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steam boller failed, can't afford to replace for 2 years

steam boller failed, can't afford to replace for 2 years--is it possible to use heating tape on water pipes and electric radiant heaters in bedroom, kitchen and bathroom until we can get a loan to replace the boiler?


  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Posts: 3,096Member
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • billesmith1billesmith1 Posts: 4Member
  • IronmanIronman Posts: 4,971Member
    Where are you located?
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • billesmith1billesmith1 Posts: 4Member
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,296Member
    Well... a qualified probably. You would need to put heat tape -- and insulation -- on all the piping throughout the house. This is not a problem where it is exposed, but it could be a bit difficult if some of it is run in a wall. You should also put heat tape on any traps in the waste plumbing. Then you could run electric heaters in the bedroom, kitchen, and bath.

    However. First, in Connecticut you will find that your electricity bill will be eye opening. Second, electric heaters used in that way for continuous space heating are something of a fire hazard; an electric heater of that sort should be either permanently mounted or never run unattended. Third, your building officials and fire marshall may take a very dim view of the whole thing, should they happen to find out about it.

    Some towns -- usually the more rural ones -- have programs to assist low income people with loans to provide heat. Have you looked into that?

    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
  • billesmith1billesmith1 Posts: 4Member
    edited November 2018
    Thank you for your reply, those were similar to my thoughts. My situation is through medical bills and loss of health insurance I couldn't come up with the $ estimate due to maxed out credit cards and inability to qualify even for financial assistance. I plan on talking with the heating contractor to see if he thinks it's possible and more importantly safe. After 2 years I should be able to afford the $.
  • wrooperwrooper Posts: 34Member
    "failed" is a little vague. Boilers are pretty modular so parts can be replaced and many HVAC folks are mostly salespeople [lots more profit in replacing rather than repairing]
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,581Member
    Will the boiler hold water?
    Can you post pictures of it?
  • mikeg2015mikeg2015 Posts: 763Member
    I agree, that there might be a few ways to limp it along safely. If it holds water....mostly... everything else may cost less to fix than you think.
  • brandonfbrandonf Posts: 163Member
    One thing I've learned about medical bills and credit cards is that they are unsecured debts which means if you default they can't do anything but keep asking for your money. I would take care of the Four Walls of my life before I bothered with unsecured debts. Cover food, clothing, housing, and transportation and tell the rest of those debtors you will pay them when you can... heat in your home is more important than a hospital or a credit card company getting paid. No disrespect, just my 2 cents on the matter.
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
  • ScottSecorScottSecor Posts: 214Member
    Not sure if it was mentioned above, but here in NJ there are numerous programs for free (or almost free) boilers for low income families. Not sure you would qualify, but I bet there are programs available in you state. Might want to reach out to the state and see what they can offer.

    I can tell you that some of the homes we've done work in with one of these programs are in desirable towns and the houses were pretty darn nice. For reference, I just looked at Zillow and they claim two of them were valued at over $500K. The reason I mention this is these people did not appear to be "poor" by any means, yet they qualified for free boilers.
  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Posts: 3,096Member
    Oil or gas?
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 816Member
    edited November 2018
    If plan on heating same square footage of house with electricity to same temps as with old furnace, your heating bill for electricity will likely be something like 2X that of your old bill for fuel for furnace.

    We pay flat rate of ~ 18.1 cents/KWH. Cost of electricity with electric heating is so high people install oil furnaces.

    A 1500 watt space heater would cost $.27/hour .... that's $200/month (if run continuously). That's only 5,100 BTU/hr, so won't heat much, need a bunch of them. Not recomended without inspection if your house wiring is very old and/or questionable
  • brandonfbrandonf Posts: 163Member
    edited November 2018
    On a side note. if your house is steam it's probably old and if it's old it might still have very old wiring that could be overloaded. So just plugging in electric heaters can be a really bad idea. You may want to consult with a friendly electrician beforehand. And remember, all those electrical fires you hear about on the news usually start at night when people are sleeping, the scariest time.
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 816Member
    edited November 2018
    That fire danger is real. I'm in southern NH in large city , when real cold spell hits ( minus 5 degs) usually hear on news an old house burns down , from house wiring fire caused by space heater they added because of the cold. ( ~ 1 per year)

    Real old houses have some scary wiring sometimes, not to mention incompetent DIY wiring. Also aluminum wiring from the 70's has fire problems if outlets and connections haven't been upgraded to be aluminum wire compatible. Heaters draw a lot more amps than TV's and lights, if house wiring has any bad connections/outlets they get hot.

    Since steam heat I'm guessing it's an old house.... not much insulation...... so need lot of heaters .......big electric bill.

    But while house may have a bunch of wall outlets, there may only be 4-5 branch circuits serving them. So you may be limited to only 4-5 heaters which isn't going to make much heat unless have tiny apt.

    If have outlet for electric clothes drier then that could handle ~ 7 kw 240 V heater. Or if 4 prong outlet, a fused distribution box for about four 120V heaters

    Cheaper to burn fuel.
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