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what is replaced when replacing boiler?

Nom_DeplumeNom_Deplume Member Posts: 51
What is usual and customary when installing a new boiler...leave the old pumps, gauges, expansion tank, air scoop, etc? or replace some/all of these things? The previous install was 9 years ago.

Just to clarify, I'm a homeowner, and I just realized that the contract I signed says nothing about the above. Before I ask them what they will do, I wanted to learn what is considered best practices.

Many thanks!


  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 3,414

    Under normal circumstances, I always include the boiler trim kit and the circ's. With me, it's not optional. If those parts are as old as the boiler, then they need replacing and it's much cheaper to do it now than later. I'm referring to a system that's 20+ years old.

    But your situation is different and is really an on site judgement call by the contractor. If I were there and had any doubt, I would have given you the option and made it clear that you would be responsible for the consequences if you chose not to do anything.

    In either case, now is the time to talk to your contractor and if you want this done, then realize that you will have to pay him for the extra's. It would not be right or reasonable to tell him that it should have been included and now he should eat the cost.
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Nom_DeplumeNom_Deplume Member Posts: 51
    yes but

    Yes, I understand. As you say, the option to replace or not replace should have been discussed. In fact, it was never discussed. So I don't know what the pricing was based on.

    In general, as a homeowner I must assume that anything that is not stated as "will be done" will not be done. But in this case, it seems that replacing old moving parts (pumps) and things that can go bad (membrane pressure tank) should be replaced as a normal practice. 

    I mean, I don't need to have the contract specify that they will refill the system with water--of course they will. Hence my question about what I should expect as normal practice.
  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 3,414
    edited October 2013

    As you said, if the contract doesn't spec it, then it's not included. My contract would have spec'd it.

    If you replace an engine in a 9 year old car, would you expect to get a new alternator, p/s pump, a/c compressor, etc. if the estimate didn't spec it? If it had a five year old battery, should that have been included, even though it wasn't listed, because it's necessary for starting the new engine?

    Water is free.
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Nom_DeplumeNom_Deplume Member Posts: 51
    OK but


    Incidentally, while water is free (to the contractor), the time taken to bleed the radiators has value.
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 3,476

    You can expect the contractor to include everything needed to get the new boiler running to code. Yes water, bleeding ect.

    The rest of it is very subjective. If all the other components were replaced 9 years ago most of them have life left in them. If the last guy did just a boiler change, you may have older parts in your system.

    Why would you make any assumptions? It would be way easier to ask the contractor what he bid. If he did not include an item get his opinion and decide whether you want it replaced.

    Trying to guess what someone may or may not have included seems like a real waste of time. If you are not comfortable asking questions, you may have picked the wrong contractor.

    I would be asking the question, why did the last one only last 9 years? What are you doing in the new design to avoid the same fate?

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 3,414
    Free Water

    This whole scenario brings up an issue that I and probably every other pro have to address regularly: namely, the customers expectations vs. the contractor's intentions. That is why it's so important to thoroughly communicate both positions and put it in writing before work begins.

    When going to an estimate, one of the first things I do is to listen to what the customer wants and expects. From that, I make my recommendations based from as much info as I can gather. I will then put together in detail what we can do the job for and what is included.

    I then give them my estimate going over everything in detail that's included and why we think it should be. I do this verbally as we'll as in writing. In fact, I usually have the proposal in hand.

    Seldom am I the lowest bidder if there's more than one on a job and I tell the customer so if that's the case. I then explain to them in detail what my proposal includes and the knowledge, experience and quality of work we do. I tell them based on that we seldom come out the low bidder, nor are we trying to be. We're not the McDonalds of heating and air.

    If they have someone lower, I ask them if he's including what we are. For instance, as in your case, is he including the boiler trim kit, new circ's, etc. I don't think I've ever had any one tell me they know for certain this the case. Usually, the reply would be something like: "I think so" or "shouldn't that be included". After asking, they find out it wasn't.

    The contractor didn't clearly state his intentions, nor did the customer clearly state his expectations. Now there's a problem.

    Legally speaking, a contract is a reciprocal document. As such, both parties have a responsibility to state in it what they want. Even though the contractor draws up the document, the customer still has a reasonable responsibility to see that what he wants is included. Once signed, only what's in the contract is what's required.

    If only a boiler replacement is listed, then that's the limit of the scope of work. Filling the system with water would be assumed because that's necessary to render the boiler operational.

    If the other ancillary parts are in working order, then it cannot be assumed that they should have been included if they are not listed. The boiler would still be operational with the existing ones.

    Had you told the contractor that you want these items included at the beginning, that would have obviously increased the cost. If you have now decided that you want them, it is only fair and reasonable that you have to pay for them.
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Nom_DeplumeNom_Deplume Member Posts: 51

    What you say is very reasonable.

    Unfortunately our contractor (the premium-priced HVAC company in our town)didn't discuss any details, and I didn't know enough to ask. Now they're only doing a "quick change artist" job and we have no leverage.
  • Nom_DeplumeNom_Deplume Member Posts: 51
    edited October 2013

    Yes, we should not have made assumptions. Most customers are not technically savvy enough to get into details; I know more than some, but I guess we were in a hurry (unexpected HX failure) and I didn't do due diligence.

    PS The previous boiler died because it was a POS (Munchkin).

    PPS This post was edited by me, not an administrator.
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