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Patching my oil fired boiler tank

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frankm1960
frankm1960 Member Posts: 13
Can this be done? I've got an old (30+yrs) FRECO oil fired boiler and the tank just started leaking water. The leak is 3/4 from the bottom, 1/3 from the side of the tank, appears to be right at a seam. The tank needs to be replaced but I'm thinking I could patch it just to buy me some time to figure out what new heating system I want to install.



I'm thinking if I could drain the boiler, release the pressure in the tank some how, then I could sand it down and put an epoxy patch on it.



How insane is this idea? Can it be done or should I start shopping now?



Thank :)

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  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,886
    edited March 2011
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    Observe a moment of silence

    then start shopping.



    Is the leak on the boiler or the expansion tank? Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
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    as Steam said

    Time to pay your respects to it and do some research on a new one
  • frankm1960
    frankm1960 Member Posts: 13
    edited March 2011
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    15kwElectricboiler

    I just started shopping for new system :)



    The expansion tank isn't leaking. I've actually pinpointed the leak in the boiler tank, so there's no question where  the leak is coming from.



    I'm considering replacing my entire oil fired heating system with an 15kw electric boiler.

    I've got a about 1100 sq feet to heat with it. Any comments on that?

    I noticed there's not to much here on electric boilers.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,886
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    Cost per BTU is prohibitive

    electricity is the most expensive BTU you can buy, unless you live in an area with a lot of cheap hydro-electric power. Oil is a much better deal, especially with a modern boiler. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • frankm1960
    frankm1960 Member Posts: 13
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    hydro power

    We do have hydro power but I wouldn't consider it cheap at the moment. The rates are significant.



    I'm struggling with the decision. The only good thing I can find about electric boiler  is that maintenance costs are lower and cheaper to install.
  • frankm1960
    frankm1960 Member Posts: 13
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    125 amp panel

    SLO,

    Thanks for the link. I have a 125 amp panel (says so on the panel label and the main breaker). Haven't had an electrician in yet but I'm pretty confident it's 125amp. I'm not sure I've got enough room for the hot water heater circuit though.



    A 125 amp is only big enough to run a 18KW electric boiler I'm told. I'm not even sure an 18KW is enough for 1250 sq ft either. Can't seem to find the info any where of sizing requirements.



    The only reason I'm thinking of going with an electric boiler is for lower maintenance. I'm renting this property and I don't pay heating costs so that's two big strikes against continuing with oil for me. Also there might me chimney issues so that's kinda like strike 3 in a way.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    Service Panel

    A 125 amp panel is barely big enough to do  normal house. I've seen electric heat houses with 225 amp panels.

    You should consider direct vent gas if you are going to switch. You don't need a chimney.
  • frankm1960
    frankm1960 Member Posts: 13
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    natural gas

    We don't have natural gas at the moment otherwise I would for sure.
  • frankm1960
    frankm1960 Member Posts: 13
    edited March 2011
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    bigger panel

    I might be able to swing it with what I got but only if I don't go bigger than 18kw. I have a quote for a completely new oil fired system (burner, pump, backflow protection, boiler) and I got a verbal quote for the 18kw system but it didn't include any electrical work. I'm guessing they're probably going to be about the same if I do have to upgrade my panel. But if I don't I'll save by installing the electric unit.



    Back to the patching... I did try to patch the tank. I found two pinhole leaks right at a weld/seam in the tank, 2/3'ds up the side of the tank. The patch didn't work... probably because I couldn't keep the area dry. I really need to drain the boiler first which brings me to my next Q... is that doable? There does seem to be plenty of water shut off valves and a drain tap located near the bottom of the boiler. My thinking is that with the water out I could probably have better luck with patching it...



    Any comments on draining my boiler? Is this doable? I would think so because that's would you would likely want to do if you were removing it or installing it for the first time.



    Just trying to get another month or so out of it to burn off the oil that's still in the tank. 
  • RobbieDo
    RobbieDo Member Posts: 131
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    Laing Electric

    I have installed several Laing electric boilers in apartments. They work great, have many features built in, check them out. Now to the electrical issues, a 18KW is 75amps at 240vac, you said you have a 125A service? I'm a electrician also, that is a strange size for a service? Need to figure your heat loss, do a load calculation to see what you really need to heat your home. Then you will have a better idea between electric and oil.

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  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,378
    edited March 2011
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    Some Info

    You said that your house is 1100sq. ft. You didn't say where you lived or provide any data about the construction of the house, so here goes somewhat of a "rough" estimate:

    Assuming 40btu's per sq. ft., you would need 44k btu's to heat the house. An 18kw boiler would give you 61k btu's, and assuming the standard 15% piping loss, you would get 52k btu's of heat.



    But the issue is your electric service. It's not going to take the load of the boiler as well as the rest of the house. You can only load the service (or any circuit) to 80% of its rating. Thus, you only have 100amps available from the service. As Robbie said, the boiler will draw 75 amps. That only leaves 25amps for everything else. Your electric water heater will pull almost 19amps. That leaves just 6amps for everything else. You probably have an electric range. A small one will draw 33amps. We just went over the top and we haven't included a dryer, kitchen appliances, or general lighting at 3w per sq. ft.(13.75A).



    I would recommend that you look at a direct vent gas unit as Ice suggested. You don't have to have natural gas, it can run off propane.



    As far as patching goes, I think you're chasing a soap bubble. It's illegal and never known of it being successful.



    There are also direct vent oil boilers available from some manufacturers. Buderus and Burnham are a couple that come to mind. I'm sure there are others too.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • frankm1960
    frankm1960 Member Posts: 13
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    house construction

    Sorry I didn't put this in before.



    My locale is New Brunswick, Canada, adjacent to Maine, USA, 45th parallel. It's cold here at times in the winter but the summers are mild.



    House constructed in 1978, 2 x 4 outside walls with 4" pink fiberglass insulation and aluminum siding with a thin foam beneath. The attic has I think 3 staggered layers of 6" pink per layer I believe, quite a bit up there. The house heats easy. Windows are original vinyl horizontal slider type, two pains of glass. They seem to be holding up well. There is no air exchanger in the house but there is a venmar ventilator which the tenant likely keeps closed for the most part.



    I think I would not chose propane simply because I rent out the property to tenants. I want something simpler and easier to manage. I don't pay heating costs myself, tenants pay for there own heat.



    I didn't realize patching the tank was illegal.



    Sounds like an 18kw boiler is plenty, just need to upgrade my panel which I don't mind at all... 125 amp is pretty skimpy by today's standards.



    Thanks everyone for your input. Greatly appreciated.
  • RobbieDo
    RobbieDo Member Posts: 131
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    Electric Boilers

    We have municipal electric in one area where I live, very cheap. I have installed several Laing Electric boilers with great success. Offer a lot of built in features, easy to maintain if setup right. If you need info on them please let me know.

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