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new steam boiler problems

Hi, I'm a homeowner who doesn't know about heating systems so I may be in the wrong place. If so, just let me know. I live in a fairly small town and am not sure how to get good, objective advice. Just had a new Weil-McClean boiler installed by a long-time company in the area with a decent reputation. I didn't go with the highest bidder and now think something's fishy about how these guys answered my questions about what was needed and how they did the job. The contractor has been out 5 times to fix banging, rattling, tapping noises. He keeps saying that the oil has to be skimmed off of the water and it's just what happens with a new boiler, which I've read about. But he tried a chemical cleaner 3 times that didn't work. Then he got a different kind that he said works better. Nope. The last time he brought another guy who fixed some broken traps on pipes and said the next thing to try if it doesn't work is raising the radiator because the floor is sloped. It's a little better but still not right. The killer is that it makes the most noise in the middle of the night.

I don't have a lot of extra money lying around and plan on selling this house in about 2-3 years (hoping to retire someday) so am not looking to sink a lot more money into this. Obviously, I need the noises fixed (I also have a tenant upstairs) but am trying to figure out the best solution, given these considerations.

Should I just keep dealing with these guys or is it obvious that they'll never make it right, or can they even make matters worse?

I took some pictures but am not sure if they are helpful.



  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,254
    Can you take some pictures from furthur back? That piping does not look right. I don't see a proper header. And copper is very wrong. And why did they remove the probe low water cutoff and install a McDonnell Miller 67?
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,254
    And please don't tell me that they installed a 101a feeder. Are these pictures of the new boiler or the old boiler?
  • neilcneilc Member Posts: 934
    how does a guy pipe it up in copper,
    yet still get a skim port in ?
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,077
    edited November 17
    Don't pay him any remaining $$ until he repipes it according to the manufacturer's instructions. Hopefully you haven't made your final payment yet.

    It is kind of hard to see, but it looks a right disaster.

    The bad piping design is throwing water directly into your main, that's the hammering, I'd wager.

    @STEAM DOCTOR is right, the controls look very strange. I wonder if they took a hot water boiler and put some steam controls on it or something?
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • corrina2Xcorrina2X Member Posts: 4
    Hi, thanks to all for your comments. Unfortunately, I thought this would happen; I don't understand any of the technical stuff you're all talking about so can't answer most questions. One that I can: this is the new boiler. And I already paid in full. I get the point. I picked the wrong contractor and now have to hope someone else will want to deal with these guys' mess.

    Taking a picture from farther back: what exactly do I need to get in the picture? There's a wall behind where I took the picture that's facing the water heater.
    Thanks again.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,077
    You can still try to work with your contractor. But it might be tough going. Maybe there's a licensing organization in your locale who can help.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Dave0176Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,164
    Looks like an EG45 besides the copper which we all don’t like, minimum piping requirements haven’t been met. That boiler requires one 2-1/2” riser and a 2-1/2 header. You can still get an EG trimmed with a float low water cutoff, although I don’t know why outside of local codes requiring it and that’s usually the secondary cutoff. Model 67s haven’t been standard on the EG since the 80s.

    You got to get him back there to pipe it right or hire someone that’ll do it right, otherwise the problems may never go away. Also an EG45 is a pretty big boiler at 150,000 Btu I’m wondering if he measured all the radiators and did an EDR on the house before choosing that boiler?
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    NJ Master HVACR Lic# 4630
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,254
    Call Weil Mclain tech support and ask them if you can email pics and get their take. Will give you some ammunition when talking to original installer. 
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,571

    Where are you located? Try "find a contractor" on this site.

    Also find the boiler install manual, it's probably brand new and the installer never looked in it. There is a piping diagram inside that he needs to follow. And the piping shouldn't be copper
  • corrina2Xcorrina2X Member Posts: 4
    Why aren't any of you guys located near Ithaca, NY!? There's only 1 listing within 75 miles under "find a contractor" on this site. I'll probably follow up on most of the advice here but don't have much hope that the contractor who installed the boiler will fix it.

    If any of you wouldn't mind, I'm looking for opinions on the following questions:
    There's a contractor who gave me a much higher estimate to install the boiler. (Guess I should have gone with him.)
    1. Can I now ask that guy to fix the mess these other guys made? 2. Would you take on a job like that?
    3. Aside from the bad plumbing, what about the 4 different times he added cleaner to the boiler; is that bad, and would that keep you from wanting to deal with it?
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,254
    Higher price doesn't necessarily mean better. Ask him for a detailed proposal. Post the details here. 
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,254
    I am only 4 hours or so away from you. If you would be so kind as to compensate for travel time, gas and tolls, I am sure that we could work it out. 
  • corrina2Xcorrina2X Member Posts: 4
    Compensating for travel time, gas, etc. is no problem, though I think it might be best if I can find someone in town, for future maintenance and/or problems. Would it be ok to take you up on your offer if I strike out with the guy I probably should have hired in the first place? He may not want to work on the job now that someone else has messed with it, or be too busy...Thanks for all the advice on how to handle this type of thing in the future.
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,254
    @corrina2X. Maybe send me a private message. I was half joking. I don't want to give you a serious case of sticker shock. 
  • tim smithtim smith Member Posts: 2,328
    edited November 19
    I decided to edit the direction to take, call owner 1st of the company and just let him or her know that the piping is not up to installation manual specs and you would appreciate them correcting to the specs. Also if installation permit required, have them obtain that too. If you do not get reasonable satisfaction, call the  rep for your area for Weil Mclain to get detailed corrections needed.  
  • tim smithtim smith Member Posts: 2,328
    edited November 19
    If you do not get satisfactory response from above call city of Ithaca bldg dept 607 274-6508 and find out who you should talk to about boiler installation permits. Then give that person the details you have found out.  
     On a side note, we have all screwed up over our careers at some point, it's how we handle these points in our lives that make us what we are. 
     Good luck
  • Dave T_2Dave T_2 Member Posts: 25
    As to your question about cleaning the water/boiler. Having it cleaned multiple times is not harmful at all, in fact, every now and then a new steam boiler install may need to be skimmed and cleaned more times than would be expected. We install alot of steam boilers - a good skim cleaning takes about an hour and requires draining a dozen or more buckets out of the skim port.
    The 'chemical' treatment may work for some, but there is no substitute for skimming alot of water out the skim tapping while steaming the system. Most new boiler get skimmed and cleaned when installed and one additional time. 1 in 10 will need a 3rd or 4th skim/clean. 1 in 50 may need more.

    How long did the clean the boiler and skim it?
    Right after a proper cleaning did the system run ok for a day or 2?
    Also, as noted, this is a large house boiler. I am not sure how much radiation is connected but if the boiler is too big, down sizing the firing rate would help improve the poor operation as well.

    The others are correct, the piping is not correct, repiping will be very expensive unfortunatly.
  • EzzyTEzzyT Member Posts: 1,055
    @corrina2X Give me a call at
    2018878856 I’ll be up in Lake George this Saturday consulting on a job and maybe I could stop by on my way back to NJ.
    Creative Solutions Plumbing & Heating LLC
    Lic #12683
    Co-Owners: Fred Drescher, Jr & Eliezer "Ezzy" Travis
    Marketing & Operations: Dawn Drescher
    Follow us on Facebook.
    Check us out on Instagram: creative_solutions519

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