Boiler Help - New Homeowner

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Kevbo

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Hello - looking for some advice on the boiler in our home. We are first time homeowners, purchased our house a few months back, and are trying to use the boiler for the first time. I have always had a furnace, so I have no experience or knowledge of boilers.

The boiler itself is a 1971 Pennco, Series 15, original to the home. The pumps are Bell & Gossett, Series #100 - I believe they were installed w/in the last 15 years maybe. It's 3 zones (second floor, first floor, basement) w/ 2 pumps, the 1st and 2nd floors running off one.

Being my first time using it, I called an HVAC company to inspect, etc. The guy came out and was looking, and put a carbon monoxide detector on the unit, while he turned it on and inspected. After about 10 or so minutes, his detector was going off, and he told me he by law he needed to shut it down, and that we needed a new boiler, which he quoted me for, to replace the whole thing. (I have a CO detector in the basement across the room that was not going off) The home came w/ a home warranty, so I had their vendor come out and look at it, and the guy basically said it was fine, and that the detector only went off b/c the inspector had it right next to the unit, and that he was probably just trying to make a sale.

I am uncertain what to do here, but obviously want to make my decision before it really starts to turn cold. While I definitely don't want to take any risk w/ CO, I'm also not crazy about spending thousands of dollars.

So my questions are:
-Is it normal for CO to be present right around the boiler itself? I believe his meter showed '49'.
-How long should it take for the baseboards to heat up on the second floor? (2400sqft house, had it on for over 30min, and the upstairs baseboards did not heat up)
-Safety issues aside - am I wasting money by using a 45 year old boiler? Is it beneficial to replace with a new boiler? And if so, worth getting a high efficiency one, or will a standard model work just fine? I have to assume either will be better than the model I have now, just not sure how big a difference.

Sorry for the long post - any help/advice/insight is appreciated!!!
 

johnjh2o

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Replacement may be a good idea down the road at some point. As far as no heat upstairs my guess would be that there's air in the system.
 

nealtw

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Replacement may be a good idea down the road at some point. As far as no heat upstairs my guess would be that there's air in the system.
A friend had a system with 4 zones and he found a panel in the staircase that all line went thru with shut off valves, likely used to balance the system when new or isolate a problem. It took for ever for the HVAC guys to figure out what he did to that.:down:
 

Snoonyb

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There is a possibility that your system is not a continuous loop, but that each floor or zone has a thermostatically controlled valve.
 

Kevbo

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Thanks for the replies - I do believe there are several valves leading off it, and I never considered that some may be shut off. I will check into that.
 

kok328

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45 years, yea, it would be time to upgrade, look for something that is energy star rated to qualify for a rebate.
 

slownsteady

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Did your HVAC guy stop working on it when the alarm went off? There is an efficiency test that my guys perform every year on my (oil burning) boiler when they do the annual check up and cleaning. You will probably find that the efficiency of that old boiler will make a new one feel cheap in comparison.

If you have 2 zones, you will have two zone valves and these tend to stop working every few years; especially if the water in the system is corrosive by nature. Make sure your thermostat is turned up high enough to call for heat. Make sure the small lever on the zone valve is able to move with some resistance. If you hear gurgling in the pipes, you have air that needs to be purged.

It may be best to bring in a new technician who will go through the whole system and explain things. Then you will have an overall assessment of your boiler in order to make a decision on whether to keep it.
 

johnjh2o

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Did your HVAC guy stop working on it when the alarm went off? There is an efficiency test that my guys perform every year on my (oil burning) boiler when they do the annual check up and cleaning. You will probably find that the efficiency of that old boiler will make a new one feel cheap in comparison.

If you have 2 zones, you will have two zone valves and these tend to stop working every few years; especially if the water in the system is corrosive by nature. Make sure your thermostat is turned up high enough to call for heat. Make sure the small lever on the zone valve is able to move with some resistance. If you hear gurgling in the pipes, you have air that needs to be purged.

It may be best to bring in a new technician who will go through the whole system and explain things. Then you will have an overall assessment of your boiler in order to make a decision on whether to keep it.
He doesn't have zone valves. He stated he has two circulation pumps.
 

Kevbo

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Thanks for all the help and advice. It turned out to be air in the system. Purged it and all is working well again.
 
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