old boiler question

I purchased a house built in 1951 about 7 years ago......It still has original boiler which is still working well. The only thing I have done is fix a couple of leaks. I did not add a rust inhibitor, refilled with water only. What should I do in terms of maintenance?
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We don't have enough information, yet.
Brand? Size? Boiler that does.... what? Fuel source? How many loops? What kind of zone valve? And any other info?
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
I purchased a house built in 1951 about 7 years ago......It still has original boiler which is still working well. The only thing I have done is fix a couple of leaks. I did not add a rust inhibitor, refilled with water only. What should I do in terms of maintenance?
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On Dec 3, 7:13 pm, "Stormin Mormon"

price a new boiler it will likely cut your fuel bill dramatically by as much as half...
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The brand is Percoflash made in madison, nj. there is no other info about size on the unit itself. Uses natural gas, and there is a plate on the burner assembly? the plates says Magic Servant Products Company, Model 6542, maximum hourly btu input 200,000 minimum hourly btu input 85,000 btu. the unit is primary source of heat for about 1200 sq ft house. as to your other questions......I do not have the answer.............thanks for any info
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On Dec 3, 6:56 pm, snipped-for-privacy@theShire.org wrote:

Does the boiler produce hot water for a baseboard heating system? Are there zone valves/thermostats for zone heating? Does the hot bathing/ drinking water feed from separate coils within this boiler, or is there a separate system to heat hot potable water?
If you cannot supply this basic information, then you better hire someone-anyone to take you for a well-deserved ride to the poor house.
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I would suggest that you look into one of the newer "combination" boilers that also doubles as a hot water heater. Some of them are rated at 95% efficiency.
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NG boilers typically don't take a lot of maint. Gas burns rather clean. Might need to take some panels off, brush and vacuum it out.
Take the flue pipe apart a bit, and look for blockages. I've found dead birds in the chimney.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
The brand is Percoflash made in madison, nj. there is no other info about size on the unit itself. Uses natural gas, and there is a plate on the burner assembly? the plates says Magic Servant Products Company, Model 6542, maximum hourly btu input 200,000 minimum hourly btu input 85,000 btu. the unit is primary source of heat for about 1200 sq ft house. as to your other questions......I do not have the answer.............thanks for any info
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The boiler does produce hot water for a baseboard heating system. there are two thermostats two zones. there is seperate hot water heater for drinking water bath etc.
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snipped-for-privacy@theShire.org;2971633 Wrote: > The boiler does produce hot water for a baseboard heating system. there > are

