Replace Heat Exchanger vs. New Boiler?

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Old 08-19-15, 08:00 AM
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Replace Heat Exchanger vs. New Boiler?

We have 2 year old boiler that cracked. It was installed by the gas company installer. When they came to inspect, they replaced the whole boiler with zero explanation (an act that led us to believe it was all covered by warranty, but that's a whole other issue...). The final charge for parts and labor was $8,000 and the heat exchanger was covered by warranty in the amount of $850, so we pay $7,150.

Our question is this: On a two year old boiler, why not just replace the heat exchanger? HVAC companies tend to say the cost of replacement is not much different from the new boiler, so you should go with the latter. But when I scan DIY websites, I find that this claim is based on the assumption that the boiler is old and smaller (thus with a price tag that is roughly half of what we paid for ours).

From what I've read, labor for replacing the heat exchanger only should cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 which is still a fraction of what we paid for an entire replacement.

Is it crazy to wonder why this option was not discussed?

Thanks, in advance!
 
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Old 08-19-15, 08:43 AM
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Is it crazy to wonder why this option was not discussed?
Apparently, it wasn't discussed because you didn't ask enough questions or negotiate before they replaced the system.
 
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Old 08-19-15, 09:06 AM
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I'm a believer that home owners shouldn't have to become experts in every related trade to specify every step and oversee all of the work. A reputable contractor should and most often will walk a home owner through all options, AND obtain a signed written agreement stating what is going to be done. If they failed to have you sign an agreement they may have a problem.

As for a 2 year old system, the warrantied part may/should include installation. Replacing it should not include an entire new boiler that you have to pay for. There is a chance they are being reimbursed for the entire boiler from the mfg. In any case the mfg is covering the heat exchanger and should have some wording as to how that gets replaced.

A quick search on NJ and I see they are apparently following the "New Jersey and virtually every jurisdiction in the United States has adopted the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)." from Consumer Rights and the NJ Consumer Fraud Statute.

It may take some careful reading, but here in Maine everything you had done would have been no charge, either covered by the stated mfg warranty or by the implied warranties. Implied warranties extend to 4 years normally and here in Maine the "normal life of a product" can come into play, which for the heat exchanger on a boiler is probably closer to 10 years vs 2.

Now, Maine also provides a very user friendly interruption for implied warranties, which may help in NJ as they both follow the same UCC. I can provide a link for Maine's explanation if you feel it may be relevant.

Clearly there is more going on here, factory recall, or other defect, and they are trying to get you to pay for something that wasn't your fault.

Bud
 
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Old 08-19-15, 09:12 AM
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I'm a believer that home owners shouldn't have to become experts in every related trade to specify every step and oversee all of the work. A reputable contractor should and most often will walk a home owner through all options, AND obtain a signed written agreement stating what is going to be done.
Once again, the book answer ^ is different than the real life answer. Yes, that's the way it should be. Unfortunately, it's not.
 
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Old 08-19-15, 09:33 AM
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We have 2 year old boiler that cracked.
Why did it crack?
The gas company installed that boiler that cracked?
In the paperwork what warranty did they give you? ( I know the heat exchanger is some 10 years....)


When they came to inspect, they replaced the whole boiler with zero explanation (an act that led us to believe it was all covered by warranty, but that's a whole other issue...)
If they get a exchanger under warranty you still need to pay labor. But again what was your original warranty in the paperwork?

Companys 95% of the time will not replace the exchanger. Its more work intensive then installing a new boiler.

What was the make and model of the boiler? ( please answer)

The final charge for parts and labor was $8,000 and the heat exchanger was covered by warranty in the amount of $850, so we pay $7,150.
So basically you paid full cost to install a new boiler.

Our question is this: On a two year old boiler, why not just replace the heat exchanger?
More labor intensive.. Its just not done from my experience in NJ. The company must get paid for thier time..

If it was installed by other plumbing companys in NJ you usually get a bumper to bumper 5 year warranty. You would have not paid the 8K.. I know this because I worked for said companys..


From what I've read, labor for replacing the heat exchanger only should cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 which is still a fraction of what we paid for an entire replacement.
Seems from the price they wrote up a high % on you for the cost of labor and boiler. Again dont know make, model of boiler, but boilers run 2K or less.. ( But I dont know what you have)

I could come cut that old boiler out and have new one in less then 4 hours. Even if you paid me 1K it would still be under 3K im sure..

