Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

When is it time to replace?

I have a oil converted to gas steam boiler. It's at least 31 years old but I would say at least 50. It does not have many of the new features like an automatic water refill or low water cutoff. It's been trucking along alright but I'm getting worried that failure is eminent. It appears I may have a small water leak somewhere because I find myself filling the boiler with water more frequently. So what are some thoughts as to when I should look into a replacement? Thanks!


  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    If you can determine thata there is a leak in the boiler itself, it's time to line up a replacement. When the weather gets a little warmer, shut the power off to the boiler and overfill it up to the risers to the Mains. Let it set a few hours and then check to see if it is leaking water anywhere around the boiler or into the burner chamber. if so, replace it during the spring/summer months.
    If it is not leaking at the boiler, you need to see if you can find a leak in any of the Mains or returns, fittings, radiator valves etc. Those won't go away when a new boiler is installed.
    You certainly can have a Low Water Cut-off installed on that boiler, if it is not leaking, at a very small fee, compared to replacing the boiler. you can also have a water feed added at the same time even though a lot of us don't care for them. If you get one with a water meter on it, you can still monitor water usage and make sure it is not using more water than it should. Most of us like adding water manually. it forces us to see what is happening at the boiler.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    If the block and the pipes check out OK, and it's not radically oversized, you might give some thought to a newer, more efficient gas burner. Depending on the size, maybe even a two stage burner.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 14,373
    Can you post some pictures of the boiler and the piping around it?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • hwangnyc
    hwangnyc Member Posts: 18
    Will do once I get home! Thanks for all of the help!
  • hwangnyc
    hwangnyc Member Posts: 18
    Here is a video of my boiler. what do you think?

  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    It's not piped like we would do it today but if it's worked well all these years, I would continue to maintain it as long as it continued to keep the house warm. My piping is 113 years old and isn't piped exactly like we'd do it today either but I doubt that it could perform any better even with today's modern header configuration.