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Looking for opinion on partially flooded boiler

Hi guys -

My 20 year old Burnham series 2 boiler was partially under water for about 30-60 minutes with the remnants of Ida the other week. I cut the power to it before the water came in and didn't re-energize anything for over a week while I had a fan running full blast on it. Everything was dried out so I carefully re-lit the pilot and fired it up the other day. So far so good - everything is running as it usually would and I see no signs of problems. I ran it up to cutoff and let it cool down with the damper open a few times to dry out the insulation jacket. No problems and everything I can see and feel is bone dry now.

For good measure I called a service guy to come out and take a look but he really wasn't interested and his immediate response was to replace the boiler. Some of my neighbors were flooded as well and it seems like that is the official recommendation in all cases.

Obviously there are liability concerns here, which I totally understand. However, I would really like an honest opinion about the situation. I don't have flood insurance so I would be paying for this out of my own pocket, which is not really great for me right now. But if the system is truly a major safety hazard then I will find away to make it work and replace the boiler.

The gas valve and the flame rollout switch were the only controls that were actually under water so I thought maybe replacing them would be prudent? The fellow I called really didn't like that idea. There was no mud or anything - the water was pretty clean and just rose up fast then quickly receded.

Thanks so much for any opinions - everyone here was a great help to me years ago when I had air and noise problems on my second-floor zone. Really appreciate you guys and this forum.

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,344
    Not an opinion. Code and your insurance company will require that any electrical or gas equipment which was underwater -- even briefly -- must be replaced.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    mattmia2
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,346
    Where are you located? FEMA is supposedly talking about financial assistance for certain areas. 
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,428
    Replace any controls or wiring that were submerged and check any controls and wiring above the water line. The boiler itself would be fine. Money down the drain to replace it
    ethicalpaulSuperTechChrisJ
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 687
    I have worked in commercial plants that were flooded, Electricians came in and dried all the wiring and controls with hair driers. Fired up the plants and ran the boilers till a control failure occurred. Replaced the defective item and started up again.

    Electrical operated valves and mod motors were replaced when a failure occurred.

    Remember one thing these plants had the the appropriate trade people in their employ and licensed boiler and burner mechanics

    In a private home or small business it is a crap shoot. You may be lucky and do not have to replace all the controls. As far as the boiler goes you need not replace it,just worry about the safeties and operating controls.

    Service companies that tell you to replace a hunk of cast iron are not looking out for your interest.

    Some boilers may require the replacement of fire brick but that may have to be done with the new boiler.

    If our boiler is over 25 years old it may be benificial to replace it with a new boier.

    Jake
    ethicalpaul
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 118
    There's not much sense in risking anything for a 20-year old boiler.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,344
    It's not a matter of "can it be done", @dopey27177 , in this instance, it's what should be done. As you note, odds are that if everything is nicely dried out and no odd bits of conducting material got where it shouldn't and nothing got in the gas valve, it will be just fine. The problem is simple: if something does go wrong, and damage occurs (or, we hope not, personal injury) and you didn't replace what was flooded, you're personally on the hook for it. If you do other work or want to sell and need to get a new CO for the structure, you either lie -- or forget the CO.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,084
    Weil-McClain has a nice document about what to check and replace: https://www.weil-mclain.com/news/servicing-flooded-boilers
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,457
    At very least any of the electrical or gas controls that got wet have to be replaced. A burner that fails to shut off is not pretty. It would be a great idea to replace any of the insulation that got wet as well.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,132
    Replace it. Period!
    PC7060
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 348
    edited September 14
    New proposed NFPA language is pretty clear about replacing entire unit. Not sure it was fully adopted. 

    NFPA 54 G.4 Inspections to be performed with the Appliance Not Operating.

    (4) Flooded Appliances.
    Inspect the appliance for signs that the appliance may have been damaged by flooding. Signs of flooding include a visible water submerge line on the appliance housing, excessive surface or component rust, deposited debris on internal components, and mildew-like odor. Inform the owner that [STRIKE italics “any part of the appliance control system and any appliance gas control that has been under water must be replaced. All”] flood-damaged [“plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical”] appliances should be replaced.
  • philly_philly
    philly_philly Member Posts: 2
    Sounds like the industry as a whole is moving to the practice of replacing outright. Safer and certainly makes sense when insurance is paying. Harder to swallow when paying out of pocket, but I definitely understand the argument. Someone mentioned FEMA - our area was declared a disaster region so I have submitted a claim and will see what happens there. In the meantime I have a month or so until heating season so I will keep calling around for estimates on repair/replacement and make a decision. At the very least I will replace the gas valve. Thanks so much for all the responses - much appreciated.
    ethicalpaul
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,428
    I don't believe anyone can "make you" replace an appliance". The question is in most but not all cases that with the price of labor and material is it worth fixing.

    The only one that probably could is your insurance company "we won't insure your house unless you replace it"
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,344
    Agree with @EBEBRATT-Ed -- no one, so far, is going to show up at the door and make you replace the equipment (though I'm sure there are folks who would very much like to have that much authority -- but that's a political argument). Which leaves you, as he implied, with the question of just how much risk, and what kind of risk, are you yourself willing to take on. Insurance coverage, ability to sell, that sort of thng.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,795

    I don't believe anyone can "make you" replace an appliance". The question is in most but not all cases that with the price of labor and material is it worth fixing.

    The only one that probably could is your insurance company "we won't insure your house unless you replace it"

    Unless you replace the house, or just the boiler?

    That's a joke, but as time goes on it seems we're coming closer and closer to it, doesn't it?

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ethicalpaul