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Maine steam boiler installation professional recomendation

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Can anyone recommend a steam boiler installation company in the Portland, Maine area?

I think it's time to replace my circa 1980 Weil-McLain boiler and oil burner. I have a two pipe steam heat system in my 1,500 square foot 1.5 story bungalow.

More than once over the last 10 years the technician performing the annual maintenance has said that we should think about replacing the boiler for one reason or another. I'm going to be spending this winter in a state that is warmer than Maine is, so I don't want to have to worry about my heating system in Maine.

Thank you for your help.
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Comments

  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
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    I know Aaron will travel to New Gloucester so it wouldn't hurt to ask. I think there was someone else, but darn if I can find my emails.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/state/ME
    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: 16,842
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    Is that a Weil-McLain 68-series boiler?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • ScottInMaine
    ScottInMaine Member Posts: 16
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    Steamhead, I'm not sure. Here are some pictures.





  • ScottInMaine
    ScottInMaine Member Posts: 16
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    Vaporvac, I'll give Aaron Hamilton Heating a call. Thanks.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,842
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    It's a 62 series, 5 sections which makes it a 5-62. These were made between April 1962 and January 1975 according to a rating CD from W-M that I got when we visited the factory some years ago.

    It's been a while but I think the flueways in this series were the zigzag pattern as seen in the American-Standard A-3 and Utica ACE and OU boilers, rather than the later pin type. Not as efficient, but built like a tank.

    The burner is the ABC 45-CU that was built for W-M. It was a guaranteed soot-maker. If you're planning on keeping this boiler, I would upgrade to a true flame-retention type like a Beckett AF which will run all year without making smoke or soot if tuned properly. This will increase the unit's efficiency.

    My preference would be to replace the boiler though. If you're staying with oil, the Burnham MegaSteam is the way to go. It is the most efficient residential steamer out there, and like your 5-62, it's built like a tank.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    kcopp
  • ScottInMaine
    ScottInMaine Member Posts: 16
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    Thank you Steamhead! I will indeed be replacing the boiler so I appreciate your replies. Now I just need to find 2 or 3 companies to get estimates from. I will ask them about the Burnham MegaSteam. Do you recommend the Beckett AF burner for use with that boiler?
  • ScottInMaine
    ScottInMaine Member Posts: 16
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    Reading online about the Burnham MegaSteam and I see it comes with a Beckett burner.

    https://file.ac/mK-fR5nVO5s/MegaSteam Product Data Sheet.pdf
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,842
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    Right. Burnham supplies the Beckett AFG with a special mounting flange on that boiler. The AFG would be overkill on your present boiler.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • ScottInMaine
    ScottInMaine Member Posts: 16
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    What boiler would you recommend if I want one that can be oil fired now but converted to natual gas (or propane) later? I think the Burnham MegaSteam is oil only.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,478
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    Burnham will not certify the megasteam for gas, it has been done and seems to work BUT you void your warranty if you convert it to gas. That may be a moot point because burnham has a history of voiding warranties for almost any reason.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    ChrisJHatterasguy
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,842
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    I cannot for the life of me come up with any reason why Burnham has a hissy fit every time someone wants to fire a MegaSteam on gas. They would sell a LOT more MegaSteams if they didn't do this. Why alienate some 70% of potential customers?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    IronmanSWEI
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    Can anyone site a case where a residential customer made out well on a boiler warranty?
    STEVEusaPA
  • ScottInMaine
    ScottInMaine Member Posts: 16
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    Since Burnham won't certify the MegaSteam boiler for use with a gas burner, what boiler would you recommend if I want to start with an oil burner and then convert to natural gas once the gas company runs a gas line down my street?
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,478
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    The slantfin intrepid has proved to work well with gas.

    http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/153026/new-slant-fin-intrepid-with-ez-gas-burner

