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Time to replace?

BassoMusico Member Posts: 4
edited October 2018 in Gas Heating
Looking for advice, and sorry that as a home owner, I just don't have the background to make any sort of technical assessment on this. Our Burnham Revolution is 16 years old. The transformer blew last week, and some sort of card/motherboard died last winter. Our service tech said that it's time to replace, and quoted ~$ in immediate repairs to "maybe" make it through the season. So, what are your thoughts on a 16 year old Burnham Revolution, and at what point is it time to replace? Also, the tech offered a "pays for itself" concept for a new that crazy? I'm trying to wrap my head around how a 15% or so improvement in efficiency turns into $ over 15 years or so. Thanks!


  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,864
    We do not discuss pricing on this forum. Click on "Here" in the yellow bar above to see this and other FAQs.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    Does the boiler leak? What repairs did he propose to "Maybe make it through the season"? Is this person experienced in steam heating? Have you checked the "Find a Contractor" tab at the top of this page to see if a Steam Pro from here is available in your area? A second opinion may save you a lot of money. I know we don't discuss pricing here but to me, a $1500.00 repair, if needed, is far less than a replacement boiler. My Burnham is 35 years old and still runs great (knock on wood).
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,007
    Steam?? or water.
  • BassoMusico
    BassoMusico Member Posts: 4
    Sorry for violating the $ rule. The central question is about how reliable a Burnham Revolution (water) is after 16 years. I am trying to cost/benefit a repair vs replace and am looking for guidance on that via reviews/recommendations on older boilers, and the Burnham Revolution in particular. I am also looking to verify a "pays for itself" claim made by the service guy, but first of all, how long does a Burnham Revolution last? Thanks and again, sorry for violating the rules.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,397

    It is difficult to make a judgment on how long a boiler will last. When I started in the business we replaced boilers that were 30, 40 50 years old or more. Now replacing a 10 year old boiler is not uncommon.

    At 16 years old your in a "in between " situation in my opinion.

    If you can fix it at a reasonable price and it is safe and reasonably efficient......keep running it.

    If it's going to cost more to fix than it is worth ...replacement is needed.

    So, how do you decide?

    Try to find a "Burnham expert" in your area. Call the Burnham rep maybe they can point you in the right direction. Check "find a contractor" on this site Get a couple of quotes on repairing the boiler versus a replacement.

    Then you can make a reasonable decision.

    Also, make sure that if you replace the boiler that a heat loss for your house is done so you get the right size boiler. It would also be good information to know as far as repairing your old boiler. Should you sink money into a boiler that may or may not be the correct size??
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,190
    Quite alright on the dollars rule -- we do it because prices are so variable from place to place that it can be really unfair.

    If your Burnham Revolution isn't leaking or anything evil like that, it's no worse than middle aged. These things aren't cars, and fortunately their not built like cars.

    The repair vs. replace cost/benefit is really a question of how much, if anything, can you benefit from installing a modern boiler? If -- and this is a big if -- it is properly cleaned and the burners adjusted and serviced that old boiler can achieve up to 88% efficiency -- probably more like 85% in the real world. The only way you can go higher is with a condensing boiler, and that may or may not work on your system, depending on your heat loss and how much radiation you have. If it did work, though, you might burn 5% less fuel over a year (again, assuming the thing is properly serviced). You can run the numbers yourself to see how long -- if ever -- it would take to save the cost of the new boiler and install. Don't forget to include the cost of any foregone interest or capital gains on the capital cost of the new boiler. If you couldn't use condensing, the entire cost would be sunk -- you'd never make it back. "Pay for itself" is salesman's shorthand for "I could use the work and you'll be happy to pay me for it".
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • BassoMusico
    BassoMusico Member Posts: 4
    Jamie Hall and EBEBRATT-Ed, thank you so much for your insight. You both have given me a lot to think about, and have confirmed some of my suspicions. Of course, I want to hear that I don't need to replace this, but I also don't want to be without heat mid-season. I greatly appreciate your help with this and I'll be working this through from here. Happy winter!