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Heatring system Fail
Old 04-03-2010, 10:18 PM   #1
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Heatring system Fail

The boiler has developed a serious leak. Can I just ignore it until September?
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Old 04-03-2010, 11:14 PM   #2
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My guess is that it might be risky to ignore it if you can't keep fluid in the system. .As you related previously, your heating pipes are in rough shape, and when the fluid runs out they'll be filled with moist air and the corrosion will accelerate.

If the boiler is pooping out, is this the time to think about installing hydronic (underfloor) heating? Another way is to go with new slimline radiators (or hydronic baseboard style radiators). The piping can be done with PEX pipe now, which won't corrode and is easy to run (since it is flexible). It's the same type of pipe they use for the underfloor heating systems. It comes on a big spool--no in-wall connections to leak.

As you might imagine, the boiler servicing guys are a lot less busy now than they will be once everyone turns on their boilers in late fall.

All this assumes you still don't want central AC. If you wanted AC, you'd probably be best off to abandon water heating and go for forced air.

It could get nippy--the nurseries are always warning us that Ohio gets freezing weather as late as mid May.

Sorry--long answer to a short question.
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Old 04-04-2010, 06:03 AM   #3
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You can ignore it until September, but you now have the luxury of time to find someone to repair/replace it and investigate alternatives as suggested by samclem. This is a great time of year for either a heating or A/C system to fail because you don't have the time pressure to get it done right away.
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:59 AM   #4
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The boiler has developed a serious leak. Can I just ignore it until September?
Water or fuel?

Fuel: Perhaps it'd be best to stop reading, leave the house, and get back to us from the library's computers.

Water: Lots of corrosion issues that might have permeated the entire system, not just the boiler. You might be looking at a complete replacement, which is probably going to take a while to price & install. Doesn't seem to be any advantage to waiting longer, especially if everyone else decides to defer their heating repairs until September.

As long as they're ripping out a heating system, are there any other home repairs/upgrades that would make sense to do at the same time while it's warmer?
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:22 PM   #5
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Water or fuel?

Fuel: Perhaps it'd be best to stop reading, leave the house, and get back to us from the library's computers.

Water: Lots of corrosion issues that might have permeated the entire system, not just the boiler. You might be looking at a complete replacement, which is probably going to take a while to price & install. Doesn't seem to be any advantage to waiting longer, especially if everyone else decides to defer their heating repairs until September.

As long as they're ripping out a heating system, are there any other home repairs/upgrades that would make sense to do at the same time while it's warmer?
The pump is leaking. Don't know if I can do without until Autumn.

The whole frakkin house is deteriorating. Hope I can not perform major repairs until I can move elsewhere.

I'm only staying here until the cat dies.

I'll call the plumber folks tomorrow.
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:57 PM   #6
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The pump is leaking. Don't know if I can do without until Autumn.
The whole frakkin house is deteriorating. Hope I can not perform major repairs until I can move elsewhere.
I'll call the plumber folks tomorrow.
Bummer. Hope the repairs go well.

There's always been debate about whether it's better to do major repairs as soon as you decide to sell, or to wait until you're closer to the sell date...
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:02 AM   #7
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If it's just the pump that may be something as simple (and cheap) as a leaky fitting and not the pump itself. Even if the pump does need replacement a cursory Google search of residential boiler pumps shows them priced at $100-$150. Figure another $100-$150 for the labor to install. It's not a big job.

I'd call someone and at least get an estimate so at least you know what expenses to expect.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:59 AM   #8
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Khan, IIRC you had some very high heating bills the past few years, despite keeping your small-ish house at low temperatures. Something like $2,000 for natural gas heat? My bill is lower than that, for a larger house kept warmer (but still cool, by most standards).

When you sell, buyers will expect a functioning furnace. Unless this is a tear-down, you are going to have to put the money in sometime, might as well do it now (this summer), and drop those heating bills and see some benefit. I don't know how old the furnace is, but a multi-decade old one is not a selling point, a new one sure helps.

You might get by with a modest repair bill, though. But it should be worth it to find out why your bills are so high - that might be a simple fix also, you never know.

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Old 04-05-2010, 12:07 PM   #9
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There's even a possibility that replacing the pump might improve the system's efficiency and reduce your costs. If the boiler is transferring heat to the working fluid, but that fluid isn't being pumped through your pipes effectively, then the rooms will stay cold despite burning a lot of fuel.

If you get the pump serviced, it might be a good idea to ask if corrosion inhibitors can be added to the working fluid at the same time. If it hasn't been done in awhile, this could help reduce rusting inside your pipes and other problems.

Here's a short discussion of corrosion and hydronic heating systems. The trick to achieving long life is to avoid introduction of oxygen into the system. Oxygen gets introduced if air gets into system (obviously) and also if you are constantly adding make-up water to the system (due to leaks). When you add new water you are adding a lot of dissolved oxygen at the same time.
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