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Boiler frenzy

JProbber Member Posts: 25
Hi folks...

I'm getting quotes for replacing a bagged-out Weil McLain 478 steamer. Two of the three companies recommend a Weil 480, or a Peerless, of comparable capacity. The third group insists they don't like either of those boilers for steam, and recommend an HB Smith.

I'm totally on the case as regards near-boiler piping (thanks to Holohan and this site). Assuming I make a call based on the quality of the boiler alone, what say ye?


  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,719
    What's your EDR?

    and have you considered the Burnham V-9? 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • JProbber
    JProbber Member Posts: 25
    Not yet...

    None of the 3 companies from whom I've gotten quotes handle Burnham. They'll do their EDR diligence when it comes down to sizing the boiler, I'd guess.

    I appreciate your feedback.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    It is like picking cars

    they have good days and bad days at the factory. Weil McLain and Smith, no longer called HB Smith by the way, are both sealed with gaskets between the sections. this makes assembly easier and replacement of individual section later due to poor installation or water quality issues easier. Peerless uses steel push nipples, the favorite of most old time steam guys. I feel it makes for a better seal but I still install Weil for most larger boilers. Why you ask do I use Weil? They are well stocked near me for parts and replacement sections. I get a better price on them. They hold up just fine when installed properly and diligently. Neatness counts when assembling a gasketed boiler. I have always had a fondness for H.B.Smith boilers but since they become Smith and moved from Westfield, MA they are not as easy to deal with. The have many good people at Smith, Mestek is the parent company. but waiting for a boiler from PA as opposed to MA makes or breaks the choice on many jobs.

    Who did a radiator survey before quoting you? Who looked outside of the boiler room and is addressing venting in their quote. The boiler does not matter the installation does.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • JProbber
    JProbber Member Posts: 25


    Thanks for your invaluable advice. None of the guys I've been working with have offered to survey the radiation before working up a quote.

    Is it appropriate to insist that a dealer measure the radiation before quoting the job? It's a 7,500 sqft house, with tons of radiation.

    I'm just looking for some honesty and integrity, Turns out the oil company my family has dealt with for 40 years screwed up the installation of our last boiler. It died a premature death.

    Again, appreciate your feedback.
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,928
    radiation survey

    Radiation survey is a must. If they don't do the survey of the radiation then you are almost 100% guaranteed to get the wrong boiler. If they don't do the radiation survey DON'T let them do the job
  • Backwards.....

    It is impossible to properly quote a job without completing a survey first.  Estimates maybe, but quote.....No.    The size of the boiler, the piping, the need for any incidentals, (condensate pump, etc) cannot be designed without starting with the basics.  Probably all you are getting now is an item for item replacement for what you have.....typically over sized boiler, incorrect piping and unnecessary condensate pump.  A home that size, built anywhere from the teens to the 40's probably is a vapor system that can be sized completely differently than a typical steam system.    To give you an idea of some of our recent projects.....350.000 btu boiler replaced with a 175,000 ( sized slightly large for potential system expansion),  250,000 btu replaced with 125,000 btu in a vapor system,  a 1,200,000 btu model replaced with a modulating 325,000 btu model in a commercial system, a 700,000 btu model in a home similar in size to yours with 2 staged 200,000 btu models in a vapor system. 

    Doing your homework should not be optional for steam installers.
    The Steam Whisperer (Formerly Boilerpro)

    Chicago's Steam Heating Expert

    Noisy Radiators are a Cry for Help
  • JProbber
    JProbber Member Posts: 25

    You're right, of course. The guys I've been talking to are more than happy to survey *after* I sign the quote, but don't really seem to interested in doing the measuring up front.

    You and your colleagues have given me the courage to insist on a survey as a condition of submitting a quote. I very much appreciate it.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,471
    Before signing a quote

    Before signing a quote make sure it includes the following -

    - Installation to be done per the manufactures piping diagram in threaded steel.

    - A radiation survey will be done and the boiler sized accordingly.

    - Venting issues will be dealt with, as will replacement of suspect return lines.

    i don't see how a real quote can be put together without a careful look at the ENTIRE heating system. I don't think I would trust someone who just looks at the existing boiler. As others have said the quality of the installation of the new boiler is paramount.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
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