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Second thoughts - help appreciated

CH_in_PA Member Posts: 3
Moved in to a new to us house and the inspector said the boiler is nearing the end of it's serviceable life.  Chimneys in our subdivision are not the best as a few neighbors told me that they had to have some major masonry work done.  Had two companies come and look at our chimney.  Both said our fireplace half is unusable in its current state.  One said the boiler had to be replaced because of the 8 inch vent would not work with the 6 inch liner that would fit in our chimney.  The second said he could adapt the 6 inch liner to our current 40 year old Columbia boiler.  We were also told that the boiler would probably work as long as we were willing to feed it the extra oil it will more than likely require. 

My main concern is that we should not restrict the exhaust that severely.  I think it would be a safety concern but the contractor said he 'does it all the time.' I really don't want to spend $10K on a new boiler without wintering once with the old one.  But I really don't want it to break down mid-winter or have the chimney tiles collapse (they both said that's a potential problem).  Do tiles commonly collapse or is this fairly rare?  I understand that if you can't see it you can't really say.  One of them showed me that one tile most of the way up to the top of the chimney is coming loose.  Sorry for the lengthy post but I would really appreciate any help. 


  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    how about

    Although I am not a big fan,


    This will at least get you through a year to allow you to look at all options available..
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,127
    edited October 2011
    a few questions....

    Do you have any more info on your Columbia boiler?  Hopefully their is a make/model, and the make of the burner available.  Also, is there a tag hanging, telling you the type and size of nozzle?  That would be the only way you could tell you you can take your 8" stack and choke it down to 6".  But I dont think you could/should.

    I definately don't understand the "feed it the extra oil" comment he made.  Unless he thinks he can downfire the boiler (seriously not recommended) to be able to use the smaller stack.

    There are some options.  First I would get a qualified chimney sweep to take a look at your chimney. They would best determine what's going on. Sounds like you have an 8" square chimney, and an 8" round stack on your boiler.  He may be able to line it so your boiler could work, whereas an HVAC tech wants to use a 6" liner because it's easier.   Then I would get a different contractor to provide you with some better options.  It may be possible to vent your boiler another way. 

    But ask your original contractor if he's willing to sign off on choking down your stack and assume full liability, if after he's done, you're boiler doesnt work, or soots up your house.

    If you could post up some pics, that would help.

    Quick question....what additional information did the inspector provide to determine boiler was nearing the end of it's servicable life?
  • Techman
    Techman Member Posts: 2,144
    edited October 2011

    OUCH! an HVAC tech. R, also!

  • CH_in_PA
    CH_in_PA Member Posts: 3

    Thanks for the info.  Our chimney runs from the first level through the garage.  Would this still work?
  • CH_in_PA
    CH_in_PA Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the suggestions

    First thank you.  I will post pictures with this post.  A point of clarification, feeding it extra oil was not jargon for a trick: it's an lower efficiency boiler than what they make nowadays, so it will use more oil. 

    Both of the contractors that came to give estimates were well-reviewed chimney guys/masons.  I assume that no one in their right mind would assume that liability/that was a joke at my expense. 

    The inspector was a structural engineer.  As such I would assume he was basing his opinion on the fact that it was manufactured in 1973. 

    I have more pictures if you need. 
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,483
    That's more than 40 years old!

    Has anyone done a draft test? If not,how do you know it's insufficient?
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,483
    The leaks

    Around the boiler base and at the chimney connector aren't helping!
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
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