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Old steam (maybe?) furnace is leaking water

ed wallace
ed wallace Member Posts: 1,613
the old steam boiler has had it time to replace steam boilers are sized according to the connected radiation ie: pipes and radiators buy Dans book lost art of steam heat and educate yourself about steam heat


  • FJW
    FJW Member Posts: 1

    I have an old steam (I think it's steam) oil burner furnace that leaks out water at fairly fast rate. Fast enough to have the need to be topped off before and during every use. The front label on it is Thatcher Champion oil burning boiler. I'm guessing it's over 40 years old.

    I'm hoping that someone is familiar with these units and can possibly point me in a direction to get it fixed somehow. Any chance the water jacket can be changed cheaply or possibly have the existing one welded? I am guessing that the water jacket is pretty deteriorated and definitely needs replacement at this point.

    If I'm asking too much can you possibly give me a rough idea as to what it would cost to replace the old unit. Cubic volume of the home that needs to be heated is around 12k cubic ft. Single zone with iron radiators throughout the home.

    I have natural gas in the home, but I kinda feel that the oil burner would be much more efficient utilizing the steel radiator system already in place. Am I wrong?

    Lots of questions.

    Thanks in advance for any input!
  • Kool Rod
    Kool Rod Member Posts: 175

    I agree with Ed. The first thing you need to do is get Dan's books on steaming heating (See "A Steamy Deal " at the bottom of this page) They are easy reading and in a couple of evenings you know all about steam heating. I only wish I had heard about them before I got my boiler replaced as they would have saved me several years of hassle and a lot of money.

    The major problem is that most people, homeowners and heating professionals, know very little about steam heating. This leads to being told you need to "modernize" and get away from steam heat (big dollars!) or having a supposed "heating pro" do a botched job installing a new boiler. (Ask me how I know!)

    What I would do is get Dan's books and learn about steam heating and then when you are ready for a new boiler, put a message on this board with your location and saying your interested in finding a pro to take a look at your system. There are a lot of very experienced "steam pros" on this board and I'm sure there is probably one in your area that can help you.

    When reading Dan's books read "We Got Steam Heat" first and then "The Lost Art of Steam Heating". I did it the other way and it would be better to the "We Got..." first. Dan's books are entertaining and full of facts on steam heating.
    The knowledge you get will help you understand what your steam pro is saying to you and will help you to maintain your system at an optimum level.
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