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Thread: Antique bolier

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Antique bolier

    Offer is on the table for the old home I fell in love with. One concern is the boiler. I don't know about the cost of running one (it's retrofitted to natural gas), how it works, etc. I know basically what the deal is. Plus is it worth keeping? It runs home heat and water heat apparently since I don't see a water heater anywhere in the house and it looks like it's piped to both.

    1907 home - boiler says Rudy - Maybe 5 - 5.5 feet tall 4 - 5 feet wide... in an unfinished poured concrete foundation that looks like it was put in maybe in the 20's or 30's?

    Anyways just looking for more info. I suspect the boiler is 102 yrs old like the house since there is a coal chute and storage partition.

    Do people service/repair these still? Is it worth keeping? What is maintenance for one of these beasts? What do I need to worry about? Doesn't seem much of a way to see inside past where the coal would have gone? Now you just feel the heat from the pilot when you put your hand inside.

    Very curious obviously

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Antique bolier

    These boilers usually date back to the 50's or even 40's when coal conversion to oil or gas was popular---this makes them ancient as far as heating equipment goes---very common for half the heat produced to go right up the chimney (50% efficient), so it's a losing proposition to hold onto such a relic when modern gas boilers are getting up to 95% efficiency.

    If there's a lot of white stuff covering the nearby boiler piping & the boiler itself---that's asbestos & has to be removed by trained pros as asbestos is carcinogenic when inhaled.

    The longer you hold onto it the more you'll spend in wasted fuel dollars.

    Talk to the prospective sellers of the house to glean info as to how much is paid in gas bills each winter, the service company used, & the frequency of breakdown---you might be able to bargain with the seller to reduce the house selling price in view of the certainty that you'll have to pay at least $3k-$7k to put in a new boiler---get some replacement quotes from local installers (Yellow Pages: "Heating Contractors")---fuel oil dealers are also licensed to install gas boilers & often charge less.

    A basic gas-fired 83% AFUE cast iron boiler by Crown, Slant/Fin, Burnham, Peerless, Utica, Weil-Mclain,etc. along with a 40 gal. indirect hot water heater for domestic hot water would cost about $3k to $4k---well worth it because you would see a tremendous drop in gas fuel usage.
    Last edited by NashuaTech; 09-11-2009 at 06:21 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Antique bolier

    Keeping an old boiler is as practical as using a 20-30 year old car to commute to work every day. There may be some sentimental value for someone but as far as efficiency and reliability goes we should be replacing our boilers every 10-15 years.

    I think that in this country we have the mentality that as long as it can be kept running there's no need to replace it. There are also a lot of techs who believe the same. Of course some of them work for the fuel company or utility so there's no interest in your saving fuel so they don't push it.

    It may cost you quite a bit to replace the old one and bring everything up to speed but a good install will save you money and pay for itself in no time.

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