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Adding a new steam boiler and keeping the existing for backup

KurtB Member Posts: 4
Looking for a little help, i currently have a 1932 trane vapor heating system with a capitol red top A-11 boiler converted to Oil a long time ago. the system has always worked fine but i had some problems with my oil tank this winter and the power went out a few times and i was out of heat(and of coarse it was 18 degrees out). I have fixed the tank problems but we still have power outages from time to time. what i would like to do is to install a new oil boiler next to the existing coal boiler and be able to run one or the other by valving them off and convert the capitol back to coal or wood. I have all of the parts needed to take the boiler back to coal (grates, doors, pressure damper control etc). I have attached a couple pictures of the exiting boiler and the piping schematic for what is existing and what i propose doing. The other thing i would have to do is lower the existing steam header down to allow enough room for a new header for both boilers to go into. I'm not really sure how to pipe the main return and the condensate return. The last thing is does anyone know of a good steam boiler contractor in Portland Oregon who could do this for me.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,934
    Well... you certainly could do that. And there would be a good deal to be said for a modern boiler (like -- much higher efficiency!). But... most of us who have the odd power failure, which is to say most of us, find that a standby generator -- which doesn't have to be that big (say, the oil burner, maybe the refrigerator and a few lights?) is a pretty simple solution.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    I love that old boiler!!
  • KurtB
    KurtB Member Posts: 4
    I like the idea of having a completely off grid solution that heats the entire house. A wood stove is not a good solution as the house is broken up into so many rooms.
  • furnacefigher15
    furnacefigher15 Member Posts: 514
    I would advise against it. You dont have the space. Lowing the existing steam header would likely prove very problematic ( water line issues, hammering, etc...)

    The bigger issue would be the flue piping, let alone the piping.

    To do it right would be a serious undertaking and likely a major expence, maybe twice the cost of a normal install.