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Mod-Con Longevity

Bob Sweet
Bob Sweet Member Posts: 540
TT's boiler have a few in. Please give the parameters by which you designate "high head/high flow versus the R&D people who design these boilers.

At a certain point you have to go by what the manuf. requires for flow, correct? Or do you know something more than this?

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  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928

    Mod-cons have now been in use in North America for long enough and would [seem] to now be common enough that we [should] be able to have some very good ideas regarding their general serviceability.

    Not one hour before this post was made I was thinking, "I need to ask. Have there been any wholesale mod-con failures not due to bad water or unusual manufacturing defect? Didn't many of the first generation condensing warm air furnaces have a fantastic and rapid HX failure rate?"

    I recall extremely few posts regarding mod-con HX failures.

    I remember a spurt of draft inducer failures in early versions of one particular line, but the mfgr. changed design and [seems] to have made good regarding replacement and almost no complaints here for well over a year.

    Many fine mechanics will resist change to "new" things until they are at least reasonably proven. Not only do they want to protect their reputation for quality but they want to give the best possible value to their customers.

    There should be more than a handful approaching ten years of service by now and I'd wager that most of them were well installed and well applied.

    Significant fuel reduction is rightly assumed if mfgr. installation instructions are followed and the emitters aren't constipated. Fantastic (50+-%), well documented cases of fuel reduction abound for replacements in systems with cast iron radiation.

    How long must we wait before mod-cons become the STANDARD--both in replacement and new residential and light commercial construction?

  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    \"if mfgr. installation instructions are followed\"

    It's nice to dream, isn't it? But hacked-in mod-cons, like any other equipment, will continue to cause problems. Remember the Days Inn in Ocean City, MD?

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  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,658
    Too Early...

    Most mod-cons have only been on the market for 5 years or less in N. America. It's too soon to tell if the aluminum HX will hold up to closed loop applications. Or if the 316SS has less problems. We've found that the Vitodens is very easy to service and clean. Other contractors report their brands work well, if cleaned yearly.

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  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928

    Installing according to mfgr. instructions is a dream?

    Even though I've [mainly] only seen and worked on older systems, I've yet to find one that wasn't originally installed fairly well. It's the stupid add-ons like a fin baseboard zone to an original gravity system that [seem] to cause most of the problems and I'd be willing to water that such add-ons were done by people who had ZERO business ever touching a hydronic heating system. The piping might be beautiful but they didn't seem to have a clue about what they were actually doing with regards to heating a structure in an efficient, balanced manner...

    Every time I study my old books and textbooks, I'm amazed at both the basic understanding of physics and MATH that the BASIC residential technicians HAD to comprehend before they could even have a prayer of producing a reasonbly functioning system--let alone before even considering for apprenticeship.

    High freaking time for U.S. to again value fine mechanics!
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928
    Days Inn, Ocean City, MD

    Didn't people die there?
  • Leo G_101
    Leo G_101 Member Posts: 87
    have had 3

    munch's develop pin-hole leaks in their heat exchanger. the oldest 5 years. all installed not to spec. 2 horrible, the youngest not bad. but we do have a major problem in this area with our NG. it seems that we are getting far more particulate dropping out of the condensate then normal and it seems that some portion of it is ferrous.

    I am now recommending to our customers a bi-yearly check. for new installs, for the moment, i am again offering standard boilers as an option. have a feeling, things are gonna get very messy here in the next 5-7 years regarding mod/con installs. aside from the gas issue, it seems that most who install around here have no desire to service!

    L. G.
  • Home Depot Employee
    Home Depot Employee Member Posts: 329

    A high head/High flow circ on small tube heat exh and of course you will have leaks.

    Come on guys, we all know the effects of excessive velocity on tubing, ht exh's are any different?

    Only a matter of time!

    Will anyone ever challenge the Triangle Tube design?
  • eluv8
    eluv8 Member Posts: 174
    triangle tube design

    I am courious, challenge triangle tube design on what? They are the only ones using that style heat exchanger that I know of, and I have had no problems with them as of yet and very little head loss. I installed several knights and noticed some build up almost like sand welded to the heat exchanger tubes. Serviced some munchkins with the same material but much worse shape.
  • troy_8
    troy_8 Member Posts: 109
    Reliability stinks

    I know this won't be popular- but I think we have a time bomb in our midst. I have many mod-cons and some that are 10 years old. Personally,overall- their reliability stinks. The public isn't ready for the heavy maintenance and costly parts that I have experienced. The auto industry has actually gotten more reliable I think. More complex but more reliable. The boiler industry has gotten more efficient but at what cost? Some of this is public education. But it is a hard pill for a consumer when their last boiler was never serviced in 30 years. If hybrids were in the shop every other month how many would be sold.
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928
    New Kind of Hybrid?

