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Rusted boiler? Steel vs Cast Iron

Bruce StevensBruce Stevens Member Posts: 133
Was it flake rust or was it crusty and if white with I would assume a leak, but hard tellin without seein.

Comments

  • Bob OCBob OC Member Posts: 1
    Rusted boiler? Steel vs Cast Iron

    My 1993 Trianco boiler (oil) just clogged up with soot and shut down. It was vacuumed out just 6 or 7 months ago. The heating tech vacuumed it out & now it's running fine. However he said I need to replace the boiler because it's rusting out with water leaking into the fire box and this is causing the excess soot. He showed me a spot 1/4" in diameter in one of the tubes that was rusty and some of the removable baffle pieces that insert into the steel tubes had surface rust on them. Otherwise I could see no dripping or oozing water. I called in another technician who ran an efficiency test, said it was running fine (80% efficiency which he said was normal), and that the cause of the excess soot was insufficient air in the room (it's in a 9'x12' utility room with washer/dryer) and that I needed to install a Beckett fresh air boot which would bring in outside air.

    Which tech is more likely to be right? I live in Pennsylvania in a 4 bedroom, 1 & 1/2 bath split-level house and use the boiler for heat (copper baseboard) and hot water with an external indirect tank.

    Also, the 1st tech strongly recommended a cast iron Weil-McLane boiler as replacement because cast iron was more durable, didn't rust out, and retained heat longer than steel. The 2nd tech strongly recommended that if I wanted to replace a boiler I should use a steel (New Yorker Micro Tek3) boiler since it heated up quicker, was more efficient, and that you should only use cast iron with natural gas heat since it burned at a lower temperature than oil.

    Assuming I have to replce the boiler, how to choose? Thanks for any input.
  • Tom HopkinsTom Hopkins Member Posts: 539
    The

    2nd is probably correct.On the other hand a 14 year old Trianco is probably not long for this world and a triple pass boiler would pay for itself in short order.The design is more important than whether the boiler is steel or cast iron.I'd much rather have a scotch marine type steel boiler than a pin type cast iron.
    Dynatherm and Thermodynamics both make nice horizontal steel boilers and are PA based.Just about every domestic CI mfgr. sells a 3 pass boiler and the Euro's are nice too.
    Find an installer and get his opinion.

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  • LeoLeo Member Posts: 767
    If it never

    If it never sooted before and NOTHING HAS CHANGED I might rule out insufficient combustion air. If you have added any kind of fan, new dryer, or tightened the room there could be a problem. Trianco doesn't have as long a life as other models. Given such drastic differences in opinion I would get a third opinion and see which two are close. It is hard from here not seeing the system.
    Good luck to you,
    Leo
  • jim_57jim_57 Member Posts: 41


    Has anyone pressure tested the boiler? A pressure test should show if there is a leak. During the non-heating season you would only have to sacrifice domestic hot water and not worry about heat. Cast iron and steel only corrode if there is a water leak allowing fresh makeup water into the system. Is there any warranty on the boiler?
  • Paul B._2Paul B._2 Member Posts: 62
    Trianco Oil Boilers

    > My 1993 Trianco boiler (oil) just clogged up with

    > soot and shut down. It was vacuumed out just 6

    > or 7 months ago. The heating tech vacuumed it

    > out & now it's running fine. However he said I

    > need to replace the boiler because it's rusting

    > out with water leaking into the fire box and this

    > is causing the excess soot. He showed me a spot

    > 1/4" in diameter in one of the tubes that was

    > rusty and some of the removable baffle pieces

    > that insert into the steel tubes had surface rust

    > on them. Otherwise I could see no dripping or

    > oozing water. I called in another technician who

    > ran an efficiency test, said it was running fine

    > (80% efficiency which he said was normal), and

    > that the cause of the excess soot was

    > insufficient air in the room (it's in a 9'x12'

    > utility room with washer/dryer) and that I needed

    > to install a Beckett fresh air boot which would

    > bring in outside air.

    >

    > Which tech is more

    > likely to be right? I live in Pennsylvania in a

    > 4 bedroom, 1 & 1/2 bath split-level house and use

    > the boiler for heat (copper baseboard) and hot

    > water with an external indirect tank.

    >

    > Also,

    > the 1st tech strongly recommended a cast iron

    > Weil-McLane boiler as replacement because cast

    > iron was more durable, didn't rust out, and

    > retained heat longer than steel. The 2nd tech

    > strongly recommended that if I wanted to replace

    > a boiler I should use a steel (New Yorker Micro

    > Tek3) boiler since it heated up quicker, was more

    > efficient, and that you should only use cast iron

    > with natural gas heat since it burned at a lower

    > temperature than oil.

    >

    > Assuming I have to

    > replce the boiler, how to choose? Thanks for any

    > input.



    Hi Bob,

    Call me at 603-335-6300 x 562, between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm Eastern time.

    Have the Trianco model and serial number handy when you call. I can at least look and see if you have any warranty left on that product.

    Sincerely,

    Paul Bock,
    Applications Engineer,
    Laars Heating Systems Co.
  • Ken_40Ken_40 Member Posts: 1,320
    The question is...

    Is the boiler rusty, or leaking!

    All boilers, even cast iron "rust." Slight surface discoloration looking rust is NORMAL! Heavy scaling and rust "scabs" could also be "nromal." Water visible inside a boiler near oron rust stains is also "normal."

    ALL boilers condense, causing water condensation and surface rust internally when going from ambient to 135F - which happens virtually every time the boiler fires, but does NOT mean there's a leak, only a minimally detrimental event that is caused by basic science and combustion in general.

    When the boiler is opened, a light on the scab/leak area and a mirror or eyeball exam done, one could detect a leak - as opposed to the natural events of operation. Rust is NOT the criteria. Visible water coming from a point while the boiler is under a few pounds of static water pressure is!

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