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Replacement cost

I have an 27+ year old Weil McLain that has an unrepairable leak. I’ve been told it needs to be replaced. I’ve had two local companies give me quotes. One was $12,500 the other $11,000. My house is 1700 sq feet. I have a total of 9 radiators. The house was built in 1926. Not all that well insulated. I’m shocked at the replacement costs. Is this typical? I’m in Greensboro North Carolina.
Please help!


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,893
    We try to avoid commenting on costs or pricing, since it varies so widely with circumstances and region.

    That said, make sure the companies have sized the replacement properly, and not just looked at the old one and said that'll do.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,389
    You can get other bids, but the lowest bid isn't always the best choice nor is the highest bid. Just make sure you compare apples to apples and compare labor rates, too. Hold back the last 10% of the last payment until you are sure the system operates satisfactorily.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,692
    We don't talk pricing openly on the board and I think the owners would like it if you removed the numbers from your post.

    That being said you should be most concerned with getting a properly sized properly installed boiler. I understand you have to pay for it (I've been down this road myself), but the long term cost of a poor install will be more than the short term cost of a proper install.

    I am a homeowner and I replaced my own boiler. If you'd like to PM me I can tell you what just my material cost was, zero labor as I did all the work.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    j a_2
  • Dan_NJ
    Dan_NJ Member Posts: 247
    If you haven't done any estimates with a contract that specifies the minimum level required for near boiler piping, consider that too. Many examples here including mine where install is not to spec and the resulting issues. There seem to be many contractors out there who think they know steam but confuse it with hot water which it is not. Better to do it right the first time, and to know in advance exactly what that means for a steam system (I didn't and I'm paying for it).

  • Take up KC Jones on his offer of explaining the material cost of doing a correct installation, as well as the hours needed, and you will see more clearly the total cost of a professional installation.
    However, not all installers meet the criteria we want on this website, so keep in touch about what the installers want to do, as it may not be right.—NBC
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,471
    The labor required to properly install a steam system costs more then the boiler - a lot more.

    If the installer you hire does it wrong you will get to pay to have it done right because the original installer will be long gone.

    Choose wisely.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,833
    Talk to your neighbors about price. And ask the installers to READ THE INSTALLATION MANUAL. In fact make them read it in front of you.
    Double DNew England SteamWorks
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 884
    Agree with all of the above. The biggest battle I fight in trying to bid a boiler replacement, is that many times, the low bid omits work included in my bid, and which is necessary for the correct and efficient operation of the equipment. Make sure you get apples to apples bids.

    A properly sized and installed boiler will last far longer than one which is not. Insist that the piping diagrams and minimum pipe sizes be followed to the letter. It's all in the manual, it's easy to tell of your installer did not follow them. factor the longer life of a good install into your cost calculations.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,302
    Don't assume the installer will READ and FOLLOW the install manual. They will tell you they have been doing it for years, yada, yada, yada.

    You need to read the manual and understand it. Make it crystal to them they must follow the manual . Piping and skimming and combustion testing

    I am convinced most of them can not read
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    There have been recent postings here with customers ending up with the new system in worse shape than the old was.
    Two of them shared the "details" of their contract and did not have a legal leg to stand on to rectify the shoddy installation.

    A third did withhold some payment until after completion and could get the installer back, perhaps had to pay someone else to "fix" the replacement.

    IIWY I would review all mentioned above.

    If you post some pictures of your existing boiler and the piping around it there would be plenty of advise given.

    You hope for 20 years out of your next boiler.
    The old one may have been more tolerant of questionable piping than any new one will be. That is why the installation instructions are so critical.

    Please stay in touch........
    (Yes, you should get rid of the dollar amounts above).
  • Becareful. When it comes to steam boilers, most homeowners end up here after a botched install. Don't be that guy.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,542

    Are you still there?

    I helped my relatives find a steam guy in Greensboro a few years ago. Your area had it's share of hacks. I think we interviewed a half dozen or so totally unqualified "steam experts" before finding a good one. He was an older New York transplant.

    Please edit your original post and remove pricing.
    I am not sure why you are "shocked" with the pricing of a replacement. What is you cost basis? I guess it might cost more than throwing a new heat pump in the yard....

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein