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.

New Boiler Install Recommendation

LordZen
LordZen Member Posts: 1
edited March 2021 in THE MAIN WALL
Boiler Installation Issues, Need HVAC (Steam) Recommendations

Good afternoon everyone, hope that this message finds you well and safe.

My history is long, i will try to resume it, i have steam system, i got a company (after several quotes) to install/replace my boilers for several reasons: they started to malfunction even after being serviced once a year and they are over 30 years old each one.. So boilers replaced, everything fine after 2 or 3 days later that 2 of my 5 radiators start bleeding water thru the vent valve, and one vent valve in the boiler was also leaking water, took pictures and video and sent to the HVAC company, they came to see, replace Vent Valves, reduce or raised the boilers pressure (because we were also hearing very loud bangs, more than the usual) so at that time all was fine, machines bleed again, another vent valve was leaking from the other Boiler and make a small flood in basement (thanks God for SmartThings Water Sensor i got notice quickly, this was one Saturday night), took pictures again, sent to HVAC company, he came on a Sunday morning to take a look to see what does he needs to bring so he came on Monday, something that might be for 2-3 hours, he arrived at 8am, and they left (a crew of 4) around 10PM... Long history short, i kept having problems, the HVAC company refunded my money and i kept the 2 Weil McLein Boilers, he said that he is sorry but he does not have an answer for me or how to deal with this, that this is the 1st time that this happened to him in his 30 something years and he blame himself for not notice some issue with the piping... So he recommended me to contact another person...

I started making calls, post in another forum and i got good recommendations, one of my LL friend from a forum told me to contact the Supply company to confirm if these boilers can be converted to FHW or HFW, since it was a long weekend due to Holiday, i had been trying to get in contact with the Supply Company and i got transferred from one to another since early morning until now and i had left 4 VM to different people in the same Supply company... No one has called me back yet since Saturday afternoon and today that i had called...

I had attempt to contact several companies, or they are too far, or they are pretty booked etc etc... Forgot to mention that i contacted Self Help Fuel Inc in Brockton because the 2 radiators were bleeding so much that i needed to keep a bucket under each of the 2, and empty these buckets between 6-12 times daily, and we turned our boiler at night when we go to bed and turned back on in the morning when we wake up to prevent the mess of water and the loud bangs so we can have some rest... In the meantime we were using Electric Baseboard Heater to warm us up... Self Help Fuel Inc after several calls and paperwork that they required me last Friday, i was approved for some kind of Emergency Assistance and they sent someone, he replaced the vent valves again and poured some powder in the boiler and he said this will help but is a temporary fix, i ask him how much he ask to fix, he said i won't touch this beside what i have done, you should contact the initial HVAC company who provided assistance... And pointed me of things that when the Inspector come, i will fail (he got me lost about the inspector thing), he ask me if the permits were pulled (i don't know), and recommended me that if an inspector has not come, to call the city and get one ...

I have a 5 year old son, a 5 month old daughter, an elderly mother 65 years old dealing with her health, doing chemotherapy, so i am looking for help. The history is longer but i tried to resumed as much as possible...

Do you recommend me to get the city inspector to come and see this ? Will this cause me troubles??
The emergency Tech that was sent via Self Help Fuel said that the code is that the person who installed is responsible and no one will want to touch this mess...
If these boilers can be converted to FHW, should i go with that option ?

I live here, and rent 2 apartment, but in the near future i am planning to buy a single family and rent this whole place, i just say to keep in mind what will be best when you have tenants and regarding low maintenance as possible...

Update: The company who did the instalation offered me an idea to replace my 1st floor Steam Boiler that he just installed with a HFW system with baseboard, by returning the money that he refunded me plus $ to cover materials etc etc... This is not going to be a Hight Efficiency Boiler, he says will be a Weil McLain Hot Water or Water Boiler, he said the High Efficiency one will cost like $ extra ( plus the $ that we agreed) . I mentioned to him to do it with MassSave, he kind of turn that around like it was not the best for him ( he did not say that but that was my feeling)

Thanks in advance for taking your time, and any idea, suggestion or whatever will be appreciated.

