Hello Heating Help,
First Post. Let me first thank you for all the knowledge I have picked up by lurking these forums for the past few months. I recently purchased a four unit building of ~2100 sq ft 1900 brick build (little to no insulation none in basement or attic). I live in one unit and rent out the others. All units share the same hydronic hot water oil boiler system. I believe the boiler is a Burnham V8 from 2007. I have only been in the other units a handful of times, but will estimate that there may be as many as 15 cast iron radiators and it is a two pipe system. Please ask what other details you would need, as I am still building my understanding of how this system works.
The following are pictures of both the condition of the piping. Along with the pictures of the worst of the condition of what appears to be asbestos insulation.
I have contemplated encapsulation methods at least for the sections that are intact. It appears there are mixed pipe materials being utilized here I think there is both copper and possibly black steel? More experienced minds can probably identify based on the pictures. Basically, I do not want to go the route of repair/encapsulation if the likelihood is with that with the age of the system and condition of the pipes I will have an issue in the near term. i have not officially tested the material, but is there any chance that it is asbestos free?
As a new but aspiring landlord, I also have to be always considering return on investment. I have been doing some reading other options I have been considering with this system are converting it to gas (there is already a gas line to the water heater). Is this advisable with the boiler already being 12 years old. I also have read about the option for an indirect water heater. The current water heater is from 2012 and serves the whole building, so its life is nearing the late stages. In addition, I live in PA so I am aware of some subsidies available to have higher efficiency boilers installed. However, I am slowly beginning to understand when your dealing with hydronic heat there are a whole lot of technicalities and variables involved. I guess I am just looking for guidance on how to proceed in a smart and prudent way. I like to do things right the first time, as long as it's reasonable. My other thought was just going mini-splits and the tenants would be responsible for their own heat. The quality heat that this system currently provides sure is nice, I just wonder if it will be worth the headaches and wallet-aches to keep online in the long run.