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Joined on May 4, 2011

Last Post on May 4, 2012

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The verdict is in. It's old.

@ May 4, 2012 5:45 PM in Might be puchasing a home with original 1950's boiler?

Sorry about the pricing, just rolled off my fingertips, wasn't thinking.

We just did the house inspection. The boiler is in fact a Smith Mills, Model 100, circa 1950. Original to the house.  After reviewing the video I took of the house inspection there is indeed
a circulatory pump attached to the boiler. Bright red just like my
grandma's house.
Boiler Pressure: 12
Temp: 130
Draft Over Fire -.02
At Breech -.08
Are those numbers good? I know the furnace is not efficient, just trying to understand the numbers.
Furnace is hooked up to a Phase III, 36 gallon, hot water heater, approximately 10 years old.

275 gal. indoor oil tank, 5 years old.

The boiler temperature did go down to about 120 after running all the hot water sources during the inspection, however, the hot water coming out of the faucets registered 158F! yikes. Those tenants must like hot showers.

Biggest concern with the house after the inspection is the possibility of an undeground oil tank. What oil tank was in use before this 5 year old one? Basement is too full of crap to figure out if an underground tank existed. We spoke with fire marshal, oil company, and current owners, but no one was able to confirm/deny existence of an underground oil tank. So we took the risk and waived our house inspection contingency.

I will certainly figure out what we plan to do with insulation/upgrades before we replace the furnace. I will let the contractor do the heatloss, however if I have the ability to do it myself I would want to simply so I know if the contractors numbers are in the ball park.

I just downloaded Slant fin. When I take ownership of the blue prints I will plug the numbers into slant fin and see what I come up with.

I would go the soffit/ridge vent solution

@ April 20, 2012 10:07 AM in Ventilating a Cape attic

I'm no expert, I just read some building code.

My understanding is that an attic fan alone will not solve your problem. You said you have blown in insulation, but no soffit vents? I would invest the money and have someone install soffit vents and make sure they put in chutes or baffles so air can get past all that insulation. Likewise you should install a ridgevent with an airflow rating that is appropriately sized for the soffit vents. Also, don't let someone install a cheap ridgevent that will get clogged over time and is not easily cleanable. There is a specific ratio between the soffit/ridge vent that should be adhered to for optimal performance. The soffit vents will also help with ice damming.

Once you do that I believe you need to close up the gable vents as they will not help the natural convection. Lastly, make sure you have adequate R-value in your attic. I didn't see you mention what it was. Hopefully the installer gave you a nice even coat and it doesn't look like the sand dunes of the sahara.

Might be puchasing a home with original 1950's boiler?

@ April 20, 2012 1:27 AM in Might be puchasing a home with original 1950's boiler?

Hey everyone I'm just looking to get some guidance. I am trying to purchase a house that will likely need a new boiler. Let me give you a little background info first:

I found this forum a little over a year ago. Back then I had just done my first house inspection on a 1920's house with a dated pasemaker boiler. Unfortunately the boiler was not the only thing needing replacement. Roof, mold and termite damage to mention a few. Add in some greedy home owners (its an estate) and the sale was dead as a doornail. If anyone is interested it is still for sale. :-)

/end rant

So here we are 1 year later and I just got an accepted offer on house #8. This one is a brick ranch built in 1950, 2 car garage, .5Acre, 3BR, 1BTH, 1250SqFt. and one very old boiler. I was only able to snap a quick photo with my phone while visiting the house with my realtor. (see attached photo) Not much to go on there, but it looks pretty damn old. Possibly even original to the house. It's an oil burner. I am fairly certain gas is not available, but I will be double checking tomorrow. It was definitely still working. I could feel the heat radiating off of it. The hot water heater seemed slightly newer. In the 70+ houses I looked at I had never seen a "square" water heater. The house is poorly insulated and it has those cast iron radiators that are inset in the walls. Great for floor space, but I believe they loose a bit more heat to the outside. I am also fairly certain the radiators are fairly oversized. There is minimal insulation in the attic and I will assume there is none in the walls. Its a brick house, but I will assume there is still a decent wall cavity. I plan on insulating the attic before 2012 winter sets in. *edit* I think i also saw a room that had aluminum baseboard radiators, so its a mixed system.

I'm just looking to get some direction here. Anything you feel is relevant please throw it my way.

