tankless coil in boiler

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Old 11-14-11, 02:37 PM
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Question boiler and tankless coil

I have a boiler / oil burner (steam radiators) that has a tankless coil in the boiler for the domestic water. I have luke warm water, and I believe I need to have the coil cleaned due to hard water. It needs that every 5 years or so. And it is pretty expensive.

Question - is it OK to not clean the coil and do nothing? Will I have less of an oil bill because I have low water temperature? (Note, bringing up the house heat keeps the domestic water hot enough for a shower.)
 
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Old 11-14-11, 04:49 PM
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Hiya Net!

If you can handle the lukewarm water, then there's no 'harm' in not cleaning the coil, but the controls that are on the boiler will still fire the boiler up to keep the water inside the boiler at the same temperature regardless of the coil being pluggish (new word, it's a Jersey thing, we can make up words as we please!). So, no, no fuel saving there.
 
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Old 11-23-11, 10:38 AM
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Sounds like your boiler is on cold start and needs to be on stand by so boiler is always hot enough to supply your D.H.W. needs.
 
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Old 11-30-11, 01:47 PM
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Question tankless coil in boiler

Does any of the below sound right? To clean a coil is just a matter of flushing the system with a solution and not opening the coil to scrape it?

A service has priced cleaning the tankless coil in my boiler (steam radiators and oil burner). They will flush the coil with a citric acid solution. They say there has to be a second valve added (I believe for the hot water pipe - there already is one for another pipe). They had estimated $100 to $125 for the cleaning. When they arrived they almost doubled the cost to $185 for adding the valve. Overall it is about 30 minutes of work, the person doing the work is not a licensed plumber but trained by a plumber who owns the company/ The price seems high for a half hour (they live less than a mile away). They started out when I made the appointment threatening to charge me $85 if I sent the worker away, which when the price was nearly doubled I did. Now they want to negotiate.

My oil company separately says they will clean the coil for $150 and says I do not need another valve, anyone doing that is out to make more money (the pipe seems like it was cut when they did this about 5 years ago).

What should I do?
 
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Old 11-30-11, 02:59 PM
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Hey Mouse,
I'd tell those characters to stuff their lemon juice where the sun don't shine.

Peter
 

Last edited by NJT; 11-30-11 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 11-30-11, 03:28 PM
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I would look at the coil and find the gallons per. minunit flow use a container and measure the flow to see if it needs to be cleaned.If the coil is piped correctly it will have a shutoff and sediment valve on each pipe hot and cold so coil can be back flushed. That is the way i like to do it.
 
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Old 11-30-11, 04:50 PM
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I dunno... that price don't seem all that far off base... he's gonna start his truck which runs on gasoline or diesel, he's gonna bring in his pump to circulate the acid... he's gonna cut in a new valve, so he needs to drag his torch in... he's gonna bring in a container of acid... hook all his stuff up, circulate the acid to clean the coil for a while... when he's done he'll unhook all that stuff, lug it back to the truck... come back in, flush the coil with fresh water... button it all up... ask you how it's working now... get back in his truck that runs on petrol products... then, at the end of the week, he's gonna get his paycheck which includes benefits paid by his employer... his employer will pay his taxes and insurance and rent and heating bills and fill up the trucks... and pay the installment loan on the pump he used... and maybe when all is said and done, he and his employees will be able to support their families...

Think about it, there's a lot of overhead involved in running a bizz... and getting worse every day! ESPECIALLY in NJ !

After all, the job is kinda dangerous in a way... strong acid under pressure... who wants to handle acid?

Don't mind me, I'm just sayin'...

measure the flow to see if it needs to be cleaned
Saves, wouldn't the fact that there's not enough hot enough water coming out be a good enough indicator that it needs to be cleaned?
 

