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Old, Old, Old Boiler

Suzie Member Posts: 1
I have a really OLD boiler (probably installed in the late 40's).  It has worked without any problems.  Gas company flagged it as leaking CO2 so they shut it down.

Here are the issues: 

 I live in a cold weather state. 

Basement is REALLY damp all year round but better in the winter

The house is not lived in during the winter months so no one is there to 'supervise' a boiler.  (It is checked on at least once a week). 

The heat is set at a max of 45-46 all winter. (House has minimal insulation).

I have the large radiators you can sit on in the winter when you get cold (Burnham).

My plumber said he could fix the CO2 problem easily and there does not appear to be any other 'water leaking' problems.  I like this boiler because it has never had any issues (burners cleaned only once that I can remember in the last 30 years and it works like a charm). (I believe it is a Biltmore or something like that - I am not at the house right now)

If I decide to get a NEW boiler I want a cast iron one, pilot on at all times, maintenance free (except for bleeding the line).  I do not want to have to worry about gauges, pressure, pushing buttons or whatever else is on the new ones.   In other words I want it to be as good if not better than what I currently have.  It also has to be reliable because no one is there.

The boiler companies my plumber recommended seem to have a lot of complaints so I am at a loss here,<strong> IF</strong> I decide to get a new boiler or if after trying to fix it he decides it best if we get a new one which one to select.


Should I just stick with what I currently have?


It is a hot water system only just for the radiators.

It doesn't cost much to heat because I only have it on 45-46

Pilot never blew out always worked.

Plumber is recommending Utica MGB100HD or Slant Fin S120DP.

I heard Burnham was the best and was it was highly suggested that I did not go with the other two. 


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    what to do

    is this a hot water system, or steam?

    is it just for heating or does it do hot water as well?

    has it been economical to run? any signs of other problems? what happens when the pilot light blows out and no one is at home in the winter?

    even though you have not done much maintenance on this boiler, most boilers even that old should have some minimal cleaning on a yearly basis.

    give us some more information about the system and we can better advise.--nbc
  • Oak Park Electric
    Oak Park Electric Member Posts: 54
    Middle age boiler

    An OLD boiler is one of the coal to oil to (maybe) gas converted snowmen that some of the steam pros here work on.  A 40's hot water boiler isn't THAT far fetched.  Anyway, that's not the question.  First of all, it is NOT leaking CO2 (carbon dioxide).  If it was tested with the proper equipment and found to be leaking something, that something would be CO, (carbon monoxide).  Carbon dioxide is not hazardous except in higher concentrations, but carbon monoxide is highly poisonous even in lower concentrations.  All combustion equipment should be cleaned and inspected by a qualified person before every heating season.  If the basement is usually damp and the boiler has only been cleaned once in 30 years or more, there may be a lot of rust flakes (from the wetness) laying on the burners.  This will cause abnormal combustion and CO. There may be other causes as well, but I can't know without seeing the boiler.  Some other things to look for - obstructed chimney, flue pipe rusted out, insufficient draft, and insufficient combustion air.  If there is nothing mechanically  wrong with the boiler and you want to keep it, have a competent heating guy clean it and inspect the venting / check draft.  He should have a combustion analyzer to test the flue gas for CO.  If he can eliminate the CO problem and get the unit running safely, then there's not much reason to change it.  You should have a monoxide detector in the house and make sure it has good batteries, even during the off season.  I would also recommend getting the gadget that calls you automatically if the inside temp drops too low. They are fairly simple and affordable, and a lot better than a freeze up.  A welfare check once a week is fine, but if the boiler quits for any reason, the pipes and radiators will freeze and break before the next check.  At least with the temp alarm, you will know there's a problem before it gets major.
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