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1959 Table-top York installed in kitchen. Looking for any information help

spb001 Member Posts: 5
edited June 2020 in Radiant Heating
I am researching a radiant natural gas boiler for a friend and found this website. I have done a ton of research, but still can't find the model number or serial for the boiler. I believe this is a "Low York" boiler as it is installed in the kitchen, under the countertop. When he moved in we couldn't find the boiler for what seemed like a ridiculous amount of time. Low and behold it was in the kitchen inside one of the lower cabinet doors. He couldn't find much information on the boiler as there are pipes
installed in front of the plate.

Here is what I know:
Appears to be like a Levittown,NY boiler.
Home was built in Chelmsford, MA in 1960, ranch.
He has slab flooring with the radiant heat pipes, but not sure if they are copper or steel or other.

On the plate:
CAP 92,000 BTU / HR
F&C 1959

I looked through the pre1959 and 1959+ Beacon Boiler Reference pdfs, but they stop before the A83 page for "Y" and York-Shipley.
I can't find a manual for this boiler either.

I have found that "Peerless WBV" are good replacements for the york boiler as it is now 60 years old! It still works though. He is trying to figure out what to do going forward. Abandon it, put in mini-splits, replace the boiler, pressure test the lines, etc... It's still working and gas is cheaper than home-heating oil in the winter so...
It seems from my research that a lot of the issue is current condition of the radiant pipes in the slab.

I've gone through these to mine info:

Any information, links, books, contacts would be greatly appreciated. I thought if I'm correct about the
"Low York" identification, maybe HVAC techs from Long Island may have some experience with these or have contacts in MA that may know.

Thank you!


  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,132
    What is it you really want to know? What problem are you trying to solve?
    If you’re replacing the boiler that would be done off a heat loss. Unless you can find original mechanical drawings (doubtful), you won’t know much about the piping.
    If you’re gutting the place, maybe radiant ceilings. Otherwise panel rads, or copper finned baseboard is in their future. Mini splits for air?
    If it’s a development maybe an old-timer, original owner may know the history.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,238
    The York boiler you are describing was called the table top model which was designed for Levittown development by the Jackson Church division of York Shipley after he finished Levittown NY and moved elsewhere . The Low Yorks Levit used on Long Island were all oil and were taller then the Table Top .
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • spb001
    spb001 Member Posts: 5
    Hi, for SteveusaPA: ideally we were trying to find the model number and with the model number hopefully a service manual. From there we can get the specs, and learn more about the boiler to make decisions on replacement options, costs, pipe options, etc... Right now we are guessing about all of that.
  • spb001
    spb001 Member Posts: 5
    Thank you BigEd that helps a lot. I'm going to take a 2nd look, maybe what we thought was "F&C" is actually "J&C"
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,409
    spb001 said:

    Hi, for SteveusaPA: ideally we were trying to find the model number and with the model number hopefully a service manual. From there we can get the specs, and learn more about the boiler to make decisions on replacement options, costs, pipe options, etc... Right now we are guessing about all of that.

    I'm sure I am not the only one that gets confused by these questions/comments. A heat loss of the building will tell you what size boiler you need, it will also to an extent indicate which piping to use, including, but not limited to, the manufacturers instructions.

    When we read things like this it reads like you plan on sizing the new boiler from the old, that's just not how it's supposed to be done.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • spb001
    spb001 Member Posts: 5
    I apologize, I am not a HVAC technician. We won't be doing the work, we'd hire a professional for that. However we don't want to walk into a monster job like this without educating ourselves.
    That starts with just figuring out what is installed, model, specs.
    I thought maybe the boiler plate info might help identify.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,409
    If you want to run the numbers to figure out what you need, Slatn Fin has a decent app that you can use to calculate the heat loss of your house. This is how the equipment is sized, not by what is currently installed. The "real" calculations are called Manual J, you can look that up and read up on what it is.

    The heat loss will indicate what size boiler is actually needed.

    When you hire a professional this is how you want it done, if they don't do it, thank them for their time and find one that will. It doesn't hurt to run your own numbers as a reality check for what contractors will propose to you.

    Again the current boiler information isn't really good for much unless you are curious how over sized it may be, and that is my guess it's most likely over sized for your home, which is common.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,025
    edited June 2020
    With the boiler where it is and the piping in the slab, it's been common practice to eliminate the radiant and do perimeter baseboard. The boilers themselves are often relocated to a garage or "add on" shed or equipment room.

    The boiler that's there now has absolutely no bearing on replacement options.
  • Lyle {pheloa} Carter
    Lyle {pheloa} Carter Member Posts: 40
    My dad did a lot of work in those houses out in Chelmsford. They were built by Campanelli builders. All York Shipley boilers in the kitchen, with an all metal cabinet that went over them that just pulled off in one piece no doors or anything. All of the water lines were 1/2" soft roll copper rolled out underground. Daisy chained at each fixture. Some of the boilers in the 90's were replaced with a Weil Mclain boiler cgi style boilers by the gas Co, but nobody liked the noise. If your friend is going to stay with the radiant system I would find a nice place for a condensing boiler.
  • spb001
    spb001 Member Posts: 5
    Thank you Lyle! Great specific info regarding the coils, installs and your Dad's hard work. My friend just retired and decided it was time to tackle the boiler as he is getting worried about losing heat in the winter on a 60 year old system. The main question is the state of those lines, which is hard to determine without a sledgehammer.
    For KC: In Mass we have a program called "MassSave" which contractors will come out and test the home heating efficiency and typically will end up recommending additional insulation and sealing at a reduced cost from the program. That is step 1, tighten up heat loss in the attic and wherever insulation is failing from age or just missing. He has a major ice dam problem in the winter so there is definitely heat loss/leaking. Address that first.
    New windows are probably not in the mix.