Last edited by NJT; 11-30-11 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 11-30-11, 05:04 PM
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sure wasn't o.j. i flushed with,hydrochloric acid.kick you backward if mixed with hot water.stuff worked great for toilet bowels to as advertised. sometimes coils need flow restrictor or coil boil.agree valves should be left in
 
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Old 11-30-11, 05:21 PM
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Yeah, you know all them environmental activists and occupational safety people... they don't like nasty stuff like hydrochloric... citric is basically non-toxic... still an acid of course... I betcha some of that nasty old toilet bowl cleaner stuff would work in a coil too... that crystal kind they used to sell... that stunk bad.... I bet that was hydrochloric actually!
 
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Old 11-30-11, 05:27 PM
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Trooper it was not stated that there was a lack of hot water .I took it to mean a preventive maintenance step.
 
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Old 11-30-11, 05:44 PM
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SMS ? Short Memory Syndrome ?

I merged the thread 'net started a couple weeks ago to jog your brainiac... read from the beginning, you'll remember!

Even so, there's a good possibility that the coil could be limed up enough to kill the heat transfer, yet still flow nearly the right amount... and not all coils have the flow restrictors in them.

By the way 'net, when continuing a discussion, please find the old thread ... it helps if we have the 'history'!
 
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Old 11-30-11, 06:17 PM
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This was inside my indirect HWH and it did kill the heat transfer taking 4 to 5 x as long to heat the water
before

after cleaning
 
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Old 11-30-11, 07:05 PM
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Ok Folks,
Are we getting the inside of the coil cleaned or the outside or both???

Agree NJT the overall price may be ok.

It's just that quoting $100-125 and all of a sudden it goes up to $185 because they didn't forsee a missing valve, should not come at a threat of billing $85 for doing nothing. That is just plain wrong.
The option should be for the customer to decide if can afford the 185 in light of the new situation or not.

Peter
 
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Old 11-30-11, 07:29 PM
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I agree at todays prices that is not bad. The outside should not need cleaned. If it does you have much bigger problems like adding too much fresh water to your system. If adding that much water save your money for cleaning the coil toward a new boiler as it is also failing. Usually just the inside needs cleaned. Water softener would stop that coil from cleaning mess.
Most companies do not do it any more. When I was a tech we stopped. The place we had to take it to recycle/dispose of it would not take less than 5 gallon. It would take months to get 5 gallons. Than the local municipality said we could not keep more than 1 gallon on hand for more than 30 days. Many companies today just replace the coil or add an indirect which makes much more sense.
 
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Old 11-30-11, 07:51 PM
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Are we getting the inside of the coil cleaned or the outside or both???
Well... the inside of a tankless coil... and the outside of a coil in an indirect... whichever side the potable water is on... is what needs cleaned.

should not come at a threat of billing $85 for doing nothing
Yeah, I guess I can see the point...

At one shop I've been associated with on the return material authorization form it plainly says that if NO FAULT IS FOUND, the customer would be charged a $250 'service fee'... and the instruments are returned. Occasionally they balk, for the same basic reason... "WHAT? FOR DOING NOTHING!"

It's not exactly the same situation of course, but still, the reason we charged that was because of the time spent. (and it might surprise you to know how many NFF instruments came in!)

If a tech rolls on a call and ends up spending say an hour... and the HO doesn't go for it for whatever reason, they are out the bucks. Lost time that they could have been making money.

There was a time when install contractors would do free heat loss analysis, before a contract was signed... I doubt you would find one now that would do that... they either charge for the 'service', or back it out after a signed contract.

Sadly, it's all about the economics... damn money!
 
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Old 12-01-11, 10:45 AM
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NJ Trooper - you are great - always on the money with a great memory. It must by our NJ air.

The service co. is less than a mile away (at the end of my street) so no fuel or time cost really. If I were to negotiate the cleaning to the lower end, $100 (for an 11 year old Weill McClean that had the coil cleaned once before), and add to that the valve install, done by a non-plumber, what should a new valve install cost in NJ? It's not like the call is only for adding a valve. It is another 5 minutes added on to the cleaning call. The part only costs a few dollars wholesale.

I get it that a company should make a profit and there is overhead. I just want to be sure it is reasonable. It is a crazy economy and I'm unemployed, so ever penny counts for me, too.

