Is an automatic damper included to prevent the heat from going up the chimney when the boiler is off? Will they put the boiler up on blocks (all boilers should be put up on blocks to prevent damage in the event of a flood)? I reccomend 4x8x16's, but you should have it up at least an inch off the floor. Is a Hartford loop going to be installed? Etc...
 
  #39  
Old 01-08-07, 09:15 PM
Who's Avatar
Who
Who is offline
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: San Jose
Posts: 2,066
Upvotes: 0
Received 2 Upvotes on 1 Post
EDR is the term used for that. I wouldn't hesitate to ask him the EDR. Make a note of it. You might want to learn how to do it yourself, to be sure. That way you know that they know what they're doing.
 
  #40  
Old 01-08-07, 09:54 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: RI
Posts: 145
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
The guy measured the room sizes but i didnt see him measures the radiators height and depth of each section... I have talked to atleast 7 people so far over the phone and two at the house...except this one guy who did the measurements( but eneded up recommending no changes) no one did even mention measuring edr...

i think it is easier and safer to recommend the same or higher capacity boiler. That is why i would like to learn myself to be doubly sure.
 

Last edited by christy123; 01-14-07 at 08:12 PM.
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: