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Flew one in from France

EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,727Member
One of our techs told me he had an oil pump go bad on a Weishaupt burner on a Viessmann boiler last Thursday night shutting down the heat in a school. This is a 2500mbh boiler. Yeah, they have an old Burnham that they only use for a back-up so they limped by ok.

He just got a pump today, made by Suntec in France. They had to fly one in. Their were none in the USA.

I don't know what the impact of parts availability is on the residential equipment because I don't do much of that but on the commercial side this is a real issue. I have had several problems with this.

I admit that the Viessmann, Buderus etc equipment is good equipment. Set up properly they run for long periods of time efficiently and with a minimum of service

But anything mechanical can and does break. No matter how efficient they are over and above "standard USA equipment" no amount of fuel savings (and were only talking the difference between the two) can offset the cost of down time, parts cost and aggravation

At least in my opinion


  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,861Member
    You should've ordered 2. Hard to believe you are the only one in America who needs that part.

    I'm starting to become a little frustrated with supply houses and parts, especially anything electronic.
    My dilemma:
    They only want to cover, say, one year from manufacturer's date, unless you have the receipt. No problem, I keep the receipts, write the invoice number on the part box. Then when I use the part, I pull the invoice, and note next to the part who has it, & when it was installed. However, if I have a part on the shelf for more than a year, now it's a battle. Especially when I purchased a special aquastat for a commercial water heater, and it was bad right out of the box. If I had that sitting on my shelf for a year or 2 I wouldn't been SOL.

    So, do I keep parts in inventory, especially special, hard to get items, so I can provide the best service? Then install them, they crap out in 3 months, then told no warranty because you purchased it 2 years ago.
    -Makes me look bad, unreliable to the customer-

    Or, do I not keep these parts in inventory, then when the break, tell the customer they are going to be without for 2+ days until I get the part.
    -Also makes me look bad, unreliable to the customer-

    I picked up some aquastats the other day, one had a date code Oct 12 2017. I asked them if it was already out of warranty. They looked at me puzzled, I put it back.

    And this is all the major players in the game. I'm sure I'll be long gone when you can order a part on your phone and a drone immediately flies it over to your job.

    It would be nice if they delivered parts for hvac the way automotive repair shops get parts delivered by local parts distributors, or maybe get Uber involved with a new division-Uber Parts. I'd pay someone $10 to bring me a part to finish a job, rather than stop work, run out, run back, etc.
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Posts: 1,502Member
    It is a dilemma for sure as @STEVEusaPA so eloquently described it. I will generally order 2 of those parts (after we discover they are hard to get) and the customer gets one installed and the other on their shelf. They own their hard or essential backup parts. This is strictly commercial/industrial thinking. Most will gladly stock their own parts when you explain the situation to them.

    Always good to have the old boiler there (usually an old Mills) to keep the chimney warm while equipment is down.
    Master electrician specialising in boiler and burner controls, multiple fuel systems, radiant system controls, building controls, and universal refrigeration tech.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,401Member
    The problem is not confined to HVAC. My son in law runs a timber harvesting firm, and had a hydraulic hose burst the other day on a forwarder (a $250,000 hunk of machinery). You have to keep those running, just to pay the bank. The hose had to be flown in from Sweden, along with a tech. to install it. Granted, they were there in 24 hours, but... ! Or in agriculture -- many of the new tractors (never mind combines) are computer controlled, and to get repair on them you may have to wait two or three days to get a tech. out to where it sits, dead, in the middle of your field.

    Not sure where this is going -- and I certainly don't have any answers! -- but it's part of what drives my occasional comments on keeping things as simple as possible, even at a small cost in apparent efficiency.

    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
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,727Member
    I like my 1980 Crane atmospheric boiler with the thermopile.

    The costs associate with thes problems is ....something else.

    I don't want any of this stuff in my basement.
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 739Member
    I have been having this problem more frequently in the past couple of years than any in the many that I have been doing this.
    You make a phone call to the supplier and they say it will be there day after tomorrow, or the next day or a week to ten days.
    This is getting all too often the norm.
    Auto mechanic friends have said the same thing although they do have that delivery truck some how show up with the needed part on the same day.
    Maybe the supply houses that we frequent can take a hint from this thread and start doing what STEVEusaPA was saying and have the parts delivery service just like auto parts.
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 938Member
    This is a huge problem for European made equipment. I recently had a Riello burner that I had to wait almost two weeks to get the electrodes. They were the larger ones, every set in our Riello rescue boxes was too small.
  • SuperJSuperJ Posts: 478Member
    edited January 11
    Most residential Viessmann boilers (for the NA market) are made here in North America, about 10km from house here in Waterloo, ON, Canada.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,727Member
    Maybe the residential parts are more available.

    The commercial stuff I work on every time we need a part it has to be flown in.

    And these are common parts

    You would think that these manufacturers would have as a minimum two distribution centers in the states
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Posts: 1,502Member
    Honestly, youd think that if they sold one or two boilers that would be the problem. Selling many boilers of a certain model should mean at least the consumable parts should be stocked somewhere you'd think.
    Master electrician specialising in boiler and burner controls, multiple fuel systems, radiant system controls, building controls, and universal refrigeration tech.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,727Member
    Thing is they don't seem to care. I started up 10 Buderus boilers in Boston a few years back they all had Riello burners about 4600mbh each boiler. The boiler room was really tight. The burner motors were fan cooled with a plastic end cover on the motors over the cooling fan which were about 2 or 3 hp (metric motors)

    So during construction with people running around in a tight space with tools and job boxes the plastic end covers were broken and shoved into the fans on 2 burners.

    So when I started those burners I pulled off the end covers and the broken fans. Started the burners and adjusted them so I could complete start up and then left those two shut down so the motors wouldn't overheat running without a fan.

    Told the supplier that we needed 2 plastic fans and 2 end covers, that's it, the motors were fine. They said they would call me when the parts were in and ship them directly to the job.

    6 weeks later (I had forgoton about it) they called and said the parts were on the job.

    They shipped 2 complete new motors all the way from Italy. Can't get the fans or end covers separately. Free under warranty.

    Who would like to pay the shipping, put up with the delay and then pay for two complete motors that you don't need just to get a couple of plastic parts worth about $5.00?? The only alternative would be buying 2 metric motors state side (which are available) but you still paying a lot for something you don't need.
  • CanuckerCanucker Posts: 530Member
    > @SuperJ said:
    > Most residential Viessmann boilers (for the NA market) are made here in North America, about 10km from house here in Waterloo, ON, Canada.

    I didn't know they were that close. I'm only in Brantford, might see if they'll let me have a tour of the place
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
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