> drinking

I don't understand the need for more information on the boiler to give basic maintenance advice that applies to ANY cast iron sectional boiler.
1. It's not a great idea to add a corrosion inhibitor. Basically, when you add new water to your heating system, that new water contains dissolved oxygen and hardness ions. Most of the dissolved oxygen comes out of solution when the water is heated, and that which doesn't forms rust in the iron sections of the heating system, notably the boiler and the associated iron piping. The hardness ions in the water (mostly Ca++ and Mg++) form scale on the hottest surfaces of the heating system, which will be right inside the boiler itself.
If you don't replace the water in your heating system (and you should try to avoid doing that), the oxygen will be driven out of solution, and what's left will form rust, and the hardness ions will form scale. Thereafter, your circulating water will be both oxygen depleted and ionically dead, and that's exactly what you want and need to prevent corrosion or scale build-up in the heating system. So, in my humble opinion, it's far better to just operate your heating system with old water rather than use a corrosion inhibitor. At only about 60 to 65 years old, your boiler isn't very old, and if you take good care of it, it'll last longer than grandma. There's lots of cast iron sectional boilers still going strong after 100 years.
Also, if you have to drain your heating system down to do a repair or whatever, collect the water you drain out in 5 gallon pails. Then, when the repair is completed, carry those pails up to the top floor of your house, and siphon that old water back in to the highest elevation air vent in your heating system. Then, just add a bit more city water to bring the pressure back up to 12 psig or slightly better. There should be a pressure gauge on your boiler by which to do that.
To do this quickly and easily, buy a 1/8" NPT nipple, a 1/8 inch ball valve and a coin air vent, and screw those into the air vent on the highest elevation radiator in your house (or one of 'em). Close the ball valve, replace the air vent with a 1/8" NPT X 1/4" hose barb fitting, get a siphon going and push the siphon hose onto the hose barb fitting. Now, open the ball valve, and the siphon will fill the heating system of our house with the old water (which won't contain any dissolved oxygen or hardness ions).
A plumber won't do that because you're paying $90 per hour for his time. But, he'll do it in his own house.
2. You do need to clean your burner trays and the space between the sections of your boiler periodically. Rust will form between the boiler sections and fall onto the burner trays, blocking off some holes, and collect on the horizontal fins on the boiler sections, thereby interfering with heat transfer. You can buy special brushes to clean the spaces between the boiler segments, but I've always just used a "carboy cleaning brush" that you can buy at any wine & beer making store. If you clean your boiler like that once every 10 years, you'll have a clean boiler.
3. Depending on the kind of circulating pump you have, you may be required to oil the motor bearings (as well as the bearing assembly) at the start of every heating system. Typically, you put 1/8 fluid ounce of oil in each of the motor bearing oiling caps, and 1/4 fluid ounce of oil in the bearing assembly at the start of each heating system. Newer circulating pumps will have permanently lubricated bronze bushings in the motor, and so you only have to put oil in the bearing assembly at the start of each heating season. It's a good idea to keep a spare spring coupler handy. That's the part that goes between the motor shaft and the end of the shaft the impeller turns on. If that breaks, you've got no circulation of water, and that means no heat regardless of whether the boiler is working or not. Better than a spring coupler is a Spiroflex coupler because they'll almost never break:
4. Newer hot water heating systems will allow for the expansion of water as it's heated with a bladder tank. Older systems used something called a "cushion tank", which is nothing more than an empty tank that gets flooded with water so that about half the tank is full of trapped air. It's that air cushion that allows for expansion of the water into the cushion tank as the water expands when it's heated. If you have a cushion tank, it's a real good idea to install a sight glass on your tank so you can check the water level in it. But, as sight glasses can be notorious for air leakage out of them, if it wuz my cushion tank, I'd install a ball valve on each port provided for the sight glass, and install the sight glass between the ball valves. That way, you can keep the ball valves closed and only open them momentarily to take a water level measurement. That way, any air or water leakage past the packings around the sight glass won't affect the boiler operation.
5. Best to keep a spare thermocouple on hand as well. That's the doo-hicky that generates a small voltage from the temperature of the pilot light flame, and that voltage is used to keep the "safety" magnetic valve open inside your gas valve. (Post again if you want to know how gas valves work.)
6. I've familiar with the Honeywell 8043 series zone valves. About the only maintenance they typically require is a shot of a light oil like WD-40 if they stop operating. In the 21 Honeywell 8043C zone valves in my building over 25 years, I don't think I replaced more than a dozen motors, and only one sector gear. Depending on the kind of zone valves you have, you can make inquiries as to whether the manufacturer makes a kit to allow you to replace the actuator or "head" on the valve without draining the heating system. If they're Honeywell zone valves, then your in luck cuz Honeywell does.
7. And, on my old boiler, whenever I cleaned off any rust in maintaining the system, I'd spray that cleaned area with WD-40. As that oil dried on the metal, it formed an impermeable film between the metal and the surrounding atmosphere, thereby keeping the rust from reforming in those areas.
That's about all I can think of right now.
Hot water heating system boilers typically last very much longer than forced air heating system furnaces, and a 60 to 65 year old boiler that's been reasonably maintained over it's life should be nowhere near in need of replacement. However, you WILL realize a savings in energy costs by going with a more efficient boiler, but be aware that:
Some high efficiency boilers use aluminum heat exchangers, and aluminum is finicky about the pH of the water it's immersed in. If you live in an area where the water is naturally acidic or basic, then you'll have to start having to treat your heating water with chemicals to protect your boiler.
"Condensing" boilers are those which extract so much heat from the flue gas that condensation forms from the water vapour in the flue gas. This condensate is completely saturated with CO2, and as a result, something called "carbonic acid" forms in the condensate making it quite corrosive. It's the formation of carbonic acid when you dissolve CO2 in water that gives carbonated soft drinks like Pepsi Cola and Orange Crush their "bite". Once the CO2 comes out of solution, the soft drink is said to have gone "flat", and they both just taste like sugar water. If you have a high efficiency "condensing" boiler, you need to run that condensate through a neutralizing media to neutralize the pH of the condensate before dumping it in your house's drain piping. Here in Canada, each province has different regulations concerning the handling of that condensate, so I assume every state would as well. In Manitoba, where I live, there was no requirement to neutralize the condensate, but I didn't want that acid sitting in my drain piping, so I built my own neutralizing filter and I currently buy the neutralizing media from my local plumbing wholesalers for $40 for a 40 pound box. I have two high efficiency condensing boilers heating my apartment block, and I am currently having good success neutralizing the condensate that comes out of them. I have that condensate flow through a 1/4 inch ID vinyl hose into a small plastic bottle hanging above the water line in my sump pit. Roughly once per month I retrieve that bottle and taste the water in it. When the water starts to taste acidic, then I know it's time to clean the neutralizing media in my pH filter and add more to replace that which was dissolved by the carbonic acid in the condensate.
Hope this helps.
--
nestork


