Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

How long will corrected Near Boiler Piping add to expected Boiler Life?

Options
I have a Burnham IN5 Steam gas boiler with a crack above the waterline. Boiler lasted just over 10 years. One contractor says that it is partly due to incorrect near boiler piping (this is true based on the videos I have seen on this forum). Trying to decide if I should just replace the boiler with the current piping, and hope to get another 10 years. or if it would be worth it to spend an extra 4k to get the piping updated. Not sure how much extra life it would get me and if it would be cost effective. Especially when I potentially may update the heating system in a few years. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Comments

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,157
    edited February 2022
    Options
    What is your intended update to the heating system?

    The steam boiler can last well over 40 year when properly maintained. Do you plan on doing proper maintenance on the replacement?

    There is a church building in Ventnor NJ. The new owner several years ago wanted to "update" the system. They installed 4 ductless split systems heat pump units. After one winter they discovered that the heat pumps were not enough to heat the old building. I was called in to figure out how to "Get the old steam system radiators to work"

    When I went to the boiler room, there was no boiler, It was an office now, all the low pipes in the church basement were gone, they use that space as a meeting hall. "can't you just run new pipes to the radiators?" was the question asked by the new owner. I wonder how much they paid to remove all that scrap metal? they certainly did not have enough money to put it all back.

    Be careful of your update. There is nothing as good as a steam boiler for heating a building.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • kgrboston
    kgrboston Member Posts: 9
    Options
    Pictures of current configuration.
  • kgrboston
    kgrboston Member Posts: 9
    Options
    not sure on the new heating system. planning on doing a new kitchen extension which is right above the boiler area. May be underfloor heat but still may need the boiler for the rest of the house. Redesign may include moving the boiler since the chimney is right in the middle of the new kitchen space.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,567
    Options
    I don't think there's enough wrong with that near boiler piping to warrant anything more than correctly piping the new boiler itself. That may mean some ingenious work with a drop header, depending on what new boiler you pick.

    Particularly if you are even remotely thinking about moving the boiler in the near future, as that may require some pretty extensive repiping of all the steam mains as well.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • kgrboston
    kgrboston Member Posts: 9
    Options
    Thanks Jamie, I did get a few quotes and they all recommend putting in the same boiler, most with the current configuration. best case scenario is adding a second riser on the left and change the header but i am having issues justifying 4k to update the piping (including a Hartford loop).
    JakeCK
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,870
    edited February 2022
    Options
    I don't like the fact they went bigger while being vertical like that, to me that creates a trap.

    But, I wouldn't touch it until there was a real reason.

    I missed you said the boiler is leaking. From what I've seen on here, those boilers are known to rott out in 10 years and I personally feel it has nothing to do with the piping. But, please do go out of your way to insist the new boiler is piped correctly.

    Yes it's well worth the investment but I doubt it'll effect boiler life.
    I'd recommend a WM EG series or a Peerless.

    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
    KC_Jonesethicalpaul
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,095
    Options
    Could go with 2 risers with drop header and form a "U" header to connect with existing.

    Anyone see an issue with 2 45 ells in the right boiler riser?

    Are these counterflow mains?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,746
    Options
    Based on what I see on this forum, I wouldn't put in a Burnham Independence if it was free.

    10 years is atrocious life for a steam boiler. You should be getting 25-30.

    How much make up water was it using? That's is usually the #1 culprit for boiler failures.

    For floor heat you can run a hot water loop off the steam boiler.

    I wouldn't ever tear out the steam. You are worried about 4k, it's going to cost you significantly more to put a new system in that replicates the comfort of steam. That's in addition to all the repairs that will be needed from removing the piping, floors, walls, ceilings etc.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,761
    edited February 2022
    Options
    What is the alleged error in the piping that would cause a crack? (it’s more likely a rust hole if I were to bet on it)
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    cross_skier
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,870
    Options
    I'd take an Independence for free.

    5-10 years is fine for free but pitiful for a product sold.
    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
  • kgrboston
    kgrboston Member Posts: 9
    Options
    I mentioned Wells McClain and Peerless, since I was not happy with the Burnham longevity, however the contractors all still recommended putting in a replacement Burnham. Most of them probably since they would not have to change the piping.

    The one contractor showed me the recommended Piping configuration (from Burnham) , which I also saw on this site and the Wells McClain boiler demo:

    https://youtu.be/8qPphcgj_0I

    Hey did not say why the corrrect piping would extend the life of the boiler. I assume that the thought is that not as much water would escape reducing the number of water refills (addition on Oxygen).
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,870
    Options
    tommay said:

    ...Burnam seems to have added a tapping on the top half of their boilers. Probably because to much crap was building up in the top portion and people weren't overfilling enough when flushing so crap was holding water and rusting out. Now you can overfill and flush it out the new tapping on top....

