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Buderus g115/5 (oil)has a cold leak

tinalhm
tinalhm Member Posts: 19
Hello
I have never used a discussion site before so please bear with me. We replaced our old heating system with Buderus g115/5 in September 2013. I had it cleaned recently and the gentleman found a cold leak in between the back section of the boiler. I am told the boiler needs to be replaced. I believe it will be under warranty from Bosch but I have yet to find out .
The warranty however does not cover labor. My question is this:
I have a service contract with one heating company and I understand from that contract agreement that if I have a different heating company install the new boiler it would void the contract on the service agreement. So how do I determine if the estimate they give me for labor for putting in the new buderus boiler is reasonable?
Also, if anyone has any suggestions about what I should be asking or doing to make sure things go smoothly and I pay a fair price. Thank you.

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,958
    There is nothing to prevent you from having another company come and assess the situation and tell you what they think needs to be done and give you an estimate. They may, and in my view quite properly, should charge for that, but the charge should be reasonable.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,542
    It's the age-old question isn't it? You're like everyone else in this society- you just want to pay what's fair. Quite often there is a disconnect on that definition.

    I certainly don't have statistics, but my hunch is 1/3 of my business interactions are perceived as "too expensive", 1/3 "about right", 1/3 "I would have gladly paid more".

    Did your current service provider install the boiler originally? If yes, the number should be down and dirty in my professional opinion (they reaped the rewards of an install- good margins. If no, you should expect to pay their full price.

    If you have a glut of high performing service providers and you're not tethered to your current guy, yes you should get some quotes. But if your current guy is good and you feel like they will be there for you in a jam, maybe it's better to simply trust they're looking out for you. In some conmunities it's not a great idea to bounce around. The next contractor might jump less when you need him most.

    I could ramble on with some sad stories of people who went the cheap route, yet I hope you can have a bether view as to what's going on in the contractor side of things.

    Best of luck, that boiler is a Rock of Gibraltar, yet it does happen once in a great while

    Gary
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    Mark Eatherton
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,451
    I've never seen a 115 leak. I would get a second opinion. If it is leaking you get a mulligan on boiler sizing, I'd bet my life you don't need a 115/5.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    Ironman
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,542
    Ahh that's a different topic, but a good one none the less.

    Tina, can you share how big your home is? That is a good sized boiler. Roberts life depends on it.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • tinalhm
    tinalhm Member Posts: 19
    Yes, GW, I really just want a fair price. I am concerned because the contractor that did our hvac system almost two years ago does not service oil and he had a 1 year warranty. This new company/contractor I used in the past for oil delivery etc and they were recently taken over by a one of those very big companies it used to be owned by a local gentleman, not any longer. This is how it all occurred: I had the boiler serviced for cleaning and the serviceman noted that he thought there was a leak. I called the guy who installed it and he told me to call the Buderus Rep. The rep said to have another EXPERIECNCED service man come again and make sure it was not just condensation and take pics. Another service man came and I did get a video of the drip and the wet area. Sent it to Buderus. The service man said from here they would call the supplier they would give a new Buderus to replace the old one. Then the supplier would send it to Buderus and Buderus would let them know if they would warranty it. Therefore I feel like I almost don't have any option to go with them. If Buderus does not warranty it I am concerned how much the company will charge me for the whole new boiler and of course Buderus will not pay for the labor.
    Had problems with replacing a Beckett Motor just recently with them I knew it was under warranty but they would not take it back, I had to call Beckett who had to call them etc. I know they have been through some changes recently and that could have been part of their problem and it appears they have a new service manager that has been communicative so I am hoping it may all work out just very worried about price.
    Maybe I will just live in a yurt, things might be a little easier, having a hard time keeping up. LOL
    Thanks for your reply.
  • tinalhm
    tinalhm Member Posts: 19
    Robert,
    My house is aprox 3400-4000 sq feet. :-)
    The Buderus Rep said that too, he has only seen one leak and he has been working for Buderus for 20 years or so. Thats why he said have another service man come look at it to confirm. Its my good luck haha
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    I'm questioning is the leak in the boiler block or is it at the field made up connections to the boiler.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,869
    What's your locale and who was the Buderus rep?
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,869
    Unless you live in an old, leaky house, an up fired 115/4 would have probably been more than sufficient to heat your place. Did your installer do a heat loss calc?
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • tinalhm
    tinalhm Member Posts: 19
    Bob, I believe I was told it is in the back section. When I saw it, it was in the back where they take off the connection to the chimney? Does that make sense? I have pic and video but I don't know how to upload them.
  • tinalhm
    tinalhm Member Posts: 19
    Actually Bob, it must be in the boiler block as they were going to replace either just the block OR the whole thing with the outside part.
  • tinalhm
    tinalhm Member Posts: 19
    ok, update on the square footage of the house, i checked it is 4300. Sorry for the wrong info. before
  • tinalhm
    tinalhm Member Posts: 19
    I am in the northeast. The rep that I originally spoke with was Rich Sebast, he was very nice. He did say that he doesn't usually speak with the homeowner that it was unusual for me to call.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,542
    It's a like for like swap, it normally would not take too long to do this yet I have no idea how your system is set up. Guys that don't install regularly will take two or three times longer than guys that do. It's a fact.

