Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

NG Steam Boiler Replacement - W/O Chimney

Options
New to the board but not new to steam... Have had it all my life and love it. Well, MOST of the time...

I've got a 1000sqft house and heat it with steam. It's a 1 pipe system and 80 years old. Only 5 radiators and I get very even heat throughout the house.

I had a natural gas Burnham IN3 installed in 04 by a local plumber. Thought I'd get 20+ years out of it but getting it tuned last fall for the season found a large crack that looked like it had been there since the prior year. I guess that'd explain the high gas bills and having to add water late season the previous winter. $ being in short supply I managed to baby it through the winter. I was never so glad to see this spring come!!!

While I know I need to replace the boiler, my mason says my chimney MUST come down before it falls down. Being as the chimney is 80 years old, it's been repointed and repaired a lot over the years. The cost to replace it is compounded by the cost of getting it to code as far as height and clearance from the ridge. Additionally, the current chimney isn't situated on a gable-end but rather at the eves.

Someone mentioned power venting it through a new wooden structure that I could build over the current chimney foundation which is in good shape. Looking around, I've seen no new steam units that are billed as being able to be power vented. Maybe I'm missing something...

I honestly hate to loose the chimney as I'll lose my fireplace as well but cant afford to replace it. Wondering if anyone had any ideas other than moving from New England to S. Florida.

Thanks!!!!

Dave

Comments

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,771
    edited August 2017
    Options
    Back in 2011 after buying our house we had a small local company tear the chimney down and install a B vent in it's place.

    A B vent is much cheaper than having a brick chimney built, but it does the same job, if not better.

    Something to consider.


    Our chimney was 150+ years old and the only reason we had it torn down was it was grossly undersized and couldn't be properly lined when I converted to natural gas. It seems a bit strange that an 80 year old one couldn't be repaired reasonably cheap, but, who knows. It's also hard to judge without seeing something.

    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
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
    Options
    The problem with power venting is that it adds moving parts, which at some point will break down and require service. This always seems to happen in the middle of the winter. Also, you need to locate the vent as much as 4 feet away from windows and doors (check your local Codes), and high enough so a blizzard won't block it- usually a foot above the highest recorded snow accumulation. If there is a publicly-accessible walkway, in most cases you need to be 7 feet above that.

    Comparing this with a chimney's inherent simplicity and reliability is a no-brainer. You might end up using a B-vent like Chris did, if cost is an issue, but it's still a much more reliable solution.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,074
    Options
    Do you have a closet near the center of the house that a B vent could go up thru. It can offset in the attic if needed to get close to the peak of the house. Even a box out in the corner of a room is something that you might be able to live with.
    At the eve the height will seem ridiculously high and look pretty odd.

    Power vent could have a noise factor also.
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,518
    Options
    You might need some more chimney bids. I should think the chimney below the roof line would be in good shape, so just tear down above and rebuild. I did mine a few years ago and the bids were all over the place. But in the end it was reasonable. And I had to go from 2nd floor up to clearance of the adjacent 3rd floor gable.

    Plus, you'll be able to keep your fireplace.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
    Options
    i agree about prices being all over the place. About a decade ago I needed my roof replaced, I selected a contractor and gave him a deposit. After giving him the deposit i remembered the chimney looked kind of rough so i asked him if he could do it and he said sure, he sent his father and a helper over the next day. They were up on the roof for 4 hours, took the chimney down above the roof and put it back up again. The chimney was about 30 ft up and was about 4ft above the roof.

    They did it for 1/3 the price the masons wanted and did a great job to boot.

    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,771
    Options
    BobC said:

    i agree about prices being all over the place. About a decade ago I needed my roof replaced, I selected a contractor and gave him a deposit. After giving him the deposit i remembered the chimney looked kind of rough so i asked him if he could do it and he said sure, he sent his father and a helper over the next day. They were up on the roof for 4 hours, took the chimney down above the roof and put it back up again. The chimney was about 30 ft up and was about 4ft above the roof.

    They did it for 1/3 the price the masons wanted and did a great job to boot.

    Bob

    So,
    You went with the lowest bidder, essentially.
    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
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
    Options
    I knew about what the masons were charging, I had this contractor do it because I knew him and his reputation - getting a great price was just a bonus.

    Both the roof and chimney still look great.

    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,771
    Options
    BobC said:

    I knew about what the masons were charging, I had this contractor do it because I knew him and his reputation - getting a great price was just a bonus.

    Both the roof and chimney still look great.

    Bob

    Oh I don't doubt that.
    Just remember, a lot of guys claim when you go with the lowest bidder you get sub par work.

    Sadly, we know this isn't the case, just as when you go with the highest bidder you're not guaranteed a good job.
    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