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The suggestion was made to replace a 65 year old boiler with a new high efficiency boiler to save on energy costs.
Hot water heating system boilers typically last very much longer than forced air heating system furnaces, and a 60 to 65 year old boiler that's been reasonably well maintained over it's life should be nowhere near in need of replacement. However, you WILL realize a savings in energy costs by going with a more efficient boiler, but be aware that:
Some high efficiency boilers use aluminum heat exchangers, and aluminum is finicky about the pH of the water it's immersed in. If you live in an area where the water is naturally acidic or basic, then you'll have to start having to treat your heating water with chemicals to protect your boiler.
"Condensing" boilers are those which extract so much heat from the flue gas that condensation forms from the water vapour in the flue gas. This condensate is completely saturated with CO2, and as a result, something called "carbonic acid" forms in the condensate making it quite corrosive. It's the formation of carbonic acid when you dissolve CO2 in water that gives carbonated soft drinks like Pepsi Cola and Orange Crush their "bite". Once the CO2 comes out of solution, the soft drink is said to have gone "flat", and they both just taste like sugar water.
If you have a high efficiency "condensing" boiler, you really should be running that condensate through a neutralizing media to neutralize the pH of the condensate before dumping it in your house's drain piping. Here in Canada, each province has different regulations concerning the handling of that condensate, so I assume every state in the USA would as well. In Manitoba, where I live, there was no requirement to neutralize the condensate, but I didn't want that acid sitting in my metal drain piping, so I built my own neutralizing filter and I currently buy the neutralizing media from my local plumbing wholesalers for $40 for a 40 pound box.
I have two high efficiency condensing boilers heating my apartment block at about half the fuel cost of my old sectional cast iron boiler. I am having good success neutralizing the condensate that comes out of the condensting boilers. I have the neutralized water that comes out of my neutralizing filter flow through a 1/4 inch ID vinyl hose into a small plastic bottle hanging above the water line in my sump pit. The neutralized water overflows that bottle and falls into the sump pit. Roughly once per month I retrieve that bottle and taste the water in it. When the water starts to taste acidic, then I know it's time to clean the neutralizing media in my pH filter and add more neutralizing media to replace that which was dissolved by the carbonic acid in the condensate. I have a relatively large neutralizing filter, so I find that I don't have to do that very often; maybe twice each winter and once during the summer (cuz I use my boilers to provide hot water for cooking, cleaning and bathing during the summer months as well).
Hope this helps.
--
nestork


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Really? 65 year old boiler and nowhere near need of replacement? You base that on what?

I call BS on that. Very few condensing systems of any kind have neutralizers on them. A few places do require them as a matter of code. And in many places you can pipe the condensate outside or to a sump pump, instead of running it into the sewer system. Do you neutralize the Pepsi, juice from pickles, etc before sending it down the line?

There isn't a single state in the USA that I'm aware of that says you can't put it down the drain without a neutralizer. Now some cities, they might have codes that say you do. Here in NJ for example, straight down the drain is no problem.
 In Manitoba, where I live, there was no requirement to neutralize

Wow, what a great system. Great idea, taste your condensate water...... Go figure.
then I know it's time to clean

An entire mountain out of a mole hill of a problem, that I bet doesn't even exist for the OP.
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On Mon, 3 Dec 2012 23:49:59 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@theShire.org wrote:

Replace it with a more efficient boiler and cut your fuel costs by 30% to 50%. Even boilers have that age were very inefficient compared to today's stuff.
I put in a system 2000 www.energykinetics.com
Be sure to check for rebates too. Sates and energy companies often have good programs.
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I'd say it's almost certain he's going to save more than 50%. He says the boiler is lableled 85K BTU Min and 200K BTU max. For a 1200 sq ft house? I replaced my 25 year old gas furnace two years ago. It was 150K BTU, for a 3200 sq ft house. I replaced it with a 93% 120K furnace. Based on what I see now, could easily have gone with a 90K furnace. My gas bills are cut almost in half. Whatever burner is actually in that ancient boiler, it's for sure over sized for the house. Even when it was new, it wasn't anywhere near the efficiency of today's boilers. And being that old, it's likely not running at anywhere near the original efficiency either. All that together says it's a good candidate for replacement. An ideal time would have been a couple years ago when the feds were giving a 30% tax credit. As you say, there are still incentives in many places for energy rebates from utilities, states, etc.
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On Tue, 4 Dec 2012 04:34:23 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

You bring up a good point. With the older inefficient burners, much of the heat went up the stack so it has to be sized accordingly. Replacements are almost always lower since only 10% or so is lost, not 50%.
as for rebates, some utilities are offering $1000 or so on a home size boiler. At work, I replaced the one heating the offices and got a $3000 rebate for a 400,000 BTU unit. Not sure of the saving as we took some of the load off an old cast iron steam boiler and put it on this one and the same gas bill is for the production boilers and they can vary a lot month to month.
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On Dec 3, 11:49 pm, snipped-for-privacy@theShire.org wrote:

Get rid of it. A new one will pay for itself in a few years in reduced fuel bills.
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