Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Has this gas hot water boiler seen better days?

Cincode Member Posts: 3
I am considering Purchasing a home with this baseboard hot water system. I’ve always had forced hot air heating. It’s a Burnham and looks to be about 30 years old, and has 2 zones. I notice a lot of rust on the maze of pipes and rust on the front and below the boiler. I’m trying to gain some pre-inspection knowledge so I can ask the right questions. I don’t need a huge bill next winter if this unit decides to die, or do I want to keep repairing a unit that is ready for the junkyard. I know t
here is only so much that can be learned from a photo but appreciate all advice offered.


    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,024
    It's not in such a state it would dissuade me from buying. I would put it on my short list of things do you. There are atmospheric and mod cons that are much more efficient than what's there. Coupled with an indirect water heater and ODR, it would be a nice project.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,427
    I agree with @HVACNUT . It looks ok, not sure of it's age. If you like the house buy it. Then budget for it's replacement.

    My boiler is 33 years and counting.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,443
    I also agree with the ^^^^^^.
    You can also take a good look to see how often the boiler has been serviced. The picture shows that the boiler appears to have service tags on it.
  • Cincode
    Cincode Member Posts: 3
    Thank you. All of your opinions are very much appreciated. The owner claims the unit was last serviced 4 years ago.
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,588
    Well for one thing it looks like you would have trouble gaining access to the gas valve, pilot, burners and any controls that are in the vestibule. Perhaps a better picture would answer that. I also do not like the looks of the gas connection to the water heater . That is for starters.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,446
    edited April 2019
    I would contend that the boiler has never been serviced. The service side of that boiler is the side on the right, facing the wall. It would be impossible to remove and clean the burners with the boiler positioned like that. Cleaning the combustion chamber, observing the flame and making adjustments would nearly impossible. It may be working OK now, but given the age of the boiler and lack of maintenance, it would be reasonable to ask the seller to give a price reduction to make this right.

    The circulator is pumping into the expansion tank and there is no air elimination device. I bet you hear a fair bit of air in the pipes when it runs.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,652
    Nice gas piping.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,443
    Yes. The gas piping looks dangerous.
    Hope the inspector points out that the boiler and water heater have poorly installed gas piping. The rigid piping does not look secured and the plex piping (color yellow) is a leak waiting to happen.
    Hope that you have a good and thorough inspection report.
  • Cincode
    Cincode Member Posts: 3
    I believe NJ code allows a flex connection.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,443
    @Cincode That's fine if Jersey code allows for it. The thing is, if the hard piping is not hung or in this case fastened down properly, it can roll. The flex piping is not as strong as the black malleable. It can break easier than the black pipe. If it was up to me I would repipe them both.