    Seriously Tommay?
    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
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,218
    edited February 2022
    Options
    A Peerless 63 would fit in there just fine...Probably just some repiping of the return side. The header could probably stay. I don't see anything wrong with that piping....it probably meets the minimum requirements and is better than 95% of the steam boilers out there. Paying an extra $4,000 to get a boiler that lasts 30 years instead of 10 seems like a good idea to me. If you don't have the $4,000.00, I don't see how you'll have many times that amount to put in an equivalent quality new system.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    ethicalpaul
  • kgrboston
    kgrboston Member Posts: 9
    Options
    So updating the piping would give it an additional 20 years? That was my original question.  If it was just a few years then 4k would not be worth it.  

    Also is your comment based on the burnham or changing to a different boiler.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,767
    Options
    Burnhams don't seem to do well in New England, I don't know about elsewhere but I am in Western, MA and they do not fair well here at all. And the farther east you go like Boston or RI seems worse.

    Even their HW boilers won't last 20 years. Lot's of new schools built around hear in the last 30 years had burnhams put in and most of them either have been replaced or are failing
  • nde
    nde Member Posts: 86
    edited February 2022
    Options
    You can probably re use a good bit of that piping as it looks pretty good really. 25-35 years is what a correctly installed and well maintained boiler will last. Avoid burnham IN for sure they have a new line called steammax to replace the problematic IN line, supposedly beefier upper casting where they always seem to rot. Peerless or WM tend to last longer than IN line but if you have a leak(s) in system it wont matter b/c usually boiler rot out early from too much makeup water.

    Hidden returns leaking (say under concrete or behind wall) are usually what rots boilers out in 10 years. Your area has high chlorides in water which accelerate casting rot when too much water is added.....so get a VXT feeder to at least track water that is auto added. A tight system should not need more than a quart a month water added.
  • cross_skier
    cross_skier Member Posts: 201
    Options
    Burnham Megasteam is a fantastic product but not available with natural gas gun.  That seems to be the only proven steam boiler in the company's line
  • kgrboston
    kgrboston Member Posts: 9
    Options
    So is the consensus to go with a peerless 63 or Wells Mclain and that the corrected plumbing would be worth it to add a longer life to the Boiler? Did I miss anything or does anyone have any other suggestions. Thanks.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,567
    Options
    My opinion, for what it's worth, is that if you need a new boiler, you need a new boiler. Go for it. Would improved near boiler piping at significantly to its life? I doubt it. It might make the system as a whole perform a little better -- it might not. But add to boiler life? Un... in my humble opinion, no.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ethicalpaul
  • kgrboston
    kgrboston Member Posts: 9
    Options
    Thanks Jamie. Would the near boiler piping add significantly to the improvement of the system as a whole? even heating, gas usage etc.?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,567
    Options
    Probably not...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,767
    Options
    @kgrboston

    I would not put in a new boiler unless the piping met the boiler MFG minimum requirements.

    What your asking is like "if I buy a new car and don't get it serviced or change the oil how much will it's life be shortened"

    There is no answer to a question like that and no one could possibly answer that.

  • EricPeterson
    EricPeterson Member Posts: 215
    Options

    Burnhams don't seem to do well in New England, I don't know about elsewhere but I am in Western, MA and they do not fair well here at all. And the farther east you go like Boston or RI seems worse.

    Even their HW boilers won't last 20 years. Lot's of new schools built around hear in the last 30 years had burnhams put in and most of them either have been replaced or are failing

    So @kgrboston - I installed a Burnham ES2 in 2010.
    Are you saying that I will need to replace it by 2030?
    What in particular do you anticipate is going to fail on this boiler?

    Eric Peterson
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,218
    Options
    kgrboston said:

    So updating the piping would give it an additional 20 years? That was my original question.  If it was just a few years then 4k would not be worth it.  


    Also is your comment based on the burnham or changing to a different boiler.
    I'd switch to someone else's boiler. I had an Burnham fail in only 10 years here in Chicago too... it's not just the water that's killing them in the North east.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • kgrboston
    kgrboston Member Posts: 9
    Options
    thank thank you all for your comments.  I am looking now to replace the Burnham with a different brand.  Probably the Weil McLain 6 series over Peerless 63 since the peerless has the controls on the right side which does not fit well in my area.  Again thank you all.