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    Steam boiler replacement quote (21 Posts)

  • KC_Jones KC_Jones @ 10:10 AM
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    Steam boiler replacement quote

    So my boiler is leaking as diagnosed by myself and as backup I had a service technician in to verify.  I had the contractor work me up a quote and maybe I am crazy, but just based on the quote I wouldn't hire him to change a light bulb.  Could some of the professionals on here look at what he gave me and give their opinion?  I was expecting something more specific with more itemizing.  He doesn't even say which thermostat he is installing.  Another thing I noticed is the boiler seems way over sized.  I am currently running a Weil Mclain EG-45 (150,000 BTU input) and he quoted a 160,000 BTU unit.  The reason I say way over sized is according to my calculations for my radiators i need 63000 BTU which is very close to a Weil Mclain EG-35 (100,000 BTU input).  Also (not sure if i should mention this part lol) I have been running my current boiler with 2 burners disconnected for 10 years now and have never had any issues heating the house, but my gas bill dropped when I did that.  So with 2 burners off I figure I am in the 100,000 BTU range and have proven that out over 10 years.  The contractor did measure all my radiators, but I am guessing either he miscounted or carried a 1 wrong or something?  Long post I know, but I mainly want opinions on this quote and the contractor.  Personal and business information removed from quote to protect the innocent (and guilty).  Thank you for your time.
    Just another homeowner trying to find his way through.
    This post was edited by an admin on February 18, 2014 10:58 AM.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 10:48 AM
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  • KC_Jones KC_Jones @ 10:59 AM
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    my apologies

    I didn't think about removing the price from the quote.  I updated my post to remove the price, is that ok now?  Or would you prefer I remove it all together?  I am new here so again my apologies.
    Just another homeowner trying to find his way through.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 11:09 AM
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    No problem, KC.

    Thanks. We don't discuss pricing because it's tough to tell what conditions are on the job from a remote location. Also, pricing varies by location and it's not fair to anyone if we start comparing. It's really a matter between the contractor and the customer. If the price isn't right, you don't hire the contractor.

    As for the rest, some contractors don't go into great detail on a quote because they're concerned the potential customer will just shop their quote, looking for a lower price on the same stuff.

    I would buy results. Will the system heat my home comfortably and without noise when the contractor is done? Will the contractor guarantee that?
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 11:28 AM
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    Amazing

            I think the amazing part, is that he was unable to find anything wrong with the existing system.....Nothing! Just connect it to the existing piping, cut him a check, then try to find him. I think the most important thing, should be the statement...The boiler will be installed to manufacturers specification.There are postings here daily, from folks that have boilers hooked up exactly as you were quoted. The boiler are not even skimmed ,hooked up to existing piping with no header, or no equalizer. The mains have sags in them, and no main vents.
         If the contractor will not sit down and discuss the whole system with you.....Show him the door.
  • BobC BobC @ 11:14 AM
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    Why?

    i would ask the contractor why he wants to install a boiler of that size and I would also ask that he agree to follow the manufacturer's piping diagram for configuration and pipe sizes at a minimum. All steam carrying piping to be done in threaded steel pipe.

    Additionally ask that he install proper venting on the mains and radiators. He should also inspect and correct any existing piping deficiencies after quoting the costs to do so.

    A boiler will last a long time if it's installed correctly so it's important to have it done right.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 84,200 BTU, Single pipe steam

    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in

    3PSI gauge
  • KC_Jones KC_Jones @ 11:23 AM
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    thanks

    For the input.  I think I was just a little annoyed with how vague it was.  This contractor isn't giving me the warm and fuzzy, but he is supposed to be a reputable contractor for my area.  I actually work for an industrial refrigeration company and one of our HVAC engineers here recommended him.  To be honest I have 2 paths with this replacement.  1. hire a local contractor and 2. My uncle was an installer for 30 years and is willing to help me do this myself.  I am weighing both options at this point, but with the cost of the contractor (my budget is tight) I am seriously considering doing it myself (with uncle).  I do have what appear to be deficiencies in my current system.  The only reason I say that is my radiator vents have been spitting water ever since I moved in and until I found this website I just figured that's what it's supposed to do.  Now I know how much I don't know from this site.  I am ordering a couple of the books today!  Again thanks for the responses I am sure I will probably be posting more, I know I have been reading a lot in the past week!
    Just another homeowner trying to find his way through.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 11:28 AM
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    Good.

