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Boiler replacement?

wengr Member Posts: 2
Hello. My mother's NAT steam Utica PGC 175s boiler is losing water at a fast rate. It goes from halfway on the sight glass to low water shut off in about 1 1/2 hours. There is no water on the floor. I have inspected the entire system and find only a very minor leak. There are no buried or hidden sections except for the passing thru floors. There is also no water on the floor under the boiler.

I suspect that the boiler is leaking internally. There is visible steam leaving the chimney. Also when I stick my glasses in the draft hood, they fog instantly.

I would guesstimate the age at about 23 years. Is there anything else I should check before writing off this boiler? Thanks in advance.


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,573
    Leaking boiler

    It sounds like the end.

    Start measuring the radiators for correct sizing of the replacement boiler, and make sure the installer knows how to read the instruction manual for piping diameters, and layout. Maybe that should be in the contract.--NBC
  • wengr
    wengr Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the response

    I'll most likely be installing this one myself. I do know how to calculate the edr.

    A 76 year old, minimal funds, and the polar vortex is a bad combination.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,089
    Not a project for the faint of heart...

    but I can well understand your wanting to do as much of it as you can yourself.  If you can thread pipe, it is as much a matter of care and common sense -- and the ability to read and follow the boiler installation manual! -- as much as anything else.

    There are some booby traps.  Such as make sure the water level in the new boiler matches that in the old (that's one of the more common ways of messing things up).

    If the manual gives you size options, go for the bigger pipe!

    Unless you are really happy and familiar with gas piping and gas burners, and have the necessary test equipment, though, I'd leave that part -- and adjusting the burner -- to a pro.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • grogory
    grogory Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the response

    Yes without a doubt I'll be bringing someone in for final adjustments.

    Here is the leaking unit and current piping layout.
  • grogory
    grogory Member Posts: 3
    I'm the op

    Due to some problems with the forum locking me out, I'm having to use multiple accounts. I'm the op for this thread. (Thanks to Dan for the help in getting back in).

    My plan is an atmospheric, natural gas boiler, brand unknown at this point.

    To what extent should I scrap the current piping, maybe changing to top connections? Or leave it alone as much as possible?
  • conversiontime
    conversiontime Member Posts: 87
    edited March 2014
    follow manual

    The piping should be installed as per the specific boiler manual guidelines which often means not reuse existing piping layout from boiler to main run(s). Way too many nightmare installs on here that tried reusing existing piping. A good installer generally redoes the header, hartford loop, equalizer, I would also recommend a clean out before the hartford loop as this is a low point where crud often collects. Finally make sure you also put a skim port on the boiler, you will want it post install.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,573
    Piping layout

    You could break the union between the boiler and the first elbow, and then that would be your larger pipe size horizontal header. Use two risers to come up, and drop back down into this header, both on one side of the vertical takeoff. Then connect the equalizer to the other side.

    A big pipe wrench may enable you to reuse some of the old piping. Supply pipe is usually in pretty good condition.--NBC
  • grogory
    grogory Member Posts: 3
    Most likely going with Burnham

    Looking hard at Burnham IN6S semi- pak.

    I have read the manufacturer installation instructions and I don't see a problem.

    A local supply house claims the can cut and thread black pipe to my needs.

    So two questions come to mind:

    1 What is the intelligent way to get this down the basement stairs and in place. They are quoting something like 550lbs.

    2 And is there anything that I should do before I remove the existing boiler?

    Run some cleanerin the system or something?

    Thanks in advance.