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how long will old boiler last?



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 25th 10, 07:26 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 39
Default how long will old boiler last?

Here's my question stated simply:
How long do boilers generally last? I'm trying to determine if the one in my
home will last through this coming heating season. Is there any way to check
besides looking for leaks?

Here are the details:
I've got a Utica oil-fired boiler with radiators, in a single family home.
It's a Utica O.U. Series. I'd guess the boiler is roughly 35 years old. The
burner on it was replaced, I think in 1995. The boiler also has copper tubes
running inside it to heat the home's hot water.

When a boiler fails, does it usually fail suddenly or can I limp through a
season with a small leak by simply refilling the water? It doesn't seem to
leak now, judging by the water level in the glass tube. I have to manually
operate a valve to add water, so I'd know if the water level was noticeably
declining.

What happens with a sudden big leak? Does the burner then just not come on
because of some overheat-sensor?

If it does develop a leak, can a leak be plugged?

There's one other consideration: I had it shut down from May to December of
2008. When I started it back up, all seemed fine but later I noticed a rust
colored stain on the concrete floor. I believe that happened because of the
sudden change in temperature. There has not been a single drop of visible
leakage since that one time. When I do empty the low water shutoff every other
week or so, the water that comes out is never is rusty. It is either black if
the boiler's been run a lot, or else it's pretty clear otherwise.

So, what should I do to try and figure if it will be good through this winter,
in PA? Thanks.


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  #2  
Old October 25th 10, 07:52 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 1,190
Default how long will old boiler last?

On Oct 25, 2:26*pm, Tom wrote:
Here's my question stated simply:
How long do boilers generally last? I'm trying to determine if the one in my
home will last through this coming heating season. Is there any way to check
besides looking for leaks?

Here are the details:
I've got a Utica oil-fired boiler with radiators, in a single family home..
It's a Utica O.U. Series. I'd guess the boiler is roughly 35 years old. The
burner on it was replaced, I think in 1995. The boiler also has copper tubes
running inside it to heat the home's hot water.

When a boiler fails, does it usually fail suddenly or can I limp through a
season with a small leak by simply refilling the water? It doesn't seem to
leak now, judging by the water level in the glass tube. I have to manually
operate a valve to add water, so I'd know if the water level was noticeably
declining.

What happens with a sudden big leak? Does the burner then just not come on
because of some overheat-sensor?

If it does develop a leak, can a leak be plugged?

There's one other consideration: I had it shut down from May to December of
2008. When I started it back up, all seemed fine but later I noticed a rust
colored stain on the concrete floor. I believe that happened because of the
sudden change in temperature. There has not been a single drop of visible
leakage since that one time. When I do empty the low water shutoff every other
week or so, the water that comes out is never is rusty. It is either black if
the boiler's been run a lot, or else it's pretty clear otherwise.

So, what should I do to try and figure if it will be good through this winter,
in PA? Thanks.


Sounds like you have a steam boiler which is more forgiving with
leaks as opposed to a hot water baseboard boiler which is always under
10-15 PSI of water pressure from the regulator.
Generally if you have a leak below the water line, you'll know
because you'll see water on the floor. And if the leak is above the
water line, you'll see steam leaking out, and thus the boiler can
never get up to pressure.

I have seen boiler last 50 years, and I had a steam boiler that only
lasted 15 years.
Just turn it on and see if the pipes get hot and check for leaks. If
everything checks out, your good to go

  #4  
Old October 25th 10, 09:14 PM posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 11,579
Default how long will old boiler last?

Tom wrote:
Here's my question stated simply:
How long do boilers generally last? I'm trying to determine if the
one in my home will last through this coming heating season. Is there
any way to check besides looking for leaks?

Here are the details:
I've got a Utica oil-fired boiler with radiators, in a single family
home. It's a Utica O.U. Series. I'd guess the boiler is roughly 35
years old. The burner on it was replaced, I think in 1995. The boiler
also has copper tubes running inside it to heat the home's hot water.

When a boiler fails, does it usually fail suddenly or can I limp
through a season with a small leak by simply refilling the water? It
doesn't seem to leak now, judging by the water level in the glass
tube. I have to manually operate a valve to add water, so I'd know if
the water level was noticeably declining.

