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Heat exchanger damage?

tkel Member Posts: 2
I recently discovered on my Gas hot water boiler that the pilot light would not stay lit. But while checking I noticed a soot scorch on the front of the boiler. Realizing that there was a flame roll out I called a contractor to come out and check the boiler. Without checking anything, he said we need a new boiler. I just wanted to know what caused this and could it be fixed. I took a photo of the heat exchanger from where the burners are. There has been no water leaks from the boiler from what I can tell. The boiler is shut off and will not be used until it's repaired or replaced. It's a peerless, about 30 years old.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,446
    Ah... lots of things can cause a flame rollout. Most of which do no require a new boiler.

    Try another contractor...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    delta T
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,901
    The pilot light may have been set too high so it was striking the cast-iron, which would leave soot.

    If it won't stay lit, it probably needs a new thermocouple.

    You don't need to replace the boiler for this. You need the right contractor. Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 884
    Looks like you have a dirty pilot, that is what is causing the soot buildup. You will most likely have to have the boiler cleaned out and serviced, new pilot assembly, and then tuning the combustion. That will take care of anything with the boiler. The roll out could be due to the soot buildup from the pilot, or it could be indicative of a problem with combustion air, or the flue. A competent heating pro should be able to get your system running.

    That being said, cleaning boilers thoroughly is fairly labor intensive so except to spend some money. Not replacement money by any means, but its not going to be free. I have cleaned and tuned many boilers much older than yours with great results, I would agree with Jamie, find another contractor. Have you tried the 'Find a contractor' link on this site?
  • tkel
    tkel Member Posts: 2
    Thank you for the answers. It does seem that the black buildup is right above the pilot. The thermocouple was changed last year and I think the burners were cleaned at that point. I am in North Jersey, Bergen County. I will try the find a contractor. I would be willing to pay for it to be fixed right, but it just seemed to me that the only thing this guy checked was the name plate. He said it was probably full of rust and too old, not worth fixing. I'm not one to throw stuff away just because it's old.
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,833
    Clean it and put it back in service with a thermocouple.
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    Did you get the salesman for the company by mistake?
  • captainco
    captainco Member Posts: 796
    Someone is trying to rip you off!!! Find someone honest.