Update: the oil company did the free thing under my service contract - looked at the boiler, saw it was set to 130 and upped the setting to 160. The problem he said was that it was set too low and the domestic water would only kick-in to heat up at a too low temperature. That made a difference it seems. My trick, which may confuse things, is that I turn up the heat before a shower and I get enough hot water that way. The water did seem a hotter longer at my last shower. He said the coil should still be cleaned and he himself has it done by a plumber every 2 years. So it sounds like a good maintenance practice, and done before a problem is evident.

The oil company guy also said that I would not burn and waste oil at this higher temperature - a concern of mine. I said I was thinking about getting an electric water heater and turning the boiler off in summer - he said not a good idea as it is not good for the boiler and I wouldn't really save much on oil anyway. I read somewhere something about that this brand is not made for a cold start, like turning it off when heat not needed.
 
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Old 12-01-11, 06:08 PM
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Hey thanks 'Net! I can't forget a Jersey Girl! You kiddin' me? the AIR? wheeze, cough, gag, ... yeah maybe yer right!

saw it was set to 130 and upped the setting to 160.
Well... yeah... that's a quick fix... but I hope you've got temperature controlled shower valves... because you get hit with 160 watta and yer gonna be hurtin!

I've got a few things to say here... about your 'oil guy'... but I gotta git for a while... laterz.
 
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Old 12-06-11, 05:37 AM
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Follow-up. The hot water seems really really hot. Maybe over hot? What temp should it be set to for domestic water? Above I mention the technician increased to temp to 160 so the domestic water would kick in to heat up at 130. (He felt the temp kicked in at too low a temp and was why I had lukewarm water. What exactly was set - just the domestic or the water in the boiler itself?
 
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Old 12-06-11, 06:45 AM
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What model control do you have and what are th ecurrent settings? There should be three. High limit, low limit and differential.
 
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Old 12-06-11, 03:35 PM
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What exactly was set - just the domestic or the water in the boiler itself?
He probably jacked the setting on your aquastat which controls the 'keep warm' of your boiler.

[I just noticed from the first post in this thread that it's a STEAM system... so there is probably a control aquastat mounted on the side of the boiler, a gray box probably]

Why he felt it necessary to go right from 130 to 160 is a mystery. Why wouldn't he try 140 first? and show you how to adjust it while he was there?

Turn it down to 140 before you get burnt.

guy also said that I would not burn and waste oil at this higher temperature -
Total BS. How can you NOT burn more oil by keeping the boiler 30 hotter? When I drive my old truck, if I go 60 instead of 40, I don't burn any more gas... believe that?

he said not a good idea as it is not good for the boiler and I wouldn't really save much on oil anyway.
Again... how could you NOT save on oil? Don't forget that his company is in the business of selling what? Oil? hmmmm... do I sense a conflict of interest here?

I read somewhere something about that this brand is not made for a cold start, like turning it off when heat not needed.
Well... that's open for debate. I don't recall if you've ever told us what make/model boiler you have?

Did we ask you to post pics in another thread at some point? Did you?
 
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Old 12-12-11, 03:54 PM
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UPDATE: Well, here is what I did. Talk about surprises. I was frightened off by the lone guy doing the coil cleaning so I made an appointment for later this week with the oil company for no better reason than I knew if anything went wrong, they would make good on it. Then this morning another lone guy with a big "Coil Cleaning" on the side of the van and a phone number pulled up for the house across the street. I later talked to the neighbor and this is the second time they've used this guy and like him, telling me the cost. I called and the actual owner who also does the work called me back. I immediately liked him. He told me straight out what the cost was for cleaning and said, before I asked, what the price is if 1 or if 2 valves are needed - I need 1. He had several other appointments today besides my neighbor and was not free until the end of the week. So he is real busy which is a good sign. So he will do the job for me, and at less cost than the others. It sure beats the over priced oil company. And it sure beats the other lone guy who nearly doubled the price when his worker showed up (and threatened me with an $85 service charge if I sent him away). No wonder this new guy gets so much business. TRUST and a fixed, reasonable price list that is clear up front. Now that is a good business model.
 
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