When is it time to pull the plug on a boiler?

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Old 01-19-16, 09:46 AM
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When is it time to pull the plug on a boiler?

Hi folks,
I have a 20 year old Dunkirk natural gas boiler. Last year I spent $500 on a new control box ( I believe that's what it's called, opens/closes the gas valves) and now need to spend $550 on replacing the electrical box which commands the circ pump on/off. Another year, another big cheque. Given its age, should I replace this summer? Given the terrible state of the Canadian dollar ( need to buy in USA) my estimate for a combi with hit water heater, is around $5000.
Thoughts? Can I get 30 years out of this boiler or time to pull there plug?
Thanks. James
 
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Old 01-19-16, 10:16 AM
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If it's just the controls that are failing, then you don't need a new boiler. Controls can (and do) break down on the newer boilers just as do on 20-year-old boilers.

It sounds to me that you are probably paying big bucks for labor. Post a picture of the unit that needs replacing and let's see if we can save you some $$.
 
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Old 01-19-16, 02:04 PM
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Ok thanks, just reading up on how to post pictures... Is it really this complicated?
 
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Old 01-19-16, 02:15 PM
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I worked with boilers for more than thirty years and anyplace I worked a 20 year-old boiler would have been referred to as the "new" boiler.

Posting pictures is not complicated although there are several steps that need to be taken. OR, you can host the pictures on a photo-hosting site such as photobucket.com and then paste the public URLs here. Just don't use "tinypic" as the forum rejects it due to some inappropriate pictures once making into the forum.
 
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Old 01-19-16, 03:13 PM
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If it isn't leaking do not replace boiler. Around New York we pay $150 hour for labor. A one zone circulator relay is $50. SR501-4 - Taco SR501-4 - 1 Zone Switching Relay

Replacing the relay is basic electrical work, no adjustments. Two wires for thermostat, two for 120 AC power and two for circulator
 
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Old 01-19-16, 06:13 PM
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Thanks for the info guys. I'm getting quoted in CDN dollars $399 plus $150 for labor. The part is a Honeywell Aquastat Relay, type L8148A. 120 vac, full load 7.4.
Why is this 8x the price of that Taco relay?
Thanks James
 
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Old 01-19-16, 06:50 PM
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Old 01-20-16, 05:31 AM
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The Taco zone relay ONLY controls the circulating pump from the room thermostat. The aquastat controls the burner in the boiler to maintain a certain temperature as well as the circulating pump via the room thermostat. In other words, the aquastat is considerably more complex than the zone relay.

That stated, you don't have to use a Honeywell aquastat, there are other manufacturers (White-Rogers is one) that have similar products. Honeywell IS generally higher priced than its competitors.
 
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Old 01-20-16, 07:46 AM
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Part of the problem here was calling something a relay when it was something more. Here is a link with L8184 picture and $132 price. It is easy to install. Turn of 120VAC power, disconnect 4 wires, loosen two clamp screws, pull L8184 out and then install new one. 30 minutes for first timers.

L8148A1017 - Honeywell L8148A1017 - High Limit Horizontal Mount Aquastat Relay, 8F differential

I am not promoting that link. They are just an easy source of pictures and prices.
 

Last edited by doughess; 01-20-16 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 01-20-16, 07:57 AM
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In post#1 you say you already replaced the aquastat last year. Do you trust this company?
 
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Old 01-20-16, 08:10 AM
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I don't recall exactly what aspect of these aquastats gives out (resulting in the chattering of the contacts) but I've purchased "re-manufactured" ones from Sid Harvey for less than $75.00 (retail) in the past.
 
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Old 01-20-16, 09:12 AM
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Ok thanks so much for all those that replied. Lots of useful you've all given me.

On another point, my HVAC guy wired the circ pump to stay on 24/7 as the faulty Aquastat Relay prevented it from coming on at all. My question is this, since he wasn't sure if the pump was continuous duty or not, you guys think it OK to run the pump 24/7 until new Aquastat Relay comes in? Because it's running 24/7!
 
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Old 01-20-16, 09:15 AM
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Last year I replaced a different control box. It was also a Honeywell but I was told commanded the valves in the boiler to open/close. This boiler doesn't have a pilot light running all the time. Do I trust this guy? I think so, but finding boiler guys period in my area is difficult.
 
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Old 01-20-16, 10:02 AM
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Some systems, many decades ago, did have the circulator run 24/7 with no ill effects other than a higher than necessary electrical bill.

So-call "remanufactured" or "rebuilt" controls rarely have UL (or any other NRTL) certification. That might make a difference to your insurance company.
 
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