    If you get just the block, that's still easy. It takes minutes to strip your current boiler down to the block. Less than an hour to strip down and reassemble (compared to a new fully jacketed boiler, the way we normally see these units).

    Warranty can be a pain, the vendor charges the contractor, the contractor may charge you. We have done this; the bal rolls up the hill then back down. When the credit rolls around a month or two later, the contractor mails you a check.

    If it's "our" install we will often eat the cash outlay, let our money get shelved and wait for the credit. If it's not our baby we let the end user pay for the wait.

    Sometimes the manufacturer will give the green light to the vendor to let it roll no charge, but that's rare.

    Thats why I try to advocate 'dont rush to hire the cheap guy', you may experience great disappointment.

    Downsizing to a 4 section may be advisable, but it's obvious your 1st mission is to get your boiler back in normal working order. Basically, on the coldest day of the year, you want your boiler running almost non stop. I (and others here at the wall) predict your 5 section may be too big. But no one here has seen your home or knows the actual heat loss.

    Gary
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    Ironman
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,869
    You may also have system issues that caused the failure and need to be addressed. Such as:
    1. Leaks elsewhere on the system that cause fresh, oxygenated water to be continually added to the boiler.
    2. Mineral build up inside the boiler from the same issue.
    3. Low ph levels.
    4. Grossly over firing the burner.

    Buderus' cast iron is the best in the world and they take great care and pride in producing it, so the chances of a factory defect are almost nonexistent, though possible.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,451
    Depends how it's installed. Change this in less than an hour with two guys
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,542
    Robert that's really hauling, wow. You must have rolled the new unit in with all you stuff sitting on top of the crate. Good job. Why did you replace? What happened?
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • tinalhm
    tinalhm Member Posts: 19
    Gary, I am happy to pay a good/reliable serviceman for their work. I will even stick with someone and pay a little more but as of late with the changes they have been going through I am a little worried. That aside, your comment regarding the 4 section, I guess that would be too late now? If they warranty the boiler it will be for the same one. Correct?
    Thanks for your reply and clarifying the whole warranty thing.
  • tinalhm
    tinalhm Member Posts: 19
    Bob, that is a really good point that I never thought about, other issues. As far as PH, our PH is actually high around 9 i think. the mineral build up, I assume Buderus will find when they get it back? I don't know what that means to grossly over fire the burner? Leaks elsewhere in the system-would I have noticed leaks. Gosh I have no idea.
  • tinalhm
    tinalhm Member Posts: 19
    Robert, wow that pic looks great! Wish my boiler room looked like that! nice
    Robert O'Brien
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,451
    GW said:

    Robert that's really hauling, wow. You must have rolled the new unit in with all you stuff sitting on top of the crate. Good job. Why did you replace? What happened?

    Nothing happened. It is in an install we did in 2010, just an illustration of how easy it is to change parts, even a block when installed with future service in mind
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,542
    Robert, still no comprende, what was sitting there before your 2010 one hour change-out? A G115? if yes, what happened to the 1st one. If no, then that's extremely impressive.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,451
    This is what was there, the next is what it looked like when we left. The HO did the decorating. It took much more than an hour, obviously. My point is that it would take an hour to change out the boiler only right now if were to fail, which I wouldn't expect as I have never seen a leaking CI Buderus of any model. Aluminum is another story.....
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,542
    tinalhm said:

    Gary, I am happy to pay a good/reliable serviceman for their work. I will even stick with someone and pay a little more but as of late with the changes they have been going through I am a little worried. That aside, your comment regarding the 4 section, I guess that would be too late now? If they warranty the boiler it will be for the same one. Correct?
    Thanks for your reply and clarifying the whole warranty thing.

