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Life expectancy of steel hot water boiler

jim_57 Member Posts: 41
A well made steel boiler can last as long or longer than a well made CI boiler. What kills either one? Lack of maintenance, system leaks that cause the introduction of makeup water, etc. GE downfires and Dynatherms from the late 40's or 50's still abound. Both were well made. Steel boilers got a bad rep from the "contractor" boilers that proliferated in the 60's and 70's.


  • Life expectency of steel boiler

    I have a 19 year old Thermodymamics BlueRay III VTF720
    hot water steel boiler and 40 gallon Ford glass lined aquabooster installed in my home. I have been told that steel boilers last only about 20 years and if that is the case I would rather replace the boiler before it fails in the middle of the winter.What is a reasonable life of this boiler and aquabooster? Are they living on borrowed time??? Any advice would be appreciated.
  • the famous answer....

    Its depends..... Depending on the system maintence,water condition, etc.... I've seen some crapped out at 5 years and others still going at 35 years plus... Been told... Who told ya?
  • Big Ed
    Big Ed Member Posts: 1,117
    Garbage Can

    Why wait for it to leak.With todays price of fuels,put in a good hi efficiency system and let it pay for it self.. Nows the time before equitment prices go up.
  • Gene_3
    Gene_3 Member Posts: 289
    you have

    a museum piece, most of those are gone and the FORD hot water tank, most lasted 4years. The Ford factory closed about 19 years ago because too much of their stuff leaked before the warranty which was 5 years and it took Carlin with it.

    How old is your car??

    This thing in ze basement gives you heat and hot water all year, every year, it is the heart of your home, if you are not moving it is time to let it go, but invest in top eff stuff
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,424
    steel boilers

    We are still working on steel firetube boilers that are 80 years old, so 20 yrs?????? not.
  • John@Reliable_12
    [email protected]_12 Member Posts: 24
    Fred, Few things

    Glad to hear that the Ford is still holding water, you must have got a good one,there wasn't many. The boiler from where I sit could last 10 more years or 10 days, your guess is as good as mine, that said. What about your peace of mind. Been a few upgrades in equipment over the last twenty years and if I was you I would really think hard about upgrading both systems. A new 3 pass boiler on the oil side along with a in-direct hot water heater and out door reset will go a long way in $$ fuel savings and peace of mind,a proper new system design and maintenance should be good for at least the next 25-30 years at this time. Hope this helps [email protected]
  • Dick Charland
    Dick Charland Member Posts: 178

    Unfortunately, I may be showing my maturity again, but the Blueray unit is essentially the identical technology everyone is talking about today. It was a 3 pass, low mass boiler that saw the same problems people are confronting today. Initially it started with a Blueray burner and then was changed to "yellow" flame technology.

    Unfortunately, it sufferred from lack of proper maintenance (won't anything) and poor installation practice. Most common, no bypass causing terrible condensation issues. There was a great deal of hesitancy on the part of contractors to use an appliance with the low inputs that these units had (so what's new). Accordingly, the "K factor" sizing method was used which demonstrated the actual firing rate that would heat a home based on K factor.

    For those who were on the cutting edge, they were often tied to Enertrol or some other "sophisticated" control package. Thermo Dynamics is still selling a similar boiler which is a DV unit I believe.

    To answer the question, it is difficult to say how much longer the unit will last, depends on maintenance, regular service and repair of any leaks. With proper care it could go quite a while longer. I would caution that there would not be a dramatic reduction in consumption if a new boiler is installed because this was an efficient unit (if baffles installed) even if it is 20 years old.
  • John@Reliable_12
    [email protected]_12 Member Posts: 24
    ****, you're not .............

    older, only better lol. In my post I too mentioned "design & maintence" as the most important issues still after all these years. P.S.I lump installer into design part ie:has a clue? John
  • Gene_3
    Gene_3 Member Posts: 289
    don't agree

    junk it

    it probably has a Carlin 99, not a great burner when compared to new, new is better, motors, ign all use less elec, burn cleaner

    at the very least I'd change out the Ford for an Indirect and hope for the best with the boiler
  • RonE
    RonE Member Posts: 29
    G E downfired doilers

    Jim thanks alot...I got a back ache just reading your post.LOL They made them in 3 sizes..heavy, heavier and "we can't budge it" The jackets on them are heavier ga steel than some new boilers. Her in the Balt/Wash area Columbia boiler co made a good steel back in the late 50's they are heavy devils too.

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