Only if its a modulating boiler with aluminum or SS exchanger would the exchanger be replaced.. Thats the only time its cost effective..

We will await your reply..

Again why did the exchanger crack? Low water?
 
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Old 08-19-15, 09:38 AM
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Pulpo, my interpretation of consumer laws places that obligation on the seller/service company. When they fail to explain everything and obtain a signed acknowledgment they put themselves at risk. I remember the last vehicle I purchased and all of the "sign here, sign there" papers. We are signing so the seller can say he told us and we understood. No signatures and they can get sued.

Bud
 
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Old 08-19-15, 10:26 AM
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Bud, I'm not arguing that. What I'm saying is that consumers can't depend on those laws, for protection. I don't depend on anyone else for my protection. Yes, in this country anyone can sue anyone but winning a judgment is another story. The only guarantee is more gray hair. I have enough already.
 
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Old 08-19-15, 11:23 AM
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I've invoked Maine's implied warranty laws more than 50 times. Always presented to the merchant with a copy of the law and I've never been denied and never had to go to court. I will admit, none of my losses have involved a $6,000 purchase, but many have been several hundred dollars.

It will be interesting to see the answers to Mike's questions.

Bud
 
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Old 08-19-15, 12:58 PM
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I have never installed a boiler that you didn't have to build in place. I have always ordered them knocked down. Normally takes 8-15 working days. Think we need to know the size of the boiler first.
 
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Old 08-19-15, 04:04 PM
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airman, 8-15 working days for delivery?
 
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Old 08-19-15, 05:40 PM
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I didn't "negotiate" a new boiler, either. That's kinda' the point of the post. :-(
 
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Old 08-19-15, 05:53 PM
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In Response to Mike's Qs

>>Why did it crack?

Still not known. 3 months later, after complaining, we were informed of a $1000 warranty rebate for the exchanger, processed by the supplier. They say Utica did not explain why. Today I sent an email to Utica requesting info.


>>The gas company installed that boiler that cracked? In the paperwork what warranty did they give you? ( I know the heat exchanger is some 10 years....)

Yes, well, they hire a contractor, who purchases boiler form a supplier. Their warranty is 1 year parts/labor. Utica is 10 years on the exchanger only.

>>If they get a exchanger under warranty you still need to pay labor. But again what was your original warranty in the paperwork?

It was in a Utica brochure attached to the boiler. It says 10 years and no labor coverage.

>>Companys 95% of the time will not replace the exchanger. Its more work intensive then installing a new boiler.

I guess the question is: Does that work cost exceed the added cost of the new boiler, which is probably...3-4K?

What was the make and model of the boiler? ( please answer)

Utica PSE-C series. 299,999 BTU.

If it was installed by other plumbing companys in NJ you usually get a bumper to bumper 5 year warranty. You would have not paid the 8K.. I know this because I worked for said companys..


>>I could come cut that old boiler out and have new one in less then 4 hours. Even if you paid me 1K it would still be under 3K im sure..

I have to think it could be done for much less than 5K.

>>Again why did the exchanger crack? Low water?

Not clear. Could be, but the original install included new water regulator.

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-19-15, 06:59 PM
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I'm a warranty buff so I did some digging.
Here is a warranty that may be for your boiler. I say may as I could not find the model you provided.
http://www.ecrinternational.com/secu...ument/3613.pdf

Down near the bottom of that warranty statement it says:

Utica Boilers
LIMITED WARRANTY
Effective 10/1/2014
THIS WARRANTY GIVES THE ORIGINAL RETAIL CUSTOMER ONLY SPECIFIC
LEGAL RIGHTS AND YOU MAY ALSO HAVE OTHER LEGAL RIGHTS
WHICH VARY FROM STATE-TO-STATE

Then:

Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or
consequential damages, or limitations on how long an implied warranty lasts, so the above limitations and exclusions may not apply to you.

Bud
 
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Old 08-19-15, 07:11 PM
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Utica PSE-C series. 299,999 BTU.
Is this steam or hot water baseboard...

I ask because if 300000K boiler it would dictate a 12,000 sq ft home...

Do you have that size home? If not some one did you a severe injustice...

I dont see a PSE series Do you mean PEG series E steam ??/


Let us know....



Oh and read your warranty here......

( I would of had a field day on the gas company and utica.. I would recoop more then 1/2 the money you spent)

But where was the negligence...?? Again auto water feed? Low water cut off failed? Maintenance on your part if no service contract?