Comments

  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,355
    Please post pictures of your boiler room piping and radiators.
    Did the contractor try to convert a steam system to hot water? Say it isn't so...
    I suggest hitting the brakes until you can get some sound advice here.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    IronmanLordZen
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,137
    Something is very very seriously wrong with that installation.

    First, no, don't even think about converting to forced hot water. You had a functioning steam system, and you have two new Weil-McClain boilers. You have the ingredients to get a functioning steam system again, and that will be the least expensive and most satisfactory course.

    You mention Brockton, which leads me to believe that you are somewhere in the Boston metropolitan area. Your best move at this point is going to see if you can persuade either Ryan, @New England SteamWorks , (401-954-3510) or Charles, @Charlie from wmass , (413-841-6726) to come out and evaluate the catastrophe and see what needs to be done. Both of them are really good -- among the very best -- with steam. They are both also very busy, but if you explain, honestly, that you got this job done by someone, that they messed it up, that someone else came in and messed it up further, without making excuses, they may be able to come fairly quickly.

    Neither their advice, nor the repairs, will be free; recovery from this sort of disaster never is.

    I regret to say that I have not heard of Self Help Fuel Inc., and I have tried to look it up, but find no reference to their having any competence in steam -- or for that matter other -- heating systems, so I have some doubt as to their ability to understand and correct your problem. I hope I am mistaken, but the suggestion that you should attempt to convert to forced hot water is not encouraging.

    You may have some recourse from the original contractor; I hope you have not made a final payment -- or accepted any form of government assistance, as either action may make it very difficult to obtain recourse. You may also have some recourse from Self Help Fuel.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    IronmanLordZenMaxMercy
  • bucksnort
    bucksnort Member Posts: 160
    Do you know of any good lawyers? Something sounds really pooched.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,890
    bucksnort said:
    Do you know of any good lawyers? Something sounds really pooched.

    That’s the last resort when all else fails. The original contractor offered a full refund plus donating extra materials. Why would you wanna get a lawyer involved? 
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    LordZenMaxMercy
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,949
    bucksnort said:

    Do you know of any good lawyers? Something sounds really pooched.

    The only ones that win are the lawyers. You'll never collect!
    LordZen
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,949
    I A S S U M E................ NO permits were pulled!

    As @Ironman said
    @New England SteamWorks
    @Charlie from wmass
    Start calling NOW
    LordZen
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,500
    Pictures of boiler would be very helpful. Stand back so pictures include piping. 
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,500
    Might be as simple as a clogged wet return. 
  • LordZen
    LordZen Member Posts: 1





  • LordZen
    LordZen Member Posts: 1
    The 2 pictures with the Water Heater Tank located to the Left, is the 2nd Floor Boiler, no issues with that at all, as far as today...
    The pictures that has the Water Tank Heater to the Right, is the 1st Floor Boiler, the one with the issues.

    I paid all the money. After his last attempt, he came the day after and give me a check refunding me all the money because he was not able to see a solution and he missed to the a piping that was not properly installed or something like that, is a return i think he called, so for him to remove all that piping will be over what we budget and he already spent from his pocket trying to solve this. he made a letter saying he was refunding me the money and i was keeping the boilers, we both signed and write the check number... I waited until the check was clear, and it cleared.

    The piping that he missed to see is the return piping beginning on the 4th picture, that you see like an L next to the wall support, so that is the end of the return, the issue is on the other side, it has pudding or something like that, a t connection that wasn't supposed to have, and also, in the crawl space next to the laundry machine, there is a 90 leaking a little bit, you can hear the hissing sometimes, and i can see the water (a little bit) running in that side of the walls...

    Everything is fine with the machines, what needs to be corrected are some of the piping, i will take more picture...

    Self Help Fuel Inc is not an HVAC company, is a sorta assistance program that help you (i assume they received funds from the state, this is not for everyone, you have to qualify for certain assistances), since i had 2 days or 3 without heat ( from 5 radiator, there were 2 bleeding water and not warming ), so they send like an emergency HVAC company just to do something so i can have heat, not to replace my system, just to fix is temporarily until i get whomever has to come, so he opened the 2nd floor boiler and poured a powder on, and tilt a little bit up the return pipe i mentioned before, after that, no more loud bang, maybe regular bang twice or 3 times a week, a few bangs, no more than 4... The Radiators are not bleeding water, sometimes there is one of them that has a hissing sound and bring water up like pressurized condensed steam, i had to put a towel to prevent mess of water, but this is not everyday... And now the radiators are heating... This person that came as an emergency services for NO HEAT told me all the things that was wrong without even me telling the history, he knows the company and said will talk to them... I said i didn't want to throw them under the bus... He also recommended me to have a Inspector to come here, do his job, give me a list of all the fail things and this will make the previous company who did the job, to come and fix it even if he refunded me...

