Cast Iron Boiler Antiques
If your boiler is more than 30 years old, it has worked beyond its serviceable life. As you continue to rely on the unreliable, you risk the unpleasant task of having to replace it on the coldest holiday of the year. Procrastination could easily double the cost of planning a May 1st installation.
Remember that your boiler is also using at least 25% more fuel every day than it should. As most boilers are oversized for lack of a simple but indispensable heat load analysis, your fuel bill could easily be twice as big as it should be. Add-ons like outdoor reset and proper pump size; modern air eliminators, balancing and combustion analysis can lower your fuel bill and extend the life of your boiler a decade or more! Even the old naturally aspirated boilers (those with silver vent pipes, too hot to touch) will benefit from a little knowledgeable service and in some instances a re-pipe for safety and efficiency.
This was the case in the 7-year-old Burnham boiler that wouldn't keep up this winter when it was 15 below zero (thermostat set to 80°F, room at 60°F and dropping). Even though the boiler was 30% oversized, the installer didn't understand the simplest of hydronic principles, leaving the hapless owner with a loud, inefficient and dysfunctional boiler for over 7 years! This inspite of the fact that the local gas supplier had "serviced" it for every one of those years! Needless to say the gas company got fired and the boiler literally works better than ever.
If for some reason you decide to purchase a new boiler and can't justify the incomparable Mod/Con, remember that the low efficiency cast iron boiler must be installed by a trained and knowledgeable technician. Cast iron is reliable and well.... it is reliable and it may last more than 3 decades if properly installed and maintained. Make sure those 30 years of guaranteed low efficiency are as carefree as can be.