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So, I called a company to take a look at my boiler because I was having issues with the standing pilot light going out overnight. When they showed up, the flame had been out for over 24 hours and the pipes were cold, but the circulator pump had been left on, and the pump body was warm to the touch. They said that's a sign it's failing and needs to be replaced. Told them that the radiators all heat up just fine when the boiler is actually on, but they were pretty insistent that it needs to be changed before winter (along with another $1700 of necessary repairs they diagnosed without taking anything apart, using any testing equipment, or looking at the problem I called about).

A few days later I was having the AC ducts cleaned, and I asked the guys if they also do boiler repairs and if they could give me a second opinion on the repairs. They pulled the burner tray, cleaned the tubes and the thermocouple, fired it up, checked the pressure, and spent another 20 minutes checking CO levels at multiple points around the boiler and smoke pipe for less than the first guys charged for a diagnostic visit. I specifically asked about the pump, and they said it's operating normally and doesn't show any signs of trouble. Didn't seem to think the heat was a concern.

So, is that really a sign of a failing pump? Is there some other test to confirm (besides waiting for it to break)?

I feel like all electric motors generate heat, whether or not they're moving hot water. It's a Taco 007 cartridge pump. No noise coming from the pump and no leaks in the system. It has probably been opened up before, but I have no idea how recently the cartridge was replaced (no service tag).

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    A pump might be a bit warmer than the water, hot water, hot pump. A hot(not just a bit warm) pump with cool water is a concern. Cold boiler water might have also closed some valves, making the pump work without circulating water(not good).
    – crip659
    Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 21:22

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