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When to replace residential boiler?
How do I know when to replace my boiler?
I have a small house (my mother's home, not mine) on
Cape Cod with an oil-fired forced hot water heating
system. The boiler, installed in 1983, is a Burnham Model RS 111 (manufactured from 1981 until 1998)
which provides both heat and hot water...
When I bought this 2-bedroom Cape-style house in
1997, I put a new roof on and insulated the attic for the
first time (with proper ventilation, to prevent ice dams).
I also checked to ensure that the walls were adequately
insulated (they were). Then I had a local oil service
guy come around and give the heating system a
thorough inspection. He told me I had a fairly cheap
boiler which, because it is steel (not cast iron) only has
a lifespan of 15-20 years. As a result, I've been thinking
I should replace it this Fall (or next Spring, at the latest).
But I just spoke with Burnham and they told me these
units have a lifspan of 20-25 years! Since my unit is
only 19 years old, and its still working well, I now think
I may not need to replace it for a few more years.
Since my elderly mother lives there, I don't want to wait
until it stops working altogether on some cold wintry
day. How will I know when its time has come?
Furthermore, the oil tank (which dates back to when the
house was constructed in 1949) is not in very good
shape... rust is taking its toll and I worry that I could
have a major leak in 5-10 more years. So I was
thinking of removing the oil tank and having natural gas
piping installed... using gas heat and hot water would
also allow me to install a gas kitchen stove... which I
prefer to electric.
1. How do I know when I need to replace the boiler?
2. Should I get cast iron for longevity?
3. Should I switch to a traditional tank-style gas hot
water heater or what?
4. What other points should I consider?
All my years in college haven't prepared me for
life as a homeowner!