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Peerless boiler coil rust issues and potential replacement

zx6wr Member Posts: 2

I have a 24 year old Peerless boiler installed when the house was built with 4 heating zones. We have been in the house for 5 years and the boiler has worked well with minor repairs. We have done an annual boiler cleaning since we have been in the house. About 3 years ago during the annual cleaning the tech noted rust around the heating coil and replaced with gasket. Last year annual inspection was fine but this year the tech noted a lot more rust about the coil. We are on well water but have a supposedly good water softener that came with the house.

Here's the current boiler and coil with corrosion/rust:

The oil company gave me several options:
1. Replace the coil and gasket. They say that if they are not able to remove the bolts due to rust this will necessitate additional work -- probably moving to step 2 or 3.
2. Install an indirect water heater and remove or seal over the heating coil, again if the coil cannot be removed they will have to do additional repairs to seal the area. They are recommending Heat Transfer - Super Stor SSU-45 indirect water heater.
3. Install a Energy Kinetics System 2000 boiler with an 80 gal hot water heater. (this was presented as a very energy efficient option, but I saw mixed opinions about it on this board)

I am not sure what to do and wanted to see what the pro's here thought about the best option.

How bad do you think the rust issue is, and is the boiler near its end because of this? I was under the impression before that the boiler was designed for 30 year life span, and could work for a few more years. The sales rep said that this is a "contractor grade" boiler and typically last 15-20 yrs.

If the boiler is to be replaced, would you recommend installing a similar boiler or even the same model with an indirect water heater, instead of EK 2000?

Finally, what indirect water heater would you recommend and what do you think about the Super Stor 45? From what I have read a glass lined tank is preferred and I am not sure that this model is glass lined.

Thanks so much!


  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,792
    edited June 2020
    I don't see any reason to replace the boiler. If you install an indirect tank you will see significant oil savings over using the tankless coil. That Peerless is a good boiler and probably has plenty of life left in it. Don't believe anything a salesman says. Cast iron boilers can easily last 30 plus years when maintained properly.

    The Energy Kinetics System 2000 is a fantastic boiler. But why an 80 gallon storage tank? I haven't seen any of my EK customers complain of running out of hot water with the standard 40 gallon tank. The system 2000 provides just about endless hot water.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,992
    I am having a few doubts about weather the tech actually replaced the gasket 3 years ago. But hope for the best and plan for the worst. Energy kinetics are top quality boilers. At 24 years old I would budget for a new boiler and have them replace the coil and gasket.

    With the leaking gasket and possibly pitted gasket mating surfaces I wouldn't go for an indirect on your existing boiler. That gasket will probably leak more when the boiler is cold rather than hot.

    My vote is replace the coil and gasket, budget for a new boiler
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,591
    Same question on the 80 gallon tank. Why? And the indirect would be 45 gallons, so...?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,924
    Agree with @EBEBRATT-Ed on what to do. With an additional thought and comment: is the boiler itself being fed softened water? If so, repipe it so that any feed water is direct from the well, not softened. Softened water is remarkably aggressive on iron -- and boilers -- and will shorten the life of the equipment.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • subcooler_65
    subcooler_65 Member Posts: 20
    edited June 2020
    Superstor is a great tank. Its stainless steel not glass. 45 gal is what you would want unless your filling a swimming pool.
    That coil looks rough at 11o'clock. If I were to do that job I would tell you straight up that it might become a boiler replacement. I've seen and fixed worse but you don't know what the boiler surface looks like until it comes apart. Sometimes a light kiss with a grinder is all it needs and your good for another 10yrs
    The bolts will usually come out without too much trouble. It's easy to drill and tap if any of them break in the boiler.

    For other techs reading through....Is it not required to have a backflow preventer on this boiler?
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,992

    A backflow is required now, 24 years ago probably not
  • zx6wr
    zx6wr Member Posts: 2
    I really appreciate the comments. I will opt for coil replacement. I will also inquire why they are recommending an 80 gal tank with EK 2000.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,190
    edited July 2020
    There is something that most installers of this type of heater neglect to do. In the installation instructions of many of these tankless coil water heaters, there is a sentence that reads "after 1000 hours (or some other number) of operation the coil casket colts should be tightened." or some other words to that effect.

    From Utica boiler installation manual

    As the boiler heats and cools over many cycles the expansion and contraction of the boiler and gasket become loose. I think the gasket actually shrinks. When I return in one year to provide the first (Usually Free or included in the installation price) annual cleaning/inspection/tune-up I find the bolts on the coil can be very easily turned as much as 1/2 a turn with very little effort. This slight adjustment of the bolts makes the gasket stay sealed for years to come. Every year thereafter as slight loosening and then tightening (Exercising) keeps them from seizing up. Circulator flanges have the same issue.

    Are you experiencing insufficient hot water now? if not then you don't need a new coil. You just need a new gasket. Perhaps you just need to tighten the bolts on the current gasket. If it was replaced 3 years ago then 1000 hours of operation later someone should have tightened the bolts.


    after you check to see if the bolts have any room to snug-up on your present gasket, then make a decision to just clean up the rust... OR ...replace the gasket.

    If you replace the gasket, then after 1000 operating hours (about 2 months), snug up on the bolts and you will not have a leaking coil gasket

    PS If the bolts do not move easily, then don't try to muscle them. they may be seised and you could break off the bolt head, then you will need emergency repairs.
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,882
    I would also recommend the OEM black neoprene gasket over the red rainbow gasket . Antiseize compound on the bolts will be appreciated for years coming ...
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all