I was hoping someone knows of a good heat loss calculator/software. I want to do some calculations on my own so I can get a feel for what I will need. I can easily google a calculator, but I'm no expert and I can't tell a good calculator from a bad one.

Also, I have a connection with a plumber who seems to be very well reviewed. He usually installes Peerless boilers. I think that brand is fairly reputable. What do you think of peerless?

What sort of efficacy should I be aiming for on a oil furnace. I am assuming I will need to line my chimney and get a condensing boiler. I have no idea what sort of efficacy for condensing boilers I should be looking at. It seems like 80-85 is fairly normal. I have seen a few in the 90's.

Toss up

@ May 5, 2011 1:36 AM in Purchasing home with 35+ year old Pasemaker boiler

It seems like a bit of a toss up in regards to gas vs oil prices. Granted gas is cheaper right now. I am looking into the hidden costs of hooking up to natural gas. Reading around I saw someone mention some triple and double digit permits may be required to get hooked up. I'll have to research this more.

One important topic I need to bring up is the age of the house (circa 1920) it has minimal insulation and a 1300sq ft of heated space. I'm estimating it will be at least 1 maybe two winters before i get the insulation up to par. and even longer to get all the single pane windows updated.

That being said, the BTU's required to heat the home should decrease significantly as I insulate. So I need to consider this in the purchase of my boiler. I will probably have to buy something over-sized that can throttle itself back down the road. Also, the majority of the house is cast iron radiator, i would assume the radiators themselves will eventually be over sized for the rooms they are heating... I'm not quite sure how that plays into the mix, but I know you size the radiators for the room.

Another thought, the inspector mentioned the current pasemaker furnace may contain asbestos, Do you think that will add significantly to the removal cost?

Natural Gas

@ May 4, 2011 2:13 PM in Purchasing home with 35+ year old Pasemaker boiler

After reading your post I went ahead and contact the gas company. I told them I was interested in hooking up to the line in the street, they asked some questions about the square footage of the house and what appliances I would be hooking up. I told them stove, boiler, and possibly dryer (there is no dryer and there are no hookups for a dryer.

They said they would hook us up for free... I guess I'll believe that. I would still have to pay a plumber to pipe the gas to the stove/boiler/dryer. We do have a family friend who is a plumber, but I'm not sure how much of a deal he will cut for us.

So your thinking gas is the way to go? even though there is a brand new 275gal oil tank (plus an old tank sitting right next to it)? Guess I should try selling that.

Pipes bursting?

@ May 4, 2011 11:47 AM in Removing asbestos and a cold snap

I would be worried more about your pipes bursting if your saying its below freezing outside and they are no longer insulated. I can't give you an answer to your original question as I have limited knowledge in this field. Hope this helps.

Purchasing home with 35+ year old Pasemaker boiler

@ May 4, 2011 10:55 AM in Purchasing home with 35+ year old Pasemaker boiler

Hello all, While researching boilers I just stumbled upon this site and there seems to be wealth of intelligence. So I figured I;d pick your brains...

I am a first time home buyer who recently had a home inspection performed on a house I plan to purchase. Turns out the furnace is ancient. According to standard oil its a Pasemaker brand oil-fired boiler about 35+ years old. Venting into a brick chimney with no clean-out box. So they couldn't inspect it to see if it was lined. (this is just a general home inspector) Possible asbestos on the furnace itself. Hot water heater is Ford brand age of 21 years.

I want to replace both units before I move into the house, but there are a lot of options available and I'm trying to make sense of it all.

There is natural gas line in the street, but the house is not hooked up to it. They also just installed a brand new oil tank inside the house. So hooking up to the city gas line seems a bit dumb and expensive. That being said, I guess I'm in the market for an oil fired boiler.

I learned that they make, or used to make, boilers that vent through PVC pipe or CPVC something like that. I was interested in those because there is a high chance the chimney flue will need to be lined because I want a high-eff boiler. I guess lining a chimney is not that expensive, however, the idea of being able to remove the chimney completely would greatly improve the layout of the house. I am very interested in the "direct vent?" options because of this, in particular the PVC pipe ones.

I guess I am looking for input from people who have experience in this field. Costs are also a concern as this house is definitely a "fixer-upper". Boilers last awhile so I gotta get it right on the first try.

I forgot to mention that the house uses hot-water cast iron radiators with the exception of the dining room and bathroom which use the aluminum fin baseboard heaters (thinking about removing those and putting in cast iron to keep heating consistent)