Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
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/.

Timken Steam Boiler Help

mrmartin86
mrmartin86 Member Posts: 5
Hello,

I have searched high and low on the internet to little avail, but what I could find pointed me to all you fine individuals on this forum. My wife and I recently bought a cape here in Connecticut that was built in 1949 and has the original oil Timken Steam Boiler in the basement. It still works like a champ, but the door to vacuum it out is stuck shut (I have to try and loosen it), the valve doesn't work, and who knows what else. I know finding experts who still knows how these systems work is sparse, and I'm hesitant to take the word of our local oil company who suggests that we replace it within a year especially when it works and just needs a few things taken care of.

I will admit to knowing pretty much nothing, which I know from reading this forum that that is a bad thing when it comes to Timkens, as they are great when you know how to maintain them, and a beast when you don't. We just bought the house in May, and the last thing I want to do is replace the boiler if that is logical.

Is there anyone who knows how this Timken from 1949 would work? I can't find any documentation anywhere! I can certainly post pictures when I get home.

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,039
    Wow- Timken is a real blast from the past.

    Take some pictures of the boiler and post them here. We'll see what we can do, but if that's one of the rotary Timkens it would probably be difficult to find parts if needed.

    The good news is, there are some very nice steam boilers being made today which would serve your steam system well for years to come.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • mrmartin86
    mrmartin86 Member Posts: 5
    Hello again,

    Thank you. I waited until morning to take pictures to have a little more light. I've attached them below. Thank you!
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,039
    Not a rotary. I believe that boiler is steel, rather than cast-iron, so its efficiency could be anywhere on the map. At least it has a current-model burner.

    The boiler also heats your hot faucet water, which is not the most efficient way.

    I'd look at replacing it. Do you have natural gas available?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    RobG
  • mrmartin86
    mrmartin86 Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for looking at it. From my state's natural gas website, they do say it is available in the area. Right now the oil tank is in the basement. What would you consider replacing it with? Since the house is already setup for steam heat, do I just stick with that?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,105
    Steam for sure but make sure you get a good steam guy.


    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
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    And gas for sure if it's actually available. I'd start by verifying that.
  • mrmartin86
    mrmartin86 Member Posts: 5
    SWEI said:

    And gas for sure if it's actually available. I'd start by verifying that.

    Okay thank you, I'll do that. Do you know roughly how much the conversion would cost?

    Also, what are some good steam boilers to look at on the market? From what I've read here, Timken was top-of-the-line at the time, and so I don't want to install junk today. But I also don't want to break the bank since we've only just got here.
  • Marz
    Marz Member Posts: 90
    Don't be so quick to convert to gas. There's nothing wrong with keeping it oil especially now when the market is going into the basement. ALot of guys are quick to convert for many reasons, but weigh all of you options.
  • Marz
    Marz Member Posts: 90
    your*
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,105
    The market is going into the basement?

    Why, because oil is only 300% the cost of gas and not 400% anymore?
    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
    SWEI
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    There are conversion burners that allow you to use either gas or oil that are compatible with many boilers. Perhaps that might work if you still have a lot of oil. Just a thought.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,039
    Here's someone who isn't that far from you, and knows steam as well as anyone. He posts here as Charlie from WMass. Not sure he comes that far south, but it can't hurt to call:

    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    RobG
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,105
    Steamhead said:

    Here's someone who isn't that far from you, and knows steam as well as anyone. He posts here as Charlie from WMass. Not sure he comes that far south, but it can't hurt to call:

    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating

    Charlie does awesome work.
    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
    RobG
  • mrmartin86
    mrmartin86 Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for all the advice so far. Yeah, unfortunately my wife and I had the tank filled last month, so we'd want to use that up. Fortunately we are not in a position where we have to replace it right this moment, but we do want to be prepared and have everything lined up for what we need. Steamhead, I'll have a look into him.

    When the time comes, without including rebates and such, how much could I be looking at for a gas conversion?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,039
    The short answer is "it depends". That's why you want to have a pro look at the job. Call Charlie.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    RobGChrisJ
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    Like Frank said, have Charlie check it out. It is a steel boiler, too bad it is gun fired. I have all the parts if it was still a rotary. Vertiflame was the better burner update on these decades ago. They should at least update your safety control. Looks like it was taken care of though. Good luck
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    SWEI said:

    And gas for sure if it's actually available. I'd start by verifying that.

    Okay thank you, I'll do that. Do you know roughly how much the conversion would cost?
    Conversion of what? You're replacing the boiler, right?

    Cost of getting the gas in could range from $0 to thousands. Ask the gas company, and be prepared to work with the neighbors if needed. That's why I suggested you look into the availability and cost of the gas first, before you make any other decisions.
    RobGChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,105
    As is being said, every situation is different, you need to call the gas company.

    In my situation it was free to run the line in from the road and install the meter as long as I had my heat hooked to it within a year. Everything in the house was my responsibility.

    Call the gas company and see what they say.
    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
  • Aaron_in_Maine
    Aaron_in_Maine Member Posts: 315
    ChrisJ said:

    As is being said, every situation is different, you need to call the gas company.

    In my situation it was free to run the line in from the road and install the meter as long as I had my heat hooked to it within a year. Everything in the house was my responsibility.

    Call the gas company and see what they say.

    A year to hook to it that's generous up here they give you 90 days once the meter bar is on the house.
    Aaron Hamilton Heating
    [email protected] yahoo.com
    (207)229-7717
  • John Mills_5
    John Mills_5 Member Posts: 935
    Conversion burner in that? Isn't that like putting a DOHC 16 valve direct injected engine into a Vega? :)
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,039

    Conversion burner in that? Isn't that like putting a DOHC 16 valve direct injected engine into a Vega? :)

    Cosworth did..............
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • John Mills_5
    John Mills_5 Member Posts: 935
    Ya got a point Steamhead! OK, Pinto then B)
  • OuterCapeOilguy
    OuterCapeOilguy Member Posts: 27
    The logo says Timken "Wallflame." That was a rotary, and in its time a great burner, very clean burning (blue flame with yellow tips). Obviously the burner was replaced with a high pressure gun. If you-or your service person-can get the door open, it would pay to clean it out, tune the burner and run a combustion efficiency test. If, as I suspect, it is well below par, why not replace it with a tried-and-true boiler like a Weil-McLain WSGO Gold oil? They're reasonably priced, great boilers and are supported everywhere.