Did you have a service plan where they cleaned and maintained the boiler? That may hold them liable... ( In the terms and conditions...)


There are so many variables////.....!!!!


http://www.ecrinternational.com/secu...ument/3613.pdf
 
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Old 08-19-15, 07:34 PM
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>>Is this steam or hot water baseboard...

Steam

>>I ask because if 300000K boiler it would dictate a 12,000 sq ft home... Do you have that size home? If not some one did you a severe injustice...

Maybe both? It's a multi-family with 5, 800 sq. ft apartments, and 2 very small stores of 350 sq. ft each. That's just under 5,000 plus three floors of small hallways??? 7,000 tops?


>>I don't see a PSE series Do you mean PEG series E steam ??/

Yes, sorry.

>>Did you have a service plan where they cleaned and maintained the boiler? That may hold them liable... ( In the terms and conditions...)

No. I drained it approximately every two weeks. A janitors mop bucket worth.
 
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Old 08-19-15, 08:15 PM
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Bud...

Thank you.

So far all I can find is this on incidental costs: Consumer Rights and the NJ Consumer Fraud Statute

"Under Section 12A:2-715, a buyer is entitled to collect incidental and consequential damages if the buyer is sold a substantially impaired product."

But it's vague to me.
 
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Old 08-19-15, 09:11 PM
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Under Section 12A:2-715, a buyer is entitled to collect incidental and consequential damages if the buyer is sold a substantially impaired product. Incidental damages are expenses reasonably incurred in inspection, receipt, transportation and care and cost of goods rightfully rejected...any other reasonable expense incident to delay or other breach. (12A:2-715) Consequential damages include any loss resulting for general or particular requirements, needs of which the seller at the time of the contracting had reason to know of, and injury to person or property approximately resulting from any breach of warranty. (12A:2-715) For example, if you purchase a refrigerator and the refrigerator broke down, incidental damages could be any costs incurred in hauling the refrigerator back to the place of purchase or into storage. Consequential damages would be the value of any food which spoiled in the refrigerator. You would only be able to obtain these incidental consequential damages if you actually went to court.

No way bud... forget about it...

Uticas warranty excludes you.. its clear as day in their warranty...

Yours is commercial anyway... No difference warranty is the same...

It would seem to me like a maintainence issue... The only recourse you have if you can prove its a wide knows defect and file a class action suit to recoup your money...

Per above statue... sry...

You have no maintainance mechanic for that property?





With that said if I had that building you state you have I would have installed two or 3 cascading boilers...
 
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Old 08-19-15, 10:22 PM
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It would have been great to have that option you describe. In the decision two years ago it was February and cold. I wanted to explore options but was outvoted to replace what we had.

In this newer case, it was March and still fairly cold. Thinking it was warranty work, we didn't think about anything different. But again, if I had known we were paying for another new boiler, I would have explored other options.

Utica has given us a $1000 rebate for the exchanger, which sounds to me like they are admitting something?

And I am still wondering: Why not just change the exchanger? Is it really more than 1, 2 or even $5000 to replace the exchange? If that's the part they give you, it has to be reasonably changeable versus an $8000 job.

And no, no maintenance mechanic. Finding help has been a nightmare.
 
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Old 08-20-15, 05:17 AM
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skaggsje no just to install. Build sections, put on skin, new bolt and gasket kits, any piping modifications, wire, add emergency cut off etc etc
 
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Old 08-20-15, 07:09 AM
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Installation of New Boiler Timing

I'm intrigued by the 8-15 day conversation. Our first replacement two years ago took two days. It was disassembled because it otherwise wouldn't fit in the entry of the basement. It was a team of 2-3 guys on the boiler. Another team did a complete re-venting in a new location. But the boiler was almost an exact replica, installed into the same space, with all the same major pipes.

In this replacement, I did not see how many guys. But it was a day. And it was an exact replica. No major pipe replacement.

An 8-15 day job must include new piping and all kinds of other goodies?
 
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Old 08-20-15, 08:02 AM
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Im on the commercial end of things. I can't even remember quoting a boiler less than 800,000 output. Knowing the input output will kinda tell us how big and how long the install should take. Of course if they are knocked down it will take longer. I'm quoting a 10,000 gallon water heater that ways 18,000 pounds at the moment for a concrete plant.
 
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