    2 days after this emergency visit, the company who did the installation offered me the idea to convert the 1st floor from Steam to FHW, no with an efficiency wall one, with a Weil McLein Boiler specialized for Water or for FHW and removing all my radiators, installing Baseboard around all the house, for this job i will have to return the initial payment that he charged me and refunded me, plus 2k, just to cover materials and some of the paid of his crew because this job will take several days.

  • bucksnort
    bucksnort Member Posts: 160
    edited March 2021
    Ironman said:


    bucksnort said:

    Do you know of any good lawyers? Something sounds really pooched.


    That’s the last resort when all else fails. The original contractor offered a full refund plus donating extra materials. Why would you wanna get a lawyer involved? 

    That would be a last resort. The fact nobody will touch the problem sounds fishy. Of course going by what some unknown tech from Self Help doesn't install confidence.
    The install looks nice but underlying issues don't show up.
    The original installer did.
    1: Devote time and materials to install 2 boilers that aren't working. Not pocket change.
    2: Came back and spent around 50 labor hours to diagnosis what they didn't do right the 1st time.
    3: Installer throws hands up and says in 30 years he's never had this happen. 30 years of what?
    4: This Self Help place is a fuel assistance non profit, correct? They probably farm out techs to the lowest denominator and what you need is someone that knows their stuff.
    5: You really don't know what is wrong until you get somebody competent in to correct the problem. If you get say 2 people in and they say it will cost $$$ to fix it at least you have 2 brand new boilers for free.
    6: Sounds fishy that the installer wants to convert to HW. Sounds like he never knew what he was doing in the 1st place. I would limit any interaction with this guy today. Document everything.

    At least you have backup heat until someone capable can fix this mess.
    Maybe the installer thought "Steam is just super hot water and I've done hot water for 30 years"?
    The fact he walked away from big $$$ and wrote it off is my concern.
    I would see if he did pull a permit. If he didn't I bet he's not sleeping well at night.
  • LordZen
    LordZen Member Posts: 1







    These are the piping issues he missed to see... There is one picture showing the floor, that brown spot that has a small white device, the vent valve showing in the other picture, make that mess... Now it doesn't...

    Onether picture of the 90 leaking under the crawl space.

    Another picture of the pipping with pudding.

    Another picture of the T piping that he said it was not supposed to be, that is feeding my principal bathroom and kitchen radiator.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,949
    The Pro Press fittings are NOT allowed or rated for steam.

    Have you gotten ahold of Charlie or Ryan?

    bucksnort
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,821
    So pictures 1 and 5 are of the boiler that is working OK?
    Pretty bad piping on that one, if working OK, just lucky for all involved.

    The install books for these must be lying around some where, there are piping diagrams included in them.

    IMO, both are a cluster, one must give the contractor points for what he did for refunds to the owner.

    Can't see anything close to correct piping about either install.
    bucksnort
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,355
    The good news is that you have a steam system and new steam boilers.
    The bad news is they don't know anything about piping steam boilers.
    Assuming the boiler sizing is correct, A good steam contractor should be able to repipe it and you will be good to go.
    I would not even consider converting it the hot water.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    LordZen
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,137
    edited March 2021
    The one comment I'd make about getting a lawyer involved... don't. That will pretty well guarantee that you have poor heat for years and will see no service or money. Most lawyers are good people, make no mistake, but plumbing and heating is not their job.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    pecmsgLordZenMaxMercy
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,949

    The one comment I'd make about getting a lawyer involved... don't. That will pretty well guarantee that you have poor heat for years and will see no service or money. Most lawyers are good people, make no mistake, but plumbing and heating is not their job.

