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Thread: painful AND cathartic

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    583

    painful AND cathartic

    Well, fear of this coming January's gas bill has me scurrying about trying to make my 1916 house more efficient. I suppose i might as well be puting a band aid on the Titanic to keep it afloat.
    At any rate, i picked 3 things to work on - replace the 60 year old boiler, replace the falling apart aluminum tripple track storm windows, and add a layer of insulation in the attic. I started with the boiler in case it turns cold early, knowing the other two projects can continue into the winter, but i don't want a cold wife in a house with no heat.
    Got the new boiler, so this weekend was time to remove the old one. I thought it would be great to pull it out and offer it up on the local freecycle. After all, it's a good boiler and works fine - just not nearly as efficient as the new ones. After disconnecting the pipes and flue, plans changed. I realized i couldn't budge the old boiler. It's got about 3 times the cast iron in it as the new one (which i can just manage to move across the floor).
    It's totally against my grain to damage something that works just fine, but the bolts wouldn't come loose, and the job had to get done. I stripped off the shroud and some useful parts, then out came the sledge hammer.
    As i was hauling the broken cast iron out to the dumpster, a scrap scrounger was coming up the alley in his old truck. He was totally pleased to get the 600 lbs plus of cast iron, the sheet steel shroud, and the stainless steel hood. He even helped me pull most of it out of my basement.
    At least i made the scrap guy happy.
    Now all i have to do is get the new boiler piped in. The gas inlet on the old one was 1-1/2" diameter pipe. I'd be in the basement, hear the valve open, the boiler roar to life, and cringe as i heard the gas meter ticking away faster than i can count. The inlet on the new boiler is 3/4". Automatic flue damper, piezo igniter, more efficient heat exchanger, heavily insulated shroud. It's a beautiful thing.

    By the way, i mocked up my first storm window (yes, i'm making them out of wood like the originals were - my windows were made for this type of storm, and they'll seal up much better than the aluminum junk someone put on 40 years ago). The mockup went well using mortise and tennon joints. I'm making the wood frames to hold the glass and screen panels from the existing aluminum system. More on that later.
    Paul Hubbman

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    DSM, IA
    Posts
    5,719
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hubbman View Post
    Well, fear of this coming January's gas bill has me scurrying about trying to make my 1916 house more efficient. I suppose i might as well be puting a band aid on the Titanic to keep it afloat.
    At any rate, i picked 3 things to work on - replace the 60 year old boiler, replace the falling apart aluminum tripple track storm windows, and add a layer of insulation in the attic. I started with the boiler in case it turns cold early, knowing the other two projects can continue into the winter, but i don't want a cold wife in a house with no heat.
    Got the new boiler, so this weekend was time to remove the old one. I thought it would be great to pull it out and offer it up on the local freecycle. After all, it's a good boiler and works fine - just not nearly as efficient as the new ones. After disconnecting the pipes and flue, plans changed. I realized i couldn't budge the old boiler. It's got about 3 times the cast iron in it as the new one (which i can just manage to move across the floor).
    It's totally against my grain to damage something that works just fine, but the bolts wouldn't come loose, and the job had to get done. I stripped off the shroud and some useful parts, then out came the sledge hammer.
    As i was hauling the broken cast iron out to the dumpster, a scrap scrounger was coming up the alley in his old truck. He was totally pleased to get the 600 lbs plus of cast iron, the sheet steel shroud, and the stainless steel hood. He even helped me pull most of it out of my basement.
    At least i made the scrap guy happy.
    Now all i have to do is get the new boiler piped in. The gas inlet on the old one was 1-1/2" diameter pipe. I'd be in the basement, hear the valve open, the boiler roar to life, and cringe as i heard the gas meter ticking away faster than i can count. The inlet on the new boiler is 3/4". Automatic flue damper, piezo igniter, more efficient heat exchanger, heavily insulated shroud. It's a beautiful thing.

    By the way, i mocked up my first storm window (yes, i'm making them out of wood like the originals were - my windows were made for this type of storm, and they'll seal up much better than the aluminum junk someone put on 40 years ago). The mockup went well using mortise and tennon joints. I'm making the wood frames to hold the glass and screen panels from the existing aluminum system. More on that later.
    Paul Hubbman
    Sounds like you've been busy and will be for a while still. Reusing the glass and screen for the storm windows make up for the "dismantling" of the old boiler. I tried to help a friend make some storm windows once....after one attempt he and I agreed, buy them! I'm sure your build will go better. Good luck and look forward to pics.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    new york city burbs
    Posts
    10,188
    I replaced my old oil burner in my home a few years back with a boiler thats the size of two circuit breaker boxes, hangs on a wall, also put in, althought totally unnecssary a water storage unit, and it supplies continous hot water. Smartest thing I ever did, oil prices were killing me.
    I replaced the oil burner in my investment property just this april, because I was waiting to have the dough, and Im kicking myself for waiting so long.
    Not only are the new units, forgetting gas or oil so much more efficient, I saved almost half what I spent on the conversion already and its only Sept 1st!

    I never should have waited, but soaring oil prices up to 5 bucks a gallon this past cold season, convinced me. (and now I dont have a 550 gallon tank in my basement of the property, so I have a ton more room.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Constantine, MI
    Posts
    7,890
    Making you own storm windows! Wow. Hats off to you! Pictures please!
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
    www.wrworkshop.com

  5. #5
    Yes it sounds like you have been busy. As for the boiler rebuild Paul I know that feeling. A long time ago now, a neighbor gave me a coal stove. He said it was free if we could get it out of his trailer. Anyway I grabbed onto one side, dad on the other and we both did something, but lifting it was not the thing that occurred. I said "are you lifting" and he said he was, but it was still flat on the floor. Eventually we got it home, and just in the nick of time. A few days later the Ice storm of 1998 hit the Northeast and we went without power for 14 days straight. No exaggeration...14 days straight and that coal stove kept the house from freezing the pipes and all that. It literally came just in time.

    Still I am glad you are getting your boiler in Paul. My father has a boiler just 3 years old, and I have one that's less than a year, and the amount of effeciency that they got out of these things in two short years is truly amazing. You won't regret replacing it that's for sure.

    By the way you should be worried about winter. The leaves are already changing here and have for over a week. By my count; 34 years here in Maine, that amounts to about 2 weeks early. The beehives are off the ground too, which is indicative of deep snow, and I saw birds heading south in a vee. I think mother nature may know more then us sometimes.

    Coming to a town near you...

    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    800
    Paul,
    2 Yrs ago we put in a new Weil-Mclain gold series oil boiler. we went from 70% efficient to 87% efficient. you'll be amazed how much money your going to save. That is if were not paying $4 a gl for oil.

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