Boilers, Furnaces, and Hot Water Tank Removals

Customers frequently call us and want a furnace removed but are not actually sure what they are asking for. The names of these items are sometimes interchanged which makes it confusing. Here are the differences when describing a home heating system:

  • The term furnace is used to describe a burner that heats air in a steel chamber that is then circulated through a house.
  • The term boiler is used to describe a burner that heats a chamber of hot water that is circulated through piping to heat the house.
  • The oil burner provides the heat to the furnace, boiler or hot water tank and is attached to the front.
  • If you have a furnace that provides gravity fed or forced hot air then you would typically have a hot water tank to heat water for the kitchen and bathrooms. The hot water tank may be heated by oil or it could be heated by electricity. Your plumber can tell you which one it is.

Usually when a customer has switched from oil to gas they want the old equipment removed. In this case, the oil tank, oil burner, and the oil furnace or boiler may need to be removed. We don’t recommend doing this yourself. Here is why.

Boilers built before 1978 are typically heavy, bulky, and difficult to take apart. Cutting up a boiler can produce smoke, iron or steel chips, and asbestos dust depending on the construction of the boiler. When CommTank removes one of these older boilers, we isolate the area where the boiler is located using plastic sheeting, and ventilate it with a negative air machine to remove dust. If we didn’t take these precautionary measures the buildings ventilation system could bring these byproducts of the removal into your work or living space.

The following is an example of the steps needed to remove a boiler:

  • Remove insulation from the pipes and dispose them of properly. If there is asbestos, use a licensed abatement professional.
  • Disconnect electricity from the boiler using a licensed electrician.
  • Drain the boiler and water circulation system piping.
  • Dismantle the boiler in place.
  • Load and transport cut sections of the boiler to a licensed scrap yard.
  • Remove water circulation system, cut and dispose of piping.

Furnaces are a bit easier since they weigh less than boilers. Older furnaces have a sheet metal shroud, and underneath that, a solid steel structure made of welded plates. We cut the chambers apart, pull out the heat exchanger, remove the firebricks, and remove the base. The base can weigh up to 250 lbs. As we do with the boiler removals, we load the metal from the furnace onto our truck, bring it to a licensed scrap yard, and then dispose of the firebricks.

If you have any questions, please contact our office at 1-800-628-8260 or fill out a request for information.