Considering a great old house, but it has a 100 year old asbestos covered boiler - what to do?


Hi. I am in the market for a house in Western Massachusetts. I have a really nice house in mind, but one of the things that scares me is the boiler. The house is about 100 years old and the boiler looks original. It is big and ball-shaped and covered in asbestos. Seller says there has been no problems with the boiler and they used relatively little oil (it is oil fired) to heat the house last year (about 900 gallons of oil for the season for a 2200 sq feet house in New England). I am not sure what to do. Should i get rid of the boiler right away or just keep using it? I need to figure out what kind of an offer to put on the house and this boiler issue is really confusing me. The question is: is it ok to assume this boiler will last for a while or will I have to replace it pretty much before moving in? The rest of the house is in great shape and is well-maintained. Actually, the boiler is also well-maintained and is fully functional. Help!
-- Vladimir
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Chances are you won't have to replace the boiler immediately. The chances are you will have to replace it eventually. It would be prudent to plan on replacing it sooner rather than later.
Just get one or two estimates for a replacement (including proper disposal of the old unit). Then you'll know for (reasonably) sure what your actual financial exposure is. It should then be relatively simple to craft your offer accordingly. You'll probably have to hit the phone pretty hard on Monday morning in order to get those estimates done quickly however.
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The old boiler will probably last another 100 years, but its efficiency is probably so poor, that it would pay to have it replaced. Many plumbers won't touch the asbestos covering, so you may have to have a special company remove it first, which is not the big deal it used to be. While you don't need to do this immediately, changing it will ultimately be the most cost effective thing to do

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Could last another 20 years, could last another 2 months. Figure that it will have to be replaced at some point and take that into consideration in your offer. Local oil dealer will probably be able to give you a ball park price easily as they have probably done many of them and know what is involved.
The 900 gallons for that size house seems reasonable.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

One thing is for sure, the boiler you replace it with will not last 100 years.
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It might be only 50% efficient, it might be 75% efficient, a new unit could be 83-96% 83% for steam, 94-96% for HW or forced air. It depends on your type of heat and what you buy, Do you have steam or HW, you did say Boiler, so it has water in it. At that age remove it but best is now before you buy it, There can be almost zero dust if the asbestos is kept wet.
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DO GET A HOME INSECTION!
There are likely other hidden issues a home inspector may find.
They rent perfect but its the best few hundred you will ever invest.
sellers will often deduct repair cost of troubles found by inspectors
I am NOT a inspecor sold a home a couple years ago.......
buyers best friend sellers worst enemy!
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