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Replacing boiler and all components

spd1980
spd1980 Member Posts: 17
Hi,

I’m replacing a boiler from 1997 and figure I should replace all components at the same time since they are also from 1997. This would include pressure reducing valves, aquastat, expansion tank, circulators, flow check valves, switching relays, and anything else I may have missed.

Does this make sense to do, cost aside, or do people typically wait until those components fail and then replace them?

Also, I’m currently getting proposals for a boiler replacement and they typically state “includes all necessary pipe, valves, controls, and fittings”.

If it does make sense to replace all components, do I ask the contractor to explicitly list the individual components instead of using the more general inclusions list above? I just want to know exactly what I am getting for the price.

Thanks in advance!

Comments

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,304
    It depends on what you have, how it’s piped, and how deep your pockets.
    The main thing for me is piping it with the right valves and piping to facilitate easy component change out and simple bleeding/purging using the standard 'pumping away' technique.
    steve
    HVACNUT
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,190
    I don't do installations anymore but when I did, everything was new. All piping cut back to the ceiling, all new piping and controls. If there was a case of something like an existing radiant manifold, then that could stay.
    If a 24 year old circulator dies 2 weeks after the installation, who pays? You do. 

  • spd1980
    spd1980 Member Posts: 17
    It depends on what you have, how it’s piped, and how deep your pockets. The main thing for me is piping it with the right valves and piping to facilitate easy component change out and simple bleeding/purging using the standard 'pumping away' technique.
    I definitely want to make sure the installer fixes any deficiencies, if any, with the piping and valve locations to simplify maintenance as you describe. 

    What is the best way to state this requirement to the installer so that they install things in this way? Should I just phrase it the same way that you did and they will know what I mean?

    Thanks again!
  • spd1980
    spd1980 Member Posts: 17
    HVACNUT said:
    I don't do installations anymore but when I did, everything was new. All piping cut back to the ceiling, all new piping and controls. If there was a case of something like an existing radiant manifold, then that could stay.
    If a 24 year old circulator dies 2 weeks after the installation, who pays? You do. 

    Agreed, I figured since everything is the same age I should just replace it all at once instead of waiting for individual components to fail.

    So we have a hydro air system and pipes run from the boiler to an air handler next to the boiler. Should I ask the installer to cut the pipes all the way back to the hydronic coil in the air handler?

    Also, a proposal I received states “Install boiler with all necessary pipe”. Should I ask them to update the language to state “cut all pipe back to air handler and replace”? The keyword “necessary” leads me to believe they won’t replace all piping unless the pipes are in really bad shape.

    Thanks again!
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,304
    What do you have now (pics)?
    How many zones?
    Zone Valves/circs/emitters?
    steve
  • spd1980
    spd1980 Member Posts: 17
    edited October 15
    What do you have now (pics)? How many zones? Zone Valves/circs/emitters?
    I’ve posted shots of the overall system and closeups of the supply and return sides.
    One zone goes to a hydro coil in the air handler on the other side of the cinder block wall.
    Another zone goes to an indirect hot water tank behind the boiler.
    Another zone goes to a single baseboard radiator in a room at the opposite end of the house for supplemental heat.
    Each zone seems to have a shutoff valve on the supply side (2 of 3 are visible in the pic) and on the return side (3 are visible if you zoom in). Each zone also has a circulator and flow check valves.




  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,385
    Do you reuse the tires and battery when you buy a new car?
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    spd1980
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,687
    Why are you replacing anything? That Weil McLain is a good cast iron boiler and should last at least 30 years. It looks like it's in good condition. That boiler is pretty efficient and it's really easy to get clean combustion on it. I think you would be crazy to waste money on replacing a quality boiler with plenty of life left in it. 
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,687
    I'd get rid of the POS R8184G primary control with a Carlin ProX or Honeywell R7284U.  Set it up for 10-15 second trial for ignition and interrupted spark and call it good to go for another 15-20 years.
    mattmia2
  • spd1980
    spd1980 Member Posts: 17
    SuperTech said:
    Why are you replacing anything? That Weil McLain is a good cast iron boiler and should last at least 30 years. It looks like it's in good condition. That boiler is pretty efficient and it's really easy to get clean combustion on it. I think you would be crazy to waste money on replacing a quality boiler with plenty of life left in it. 
    Our service technician came out to do the annual maintenance and when he opened the top he saw what he described as rot and said we would be lucky if it lasted through the season without leaking all over the ground in our crawl space. There have also been issues with the zone for our air handler unit becoming air bound several times over the past couple of years and he thought air could be getting into the system via the leaky rotted sections. Based on this I started looking at replacing the boiler.

    What type of person or company would you call to get a second opinion on the condition of the boiler? I’m sure there are other service companies I could call but if they also install equipment wouldn’t they be incentivized to recommend that you replace it?
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,321
    Those pumps are confusing, one looks like its pumping away while the one on the left is pumping to the return.

    Any time the maintenance guy says its going bad i see salesman!
    Find a different contractor and get a second opinion.
    mattmia2SuperTech
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,955

    Do you reuse the tires and battery when you buy a new car?

    If the snow tires fit the new one...
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,955
    Is there any air elimination besides that built in to the boiler? Did anyone check the expansion tank?

    I could see reusing a more complicated zone valve set up depending on the type of valve and quality of the original install. If they are well built and the type where you can replace the guts and the acutator probably not a lot of reason to rebuild the manifold and valves to come up with the same thing.

