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Heating Pros: Please Help Us With This Quick Survey

Erin Holohan Haskell
Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,257
edited October 2023 in THE MAIN WALL
If you're a heating professional, we'd love your help answering this 2-minute survey on Modcon Boiler Life vs. Cast Iron Boiler Life. You can access the survey here.

Please share your feedback by October 12.

Thank you!
President
HeatingHelp.com

Comments

  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 839
    Done
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,295
    Done
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,477
    Almost Done... I forgot to hit Send.
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,226
    Done
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,119
    Done.  I'm curious about the results
  • Derheatmeister
    Derheatmeister Member Posts: 1,514
    Done...

    IMO Very vage survey. This survey did not address Aluminium vs Stainless vs Copper materials.Lack of the industrie understanding and treating the equipment proper which would also increase the life expectancy of Condensing equipment...
    It also Would be nice to see ROI, Lifetime operational cost, breakeven points for the condensing vs. Cast iron boilers in commercial vs. Residental installs.
    Snowmelts here in Colorado using Condensing Boilers are a no brainer.
    Based on current fuel prices in Europe the outcome of this survey would be in favor for the condensing equipment which is will no longer be installed in the residental sector as of beginning of next year.
    Guessing that due to our artificially low current fuel price point the cast iron equipment is still going to be favored here in the USA especially on the East Coast.
    mattmia2Mad Dog_2
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,793
    I would also compare todays cast iron to todays mod cons. It looks like cast boilers are getting more complex and more expensive to replace components?

    A 30 year old with a standing pilot and cap tube control is easier to troubleshoot, less costly to shoot the repair cannon at.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,691
    Done.. I love surveys...I believe it was intentionally vague & brief for a quick snapshot.  More surveys please...  Mad Dog 🐕 
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,257
    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts with us. This was meant to be an overview and that is why it's short. Your feedback has been very insightful and we appreciate you taking the time.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
    Mad Dog_2DerheatmeisterEdTheHeaterMan
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    Done, I do mostly service work with limited new installs.

    So I look at older CI units that are very simple to troubleshoot.....usually.
    DerheatmeisterAlan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • PatNH
    PatNH Member Posts: 4
    Done
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,119
    hot_rod said:
    I would also compare todays cast iron to todays mod cons. It looks like cast boilers are getting more complex and more expensive to replace components? A 30 year old with a standing pilot and cap tube control is easier to troubleshoot, less costly to shoot the repair cannon at.
    Even the most complex residential cast iron boiler is a piece of cake to work on compared to the best condensing boiler. And I am always fully confident that I can easily repair a cast iron boiler with universal replacement parts that are always on my van compared to a condensing boiler that is full of proprietary model specific components. 


    Mad Dog_2
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,336
    A few more considerations:

    1. The complexity of new cast iron boilers rivals that of many mod/cons.
    2. Because of this, the skill level of troubleshooting new cast iron boilers is on par with that required for mod/cons.
    3. A new cast iron boiler requires a liner if connected to a masonry chimney. This is often overlooked in cost comparisons and quite often not done by a lot of contractors when they do a cast iron replacement.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    Mad Dog_2
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,086
    The major difference is cast iron is more tolerate to poor installation lack of service while mod cons performance heavily relies on proper installation and life span is closely linked to that poor installation leads to poor performance and shorter life span and without yearly service forget about it it’s a dead end . Now a days most are shocked at a real price to install a new mod con correctly not half cocked ,this goes for just about any piece of heating equipment if you wanted it done right then it’s gonna cost plain and simple . There’s an awful lots of slip coupling jobs and they’re still being done but this is what people either want and simply don’t know or don’t care . Everything has its place and some times u have no choice but to install a mod con for myself the shoe has to fit the bill hi temp systems I tend to think cast . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    SuperTechMad Dog_2
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,793
    SuperTech said:


    hot_rod said:

    I would also compare todays cast iron to todays mod cons. It looks like cast boilers are getting more complex and more expensive to replace components?

    A 30 year old with a standing pilot and cap tube control is easier to troubleshoot, less costly to shoot the repair cannon at.

    Even the most complex residential cast iron boiler is a piece of cake to work on compared to the best condensing boiler. And I am always fully confident that I can easily repair a cast iron boiler with universal replacement parts that are always on my van compared to a condensing boiler that is full of proprietary model specific components. 




    It seems the electronic modules are most prone to fail. Not usually field repairable or in stock.

    I agree the older standing pilot are easy to troubleshoot and repair, but the trend is to all electronic controls. Same with water heaters.