What happens with a sudden big leak? Does the burner then just not
come on because of some overheat-sensor?

If it does develop a leak, can a leak be plugged?

There's one other consideration: I had it shut down from May to
December of 2008. When I started it back up, all seemed fine but
later I noticed a rust colored stain on the concrete floor. I believe
that happened because of the sudden change in temperature. There has
not been a single drop of visible leakage since that one time. When I
do empty the low water shutoff every other week or so, the water that
comes out is never is rusty. It is either black if the boiler's been
run a lot, or else it's pretty clear otherwise.

So, what should I do to try and figure if it will be good through
this winter, in PA? Thanks.


It'll probably be okay.

The steamboat S.S. Sultana, during it's life, had multiple leaks in its
boilers. They were patched with iron plating and bolted in place. The
Sultana continued serving commerce on the river with little interruption.

Until three of its boilers blew up, killing an estimated 1,800 returning
Civil War Union Soldiers and sinking near Memphis.


  #5  
Old October 25th 10, 09:39 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 1,594
Default how long will old boiler last?

On Mon, 25 Oct 2010 14:26:46 -0400, Tom wrote:

Here's my question stated simply:
How long do boilers generally last? I'm trying to determine if the one in my
home will last through this coming heating season. Is there any way to check
besides looking for leaks?



No way to check unless you're a chimney shaker.
If you are you, see how hard it is to drill a hole in it.
Not something I'd worry about.
Worse thing that can happen is you have to buy a kerosene heater or 2
until you get a new one in.

Hot water boilers last a looong time.
My ma replaced one because she went from coal to oil.
It was maybe 50 years old.
I replaced that one for her when it was 20 years old to go to NG.

The one in my old house is still working and is probably 60 years old.
If the water is dosed with a rust inhibitor and the fire sides
are cleaned once in a while cast iron lasts a long time.

The water heater part I don't know about.
And I'm assuming you're talking about a boiler with cast iron water
jacket, which is the only kind I've had.

Hot water boilers are normally replaced to put something more
efficient in, not because they leak.

--Vic

  #6  
Old October 25th 10, 11:07 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 476
Default how long will old boiler last?

On Oct 25, 1:26*pm, Tom wrote:
Here's my question stated simply:
How long do boilers generally last? I'm trying to determine if the one in my
home will last through this coming heating season. Is there any way to check
besides looking for leaks?

Here are the details:
I've got a Utica oil-fired boiler with radiators, in a single family home..
It's a Utica O.U. Series. I'd guess the boiler is roughly 35 years old. The
burner on it was replaced, I think in 1995. The boiler also has copper tubes
running inside it to heat the home's hot water.

When a boiler fails, does it usually fail suddenly or can I limp through a
season with a small leak by simply refilling the water? It doesn't seem to
leak now, judging by the water level in the glass tube. I have to manually
operate a valve to add water, so I'd know if the water level was noticeably
declining.

What happens with a sudden big leak? Does the burner then just not come on
because of some overheat-sensor?

If it does develop a leak, can a leak be plugged?

There's one other consideration: I had it shut down from May to December of
2008. When I started it back up, all seemed fine but later I noticed a rust
colored stain on the concrete floor. I believe that happened because of the
sudden change in temperature. There has not been a single drop of visible
leakage since that one time. When I do empty the low water shutoff every other
week or so, the water that comes out is never is rusty. It is either black if
the boiler's been run a lot, or else it's pretty clear otherwise.

So, what should I do to try and figure if it will be good through this winter,
in PA? Thanks.


For just boiler pros post at www.heatinghelp.com I have a 55yr old
Kewanee that is now looking shot, but it has been flooded in summer
many times. Old Kewanee commercial boilers were made to be repaired
but I have no idea on the construction of your unit. If its hot water
heat you might save 20-35% on a new condensing boiler, if its steam
savings will be less but you could sav e 20% easily, so energy savings
should be something you should look into, not just how long will it
last.
  #7  
Old October 25th 10, 11:23 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 1,474
Default how long will old boiler last?