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    edited September 2016
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    Slantfin makes an awesome boiler with fantastic customer service. There are also other fine burners that work with the Intrpepids depending on the size boiler. I chose my Riellos because they were quiet, a consideration since I was used to a regular gas burner on a dry-based boiler. However, if gas is a big maybe, get the Megasteam. It's a three-pass boiler which has many advantages besides excellent efficiency. It's the only boiler with any guarantee against water corrosion, for starters. I'm on gas and currently getting 87.2% Eff readings.
    Which brings me to my last point. Before considering any boiler, figure out your rads' EDR so you get a properly sized boiler to start with.
    I'm just a homeowner, but I had/have tremendous appreciation for the Slantfin Co. They really helped me out and seemed to get a kick out it.
    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
  • PostmodernVDG
    PostmodernVDG Member Posts: 5
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    Not to hijack the tread completely, I'm also looking for a boiler installation outfit in Maine, just a little further North. I'm located in Bangor. I have a pretty large Smith Boiler that is getting to the end of her life.

    Anyway, a little about the system. It is a two-pipe air vent system with a few one pipe legs feeding roughly 900 ft of steam. The system seems to be mostly un-tampered with except for a few steam traps being added.

    There are a few beautiful radiators cast in Boston in 1872 that aren't even in Dan's book.

    Let me know if you guys would like photo's

    -Matt
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
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    We always like pictures, especially of the unusual. ; ) I would still give Aaron a call as he does travel. At the very least, he may be able to recommend someone in your neck of the woods. I take it you have oil?
    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
  • PostmodernVDG
    PostmodernVDG Member Posts: 5
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    Vaporvac,

    Thank you for the recommendation, I'll give him a call.

    Yes, I do have have oil and would ideally like to have a system I could easily convert to gas, as the coverage is expanding in my area.

    I have the access covers to the boiler's baffles open, since I'm doing the yearly cleaning.

    The radiators are Walker Pratt & Company Of Boston with a patent date of Jan 1, 1867 and a reissue date of June 2, 1874.







    Boiler plate


    Burner Info




    Before and during cleaning




    With the shroud off last fall


    Near boiler piping, my apologies the cellar isn't very bright





    Hartford loop, I believe



    Returns joining together



    Anyway, I can add more of the pipe work if you guys are interested, there is a ton of it. I also have a hand drawn schematic I've done that I can scan on Monday.

    Hope you enjoy the photos,

    Matt













    b_bz
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,842
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    Those look a lot like Bundy radiators.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • PostmodernVDG
    PostmodernVDG Member Posts: 5
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    I calculated their EDR based of the "Crane Standard' in Dan's book. I'll look into the Bundy's, do you have any more info about them?

    Matt
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,842
    edited September 2016
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    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • PostmodernVDG
    PostmodernVDG Member Posts: 5
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    Thank you very much. I'm pretty new around this place. There is so much information to digest about these old systems.
  • ScottInMaine
    ScottInMaine Member Posts: 16
    edited September 2016
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    Thanks for all your help. I've gotten 2 quotes and hopefully the new Burnham MegaSteam boiler with Beckett burner will be installed next week.
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,425
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    @ScottInMaine, we don't discuss pricing.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,842
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    @ScottInMaine, we don't discuss pricing.

    Second that. It says so at the top of the page, in the area highlighted yellow.

    Were these quotes from contractors who advertise here?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • ScottInMaine
    ScottInMaine Member Posts: 16
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    No Steamhead, they do not. I don't think any of the 6 contractors I spoke to had ever heard of heatinghelp.com.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,739
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    No Steamhead, they do not. I don't think any of the 6 contractors I spoke to had ever heard of heatinghelp.com.

