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advice regarding older columbia oil boiler

Tom batesTom bates Member Posts: 27
Hi, I'm looking for some advice regarding this older columbia oil boiler my friend has. It is currently still operational and has no issues currently. After a recent tuneup and cleaning the tech told my friend that there are no longer any parts for something this old. My questions are this. 
#1 Is there a source for old parts for columbia boilers and burners? 
#2 If the boiler is still sound is it possible to just replace the oil burner and controls when they start having issues?  
#3 Would you recommend a complete replacement or just upgrade the burner and controls?
#4 Do you agree with the age of 1961 and is the burner the same age as the boiler? 
#5 Does anyone have a manual for this boiler & oil burner?
Thanks for your help. 





HVACNUT

Comments

  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,426
    edited July 21
    Tom bates said:


    #1 Is there a source for old parts for columbia boilers and burners? 
    #2 If the boiler is still sound is it possible to just replace the oil burner and controls when they start having issues?  
    #3 Would you recommend a complete replacement or just upgrade the burner and controls?
    #4 Do you agree with the age of 1961 and is the burner the same age as the boiler? 
    #5 Does anyone have a manual for this boiler & oil burner?

    1. Probably not, although, I'd bet mostly everything with that burner is still available or could be fixed. Controls are still standard.
    2. That boiler is a beast. Probably outlast us all. Replacing a burner on that boiler is a little bit of an art to get it right, as far as selection, air tube, nozzle size and angle. Plus the chamber will most likely need replacement or at least some modification. Definitely not a DIY project.
    3. Upgrade would only give you minimal boost in efficiency, so really wouldn't be a payback. A complete, properly sized and commissioned replacement would be the most efficient.
    4. Yes
    5. I don't. But I don't see what a manual would do for you. Standard boiler, standard operation of the burner.

    That boiler and burner were well cared for by someone who knew their stuff.

    If you are going full replacement, I'd love to have that burner if logistics work out.

    steve
    HVACNUT
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,886
    The safety control for that burner is an old stack control, it is somewhat less safe that modern CdS cell controls, wouldn't be a bad idea to replace that with a modern control. Modern controls sense radiant heat energy from the burner and can shut them off quickly they fail to fire. That old control was thermostatic and had to sense heat within something like 90 seconds of the burner turning on so if it failed to fire it would be pumping unburned oil in to the combustion chamber for that whole time period. Modern CdS cell controls can have a much shorter timeout. The aquastats are still available if they fail although there are better electronic replacements but there is no reason to replace them until they fail. They may even be mercury switch controls that will last nearly forever.
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,886
    Oh, and whatever you do, do not press that reset button more than once if it fails to light. If you press it and it does not fire, call an oil burner tech.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,998
    edited July 21
    @Tombates , I'll echo what Steve and Matt said. But replacing an old steel boiler like that is going to be a big job- it might need to be cut into pieces with a torch. At least it probably doesn't have asbestos in it.

    Upgrading to a flame-retention burner like a Beckett AF would be a good move if he's not ready to replace the entire unit. Fuel savings over an old-style burner like that should be something like 10%, and parts are readily available. Plus, the new controls that come with a new burner would make for a safer installation.

    If that boiler has internal tubes, one might be able to baffle them to save even more fuel.

    Where is this boiler located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,426
    I think that’s actually a very wide 3 pass. When you take the front plate off (where the stack relay is attached) to clean it you see the whole inside. Very little pressure drop thru the whole heat exchanger.
    Usually when set up it’s like -.02 OF & -.03 Breech draft, so I’d bet an AFG would work fine.
    Probably just can’t add a cad cell relay to that burner as the tubulator will most likely block the view.
    Id stick with new burner or total replacement.
    steve
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,998

    Very little pressure drop thru the whole heat exchanger.
    Usually when set up it’s like -.02 OF & -.03 Breech draft, so I’d bet an AFG would work fine.

    Actually, with so little pressure drop thru the HX, the AF is the better choice. I've seen an AFG (with a larger head than this boiler would need, though) lose retention (flame leaves the head but still burns) if it didn't have anything to work against. When that happens, you have to add a lot of air to get it to burn clean, which kills the efficiency.

    Heck, even a Beckett SR or Carlin 100CRD would do fine in this boiler, but these are no longer made.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
    STEVEusaPA
  • Tom batesTom bates Member Posts: 27
    Thank you every one, My friend was thinking about having some spare parts on hand for the burner and controls. such as a igniter, transformer, o-rings, etc. Would this be a good idea and what parts should he get ( and any place to recommend to get them?).
    STEVEusaPA if they ever replace the burner i will let them know your interested ( btw the boiler is in Lancaster)
    Thanks for the help.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,426
    edited July 24
    @Steamhead I checked my database and yes all 3 still in operation have AF's.
    @Tom bates, I’d come get it. :)
    All the parts that would be available you can probably find at Sid Harvey's. But you may have to special order them.
    There’s a cross reference for the transformer. Pump and motor are still available, but the pump may not be in stock.
    Electrodes, you’re probably making up your own-cutting the porcelains, etc. I still have my father's old tackle box full of them with clips, springs, etc., that I probably haven’t touched in 10 years.
    Don’t know where an o-ring would go.
    BTW, Columbia Boiler is still up near you. You can try calling them to see if they have old manuals/literature.
    steve
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,998
    edited July 25
    R.E. Michel carries everything you'd need for a burner upgrade as well, and may have some stuff for the original burner, though some items may have to come from their main warehouse in Baltimore.

    Tom, I doubt it would be worth it to have him stock parts for that burner. Better to upgrade and enjoy the savings and easy repairability. Note that both of these supply houses generally only sell to licensed contractors- which is a good thing, since you'd need the sort of knowledge and ability a contractor would (or should) have to do the job right.

    @STEVEusaPA , I take it you don't go to Lancaster?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,426
    It's a solid 1.5 hour drive each way, without traffic. I keep a tight 15 mi. radius.
    steve
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,998
    About the same for me- but I've been known to make the trip if there aren't any good local alternatives.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
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