Repair Question/Estimate - Posted by Jill

Posted by Jill on March 14, 2002 at 19:12:25:

Thanks for the response! The heating is not a boiler but a furnance - natural gas. I hope I’m explaining this correctly.

Repair Question/Estimate - Posted by Jill

Posted by Jill on March 14, 2002 at 01:14:18:

Hello! Please bare with me I’m new. Question - if the water in a house has been turned off and the heating system is hot water and heat fuel is natural gas, would this hurt the system? Also for all the rehabber, if you have the old raditor type heaters in a house should I estimate a new heating system? From what little I know, the furnance looks to be about 10-20 years old.

Re: Wait a minute - boiler or forced air? - Posted by Rolfe Kurtyka (Mpls/StP)

Posted by Rolfe Kurtyka (Mpls/StP) on March 14, 2002 at 22:08:56:

By reading your post, I’m not sure what system you have.

A hot water heating system uses a boiler. Heated water or steam is distributed throughout the building by pipes which lead to cast iron radiators or base board radiators.

The boiler is connected to the household plumbing by only one supply pipe. That pipe has a valve which is used to periodically add a little water to the system as it needed due to evaporation.

A hot water heating system (boiler, distribution piping, and radiators) is a closed system, and would not be affected by shutting off the houshold water supply.

A new boiler for a single family house will probably cost around $5,000.

A forced air system uses a furnace and ductwork to move heated air throughout the house. The ducts terminate at louvered vents which which blow warm air into the rooms.

A new furnace will probably cost around $3,000.

Either system may use natural gas as a fuel.

A qualified technition can look at either sytem and “certify” that the existing components are working and operating safely. Carbon monoxide is a big concern, and you want to have a qulified person verify that all spent combustion exhaust gases are properly vented out the chimey. Having a system certified usually costs me about $150.00 to $200.00 plus any parts and repairs necessary to bring the system up to snuff.

If a heating system is operational and not hazardous, it generally does not need to be replaced. If the costs to repair a 20 year unit are much more than half of the cost of a new unit, consider replacement.

It is generally less expensive to replace a boiler versus converting a hot water heating system to a forced air system. A new boiler can reuse the existing radiators and pipes. To replace a hot water heating system with a forced air system requires the installation of new distribution ductwork, which then needs to be enclosed with framing and sheetrock.

Hope this helps a little. Good luck!


Re: Repair Question/Estimate - Posted by Pat (Wisc)

Posted by Pat (Wisc) on March 14, 2002 at 09:03:24:

I don’t think you will find alot of damage - just have a plumber/boiler guy handy in case leaks arise when water is turned back on. As for replacing the boiler entirely, I wouldn’t. Most boilers have pretty long lives. Also, with all the indoor air quality issues these days people are looking favorably at hot water heat. Hope this helps.