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55 y/o gas boiler - smell, percolating sound, and now CO
My natural gas boiler is the house's original - 55 years old.
For about a month now there's been a bit of a smell when it's on - not overbearing, but noticeable. It's also been making percolating sounds - more of a stovetop coffee pot brewing than popcorn in the microwave.
For about 1.5 weeks now the CO detector has been going off when the boiler is on. Purchased a new CO detector - same thing.
It's on a ground floor utility room with front and back windows, and keeping the windows open was keeping it ventilated enough to prevent CO build up. The last few days it's gotten worse, and even a pedestal fan blowing toward the window isn't enough to keep the CO detector from going off.
The boiler now runs about 20 minutes before the detector goes off.
The flame seen from beneath are burning yellow, which I read means the boiler isn't burning the gas effectively, and causing CO.
It's the end of the heating season, and I go without it for a couple of weeks more. I'd rather replace it in the fall when it will operating more regularly, in case there's a problem with it in the weeks following installation. If I replace it now, I'll be stuck for a repair bill if it fails in some way in say, November.
The unit is 250,000 BTUs, and a guy that came out a few years ago measured all the baseboard radiators, and said the house only required a 125,000 BTU unit. He said gas was cheap in the '60s and they figured bigger was better - hence the overkill.
Is that true?
Is there way to be certain the boiler's problems aren't the result of a venting problem rather than the boiler itself?
The unit is so old, and it's a 3-zone system, that the kids that come out to look it (for things in the past), don't even know what they're looking at.
Should I be looking for a plumber rather than an HVAC person?
I don't know anything about boilers or plumbing, and have heard horror stories from others with some local contractors.
What would something like this cost, approximately in upstate New York?
I know if you get 90% efficiency you need additional venting, and it's more expensive - so I'd probably go with the 85% one. I'm sure I'll cut my heating bill by 60% either way.
Are there brands known to be better than others - or ones to avoid?
How can I find an older guy that knows what he's doing? Are there certain things I should be asking for?