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Stockpile modcon spares...

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jad3675
jad3675 Member Posts: 127
edited January 2022 in Gas Heating
So I was putting together a spare parts list for my Triangle Tube Instinct - a lot of parts local supply houses don't stock (of course). This was a DIY install, so my confidence in actually getting the warranty honored by TT is rather low even though I did submit the combustion test at time of commissioning.

TT makes a 'first aid' kit for the boiler that includes quite a bit to get the boiler up and running; what surprised me was the cost of the kit - $$$$. Yes, it was less than the sum total of the parts, but still a good 25% more than I can buy a brand new complete boiler for.

This, along with the knowledge that a discontinued product can be...challenging to get parts for has led me to this idea - why not spend $$$ on a new boiler, strip it down for the parts (individually the parts are easily 3x the cost of the boiler) and then sleep well at night knowing a busted blower @ 2am is quick fix away.

For background, 20 years ago I bought a brand new engine (cheap) for a discontinued Italian motorcycle. I've picked a few parts of the engine in the past 2 decades to keep the motorcycle running.

John

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,442
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    Same kind of thing folks do for obsolete cars or electronic equipment... either stockpile yourself, or see if someone on eBay is selling (which, for electronics, is surprisingly often).

    The question, of course, is -- is it worth trying to keep that discontinued bit of whatever running? Sometimes it is, for various usually very personal reasons (there's no way I'm giving up my '70 Chevy pickup, or a couple of very power hungry tube type high fidelity amplifiers!) but one has to ask, even so, is it worth trying to keep the old whatever running, or can I get enough better performance/economy/whatever out of a new one?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • jad3675
    jad3675 Member Posts: 127
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    I mean, it's not like I'm going to be lovingly caring for this boiler into my 90s or anything, but when a replacement HX is 1.2x the cost of a new boiler in a box, it kinda makes sense, doesn't it?

    Mainly I just don't want an angry wife when we have no hot water and the part is 2 days out. :smile:

    John
  • DJD775
    DJD775 Member Posts: 252
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    As a fellow DIYer I've contemplated the same question. With a boiler that has a lot of proprietary parts it almost makes sense to have another complete boiler if you plan on doing emergency repairs in the middle of the heating season yourself. In my case I have never contemplated switching from oil because of the lack of proprietary controls and parts. I have an extra circulator, zone valve, aquastat, etc. on hand in case of an emergency. I also have a reliable burner company available in case I can't fix it.
    SuperTechMikeAmann
  • flat_twin
    flat_twin Member Posts: 350
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    I have spares for all the moving parts of our six year old modcon. Sometimes just having the part on the shelf means you'll never need it and that's OK too.
    MaxMercy
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,747
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    Of course it seems the most common part to fail on an HTP UFT was this little flap in the exhaust which might not be the first thing you'd think of to keep a spare of.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,626
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    If a boiler craps out in an emergency you go to HD and buy a water heater gas, electric whatever and stick it in there. It will at least keep the place from freezing while you figure out what to do.

    That would be my back up plan for someone with hW heat. Mod Cons are fine if you can live with 0-15 year obsolecence and the high price of parts.

    It would be fun to know with the installed cost, service cost, parts cost and fuel saved over a period of 15 years of a mod con versus a CI boiler. Never mind longevity.
    bucksnortDJD775jimmythegreek
  • jad3675
    jad3675 Member Posts: 127
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    So, picked up a BNIB Instinct 110 for not a lot of money (less than the spares - blower, gas valve, control board- would have run me) from one of those local 'FastTrack' auction sites.
    Surprised me they had anything like that - usually they only have half assembled ikea furniture and slightly used ellipticals.

    John
  • Skyline
    Skyline Member Posts: 152
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    If a boiler craps out in an emergency you go to HD and buy a water heater gas, electric whatever and stick it in there. It will at least keep the place from freezing while you figure out what to do.

    That would be my back up plan for someone with hW heat. Mod Cons are fine if you can live with 0-15 year obsolecence and the high price of parts.

    It would be fun to know with the installed cost, service cost, parts cost and fuel saved over a period of 15 years of a mod con versus a CI boiler. Never mind longevity.

    My TriAngle Tube non-condensing boiler lasted for 20 years with no yearly maintenance and couple of parts replaced during its time. There was no replacement parts stored for this boiler, even I could fix it when the LWCO sensor failed.

    The year and half old Viessmann 222F already had the routine yearly maintenance and in addition, already has the igniter, flame sensor and HX gasket as spare parts. I've monitored energy utilization for the first year and compared it to the last year utilization for the TriAngle Tube. The HDD days were marginally lower for the Viessmann heating period.

    The NG saved with Viessmann had been substantial, 247 CCF to be more exact. For the whole year the total saving had been slightly over 230 bucks, electricity slightly over 10 bucks. The yearly maintenance costed about 150% more than the total energy cost saving. The spare parts costed close to the cost of the maintenance. Keep in mind, that the 20 years old TriAngle Tube boiler probably had not been as efficient as it had been in its early years.

    In my experience, financially modcons cannot compete with non-condensing CI boiler. At least in my experience with both types of boilers in two years within the same environment. Comfort wise, modcon wins over non-condensing boiler.

    The energy savings reduced the CO2 emission by about 20%. While I am not a tree-huger, this reduction is nothing to sneeze at. At least it offsets some of my 25 years old pickup's lousy mileage per gallon...
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 514
    edited May 2022
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    It would be fun to know with the installed cost, service cost, parts cost and fuel saved over a period of 15 years of a mod con versus a CI boiler. Never mind longevity.

    When it came time to replace my aging boiler, I looked into mod-cons and talked to a *lot* of people who dealt with these things. What I found out was that if I installed a mod-con, it would require a lot more maintenance, parts would be expensive and may be several days away, I might have to replace the entire boiler after 12 years (my old vertical steel boiler was still running at 27 years but needed a chamber which on that model was major surgery), and I would save 10 percent of my fuel bill.

    It just didn't add up, and it wasn't even close. I put in a Slant Intrepid CI boiler with an AFG. My plumbing supply carries everything I'll need to keep it running other than oil, and even big box stores have most parts. I have parts from the old burner I can use like the motor and pump. The only thing I wouldn't be able to get on a holiday weekend would be the Hydrostat 3250+, and honestly, I'm thinking about picking one up and putting it on the shelf. For $160, it's cheap insurance.
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,357
    edited May 2022
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    Skyline said:
    Comfort wise, modcon wins over non-condensing boiler.
    That is only because of how they are plumbed. Slap in a buffer tank and that calculus changes.