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repair or replace boiler?

larry_14
larry_14 Member Posts: 7
Ed,

There are 12 apartments and 12 different owners - some like me who occupy their property and others who rent to tenants. The ownership of the building is divided according to the square footage of the respective apartments.

Maybe superintendent is the wrong term - we have a professional building manager who handles the maintenance, repairs and accounting. He answers to a management committee composed of 3 of the owners (I'm not one of them).

I feel this guy is incompetent and negligent, and I tried unsuccessfully to get him fired last year when the vote came up at our annual meeting. I will try again this year (the meeting is tonight, the same day as the boiler replacement) and was hoping to use the boiler case as another reason to get rid of him!

Comments

  • larry_14
    larry_14 Member Posts: 7
    repair or replace boiler?

    Hi,

    I live in a small apartment building (12 apartments) and just found out that we have to replace our gas-fired boiler because it is leaking. This will cost about $15000 and according to the superintendent must be done immediately due to the risk of the boiler failing and leaving the building without heat and hot water. He received two price quotes, one from the contractor who maintains the heating system, and (surprise, surprise) that's the one he has chosen.

    The existing boiler is 30 years old and was converted from oil to gas a long time ago. I'm told it is oversized and surely much less efficient than a new one. Still, I wonder if it's absolutely necessary to replace it now, or could the leak be repaired so we don't have to rush into buying a new one? I question whether the proposed new boiler is the best choice. It is not a condensing boiler - I'm told that a condensing boiler requires lining the chimney and the radiators may not be big enough because it operates at lower temperature. But I wonder if anyone has really bothered to assess the feasibility and cost involved. I live in Belgium and there are government subsidies and tax credits available for the purchase of condensing boilers.

    I realize I'm probably not giving you enough technical info to go on, but I'd appreciate any advice you can offer.

    Larry in Brussels
  • Empire_2
    Empire_2 Member Posts: 2,343
    Condensing boiler into chimney?

    Illegal in every way, are you sure the new one would be the 90+% boiler? DIRECT VENT. Key word here. Has to be terminaten to an outside wall. Aslo $15000.00 Might sound alittle fishy to me. I don't know what you have, but it could be lo or hi depending on what kind of planning and additional work needs to be done. Anyone can slap in a new boiler, but is it the best application? who knows. I guess it's it's up to the big guy to call in other contractors to find out.
  • Guy_6
    Guy_6 Member Posts: 450
    choice

    If this is a hot water system, you have a multitude of choices. At this point should you change the boiler?- I would say yes. First fo efficiency reasons, and secondly- well, it's best to change the boiler on your terms and not under duress.
    A modulating boiler might be a good choice, but another option would be to install 2 smaller boilers( modulating or not) and a staging control. This would also work to your advantage if the boiler is being used to generate the domestic hot water, as only one boiler may be needed for the task.
  • Big Ed
    Big Ed Member Posts: 1,117
    Boiler

    The Super has built a trusted relationship with the heating contractor over the years.I am sure the contractor has been doing the right thing for the building up till this point.. Can you trust a strainger now?


    Can't comment on the price since your in Belgium ,I'am in New York.. Not shock though....
    Can you keep it running ?Again hard to tell from here..

    Time for board members of a building ? Well you know what happens.............nothing :)



  • larry_14
    larry_14 Member Posts: 7
    Condensing boiler into chimney?

    Mike,

    Thanks for your reply. Maybe regulations are different over here, but I was told about the need to modify the chimney (by inserting a tube or pipe) by someone at a government energy office, so I assume he knows what he's talking about.

    Actually the price is closer to $13000, including removal of the old boiler and hot water tank (which required demolishing a wall).
  • larry_14
    larry_14 Member Posts: 7
    Boiler

    Ed,

    My fear is that the relationship may be not only trusted but cozy, if you know what I mean! I find it suspect that there was only one other offer which happened to be just a few hundred dollars more.

    Yes we can keep it running by periodically refilling the expansion tank. Now that it has been stripped of its outside casing, I can see that the boiler must have been leaking for some time given the accumulation of lime along the side of the tank. The annual maintenance was done in September, I'm surprised the leak wasn't noticed then.
  • larry_14
    larry_14 Member Posts: 7
    choice

    Well, unfortunately we are under duress - I was told in no uncertain terms that if I were to delay the replacement in order to research alternatives and the boiler were to fail, I would have to take the blame for the lack of heat in the building.

    I don't know if we will be installing a modulating boiler - it's a "pulsed air boiler" (my literal translation from French) with a low-NOx burner.

    I was told by an advisor at a government energy office that we should consider a separate burner for the hot water supply, so that the main boiler doesn't have to run in the summer. Is that the same idea as what you are proposing?

    Thanks
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,188
    Larry,

    I too am a landlord but across the sea in New York. There may be significant cultural and management differences between here and there, but let me ask you this...

    Who's the landlord? Who owns the place and has to live with the financial liability?

    Why are you letting your superintendent make this decision? You should be the one who knows the condition of your building and you should be the one deciding what it needs and when.

    I'm not being critical here or beating you up, but you have to get out of the office and get educated in the mechanics of that place.

    Nobody but you has your best interest in mind...

    Lonf Beach Ed

  • Guy_6
    Guy_6 Member Posts: 450
    No

    No, quite the opposite: I was suggesting an Indirect water heater, which uses the water from the boiler to indirectly heat the domestic water. If run off of a single boiler you may be using...lets say 6 horses to pull a 3 horse cart. If you were to put 2 boilers in , using one for the hot water load would be quite efficient. The other side is that during the winter months, one boiler could run the hot water while the other supplied what heat it could. Once the hot water demand was gone, both could operate the heat. Again, this is all food for thought. The installing contractor would have to consider the actual loads involved to determine whether it will pan out.
  • larry_14
    larry_14 Member Posts: 7
    No

    What we have now is a water tank about the same size as the boiler that is mounted on top of and connected via flanged pipes to the boiler. I believe the new boiler will have the same arrangement. The energy advisor suggested that this water tank be equipped with a separate burner so that it can be run independently from the main boiler in summer. Presumably in winter the main boiler could handle both space heating and hot water, except for peak demand periods where the second burner would kick in to heat more water. I don't see that this is the opposite of what you're suggesting - the only difference I see is whether or not the second burner can serve both hot water heating and space heating.
  • larry_14
    larry_14 Member Posts: 7
    what about repair?

    Hi,

    Two follow-up questions if I may:

    - is it not possible to repair a leaking boiler? the leak is at the rate of 1 or 2 drops per second, like a dripping faucet. I can't tell where it is leaking from because it is trickling from under an accumulation of lime and rust on top of the boiler. It looks like the water tank above the boiler is leaking as well as there is a slower drip from the side of the tank, (coincidentally?) directly above the boiler leak

    - can a boiler suddenly spring a leak like this without any warning signs? the annual inspection and maintenance was done in September. Given the amount of lime residue on the outside if the boiler it looks to me like the leak must have started before then.

    Thanks.
  • mark  smith
    mark smith Member Posts: 112


    > Ed,

    >

    >
    >

    > I feel this guy

    > is incompetent and negligent, and I tried

    > unsuccessfully to get him fired last year when

    > the vote came up at our annual meeting. I will

    > try again this year (the meeting is tonight, to use the boiler case as another reason

    > to get rid of him!





    soooooo

    now we find what this is REALLY about ......

    go away , Troll
This discussion has been closed.