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Cracked Boiler in NJ

sjujohn
sjujohn Member Posts: 1
First hello and thank you for any and all help and information that you may be able to share. Also I apologize for the long winded post but I think all of this information pertinent to my question so please bare with me.

I recently bought a home with very old boiler. During the purchasing process my inspector pointed out that the boiler flame was yellow and should instead be blue. When we asked for the boiler to be checked out they said it had been serviced by a licensed plumber.

Months later when we went to turn on the boiler we ran into some issues and contacted our utility company who when they arrived let us know they had told the previous owner (person prior to the house flipper that we purchased from) that the boiler had a crack and needed to be replaced. So now I have proof that the issues was there when there plumber "serviced" it.

When I approached the seller about the issue he sent me an invoice from the plumber showing the installation of a low water cut off and 8 radiator valves. I told him that it looked as though they were just getting the boiler up to code, he said that it had been losing water but nothing was on the floor so they called a plumber in.

My questions

1.) is a low water sensor and radiator valves necessary by code in NJ
2.) If someone calls you because a boiler is losing water is it acceptable to just install a low water sensor?
3.)for a master plumber is it a normal procedure to just install a safety device with out trying to figure out what the issue is?

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,152
    I have no intention of getting into the legalities here, but...

    First, is this steam or hot water? Makes a difference.

    Second, on questions 2 and 3, acceptable to whom? And what is normal procedure? For question 2, no it isn't good practice and for question 3 no it wouldn't be what I would regard as normal practice . However, the contractor will usually advise the client -- and then, in most cases (not all -- we have some folks on the Wall here who won't do this!) do what the client tells him to do. I'd give good odds that this is what happened in this case.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
    A Low Water Cut Off is required on all boilers.
    It's possible the leak can't be seen. It could be above the water line and just escaping up the chimney. If the boiler is leaking, it's possible the old air valves had some part in it's demise.
    You had the benefit of a home inspector working for you before purchase. If there were issues, they should of been addressed then. Even if nothing was done, you should of gotten a credit for a new one, or the previous owner should of replaced it. At the end of the day, you knew it was an old boiler.

    Robert O'Connor/NJ
  • aircooled81
    aircooled81 Member Posts: 197
    Did you get the home warranty?
    Has your real estate agent been informed this wasn't 'disclosed' before the sale?
    Im not a lawyer, but this sounds like you may have a few options in getting your boiler replaced or repaired.

    GreenGene
  • GreenGene
    GreenGene Member Posts: 290
    "Months later when we went to turn on the boiler we ran into some issues and contacted our utility company who when they arrived let us know they had told the previous owner (person prior to the house flipper that we purchased from) that the boiler had a crack and needed to be replaced. So now I have proof that the issues was there when there plumber "serviced" it. "


    You need to get that in writing from the utility company, contact a lawyer and see if you have a case, possibly small claims but you have problems to prove your case.

    These houses that sit and get flipped or are abandoned are a problem child, when it changes hands like that it's tough to say who is responsible for what especially if the flipper never lived in it, I can see a situation where a home gets foreclosed, it sits, a flipper gets it and never knows the real condition of the home. It could be a case of buyer beware.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,980
    edited May 2016

    A Low Water Cut Off is required on all boilers.
    It's possible the leak can't be seen. It could be above the water line and just escaping up the chimney. If the boiler is leaking, it's possible the old air valves had some part in it's demise.
    You had the benefit of a home inspector working for you before purchase. If there were issues, they should of been addressed then. Even if nothing was done, you should of gotten a credit for a new one, or the previous owner should of replaced it. At the end of the day, you knew it was an old boiler.

    Robert O'Connor/NJ

    Perhaps,
    But with my home inspector he was very good at covering his tail end by telling me everything looked great but also recommending I hire a specialist for the chimney, and a specialist for the boiler etc.

    Basically "looks good to me but if it's actually not it's not my problem".

    What I can safely admit he did is guarantee I'll never hire another home inspector again as long as I live. That much is true.

    Wow, sorry for the rant. :(

    To the OP, unfortunately the most I can recommend is hiring your own contractor and getting the system fixed properly. After closing it's near impossible to get any help from the seller and fact is, you probably don't want it anyway. Get it done and get it done right.

    After buying our house I had to eat a rotted steam boiler and pay to have an undersized brick chimney torn down. It stunk, but it's life. it's better to be confident your house is safe and things are reliable.
    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
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
    Any certified home inspector worth their salt would of at least "ball parked" the age & condition of the appliance. When it is as old as the Op said, they simply make notation that it's of sufficient age to warrant replacement. If they did not note it, common sense should of then taken over. Not knowing all the variables at sale it's a difficult (and expensive) case to win.

    Robert O'Connor/NJ