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Oil fired steam boiler has massive leak

Tim8954
Tim8954 Member Posts: 15
Hello, I purchased a home about a year ago built in 1900 with an ancient Arcoliner 120k BTU oil fired steam boiler. It got us through last winter but the other day it had completely leaked out all of its water through the bottom (see pic). I refilled it slightly and as you can see from the pic, it definitely has a bad leak. I would love to save the boiler but i dont know if thats possible now and I am just looking for advice or recommendations. Of course I would like the financial impact to be as little as possible. Natural gas is available in my area ($800 to run the line to our house). We planned on living in this house for about 5 years or so then moving up. Based on all that information, what would you do?

Thank You

Tim

Comments

  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    edited August 2015
    I would first locate the leak to be sure it's the boiler and not some other line leading to it. If it's the boiler, it's toast, unfortunately. That's a lot of water to be coming out the bottom. The usual place for leaks is at the water line.

    If it needs replacing, I go ahead with a gas line and install a wet-based power boiler with a gas conversion burner. There are many available in different sizes and are no more expensive than an atmospheric, but are more efficient to run. However, you must first measure the EDR of your radiators to size the boiler correctly. Do not go off the old boiler as it may not be right. Also, be sure NOT to change the water line with a new boiler as it can lead to many problems such as loud hammering.

    I'm just a HO like yourself, but recently went through a similar scenario. The folks here helped me get a super install, which would NOT have been the case otherwise.

    Further pics of the boiler and rads would help.
    P.S, I might also repost to the Stricly Steam section for a better response.
    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
  • Tim8954
    Tim8954 Member Posts: 15
    vaporvac said:

    I would first locate the leak to be sure it's the boiler and not some other line leading to it. If it's the boiler, it's toast, unfortunately. That's a lot of water to be coming out the bottom. The usual place for leaks is at the water line.

    If it needs replacing, I go ahead with a gas line and install a wet-based power boiler with a gas conversion burner. There are many available in different sizes and are no more expensive than an atmospheric, but are more efficient to run. However, you must first measure the EDR of your radiators to size the boiler correctly. Do not go off the old boiler as it may not be right. Also, be sure NOT to change the water line with a new boiler as it can lead to many problems such as loud hammering.

    I'm just a HO like yourself, but recently went through a similar scenario. The folks here helped me get a super install, which would NOT have been the case otherwise.

    Further pics of the boiler and rads would help.
    P.S, I might also repost to the Stricly Steam section for a better response.

    Vaporvac,

    Thank you for the response, thankfully this happened during the summer so I have time. I spoke to a heating company and they said it would be "alot" for a new boiler (switching to baseboard) but I am not buying it. Its only a 1200 Sq ft house, and I am positive the radiators still work perfectly fine (they did all last winter) I will inspect the boiler thoroughly and provide more pics of everything. Its a single floor, one pipe system as well (no leaks on steam pipes at all). My biggest challenge is finding a HVAC person/company I can trust. I got burned when we first bought the house and called for a tune up. I will repost to the section you mentioned. I am curious what you paid for your install but I know the site prohibits discussing pricing. Is there an option for private chat?

    Thank You
    Tim
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,971
    Have you tried the find a contractor link on this site? Go out to a big radius many steam men will travel. Also if you post your location we may know somebody close to you. If neither of those options pan out and you are looking on your own ask them for pictures of some of their installs and post them here. We can tell very quickly if you have a good steam contractor or not. If they walk in talking about a baseboard conversion just show them the door immediately.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,841
    There's no reason at all to switch to baseboard. Stay with the steam, but ditch the heating company that said anything about switching to baseboard. Find someone who can do steam -- as KC said unless you are really out in the boonies somewhere there are folks on this board who will travel.

    Where are you located?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England