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Need some advice,

simon26502simon26502 Member Posts: 1
Hi everyone,

I was wondering if I can get some advice on what to do with a problem I have with the steam boiler in the house. The pipe that leads to what use to be the hot water tank in the boiler for the house is sort of begging to leak. The previous owners 12+ years ago apparently had problems with it and wrapped it in an aluminum hose and used radiator clamps in several places? It did hold for a few years, but it is begging to leak again and the metal looks rotted.

I was wondering if this can be a DYI project or if a professional can come out and fix that section, (replace, or install something to close it since it is not being used.) Usually simple things I try to do on my own, but I try to avoid things that might get me way over my head and making a even bigger mess. The previous owner ended up adding a separate hot water heater for the house rather then use the steam boiler.

This boiler despite looking like in pretty rough shape has been good to us, it runs on milivolts so during the 2 hurricanes and snow storms when the power was out, most outage was 3 days for us, we still had heat during the cold seasons.

It still needs to be manually fed water, which we don't mind, although the fish eye glass could use a cleaning.. Also a warning the steam pipes that are fed to the radiators in the house and connecting to the boiler are asbestos. We try not to aggravate it because its the fibers in the air that are the problem. Leaving them alone they work as a good insulator.

The steam boiler is labeled American Radiator? The metal plate series on it have seem to faded. I attached a few pictures so people can look at it. I have the front of the steam boiler of what it looks like and the back of the boiler of the old hot water heater and the pipe in question. The pipe is on the bottom in the second picture.

I am in the State of Rhode Island, near the Providence/ Cranston line. Maybe I should find someone to come and get a good overall look at the system? We are on a budget ourselves, the last person to look at it ~5 years ago recommend that we replace it with a new more efficient system, since everything seems to be rusted and the boiler was oversize for the house. It is working and although it may not be efficient we have been pretty happy with it.

It has not given us any problems other then this leak that seems to be occurring, but it is not surprise since the previous owner only band-aid it, and it lasted over 10 years like that.

Thoughts? Is it an easy DYI fix with some tools, or should I get a professional to come out and repair that section and have them do a complete inspection and look at the boiler? Anyone know who in the State of Rhode Island or nearby can come by and take a look at it.

I am hoping to have the problem fixed since it is begging to leak vs when it cracks and water starts filling the basement.


  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,423
    Not knowing your skill set, if it were me, I think I'd get a Pro in there to take that tank and the piping to it completely off and put plugs in the boiler tapings, since it isn't used anymore. It is a great idea to have the boiler inspected and cleaned as well. I am sure they will suggest a new, more effecient bolier but sometimes, if the boiler is in good shape, it is easier to pay a little every month in additional fuel costs than it is to spend a lot up front for a new boiler installation. You just have to do what you can, when you can. Do get that leak fixed and the boiler inspected/cleaned.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,947
    To which I might add -- you can wrap that asbestos insulation in plaster impregnated gauze (craft and hobby stores have it, as well as other places -- doctors use it to make casts!). That will neatly encapsulate the asbestos and pretty well eliminate that worry. That is a do it yourself, though a bit messy!
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
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