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Vintage Boiler

steve123_2steve123_2 Member Posts: 13
edited August 2017 in THE MAIN WALL
Vintage Boiler in a house my sister is considering buying. Pics Below.

I’m just wondering if anyone can Identify this Boiler, it’s age, if things like this are still maintained by some folks and what might be involved in replacing it.
I know you don’t do pricing but maybe a range from:
No problem / Could be tough / Hideous / RUN AWAY !!!

It seems to vent into the fireplace chimney.
There is a newer Gas hot water heater which has a vent that looks like it was retrofitted to go into the same vent hole.

Asbestos on the steam pipes.

Any opinions / advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Comments

  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,869
    Probably dates back to the 1940s or 1950s. it's a 3-pass boiler that can burn coal, oil or gas.

    These are usually built like tanks, and can be tuned to be more efficient, but not as efficient as a new boiler.

    The steam system fed by that boiler will work well with a properly installed new boiler.

    I see the house has gas available- if it's natural gas, it would be a good idea to switch away from oil.

    Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
    kcoppsteve123_2
  • steve123_2steve123_2 Member Posts: 13
    In Rhode Island. Thanks!
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,412
    edited August 2017
    Can you take a close up of the tag on the front? Does that say "Melt Fast"?

    2 things I see are the gas flue (should be 4", not 3") should be above the oil flue at the breach.

    The primary for the burner is a stack relay. About 35 years obsolete. 90 second safety vs. 5 seconds on a Riello or 15 seconds on others.

    If there's wiggle room with the seller, maybe they'll come down in price to meet your concerns.
    steve123_2
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,947
    I suspect that that boiler should be replaced with a more modern one, which would be more efficient.

    The asbestos insulation on the steam pipes does not need to be a problem, unless it is necessary to remove it to work on the pipes (which would be the case near the boiler to install a new one). Elsewhere your best bet is to encapsulate the asbestos -- unless someone is really upset with just the idea that there is asbestos there. IMHO, that is.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    steve123_2
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,209
    HVACNUT said:

    Can you take a close up of the tag on the front? Does that say "Melt Fast"?

    I think it reads 'Heet Fast', but it should read 'Run Away-FAST'.
    I wouldn't even fire that up.
    I red-tagged one like that. 18ppm of CO around the boiler, leaking everywhere.
    Between the electrical box laying on the ground, the poor mounting/furnace cement burner, against-code venting into probably an oversized marginal-at-best chimney, the stack relay of death...
    I'm sure the tank and oil line are hurting.
    I would get an estimate for replacement and deduct that amount off of your offer. I wouldn't even think of using that boiler this winter.
    steve
    steve123_2
  • steve123_2steve123_2 Member Posts: 13
    HVACNUT said:

    Can you take a close up of the tag on the front? Does that say "Melt Fast"?


    Thanks for the info. Not sure if you were kidding about "Melt Fast" but I cropped it and it appears to say SUPER HEET FAST. Not sure if they were doing Phonetic spelling for kitch marketing tactics back then but who knows... :)

  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,869
    That was typical back then. You had names like Toridheet, Selectrol, ReddiHeat, Nu-Way and others.

    If there's asbestos inside that boiler's jacket, it will jack the cost of replacement way up. I've seen some disasters as @STEVEusaPA describes, but not all of them are that bad. If your sister needs to save up some money for replacing it, and it wasn't spewing CO or something as bad, it could probably be made to run safely. That, however, takes some expertise. I would still favor replacing it.

    Best bet is to get someone there who knows what they're looking at, and can give you advice based on what they find there. Click on the Find a Contractor link at the top of the page and follow the instructions to locate someone near you.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
    steve123_2
  • newagedawnnewagedawn Member Posts: 562
    looks like an old american standard from the late 50's early 60's without the logo on the top like usual, they where famous with that design,meaning the open front doors, just worked on one yesterday, the boilers are tanks but consume way to much oil compared to new one's, you will thank yourself for getting a new boiler when you see the new oil bill
    "The bitter taste of a poor install lasts far longer than the JOY of the lowest price"
    steve123_2
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,094
    I agree with most of the above comments except that that boiler can be made to run safely with decent efficiency If (and it's a big If) you can find a competent oil burner technician that know what he's doing.

    The efficiency will not be as good as a new boiler of course but good enough to buy some time and save some money for a replacement.

