Oil Boiler does not provide enough hot water, help!

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Old 01-22-12, 04:23 PM
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Oil Boiler does not provide enough hot water, help!

So I have an oil boiler in my house (both very old, constructed in the 1950s) that is not providing enough hot water to all the bathrooms in the house. The heating works fine but the hot water comes out for a few minutes and immediately goes cold.

The boiler is still running when I go down and check. I was looking into some guides on the internet and believe it may be the "expansion tank" that is the problem. It seems as though there is almost no water in it. There is mostly air (I checked by knocking on the tank and it has a hollow sound). However, the air has nowhere to go. As a result, the hot water cannot go into it.

What can I do to fix it without replacing the expansion tank? Or if I have to, what are some alternatives or ways I can go about fixing this?

Is this an easy fix? Thank you all so much for your time!
 
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Old 01-22-12, 04:37 PM
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I don't think your problem is the expansion tank.

Is your domestic water heater in a stand-alone tank or supplied by a coil inside the boiler? How long has this problem been going on?

We need photos of your system.
 
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Old 01-22-12, 05:11 PM
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Wow thank you so much for the quick reply!

I'm not a 100% sure whether it is a stand-alone or supplied by coil. I believe it is a stand-alone tank based on the pictures online. And the problem has been going on for 7-8 months.

This is a link to an album of pictures:
Boiler Problem - Imgur

This is a link to the pictures you can navigate through by pressing right:
Boiler Problem - Imgur


Thank you so much again for your time!
 
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Old 01-22-12, 05:23 PM
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OK, those are good closeups. Now back up and show us some pix of the whole system so we can see how things are connected.
 
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Old 01-22-12, 06:00 PM
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This is the best I could do. The room that contains the boiler is VERY small, just slightly bigger than the boiler itself.

Here is the album again:
Boiler Problem (whole) - Imgur

And here are the individual pictures:
Boiler Problem (whole) - Imgur

Thank you!
 
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Old 01-22-12, 07:51 PM
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You have a tankless coil. It is located inside the boiler behind that plate that also has the two temperature controllers, picture number four.

Most likely that coil is almost completely clogged with calcium (lime) deposits. Do you also have a flow problem on the hot water, significantly less than the cold?

In my opinion a tankless coil is the second worst method to provide domestic hot water ever devised, the first being an open kettle on a wood-burning kitchen range. NJ Trooper calls them thankless coils. They are horribly inefficient and drag down the overall efficiency of the space heating system.

Sometimes the coil can be internally cleaned with a (relatively) mild acid but it takes specialized equipment to do. I rather doubt that a replacement coil is available for your boiler with it being so old.

Do you have any room to install a tank away from the boiler? If so, then you have options which include an "indirect" water heater that connects to the boiler but is far more efficient than the current coil. Or you could install a tank that requires gas, oil or electricity as the heating source. My last recommendation would be an instantaneous (gas-fired) water heater, some models may be mounted outdoors.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by "Furd

You have a tankless coil. It is located inside the boiler behind that plate that also has the two temperature controllers, picture number four.

Most likely that coil is almost completely clogged with calcium (lime) deposits. Do you also have a flow problem on the hot water, significantly less than the cold?

In my opinion a tankless coil is the second worst method to provide domestic hot water ever devised, the first being an open kettle on a wood-burning kitchen range. NJ Trooper calls them thankless coils. They are horribly inefficient and drag down the overall efficiency of the space heating system.

Sometimes the coil can be internally cleaned with a (relatively) mild acid but it takes specialized equipment to do. I rather doubt that a replacement coil is available for your boiler with it being so old.

Do you have any room to install a tank away from the boiler? If so, then you have options which include an "indirect" water heater that connects to the boiler but is far more efficient than the current coil. Or you could install a tank that requires gas, oil or electricity as the heating source. My last recommendation would be an instantaneous (gas-fired) water heater, some models may be mounted outdoors.

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...#ixzz1kHmkYLFu
I have a tankless coil system in my boiler that is no longer used (but is present). The previous owner had an electric hotwater tank installed and a valve installed to turn off the coil from the domestic hotwater circuit. When I asked about it (before buying the house), he had mentioned that they replaced the coil once because it clogged up, and then replaced it again for the same issues.
I would like to be using the boiler for domestic hotwater during the winter months (when the boiler is running) and switch to the electric hotwater tank during the summer. Definately going to watch this thread as there is a lot of good info coming out.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 07:08 AM
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As a homeowner I would do anything not to use tankless for my hotwater. I disabled mine and went electric and never looked back. I wouldn't spend the money to try to keep it running nor would I want to utilize it in any way.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 10:48 AM
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Ditto +1! I wouldn't put any more money into that old beast.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 05:41 PM
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my eyes aren't great but thoes limits look low and with 3 cirs. could that be a problem ?also pressure a touch high?
 
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Old 01-23-12, 06:01 PM
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Picture #1 worries me. Something is causing a lot of heat on that boiler jacket. I would suspect a problem with the combustion chamber.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 06:20 PM
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your right and i wouldn't want to dig it out,no clean-up tickets? still limits?
 
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