    Since you are zoning with circulators definitely go new, there is both a lot more to wear out in a circualtor and newer ones will be more efficient.
  • spd1980
    spd1980 Member Posts: 17
    mattmia2 said:
    Is there any air elimination besides that built in to the boiler? Did anyone check the expansion tank? I could see reusing a more complicated zone valve set up depending on the type of valve and quality of the original install. If they are well built and the type where you can replace the guts and the acutator probably not a lot of reason to rebuild the manifold and valves to come up with the same thing. Since you are zoning with circulators definitely go new, there is both a lot more to wear out in a circualtor and newer ones will be more efficient.
    There’s an automatic air vent on top of the boiler next to the supply pipe and there’s one on top of the vertical section of the return pipe.

    I’m going to call a local service company that was recommended to me and ask them to inspect my boiler to get a second opinion.

    Thanks for your input. I will plan to replace the circulators if the other service company agrees that the boiler should be replaced.
  • spd1980
    spd1980 Member Posts: 17
    So now I’m running into the issue that none of the service companies want to come out unless you are a customer that uses them for oil delivery. The service guy that told me to replace my boiler is from my current oil delivery company so I feel like I’m out of luck there. Also, it seems like the heating install companies that don’t deliver oil don’t service oil boilers, so no luck there either. I’m not even sure what other type of professional to call at this point.
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,687
    I'd definitely get a second opinion about the boiler.  Take pictures of the "rot" and post them on here for an honest evaluation.  The piping isn't the greatest and the burner itself could use a little updating but I suspect that you had the typical sales tech there interested in nothing but getting a sale. The issue with the hydro air zone becoming airbound shouldn't be hard to fix and would be the same regardless of what boiler is there.  Post better pictures of your boiler and it's piping so we can see what's going on with it. 
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,321
    Where is this boiler located?
  • spd1980
    spd1980 Member Posts: 17
    edited October 15
    SuperTech said:
    I'd definitely get a second opinion about the boiler.  Take pictures of the "rot" and post them on here for an honest evaluation.  The piping isn't the greatest and the burner itself could use a little updating but I suspect that you had the typical sales tech there interested in nothing but getting a sale. The issue with the hydro air zone becoming airbound shouldn't be hard to fix and would be the same regardless of what boiler is there.  Post better pictures of your boiler and it's piping so we can see what's going on with it. 
    I tried to get as best of a picture as I could. I wasn’t able to remove the top completely because I was unsure of how to remove the flue duct to do so.

    The picture is of the area that the tech pointed out to me and it’s a top view of the boiler sections.

    Note: the two pictures are of the same spot, I just attached both in case one is more clear than the other. 



    Robert O'Brien
  • spd1980
    spd1980 Member Posts: 17
    pecmsg said:
    Where is this boiler located?
    It’s in a crawl space. 
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,385
    spd1980 said:


    SuperTech said:

    I'd definitely get a second opinion about the boiler.  Take pictures of the "rot" and post them on here for an honest evaluation.  The piping isn't the greatest and the burner itself could use a little updating but I suspect that you had the typical sales tech there interested in nothing but getting a sale. The issue with the hydro air zone becoming airbound shouldn't be hard to fix and would be the same regardless of what boiler is there.  Post better pictures of your boiler and it's piping so we can see what's going on with it. 

    I tried to get as best of a picture as I could. I wasn’t able to remove the top completely because I was unsure of how to remove the flue duct to do so.

    The picture is of the area that the tech pointed out to me and it’s a top view of the boiler sections.

    Note: the two pictures are of the same spot, I just attached both in case one is more clear than the other. 





    O ring leak, is it cold start?
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • spd1980
    spd1980 Member Posts: 17
    edited October 15
    SuperTech said:
    I'd definitely get a second opinion about the boiler.  Take pictures of the "rot" and post them on here for an honest evaluation.  The piping isn't the greatest and the burner itself could use a little updating but I suspect that you had the typical sales tech there interested in nothing but getting a sale. The issue with the hydro air zone becoming airbound shouldn't be hard to fix and would be the same regardless of what boiler is there.  Post better pictures of your boiler and it's piping so we can see what's going on with it. 
    I tried to get as best of a picture as I could. I wasn’t able to remove the top completely because I was unsure of how to remove the flue duct to do so.

    The picture is of the area that the tech pointed out to me and it’s a top view of the boiler sections.

    Note: the two pictures are of the same spot, I just attached both in case one is more clear than the other. 
    O ring leak, is it cold start?
    I’m not sure whether it’s cold start. The boiler is used for hot water (Armitrol Boilermate) so I assume it turns on when the water reaches a minimum temperature in case there is a call for hot water.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,955
    Pictures of the aquastat and how its dials/pots are set would tell us(well, others, not me, I don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of combination aquastats), but others would know what control it is and if it is set for cold or warm start.
  • spd1980
    spd1980 Member Posts: 17
    mattmia2 said:
    Pictures of the aquastat and how its dials/pots are set would tell us(well, others, not me, I don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of combination aquastats), but others would know what control it is and if it is set for cold or warm start.

  • spd1980
    spd1980 Member Posts: 17
    edited October 18
    SuperTech said:
    I'd definitely get a second opinion about the boiler.  Take pictures of the "rot" and post them on here for an honest evaluation.  The piping isn't the greatest and the burner itself could use a little updating but I suspect that you had the typical sales tech there interested in nothing but getting a sale. The issue with the hydro air zone becoming airbound shouldn't be hard to fix and would be the same regardless of what boiler is there.  Post better pictures of your boiler and it's piping so we can see what's going on with it. 
    I tried to get as best of a picture as I could. I wasn’t able to remove the top completely because I was unsure of how to remove the flue duct to do so.

    The picture is of the area that the tech pointed out to me and it’s a top view of the boiler sections.

    Note: the two pictures are of the same spot, I just attached both in case one is more clear than the other. 
    O ring leak, is it cold start?
    Would fixing this involve replacing the boiler section on each side of the o ring? If so, would a fix like this be cost effective and worthwhile?

    Would cold start lead to flue gas condensation and ultimately corrosion?