    Then the expense to the homeowner is multiple trips and labor.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Mad Dog_2
  • john123
    john123 Member Posts: 54
    I suppose there are many install situations where the savings created by a change to a mod con hi-e boiler from a cast iron boiler are obvious. However, on the other hand, I suspect when you factor in the possibly increased maintenance costs and early replacement costs for a number of the other install situations, there really aren't a lot of savings and maybe a lot of stress, frustration and inconvenience. We could, if enough people give their thoughts, organize the info to calculate or bring the possible savings if any, into focus. I hope this is where we are going with this survey.
    How often do we reach the point where after a couple of $1,500 service calls for a board or a motor, the tech says to a frustrated homeowner, (even after 8 years) "buy a new boiler/ you should consider buying a boiler/at least you'll get a parts warranty etc..
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,793
    john123 said:

    I suppose there are many install situations where the savings created by a change to a mod con hi-e boiler from a cast iron boiler are obvious. However, on the other hand, I suspect when you factor in the possibly increased maintenance costs and early replacement costs for a number of the other install situations, there really aren't a lot of savings and maybe a lot of stress, frustration and inconvenience. We could, if enough people give their thoughts, organize the info to calculate or bring the possible savings if any, into focus. I hope this is where we are going with this survey.
    How often do we reach the point where after a couple of $1,500 service calls for a board or a motor, the tech says to a frustrated homeowner, (even after 8 years) "buy a new boiler/ you should consider buying a boiler/at least you'll get a parts warranty etc..

    How do you factor in possible increased maintenance costs?

    I think manufacturers suggest gas or oil fired boilers get yearly maintenance, so that service call trip charge would be the same.
    As far as time to clean and mod con compared to a proper clean on an oil boiler?

    So probably the only difference would be parts cost, assuming something needs replacement, gasket sets, etc.

    Hard to put a $$ amount on unknowns or possibilities.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,119
    I don't agree about modern cast iron boilers being anywhere near as complex as a mod con. Sure its not standing pilot anymore, but the electronic ignition system is simple and uses standardized parts. 

    As far as cleaning goes 9/10 of the oil boilers I work on don't even need vacuuming and brushing annually. With the low sulfur fuel oil and  proper combustion setup they burn as clean as gas. And I don't have to worry about replacing any model specific gaskets or anything like that.

    The mod con boilers have a long way to go before they are as service friendly as the cast iron boilers in my opinion. 
    Mad Dog_2
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,793
    How many mod cons get ripped out and replaced with cast iron? Both high temperature and 100° radiant applications?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,793
    How many residential steam boilers in the US, I wonder. Someone with time on their hands or fingers on the analytics of the site could search for failed cast and steam boilers. It be interesting to have a % comparison.

    With just a quick search I found 1/2 dozen threads about cast boilers failing before a 10 or 15 year life span. I'll bet that is a more costly repair than an inducer motor replacement on a mod con?

    The bad casting syndrome?

    in the past 20 years we have had 5 steam boilers installed

    I found out it had rotted once before that, so twice in 8 years.

    We replace a lot of them too.

    Will a new steam boiler fail again in ten years (one plumber told me to expect this)?"
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,086
    A steam boiler failing every ten years is the true sign of excessive make up water caused by leaks weather on the wet side or on the steam side it’s a sign of a heating contractor just changing parts and not finding the leaks and repairing . True some small leaks are near impossible to find until they final give way and give visual signs of leakage . As the doom looms on gas appliances wonder what the story will be when every thing is electric in homes that are ancient that will never be energy eff I gather it will be cold and high bills to remain cold . It would seem that to keep the ball rolling in a larger pic nothing can last forever things must fail and the endless cycle continues like birth life and death it’s the same w mech things it s the same cycle . You pick your poison and cross your fingers make the sign of the cross and spit on it to seal the deal . What’s one to do . One must pick their fate deal w the cards they’re dealt and move on . It may seem off base from the topic at hand but think about it and think cause and effect and reflect and think about the past where we are today and if maybe just a little bit of foresight in the past would have led us all down a possibly better road then the toll based pot holed ridden roads that we all drive on and accept and tolerate while we pay tolls ,fuel road taxes and qod only knows what else and the holes get bigger . Why would anything ina private for profit bussinesss make anything which lasts forever . In reality they all really want a piece of the toilet paper business one wipe and it’s gone zero liability zero complaints would not that be excellent one use no complaints and money in the bank . There getting close 2 year or 24 k warranty ona new car just like toilet paper one wipe and it down the drain .
    Ok enough rant more coffee nicotine Benzedrine wish me luck .
    Quoted jerry Reid
    Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    Mad Dog_2
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,257
    Thank you all for participating in this survey. Here are the results.

    We were interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic because the DOE published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) in the Federal Register titled “Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Boilers”.

    DOE estimates the average product lifetime for consumer boilers to be 24.6 years and has maintained the same lifetime for condensing and non-condensing boilers for this NOPR. We've shared the results of our survey with them.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
    ScottSecor
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,793
    Good work.
    It would be interesting to run the same poll on IG? It seems a younger, more heavily tattooed crowd of nexgen installers are there.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 839
    @Erin Holohan Haskell thank you for sharing. I find this "real world" information very helpful. I especially appreciate hearing from the other professionals as they often see a lot more systems than most homeowners.
    Erin Holohan Haskell