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oil fueled boilers get poor reviews

HeatDilemma Member Posts: 1
edited October 2018 in Oil Heating
My home has an oil fueled 'Arcoleader' boiler. As far as I know, it dates from the early 60s. It works pretty well. My technician tells me the blast tube and end cone need to be replaced (he showed me the damage) or ... I could get a new boiler. The technician is leaning towards a new boiler.

I got three quotes. Columbia boiler, Burnham boiler (most expensive), Utica boiler (cheapest). My problem is I checked online reviews of these boilers, and the reviews say they are all crap! I live in Tinytown, USA (population 15K) and there seem to be only 3 contractors in my area, so those are my choices.

By 'crap', -- a word which appears often in these reviews -- reviewers mean many failures during the warranty period, failure of technicians to repair boiler, poor customer support from the companies. Expressions of remorse. Frankly, it's quite discouraging.

Should I take a chance on one of these boilers, or just repair the old 'arcoleader' boiler? If chancing a new boiler, which brand to go with?



  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,947
    Comment No. 1: on line reviews are self selected. As a result, you only see the bad and the ugly -- not the good. Comment No. 2: nine times out of ten a boiler problem has much more to do with poor installation. Comment No. 3: the most important single factor in picking a boiler is to pick one which the person or company you hire to do the install knows well, knows how to install, and knows how to service -- and will be there when service is needed.

    That said, of the three brands you mention I'd pick the Burnham -- provided a contractor in my area was familiar and happy with it. The others are good boilers, too.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,594
    If those are your choices, I agree with Jamie on the Burnham.

    Which model was quoted?
    I would stay away from the V series though. Burnham offers a 3 pass boiler but the model escapes me at the moment.

    Which burner was offered?

    Did anyone do a heat loss calculation or just go by what the existing boilers BTU rating? Your current Arcoleader is likely way oversized so a replacement with a similar BTU rating won't really be saving fuel.

    If the blast tube and head (end cone) is warped or burned, theres other issues that need to be addressed, so with that in mind, my assumption that the right side access covers to the cleanouts are are being held on with 10 lbs of retort cement, I'd opt for a correctly sized and installed replacement.

    I'm a little surprised each contractor only offers one brand.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,334
    Is this a steam or hot-water system? Are you staying with oil? What model of each of those brands was proposed?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,362
    The three pass Burnham is an MPO series.