    Commenting on that would take up too much of @Erin Holohan Haskell computer space! o:)
    Erin Holohan HaskellbucksnortLordZen
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,821
    Was it the TV series....NCIS...with Gunny Sgt Gibbs who had a list of rules. Near the top was "Do not get lawyers involved"
    (The guy building a full size boat in his basement, BTW)
    LordZenMaxMercy
  • LordZen
    LordZen Member Posts: 1
    bucksnort said:

    Ironman said:


    bucksnort said:

    Do you know of any good lawyers? Something sounds really pooched.


    That’s the last resort when all else fails. The original contractor offered a full refund plus donating extra materials. Why would you wanna get a lawyer involved? 
    That would be a last resort. The fact nobody will touch the problem sounds fishy. Of course going by what some unknown tech from Self Help doesn't install confidence.
    The install looks nice but underlying issues don't show up.
    The original installer did.
    1: Devote time and materials to install 2 boilers that aren't working. Not pocket change.
    2: Came back and spent around 50 labor hours to diagnosis what they didn't do right the 1st time.
    3: Installer throws hands up and says in 30 years he's never had this happen. 30 years of what?
    4: This Self Help place is a fuel assistance non profit, correct? They probably farm out techs to the lowest denominator and what you need is someone that knows their stuff.
    5: You really don't know what is wrong until you get somebody competent in to correct the problem. If you get say 2 people in and they say it will cost $$$ to fix it at least you have 2 brand new boilers for free.
    6: Sounds fishy that the installer wants to convert to HW. Sounds like he never knew what he was doing in the 1st place. I would limit any interaction with this guy today. Document everything.

    At least you have backup heat until someone capable can fix this mess.
    Maybe the installer thought "Steam is just super hot water and I've done hot water for 30 years"?
    The fact he walked away from big $$$ and wrote it off is my concern.
    I would see if he did pull a permit. If he didn't I bet he's not sleeping well at night.

    1-.Boilers seems to be working, issue is with piping.
    2-.You are correct!!
    3-.30 year working with HVAC, by his statement hehehe.
    4-.Yes they are non-profit, i talk a little bit more about them in my other post, it was something temporary so i can have heat.
    5-. That is what i want to do, i called the same company that supplied the Boilers" Plumbers Supply Co" trying to get a referral, i got one, he came a few days later after call, that was 2 weeks ago, i am still waiting for him, called again last week he said his partner was not here and was coming back this week, waiting for the call. He also mentioned the FHW, i didn't told him anything at the beginning to see how was his assessment, how accurate, most of it was. I caller New England Boilers, had left 2 VM and no call back.

    6-.He stated by converting to FHW will be correcting the piping issue... Also, i didn't mentioned at the beginning, i had 2 rooms with no radiator heat, just an electric baseboard, i don't like them, whenever i use them, my electric bill spike real high... That is in my Living Room (i don't use that one) and in my master room (this is just in the 1st floor, the 2nd floor have all the rooms with radiators).

    I think the same, that he is not sleeping, or maybe the HVAC tech that came as Emergency No Heat Service really spoke with the company to point our this mess, maybe...
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,890
    The near boiler piping is definitely wrong and the major problem. You just need to get someone who can redo it correctly and fix whatever other issues there may be.

    Since the contractor refunded your money and let you keep the boilers, you should actually be in good shape financially. You just need a competent steam man.

    As mentioned, New England Steam Works or Charlie Garret are two of the best.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    LordZen
  • LordZen
    LordZen Member Posts: 1
    Zman said:

    Please post pictures of your boiler room piping and radiators.
    Did the contractor try to convert a steam system to hot water? Say it isn't so...
    I suggest hitting the brakes until you can get some sound advice here.

    The initial job was to replace the Steam system for other Steam system, after the history you read here, refunded the money, he came up with the idea of changing the 1st floor unit from Steam to FHW system with Baseboards.
  • LordZen
    LordZen Member Posts: 1

    Something is very very seriously wrong with that installation.

    First, no, don't even think about converting to forced hot water. You had a functioning steam system, and you have two new Weil-McClain boilers. You have the ingredients to get a functioning steam system again, and that will be the least expensive and most satisfactory course.