    Then a pressure test for the copper lines to see if they are viable any longer. I've seen these for modern radiant installs with PEX tubing, guessing a similar test can be done to the copper in the slab. Then evaluate based on the lines. He didn't want to rip up the floors and recoil/lay new lines.

    Thank you HVAC for the most common option. Seems like options would be
    -new baseboard, new boiler and mini-splits for A/C
    -test copper, if good new boiler & pump for radiant; mini-splits A/C
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 5,628
    edited June 2020
    Everything that I have read on copper tubing in concrete slab for radiant heating indicates that after 50 years, You probably don't want to depend on it. One method of securing the copper before the concrete is pored is to fasten it with wire to steel rebar. when those two metals are in contact with each other, some kind of chemical reaction, electrolysis or galvanic corrosion takes place. Over time you get a pinhole at that point, and there could be hundreds of those points under the slab.

    Your successful pressure test today, is no guarantee of a leak free system tomorrow. If you are looking to have a trouble free system for retirement that could last upwards of 30+ years, get a new system, radiant emitters an all! If you are only there for the shore term, then let someone else deal with it. Do You Feel Lucky

    If you are thinking of air conditioning, look into a ducted system that can provide both heat and cooling.

    [OUCH] that was a preemptive reaction, 90% of the Wallies just kicked me.

    But that is the lowest cost option. If ductwork is out of the question, then Baseboard Radiators can be affixed around the perimeter of the house. You need only bury tubing under the floor near doorways. Or get creative with molding to cover pipe attached to the floor.

    Regarding your original Q. about the specifications of the existing heater. The info from the rating plate says CAP 92,000 BTU/HR. if you look closely and see I=B=R Net rating near that number than you have a Input BTU near 140,000 BTU with a net output of 92,000 BTU. but that is just a guess . It is quite possible that a 140,000 BTU boiler was the smallest boiler with the "under counter" dimensions available in 1959. Efficiency was not on the top of our agenda in the residential boiler installation industry.

    The Manual J Heat Loss Calculation will help with selecting the boiler and the radiators needed for the project. Your home may only need 35,000 to 45,000 Net rating. The old I=B=R Net rating is called AHRI Net Rating today.
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
  • ptn001
    ptn001 Member Posts: 2

    I am the friend/retiree mentioned by the OP.

    Thanks to spb001 for finding this forum and starting the discussion.

    Thanks to all who have provided valuable comments/insights -- all of which are very much appreciated.

    I've owned the property for 12yrs, been very lucky the original boiler and hydronic pipes have survived so far...but that luck can only last so long.

    And I'm not confident that I will be able to turn the property anytime soon, have to plan for the possible eventuality that I will be here for the longer (than desired) term.

    I'd hate to have to gut the place, the cost + trouble do not seem to be justified...there is no emotional attachment to the property. That said, I admit to having had dreams of driving a bulldozer once or twice.

    For the record: the main bldg with the radiant heat system (living room, kitchen, bath, 3 BR) is ~1000sqft; while the "back room" with 1/2 bath and cathedral ceiling measures ~500sqft and is heated with electric baseboard panels.

    It seems there are 2 "classic" ways to resolve the situation: 1) replace with ducted forced hot air system with A/C + hot water tank; or 2) replace with combi boiler/HW + baseboard radiators + mini-splits for the A/C.

    It has been suggested by one contractor that a variation, e.g., option# 2a, might be with the use of a new combi boiler + hydro air coil (ducted) for the heat distribution and A/C supply.

    Another contractor has proposed an alternative, option# 3: use a tankless (OD) hot water heater (e.g., Navien) + Mitsubishi HyperHeat pump system for heat and A/C. His shot-from-the-hip guesstimate was a 12K BTU unit for the back room, and a 18K BTU unit for the main bldg....bedroom doors would need to remain open for heat distribution from the single air handler mounted in the LR of the main bldg.

    Mitsubishi claims their HyperHeat are 100% capable at 5F and 76% down to -13F. The contractor expressed confidence in the Mit's capabilities to keep the place cozy in wintertime, and reports that many new home constructions are using this approach.

    I am skeptical, but this option 3 does look appealing. It would be far less invasive from the installation perspective -- no ducts or baseboard to install -- and about 30% less expensive than options 1,2, 2a . And, "on paper", seems to check off all the boxes.

    I'm guessing that if the Wallies kicked EdTheHeaterMan for his support of ducted system, then there's no telling what this new heresy may spawn.

    I'm open to suggestions.

    Thank You
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,025
    That's a lot to weigh. If you're looking more at resale then my mind would be on a buyer. Would they want ductless? Know anyone in real estate you could bounce this off?
  • ptn001
    ptn001 Member Posts: 2

    I agree: the exit gambit may be worthy of consideration at this stage of the heating/cooling equipment review.

    However, that action may be easier said than done -- with all things considered.

    BTW, I got another contractor's opinion this week and it is in contrast to the Option# 3 that was presented. The opposing view -- from another Mit vendor/installer -- is that the Mit HyperHeat system may not be adequate as the primary/sole source of heat in the extremes of NE winter.

    Now, off to find a reliable RE agent or 2 or 3...I hope there is more consensus of opinion among them...need to know all my options.