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Boiler Heat Dilema

Posted by Confused in Chicago on June 27th, 1998 10:26 AM

Please help with any suggestions as I desperately need heat before winter! Have 100 year old house in Downers Grove, IL with cracked sections in the Bryant steam boiler. Replaced this boiler in 1991, with brand new, approx. $2,400. Never worked properly since installation, too lengthy a list of problems to list, however, mostly with component parts. Original contractor required back for service 12 times in first 3 years, then stated they no longer work on boilers. Since then have had approx. 5 other contractors work on trying to "tweek" to work properly. No success. Dec. 1996, sections cracked, paid $1500 to have replaced, company now out of business (no recourse). Dec. 1997 cracked again and have had "temporary" heat since then. Even though I am $4000 into this disaster, it's time to cut losses and move on! Have 3 quotes from new contractors for both steam boiler (new) and converting to hot water boiler system (including converting radiators). Some contractors advised hot water system would be best option as I have very hard well water which is wearing on a steam system which continually refills, others have insisted hot water will not heat the house with existing # of radiators, insulation, heat loss, etc. Have been quoted $7000 to install Gas forced air furnace and run all duct work (as no existing ducts). Also have been advised by 3 contractors, that original new system installed in 1991 was too small for house all along (no recourse here either), therefore, not an option to again replace only the sections on existing boiler. Contractors have advised I may have problems with any new, efficient system installed because of old exisiting piping. They take no responsibility for this for the future. Although I have learned alot about both steam & hot water systems over the past 7 years, I do not feel I have the knowledge to make the decision. I have been continually ripped off (I have found out after the fact) by many of the contractors that have worked on the system, I am a single woman and they see me coming a mile away! I have tried to find some sort of consultant to hire to advise me and oversee my interests, however I have been told there is no such animal for residential heating, only commercial. What to do, what to do? I am trying desperately to avoid another 7 year nightmare for the future. I need the right system, installed properly, once & for all. If anyone has suggestions on this, or knows anyone in my area to consult me, I would be eternally grateful. I am looking at anywhere from $3500 to $7000 additional investment, on top of the $4000 I have already spent, therefore I am trying desperately to avoid being ripped off further. Please help, any suggestion/comments appreciated!!!

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