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Time to replace?

jim_p
jim_p Member Posts: 2
Mom's house was built in 1966. 4 zone hot water heat, natural gas fuel. Original boiler was a Thatcher (steel). I replaced it in 1983 with a Hydrotherm HI-160B cast iron boiler. This was supposed to be the most efficient boiler in it's day. Electronic ignition/draft inducer. It is a two stage system with a 160,000btu rating on high, and 100,000 btu rating on low. However, it has always been run on the switch on "low fire" (100,000) btu.
Mom is now 84 years old and is very susceptable to "suggestions". The gas company sends her letters that state she is using more gas then some of her neighbors. She worries. She has a service contract on the boiler. When the draft inducer failed they had a difficult/expensive time finding one. They suggested she replace it. She worries more, and starts getting estimates. The gas company sends someone over, and he gives her an estimate for a boiler that is less efficient.
So the question is, is it time to replace ? What is the lifespan of a cast iron gas fired boiler?

Comments

  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    It's time. 32 years, served you well. IMO, 20-25 years is a reasonable life expectancy.

    Generally, the gas co. Has no interest in installing high efficiency boilers, if you get my drift. Get a few other quotes on a basic 84 AFUE, and a modulating condensing option.

    But first, do a heat loss Calc on the house. You may find 100k is oversized! There's other stuff to consider such as chimney relining or abandoning with a modcon unit, maybe it's time to make your hot water off the new boiler with an indirect heater if one doesn't exist. .how are you creating hot water now?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,854
    edited September 2015
    I've got mixed feelings.
    If it's working fine right now and shows no signs of issues why replace it?

    However, peace of mind is worth something too. That said, DO NOT let the gas company replace it. Find a good shop that services her area and use them.

    Having a gas or oil company replace a boiler is like buying a car your local gas station recommends.
    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
    Bob Bona_4
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    He's got an obsolete unit with impossible to find parts. Kind of like...um...old fridges ;)
    RobG
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,854
    edited September 2015
    Bob Bona said:

    He's got an obsolete unit with impossible to find parts. Kind of like...um...old fridges ;)

    Those fridges will still be keeping food cold long after you and I are long gone my friend. :p
    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
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Chillin' since 1927! :)
    ChrisJ
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    I definitely agree with Bob. I didn't like that boiler when it came out and I still don't like it. HydroTherm is basically out of business. They only have the KN series. Get a new boiler but definitely do a heatloss. Unless the house is 5000 square foot 100K BTU's is way oversized.
    SWEI
  • jim_p
    jim_p Member Posts: 2
    Has a separate 40 gal. gas hot water heater. 20 years old. Doing some calculations now. All I know so far is there is 160' of baseboard.
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Keep crunching numbers, the amount of bb is not important to size the boiler. That's quite a record for the WH! Everything is in their twilight years.