Help! Conflicts w/ Weil McLain boiler & system install

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Posted by bisaksen on February 19, 2000 at 10:36:38:

I am building a new house with hot water heat. This is a long story but I will try to be concise. Would appreciate feedback on the problems and questions I have.

Background: The installer put a Weil McLain CG-5 (Series 12) boiler in the house and Amtrol 41 gallon hot water maker. I have slab heat in the basement level and plan for three additional zones for baseboard heating in the upper levels of the house. Also, known to the installer at the time, I have 77 gallon whirlpool with ¾’ feed all the way to the tub’s mixing valves.

I believe the installer was trying to provide the least costly and most dependable system for me. Unfortunately, it did not work out.

Problem: The CG-5 had a tendency to backdraft. It was installed with no provisions for outside air. I discoved this problem on my own after living in the basement for at least several weeks and getting head aches. Fresh air would come down the class B chimney and exhaust would vent into the house. I purchased a carbon monoxide detector after I discovered this. On ocassion, the alarm would sound and I would get readings from 200-380 ppm in the basement. I am currently living in the basement while finish work is being done upstairs so I was very concerned.

The 41 gallon Amtrol cannot provide enough hot water for the whirlpool. I was very clear in my desire to have enough capacity to fill the tub in one shot.

What was done: For the boiler problem, a barometric damper mechanism was installed on six inch pipe coming through utility room wall from the outside. This mechanism did not work. It would not close and created cold air flow into the house. That was uninstalled and I continued to heat the house by leaving a window slightly open in utility room and the bedroom where I slept.

Next, a mechanical damper on the six inch outside air vent was suggested. It would open while the furnace was on and close while the furnace was off. But I was concerned about freezing the pressure tanks and water line from the well. The outside air vent would be open frequently when it was cold out and the furnace was working to keep the house warm. Sub zereo temperatures are normal where I live. I have the utility room insulated for sound barrier purposes and it will have a door on it. (Utility room is located in nice walk out basement that is designed to be living space.) A third party recommended adding extra baseboard to the utility room or an inline heating unit in the outside air vent. This all added up to an expensive proposition and I figured it would lead to massive air infiltration at any rate. Why build a tight house I thought. I also found that the Energy Star program in my state calls for sealed combustion. I also read in the Weil McLain brochures that sealed combustion saves on heating costs due to less air infiltration. Since this is a new house, I have been conscious of doing everything possible to seal the house tight and put in lots of insulation. I was not happy with the idea of outside air rushing into the basement.

I decided to insist that a Weil McLain GV-5 GOLD be installed. This would provide sealed combustion, thus eliminating air infiltration. Most importantly though, this unit is the least likely to have problems operating under conditions of negative pressure. I would not have to worry about carbon monoxide. This option was discussed extensively with the wholesaler and installer. It was agreed: (1) That I would keep the CG-5 and class B chimney and try to sell it in the paper, realizing a significant loss. (2) I would be responsible for removal of class B chimney and roof repair. (3) I would buy a GV-5 GOLD at a special discount price which would reflect no mark up by either the wholesaler or installer. (4) I would purchase SS venting and a few other misc parts for the installation of the GV-5 GOLD. (5) The installer would install new unit free of labor charge. This process is now completed.

I also requested a solution to my hot water problems. The installer recommends putting a 30 gallon electric hot water heater in after the hot water maker. He would install it as a regular electric hot water heater and expect that it act like a storage tank and not draw much electricity. I do not know if he intended to provide the labor free of charge or not as I told him that wasn’t a good option. I would like to get the 60 or 80 gallon hot maker maker. He won’t take the old unit back and it doesn’t look like he wants to resolve this problem.

My question/concerns. I have some more bills from him now.

(1) Does $2,302 (American $$) somewhat represent the wholesaler cost of a Weil McLain GV-5 GOLD?

(2) The bill contains some heating components that are not installed yet such as baseboard, expensive valves, copper pipe, etc. That stuff is sitting in my basement. The installer strongly implied he wants the bills paid and then I should find a new installer. So no further work from him. Should I pay for these unused components? I am worried that a new installer may not want to use certain parts or will want to sell me his own stuff.

(3) I am billed for the time that was spent meeting with the wholesaler on the jobsite to discuss the problems with the hot water maker and outside air damper. It turned out that the hot water maker was not hooked up quite right. (Though this did not solve the problem.) I was under the impression that this trouble shooting session would be free of charge. Should I be expected to pay for this?

(4) I am billed for the time of installing and removing that barometric damper that did not work. Should I be expected to pay for this?

(5) I have already paid the labor for the installation of the hot water maker, it was substantial. Should I consider shorting some of this bill for the time I paid him for installing that unsatisfactory hot water maker? At least until that issue is resolved?

(6) I checked on the manufacture date of the CG-5. According to serial number, it was manufactured in Dec, 1999 and production on those models, according to Weil McLain, ceased in April, 1999. This unit was installed as brand new in November, 2000. Was this an obsolete unit and should I have been entitled to a close-out price?

(7) I asked the installer about the 10 year Weil McLain Homeowner Protection Plan and he advised me to contact Weil McLain directly. I did this but Weil McLain said the warrantee should be purchased from the installer. Who is supposed to sell me this warrantee? I want to purchase it.

(8) What will happen if he thinks I am unreasonable in not paying for everything and wants to place a lien on the house? What happens then?

I realize there are many professionals on this discussion board and I would certainly be very appreciative for any comments. Please post or email me at Thank you.

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