    One that doesn't require cleaning, oil changes, tire maintenance, regular fluid checks and lubrication?
  • There was another.....

    the Hydrotherm Pulse boilers. I installed one and help maintain 4 others. The 4 M-300's are pushing 25 years in service, with some time running off their limits because the staging control was shot and occasional no flow due to pump failure, and these have had very few problems. The typical part to fail is the purge fan....too close to the heat exchanger. These are very similiar in design to the Prestiges, except a different combustion process. Low presure drop, some water content, and, in this case, proper installation. I find it quite interesting the bad rep these boilers have, considering the few problems I've had with them.
    I guess these boilers are no longer being made.....as replacement parts prices skyrocketed a year or two ago(about 200 to 300% increase in a few months)


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  • Home Depot Employee
    Home Depot Employee Member Posts: 329

    Exactly my point, will anyone come with something similar to TT’s nice ht exchanger.

    Take the munchkin 199, their I&O states that circ selection is based on 1 GPM per 10,000 Btus, right?

    That’s a lot on that little serpentine
  • Darrell
    Darrell Member Posts: 303

    I'm a service man and that's all I do...so I think differently than an outfit that just or mostly does installs...Lots of different mod/cons have come and gone through the area...parts availablilty IS going to be an issue. Not much incentive for me to carry thousands of dollars of OEM and proprietary parts for a half-dozen units with no local representation. Quietside sold the snot out of their stuff here...and the service life seems to be about five years before it all comes apart. Quietside is very good about answering the phone and providing parts. EVERY Ultra that I have opened up has scoring in the bottom of the HX...most of them are misapplied. The on-demand water heaters tend to be abused by the application and nstalled by homeowners working out of box stores and lots of them freeze the coil 'cuz it's just too close to the sub-zero outside. I've not had to work on anything Veismann. The Lochinvar or Burnham stuff either. Tried to work on several Bosch...Bosch wound up sending the parts direct to the owner, so I didn't get paid. Some of the troubleshoot materials that come with the units really suck.

    Not to be totally negative...I like the looks of many of the mod/con boilers. Some of them are very easy to maintain and work on. some of the lines use the same parts throughout the line, (Lochinvar, Burnham) instead of having different parts for every boiler in the lineup...which translates to one box of parts to fix the entire line instead of one shelf of parts...

    Most of the more severe and common problems are install problems and mis-application. The installers are gonna have to do their homework, do their numbers, and educate their customers to the FACT that combustion efficiency and operational economy are not necessarly the same thing. It is not fair to sell some great piece of equipment to somebody and do a super install only for them to believe that it is nearly maintenance free. The higher the efficiency and the more complex the boiler...the shorter the service cycle...seems like they better plan on six months.

    For new installs...err on the side of local representation and parts availability. Do not order some super widget off the internet no matter what efficiency the site claims...France is a long ways to go for parts. Here is a good test...try calling the service hotline for the equipment...if it takes 90 minutes to talk to a human you might imagine your serviceman doing that at 1AM for way into the second hundred dollars an hour. Then try ordering a spare something for it...if it takes ten days to get the part...imagine waiting for that part in January...

    One thing I've run into is that some of the manufactures will not sell me a stock of service parts...they will only sell parts that they can link to a specific serial number which means that the unit has to break, the tech has to come on-site and call the manufacture while he is in front of the unit, and then the parts get ordered, shipped, and a second trip has to be done.

    And remember that box stores do not carry parts, they just sell equipment at very low prices as lost leaders. Most of the manufactures will not extend warranty coverage to aything purchased by or installed by an unlicensed individual. And no independent is obligated to carry parts for everything or to work on it either.

    Mod/com technology is here to stay, and rightly so, but it is going to take a shift in thought for installers, service techs, and owners. I kinda think the days of taking care of 30-40 year old boilers are gone. I'm wondering if a ten year old boiler is going to be "old".

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