    I hear you very clearly- we get calls expressing the same thing, "the 'big' company bought my service provider and I don't want to deal with them". If you have energy to burn, hit up a couple of supply houses and ask the counter guys who's the best oil companies in the area, from a technician and service perspective. Check out the contractor locator on this web site. Then, spend $10 and join angies list. check out the best reviews. Then, look at Bosch's web site and see which names are listed on the site (close to you). You'll find the best companies, it just takes some effort.

    I predict you may be able to get a 4 section, BUT if you get just the block, you're in for a no-go. The jacket won't fit, Do you have any memories as to how long the G115 ran for (how many minutes) on a very cold day? perhaps you do not. If 5 or 10 minutes you may wish to ask for a 4 section replacement. the burner will need a small adjustment. If you have lots of zones, then it's more likely you can go 4 section.

    Question- do you have baseboard or radiators or something different? The 2107 control is highly recommended with large mass heating systems like cast iron rads. Yet, if the tech doesn't know how to set it up- forget about it!!

    Gary
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • tinalhm
    tinalhm Member Posts: 19
    Gary, Great idea on asking at supply houses. I am definitely going to do that. I believe the tech said something about how the boiler stays hot all the time with the system I have, does that make sense? (he just happened to find the cold leak as the boiler was off for a while when he was cleaning it, otherwise it probably would not have been found as I guess there is no leak when it is hot as it is expanded)

    I have no idea how many minutes it runs on a cold day.

    We have a zone for the 2nd floor and one for the first. The basement is not heated. However we do have a large electric unit that warms that up quite nicely.

    We have the heat with the ducts that blows hot air. I hope that makes sense. So sorry, I don't know all the correct terminology.
    Tina
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,542
    Tina,

    Maintaining temp is getting more normal, can you share what boiler control you have? Becket Aquasmart? Honeywell? It's that grey metal or black plastic box with wires coming and going, on top of the boielr. OR, you may have a 2107 control (blue controller on top). OR, maybe you have a tekmar control (blue box in the wall or on the boiler).

    Some service techs has no clue when it comes to system application and set up. Conversely, some installers don't know how to set up a burner or do a good routine maintenance.

    You have what most people refer to as "hydo air". Don't apologize for not knowing the lingo, only a moron would give you a hard time for not knowing the jargon. I will never forget the auto parts guy 30 years ago, making me feel like an idiot becasue I wasn't one of his regulars, didn't know the lingo. Al was his name.

    If you case out the supply house try and run in when it's slow, you'll stress out the staff if you try asking questions when they have their customers right there listening in, very awkward. Maybe 2 or 3 pm. Or see if you van chat with the inside sales guys and gals.

    The bummer with the bigger companies is much less likely to get a top tier tech and much more likely so see a new face every year.

    Gary
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    Bob Bona_4
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    That's a shame the section leaks. Buderus is known for very high quality castings. I was just wondering if maybe a supply or return system piping
    connection developed a leak from some substandard threads.

    You have hydro-air :)

    Gary had great advice!
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Always enjoy seeing your work, Robert. Is that an early 4-way iSeries mixing valve by chance?
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,451
    edited January 2016
    http://boschprohvac.com/locator/

    It's not fool proof but the ABC contractors will usually be the better bet
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • tinalhm
    tinalhm Member Posts: 19
    Gary, the Boiler Control is a Beckett AquaSmart.

    I understand what you are saying about asking around about other companies. Ill try not to obvious and blatant especially around customers etc. :-)

    As far as you all know is it ok to have antifreeze in your system with the Buderus boiler? Also, I was wondering about antifreeze and how often it should be changed etc. It was noted that our PH was around 9-9.5 and that the freeze level was low. So I asked the service manager for a quote on that as well as the Boiler replacement.

    Whew! It is hard to understand and keep all this stuff straight.

    But now that I think about it, wouldn't they have had to replace the antifreeze when they put the new system in? And then, wouldn't they have to do it with this replacement?

    Thanks for your replies, I am learning lots, and its prompted me to ask the right questions when I get this estimate.

    Tina

  • tinalhm
    tinalhm Member Posts: 19
    Robert,
    Thank you for the link, interesting my company is even on there.
  • tinalhm
    tinalhm Member Posts: 19
    Robert, Typo, that was supposed to be they were NOT in there.
  • tinalhm
    tinalhm Member Posts: 19
    ok, so a thought just popped into my head. If our boiler maintains constant heat and is expanded all the time and there is no leak why would we have to worry about a cold leak?