    You mention Brockton, which leads me to believe that you are somewhere in the Boston metropolitan area. Your best move at this point is going to see if you can persuade either Ryan, @New England SteamWorks , (401-954-3510) or Charles, @Charlie from wmass , (413-841-6726) to come out and evaluate the catastrophe and see what needs to be done. Both of them are really good -- among the very best -- with steam. They are both also very busy, but if you explain, honestly, that you got this job done by someone, that they messed it up, that someone else came in and messed it up further, without making excuses, they may be able to come fairly quickly.

    Neither their advice, nor the repairs, will be free; recovery from this sort of disaster never is.

    I regret to say that I have not heard of Self Help Fuel Inc., and I have tried to look it up, but find no reference to their having any competence in steam -- or for that matter other -- heating systems, so I have some doubt as to their ability to understand and correct your problem. I hope I am mistaken, but the suggestion that you should attempt to convert to forced hot water is not encouraging.

    You may have some recourse from the original contractor; I hope you have not made a final payment -- or accepted any form of government assistance, as either action may make it very difficult to obtain recourse. You may also have some recourse from Self Help Fuel.

    I added some information regarding this in other comments
  • LordZen
    LordZen Member Posts: 1
    pecmsg said:

    I A S S U M E................ NO permits were pulled!

    As @Ironman said
    @New England SteamWorks
    @Charlie from wmass
    Start calling NOW

    Already started calling, thanks
  • LordZen
    LordZen Member Posts: 1
    pecmsg said:

    The Pro Press fittings are NOT allowed or rated for steam.

    Have you gotten ahold of Charlie or Ryan?

    Ryan , he already read my history here hehehe. Thank you once again.
  • LordZen
    LordZen Member Posts: 1
    JUGHNE said:

    So pictures 1 and 5 are of the boiler that is working OK?
    Pretty bad piping on that one, if working OK, just lucky for all involved.

    The install books for these must be lying around some where, there are piping diagrams included in them.

    IMO, both are a cluster, one must give the contractor points for what he did for refunds to the owner.

    Can't see anything close to correct piping about either install.

    Both boilers are working for now, my previous issue i think are the pipping.
  • LordZen
    LordZen Member Posts: 1
    Zman said:

    The good news is that you have a steam system and new steam boilers.
    The bad news is they don't know anything about piping steam boilers.
    Assuming the boiler sizing is correct, A good steam contractor should be able to repipe it and you will be good to go.
    I would not even consider converting it the hot water.

    Just curious, why not to the conversion? I am just learning.

    I ask him how much difference on power or BTU is between the old one and the new one, he said the older one had more BTU but having too much more is not good, i think if i am not mistaken about what he mentioned, previous one was 140-150 k btu, new one 120-125 k btu.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,137
    There are several reasons for not the conversion. The main one -- particularly from one pipe steam, but also for most two pipe steam systems -- is the cost. Pretty much everything has to be taken out, and all new radiation and all new piping, in addition to a new boiler. This is not a simple, inexpensive, or quick project.

    For all that money, you do not get any improvement in comfort and at the very best -- assuming you go or top dollar on the new boiler and controls -- a very minor gain in efficiency; so minor that you will never recover the cost. If you don't go top dollar on the new boiler, you don't even gain in efficiency.

    The only benefit ;for all that hassle is that it is easier to run separate zones with hot water heat.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    LordZen
  • LordZen
    LordZen Member Posts: 1

    There are several reasons for not the conversion. The main one -- particularly from one pipe steam, but also for most two pipe steam systems -- is the cost. Pretty much everything has to be taken out, and all new radiation and all new piping, in addition to a new boiler. This is not a simple, inexpensive, or quick project.

    For all that money, you do not get any improvement in comfort and at the very best -- assuming you go or top dollar on the new boiler and controls -- a very minor gain in efficiency; so minor that you will never recover the cost. If you don't go top dollar on the new boiler, you don't even gain in efficiency.

    The only benefit ;for all that hassle is that it is easier to run separate zones with hot water heat.

    Thanks Jamie for taking your time, is very valuable for me, coming from a person with 0 experience, thanks, much appreciated.

    I also called Charlie on Feb 11th and 15th and left VM both times, i assume he is really busy.

    I have a large legal notepad with names, phones, dates .