    For some reason that scares me a little.
    Have they ever heard of Dan Holohan, you know the guy that wrote the books about steam heating?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    kcopp
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,842
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    Did you call Aaron Hamilton, who was linked to earlier in the thread? He's posted some fine work on here.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • ScottInMaine
    ScottInMaine Member Posts: 16
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    I will call Aaron Hamilton in the spring. We have decided to postpone our heating system replacement until next year. I have lots of people telling me we should consider alternatives other than a steam boiler, such as mini-split heat-pumps. So we are going to have a plumber winterize our house and we will turn of our existing boiler while we are away this winter. Then I will take make time making a decision after the heating season is over.
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
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    Heat pumps?... seriously?... in Maine? My Dad lives in Me. and I've spent plenty of time there during Winters. Does comfort and aesthetics play any role in this situation? The people who suggest heat-pumps, do so because they don't know steam, don't want to learn it, and make a lot more money installing something new than merely putting in a boiler. They make a boiler replacement seem like rocket science and try to make out steam to be "old-fashioned". There's nothing old-fashioned about comfort and the MEgasteam is super efficient as is the SF Intrepid. My current EF #s on the latter are over 87%.
    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
    BobCb_bzkcopp
  • PostmodernVDG
    PostmodernVDG Member Posts: 5
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    The state is subsidizing the installation of heat pumps. I personally don't buy their claims of efficiency, especially when heating in very low temperatures.

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,695
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    Heat pumps in Maine?
    That's as useful as a screen door on a submarine.

    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
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,478
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    I had some work done to my house this year that involved siding, insulation, and replacing of some 97 year old windows that were not in great shape. I also had a Mitsubishi ductless heat pump installed on the first floor for cooling and supplemental heat. It's rated for 12,000 BTU cooling and 13,600 BTU heating with a COP of 3. At 5 degrees F its rated to put out 80% of that 13,600 BTU's.

    I used it for heat this morning to take the chill off, it was 42 outside and 64 inside. I snapped on the unit and within a few minutes 92 degree air was coming out of the inside unit and the condenser was pushing out 35 degree air.

    In my area electricity costs 19.5 cents per KWH and natural gas is about $1.35 per therm. I sat down and figured the cost to run either system in the shoulder seasons when you need some heat but don't need the brute power of a steam system. If the system efficiency were 70% the cost of running the steam would be 27 cents per hour by my calculation while the cost to run the heat pump comes out to 26.4 cents per hour.

    Now my assumptions may be off but it seems this system will do a good job in the fall and the spring when you only need a little heat to take the chill off. If i wanted to heat the house on a cold day (20-30 degrees) I would need about 4X more capacity than the present heat pump has.

    Even if I had the capacity i would never depend on it to heat the house on very cold days because it would spend to much time in defrost mode so I think the efficiency would suffer.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Aaron_in_Maine
    Aaron_in_Maine Member Posts: 315
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    I would travel into Portland in the spring I couldn't do it this time of year. I talked to Matt as well and if his holds together I will take a trip to Bangor in the spring too.

    You would be surprised mini split heat pumps are going crazy up here. I put a Mitsubishi hyper heat in my own house more for the ac in the summer than heat but I am going to hold off my boiler as long as I can. The problem is guys not doing them correctly as far as sizing. To size them correctly for heating in most houses it requires multiple heads and sometimes condensers. Which makes it expensive to do. I don't recommend them as a sole heat source without some backup.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • ScottInMaine
    ScottInMaine Member Posts: 16
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    Hi again. I wanted to let everyone know that I had a new Burnham MegaSteam MST396 boiler installed yesterday by Dan Desrochers Plumbing and Heating of Gray, Maine.

    I also had a Ruud PROUH50 hybrid heat pump electric water heater installed in July by Dyer Electric of Monmouth, Maine.

    Thanks again to everyone on this forum.


  • New England SteamWorks
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    Overall, you did fine, and you picked the best boiler. I can only nit-pick.


    You definitely want bigger main venting though.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    That is a great looking job...I know it's just me but I really don't like the very near boiler piping insulated I like looking at the piping...your choice of maluable fittings is not my first choice but I used them on occasion...JUST ME..
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,425
    edited September 2017
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    Do the returns connect above the waterline? (Pictured behind the boiler) If so, that should be corrected...surprised you didn't pick that up with a colored arrow @New England SteamWorks :wink:
  • New England SteamWorks
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    @Danny Scully has an eagle eye! That connection could cause a little trouble...


    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
    Danny Scully
  • ScottInMaine
    ScottInMaine Member Posts: 16
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    Here are some more pictures of my new Burnham MegaSteam boiler installation. I appreciate your comments.