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New Propane Boiler in a Very Old House

samwelch11samwelch11 Member Posts: 1
Hi everyone,

We recently bought a 3,400 square foot, very old home outside of Albany, NY. No one lived in it for the fifteen years prior to our arrival. We're in the process of installing a new, high-efficiency propane boiler (a Westinghouse 199,000 BTU combination boiler, specs here). There are large, 4” cast-iron pipes snaking through the basement and branching off to about 20 cast-iron radiators (which are spread throughout the first and second floors). There are no zone valves installed yet, but we will probably want to install some shortly. The previous owners were using an old Weil McLain heating oil boiler. A few questions have come up:

• First, with regard to circulator pumps: Westinghouse says the unit has an internal pump but recommended installing an external pump. We found an old Taco 10-F1 pump among the piping that we pulled out (1/15 HP, 1.2 amp, 3250 RPM) but aren’t sure if we need something that powerful given that we’ll be using it in combination with the boiler’s internal pump. We’re considering the Taco 007-F5 (1/25 HP, .71 amp, 3250 RPM) and the Taco 10-F3 (1/8 HP, 1.1 amps, 3250 RPMs). Which do you recommend? Is there a way to more accurately estimate the size/strength of the pump we need? How critical is it that we get the right one? Would it be better to get a pump that has multiple speeds?

• Second, with regard to flushing the system: we’ve run fresh water through the existing pipes (most of which sat unused for a long time) a few times. The water went from a deep, sludge orange to brownish to, finally, fairly clear but still not perfectly so. We’d like to use boiler cleaner to really flush things out before we hook up the boiler and turn it on. Is there any way to essentially do a DIY power flush? Maybe using the new circulator pump? Or a separate sump pump and some kind of filter?

• Third, and finally, with regard to calibrating the boiler: we’ve read about combustion analyzers and gas manometers but aren’t sure that they’re worth the price, given that we’d really only be using them once. Are there cheaper ways to calibrate the boiler and propane systems? If not, how much should we expect it to cost to have a professional do the job?

Thanks a lot – and let me know if I can give you any more information!

-Sam

Comments

  • GrallertGrallert Member Posts: 454
    You've got quite the project here so you're going to have to do a lot of homework. You can then get the ball rolling by doing some of the prep work and a rough design. But Ironman is right. you really should have a Hydronics expert visit and offer you some input.
  • HenryHenry Member Posts: 973
    I don't know what Albany has for rules to do propane work. Most areas require a licensed company to do the gas connection to the boiler, venting, combustion air and start-up. A DYI install that causes an incident will not be covered by insurance.
  • pecmsgpecmsg Member Posts: 1,509



    Third, and finally, with regard to calibrating the boiler: we’ve read about combustion analyzers and gas manometers but aren’t sure that they’re worth the price, given that we’d really only be using them once. Are there cheaper ways to calibrate the boiler and propane systems?

    Whats a Life Worth?
  • EdTheHeaterManEdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 802
    The "cheaper" way is to hire a pro who has the needed knowledge, equipment, and is experienced with your kind of project. Every once in a while you will find a contractor who will allow some DIY to cut your cost. BUT DONT MESS WITH STUFF YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS DOING.

    If I might substitute 2 words to clarify the importance of your query.

    Third, and finally, with regard to calibrating the Explosive: we’ve read about combustion analyzers and gas manometers but aren’t sure that they’re worth the price, given that we’d really only be using them once. Are there cheaper ways to calibrate the Explosive and Dynamite systems?

    Are you going to be sleeping in that building?

  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,872
    You need to understand how the system works, you can't just hook up pipes and hoe for the best. You need to do a system design before you start installing anything.

    The information is all in here if you read and comprehend enough of it:
    https://www.caleffi.com/usa/en-us/technical-magazine
    samwelch11
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