"Tom" wrote in message ...
Here's my question stated simply:
How long do boilers generally last? I'm trying to determine if the one in
my
home will last through this coming heating season. Is there any way to
check
besides looking for leaks?

Here are the details:
I've got a Utica oil-fired boiler with radiators, in a single family home.
It's a Utica O.U. Series. I'd guess the boiler is roughly 35 years old.
The
burner on it was replaced, I think in 1995. The boiler also has copper
tubes
running inside it to heat the home's hot water.

When a boiler fails, does it usually fail suddenly or can I limp through a
season with a small leak by simply refilling the water? It doesn't seem to
leak now, judging by the water level in the glass tube. I have to manually
operate a valve to add water, so I'd know if the water level was
noticeably
declining.

What happens with a sudden big leak? Does the burner then just not come on
because of some overheat-sensor?

If it does develop a leak, can a leak be plugged?

There's one other consideration: I had it shut down from May to December
of
2008. When I started it back up, all seemed fine but later I noticed a
rust
colored stain on the concrete floor. I believe that happened because of
the
sudden change in temperature. There has not been a single drop of visible
leakage since that one time. When I do empty the low water shutoff every
other
week or so, the water that comes out is never is rusty. It is either black
if
the boiler's been run a lot, or else it's pretty clear otherwise.

So, what should I do to try and figure if it will be good through this
winter,
in PA? Thanks.


The only thing on it with moving parts is the burner, and you've replaced
that. It's 35 years old, no autofill, probably no low water cutoff, it's
really unlikely to suddenly have a catastrophic crack. I certainly wouldn't
lose sleep over it.



  #8  
Old October 26th 10, 01:25 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 6,757
Default how long will old boiler last?


Vic Smith wrote:

On Mon, 25 Oct 2010 14:26:46 -0400, Tom wrote:

Here's my question stated simply:
How long do boilers generally last? I'm trying to determine if the one in my
home will last through this coming heating season. Is there any way to check
besides looking for leaks?


No way to check unless you're a chimney shaker.
If you are you, see how hard it is to drill a hole in it.
Not something I'd worry about.
Worse thing that can happen is you have to buy a kerosene heater or 2
until you get a new one in.

Hot water boilers last a looong time.
My ma replaced one because she went from coal to oil.
It was maybe 50 years old.
I replaced that one for her when it was 20 years old to go to NG.

The one in my old house is still working and is probably 60 years old.
If the water is dosed with a rust inhibitor and the fire sides
are cleaned once in a while cast iron lasts a long time.

The water heater part I don't know about.
And I'm assuming you're talking about a boiler with cast iron water
jacket, which is the only kind I've had.


It's the common tankless DHW coil inside the boiler jacket. When those
die, typically due to hard water deposits and corrosion in them, you
either replace them if the part is available or switch to an indirect
fired DHW tank setup.


Hot water boilers are normally replaced to put something more
efficient in, not because they leak.


Yes, and if it is a good quality boiler and already had a burner
replacement in 1995 it's going to be running pretty close to the
efficiency of a new until already if it's in proper tune.
  #10  
Old October 27th 10, 08:24 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 39
Default how long will old boiler last?

On 10/26/2010 8:25 AM, Pete C. wrote:

Vic Smith wrote:

On Mon, 25 Oct 2010 14:26:46 -0400, Tom wrote:

Here's my question stated simply:
How long do boilers generally last? I'm trying to determine if the one in my
home will last through this coming heating season. Is there any way to check
besides looking for leaks?


[snipped]

It's the common tankless DHW coil inside the boiler jacket. When those
die, typically due to hard water deposits and corrosion in them, you
either replace them if the part is available or switch to an indirect
fired DHW tank setup.


First off, thanks to everybody for all the great replies. I'll probably see if
I make it through this season and then maybe switch to a gas boiler next year.
Yes, it is steam heat here.

I'm getting frazzled looking at pages for "indirect DHW setup" quoted above,
even this brochu
http://www.amtrol.com/pdf/BoilermateMC10009low.pdf
but nobody explains what exactly it is. It's apparently a separate tank,
rather than having the coils right in the boiler primary water - but where
does it go? How does it attach to or connect with the boiler?

Thanks again, I learned a lot.


 




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