Hi, everybody! I thought I had my heating solution nailed down, but.....
I have an EFM PK500 made in 1988 at 102K BTU with internal DHW coil. In my 1926 house (1792 sq/ft, storm windows, 12" of blown-in in the attic but solid brick walls w/no space for insulation) I'm using 650-660 gal/year for heat and HW.
The previous owner was, shall we say, bizarrely lax in PM'ing it... for 7 years he had the top of the line service contract but never called for the free included tune-ups! The tech said it was in surprisingly decent shape when I got them in, but the HW coils were so clogged that even after having them do the acid flush I still was getting less than 1/2 gallon per minute. So when I got the quote to replace the coils, ($1,000) I decided it might be time to look to upgrade or change.
Since anthracite is easy to get in this part of Eastern PA, and the house was originally designed for it (with proper chimney height & construction, dedicated coal bunker, etc) it seemed like a very economical way to both save money and get my hot water. However, after putting a deposit down with a local installer, it has been 6 months and every time he or I called the stoker factory it was like talking to the Shirk Brothers in "The Money Pit"... "Oh, it'll be ready in two weeks.....". So I canceled the order and am now back to square one!
It seems like this EFM boiler has a good reputation for longevity, and I've had several people tell me that 21 years is not old for these boilers.... so in addition to looking at new, maybe retrofits? I was wondering what the group's opinion is on this.
I was now thinking of getting the new HW coil in, having them de-rate the boiler down a notch (maybe 90 vs 102? It doesn't run all that much even on the coldest days...), and add an electric damper and a Tecmar controller. Would anyone hazard a guess as to whether this would be a cost-effective change?
The other options are to get a new boiler, or add gas service with new gas boiler but UGI's quote of aprox. 6,600 only included the cheaper Crown, not the higher-efficiency models which they told me could add maybe another 4,000 to the price . (but there quotes do all include running a line in from the mains).
I am getting into analysis paralysis here.... so many options and SO much cost with the new systems it's so frustrating to start all over again!