    As for the age it could have been originally coal fired I would guess 1930s-1940s Not newer than that. I doubt 1950s certainly not 1960s
    steve123_2
  • steve123_2steve123_2 Member Posts: 13
    Thanks Ebebratt-Ed -
    The house was built in 1935 so that's probably the original burner ! Wow. There's Natural gas in the house now so I put an email in to a local contractor to see if I can get an idea of replacement cost. I can't imagine why the owner didn't change it as soon as gas was available. That thing is just spooky :smiley:
    Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,412
    > @steve123 said:
    > I can't imagine why the owner didn't change it as soon as gas was available. That thing is just spooky :smiley:
    >
    >
    > That's blasphemy to us oil guys.
    A hex on your new gas boiler.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,094
    The boiler could well be mid 30s. The oil burner looks like a Beckett probably a model AF (you can look at the sticker on the side of the burner below the transformer. which nowadays is just an "OK" burner if set up properly.

    That burner first came out in the late 60s??? I don't know exactly but when I started in 73' they were plenty being installed. Don't know if there still made but improved versions, variations of that burner are available from Beckett

    that was the start of the high speed flame retention burner (along with the Carlin 100crd). In the early 70s when they came out, it was quite an improvement compared to the old burners we thought we had died and went to heaven
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,412
    edited August 2017
    I'm not positive, but I think the AF came later than the early 70's. It's predecessor was the SR. A 1725 rpm retention head.
    They still make the AF for some applications. I don't know why an AFG is not used. Static pressure?
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,094
    @HVACNUT well I started in 73" and the AF was out then so I am guessing it was out a few years earlier than that. I liked the SR good fire and a lot quieter.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,869
    HVACNUT said:

    They still make the AF for some applications. I don't know why an AFG is not used. Static pressure?

    In a boiler like that, you don't need much static pressure. In some cases using a high-static burner in a boiler of that type will cause loss of retention (where the flame blows off the head) and poor operation. So the AF is the right choice there. If the boiler is to stay in service for the time being, I would not change the burner.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,412
    > @Steamhead said:
    >
    > In a boiler like that, you don't need much static pressure. In some cases using a high-static burner in a boiler of that type will cause loss of retention (where the flame blows off the head) and poor operation. So the AF is the right choice there. If the boiler is to stay in service for the time being, I would not change the burner.
    >
    >
    > I wasn't referring to that system. In general, some new furnaces come with an AF rather than the AFG. I assumed it was because of static pressure requirements.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,869
    HVACNUT said:

    > @Steamhead said:

    >

    > In a boiler like that, you don't need much static pressure. In some cases using a high-static burner in a boiler of that type will cause loss of retention (where the flame blows off the head) and poor operation. So the AF is the right choice there. If the boiler is to stay in service for the time being, I would not change the burner.

    >

    >

    > I wasn't referring to that system. In general, some new furnaces come with an AF rather than the AFG. I assumed it was because of static pressure requirements.

    Same situation. Depends on how much static pressure is needed to get the air and combustion products through the heat exchanger.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • New England SteamWorksNew England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,353
    Ha! I think I've been in this house. It's in North Providence, right?

    Happy to help if I can.


    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
    steve123_2
  • steve123_2steve123_2 Member Posts: 13
    Hi Ryan! Thanks!
    The house is in Warwick. I actually sent you an email on Friday using the email address on your website. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Someone suggested that it may have been converted to gas since there is a gas water heater. Not sure tho.
    I'll post a PM.
    Thanks!
    Steve
  • DanPikeDanPike Member Posts: 5
    I replaced my similarly aged oil-fired boiler with a natural gas boiler and cut my fuel bill by 50%. Did it with a no-interest loan through the gas utility, so I went cash-plus really quick.
    NO ONE told me that I was getting rid of the biggest radiator in my house, (and also replacing the asbestos pipe-insulation with way more effective commercial-grade insulation) so when I replaced it with a well-insulated way-more-efficient unit that lost no heat to my basement, I had to re-balance the entire house. I'm glad I did it, but it took some time to get the house comfortable again!
    Go for it.
    steve123_2
  • steve123_2steve123_2 Member Posts: 13
    Hi Dan, Thanks for the advice!
    Was your system steam or hot water? Was it expensive to have asbestos removed?
  • DanPikeDanPike Member Posts: 5
    It's a steam system, which was installed when the house was built in 1904 (when the boiler was coal-fired).
    Asbestos removal, which included disposal of the old asbestos-insulated boiler plus stripping the asbestos from 125 feet of piping, plus permits and final state-mandated inspection, cost $2,150,in suburban Boston, Massachusetts in 2013.
    steve123_2
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