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Gas Steam Boiler - soot & smell

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Marie_Watson
Marie_Watson Member Posts: 6
edited November 2021 in Strictly Steam
Have a Slant Fin gas steamer boiler that was put in 1993. Started it up a few weeks ago - no problems. Last week it started emitting a odd small - not gas but foul smelling.

Heating tech came out today & said the heater exchanger is covered in soot. Will cost minimum of $$$$ to clean it.

Questions: 1) Is soot buildup 'normal' or is there likely something causing the soot?
2) Is it time for a new boiler? If so any suggestions as to brand?

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  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,303
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    First, kindly delete the pricing. One of the few rules is that we don't talk price.

    Now... the soot indicates that the combustion isn't properly adjusted, and quite possibly -- if it's been going on for a while -- hasn't been for some time. When was the last time you had the boiler serviced and cleaned, and the combustion checked and adjusted with the proper instruments?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Marie_Watson
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,527
    edited November 2021
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    We can't talk price but it shouldn't cost $$$$ to clean and tune a boiler. If it's that bad make sure the chimney is checked for blockages and make sure they do a combustion check.

    If you don't mind getting dirty you could clean it yourself and then hire the service company to adjust and tune.

    The price they gave you suggests to me that they want to sell a new boiler and don't want to clean it.

    You could check "find a contractor " on this site and post where you are located someone may have a recommendation
    Marie_Watson
  • adrian123
    adrian123 Member Posts: 28
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    I cleaned my boiler myself last winter after getting an eye popping quote on cleaning from a local plumber. Ordered a soot saber and a boiler brush from Supply House, saved myself $$$$ but it was an absolutely awful experience. Took me hours to clean as the brush and saber kept getting caught on the sections. Filled a shop vac with soot. You need to get it from the top and the bottom to really clean it.

    I learned after doing all this that you could hook a hose up to your hot water heater and wash it out, and then collect the dirty water using a wet dry vac. Not sure what the pros on here think of that but I know at least one heating guy in Westchester does that!
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,303
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    Fine. That works. Now that you have it clean, did you hire someone to test and adjust the combustion? Because all that cleaning will have altered the draught, and you need to check and adjust it with test instruments.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • adrian123
    adrian123 Member Posts: 28
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    I have questions related to testing so was going to put up a separate post, don't want to take over the OPs
  • Marie_Watson
    Marie_Watson Member Posts: 6
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    Thank you for the input. Will get it professionally cleaned
    HVACNUT