    Educate yourself and then decide whether it's something you and your uncle can handle. It's all about the details. If you guys are going to be the installers, ask yourself the same question I suggested you ask the contractor: Will the system heat my house comfortably and without noise when I'm done? Can I guarantee that? 
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 11:30 AM
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    LOL

    Bob......Different wording...same message.
  • KC_Jones KC_Jones @ 11:36 AM
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    Education

    I honestly love learning new things.  Even if I hired a contractor I try and educate myself to the max.  I don't blindly trust people ever.  Paul yes I wondered the same thing about looking over my whole system.  I wasn't able to be at home when he came out to look over the system, but he basically didn't talk to my wife either.  I was figuring on more info in the quote.  Anyway it's enough about that I am free to say no and move on, it is my house after all!  I am still weighing my options, if I do it on my own...I am on my own.  If I do my research and get it right then I have saved myself a ton of money.  I am hoping to limp my current boiler along until warmer weather.  It's leaking, but still steaming along.  It's 32 years old so I don't feel like it owes me anything.  If I can get to warmer weather it takes some pressure off and I can take my time doing the work on my own.  Again thank you all for the replies.
    Just another homeowner trying to find his way through.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 11:43 AM
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  • BobC BobC @ 12:55 PM
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    I am on my own?

    If you and your uncle decide to do this yourself you will have the support of a lot of people on this board, they will give you any information you need.

    Post some pictures of the current boiler and the piping so we can tell you what we think. If you decide to let someone install it for you at least you will know what has to be fixed in addition to "connecting it up to the existing piping".

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 84,200 BTU, Single pipe steam

    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in

    3PSI gauge
  • KC_Jones KC_Jones @ 1:02 PM
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    ok not totally on my own

    What I meant with that comment was I am my own warranty so to speak.  I screw it up it's on me, no contractor to blame.  Of course the other advantage...no contractor to blame.  We all know they aren't all perfect.  And yes if i go it alone I will most likely post before and later some after pics.  I take a lot of pride in my work so I would probably "show it off".  On a side note this wouldn't be my first time fitting pipe.  My grandfather (91 years old) did a lot of pipe fitting for the gas company in his day and taught me quite a bit.  When I bought my house he handed down a bunch of pipe dies and wrenches from the old days, I treasure these tools.    I remember him telling me (in jest) "we used graphite and oil, what is this pipe dope you are talking about?".  My how times have changed!
    Just another homeowner trying to find his way through.
  • KC_Jones KC_Jones @ 11:49 AM
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    Haha

    We have 3 year old twins and a 6 year old and one of her friends decided to drop in at the same time, she was distracted to say the least.  Not that she didn't make herself available if he needed to tell or explain something.
    Just another homeowner trying to find his way through.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 11:58 AM
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    Twins

    We have 33-year-old twins. They have two sisters - 34 years old and 36 years old.  All females. Imagine what THAT was like back in the day. I now have five wives - the big one and the four little ones, and they all have strong opinions about all that I do.

    Heaven help the contractor who ignores the women in the house.
  • KC_Jones KC_Jones @ 12:04 PM
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    women run the show

    I only have one daughter, but between her and her mother....well I don't need to go into detail.  I do still have the ability to say no to my daughter, but that is fading slowly.  lol  And this has what to do with heating?  Oh yeah my women are always cold lol.
    Just another homeowner trying to find his way through.
  • H3809 H3809 @ 12:14 PM
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    Preaching to choir

    "Oh yeah my women are always cold lol." Amen to that...
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 4:00 PM
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    Doing it yourself

    I think you and your uncle will do the best job of anyone in your town.
    Best to start by adding up your radiators EDR, so you know what boiler to order
    Is this 1-pipe or 2-pipe?
    Do a search here for EDR, and you will find the link to the radiator table for measurement.
    Also search for drop header, as I think that configuration will be easiest to fit in between your new boiler risers, and the existing steam main.--NBC
    PS, Mark the present waterline height on the wall for future reference.
    This post was edited by an admin on February 18, 2014 4:01 PM.
  • KC_Jones KC_Jones @ 4:29 PM
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    Thanks

    For the vote of confidence!  I have a 1 pipe steam system and yes I have already been looking into the drop headers.  I have less than 6' of headroom on the elevated pad my boiler sits on so I think the drop header is the way to go.  I wish the installer back in '82 would have though of it.
    Just another homeowner trying to find his way through.
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 6:54 PM
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    Sorry

    Was that 6 inches? My monitor gets too blurry to distinguish one or two hash marks. Or, maybe it's my eyes.
  • KC_Jones KC_Jones @ 10:01 PM
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    No

    I have just under 6 feet of headroom from top of pad to underside of joists.  The main steam supply lines that go out to the house are pretty much right under the joists.  It's a tight space (I have the knots to prove it).  Just from what I have read on here so far seems like a good application for a drop header.  With the boiler being about 3 feet tall and needing at least 24 inches above that it's getting tight already.  I am trying to visualize, but I will probably do a lot of the layout on the computer.  I am a designer by trade so I can actually model the whole piping layout before building.  It should get me very close to real world and only leave a couple places I would need to make "real world" adjustments.  I never realized doing all those piping layouts would ever pay off at home!
    Just another homeowner trying to find his way through.
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