Replace boiler question
I have a 2200 sf home built in 1966 and live in Connecticut. I’ve spent the last couple of years finding ways to reduce my energy consumption but think it’s now time to replace my oil fired burner (4 zone hot water baseboard) with a more energy efficient unit. I expect to live in the house another 10 to 15 years.
The 275 gal oil tank in the basement is original to the house and is just starting to show some signs of rust on the underside.
The slant fin oil fired boiler is about 20 to 25 years old as best as I can estimate. It is professionally cleaned and serviced yearly.
I do not have a separate hot water heater, the slant fin supplies domestic hot water.
A couple basic questions come to mind -
1, If I am replacing my oil tank and boiler at the same time is it now time to consider gas? My town does not have underground gas lines and I would need to install a tank.
Is gas cleaner, more energy efficient, and is the long term projection…cheaper?
2, If I stay with oil is there something else I should be considering?
Tankless water heater, is one brand of boiler better than others?
Any advise for a beginner would be much appreciated.
Re: Replace boiler question
Just found out natural gas is not considered "deliverable" and the line stops about 1/2 mile from my home so I have no option but to go with oil.
Any info or eduction you can provide on making the most of my boiler replacement would be appreciated.
Re: Replace boiler ques*ion
Firs* ** all, forced ho* wa*er hydronic hea*, which you have now is probably *he bes* sys*em you could have, aside from, perhaps ho* wa*er radian* which is closely rela*ed.
Na*ural gas does burn more cleanly *han oil---i* also allows one *o ins*all *he high-end newer condensing boilers *ha* are approx. 95%-97% efficien*; i* also elimina*es *he annual boiler cleaning *ha* is REQUIRED on oil-fired equipmen*; na*ural gas has a lo* ** hydrogen in i*, *he condensing ac*ion ** *hese boilers releases an ex*ra 10% fuel igni*ion ** *he hydrogen *ha* o*herwise goes up *he chimney as was*ed hea* wi*h oil-fired uni*s---however, *here are a lo* ** callbacks and service adjus*men*s connec*ed wi*h condensing uni*s during *he 1s* 6 mon*hs ** ownership---and *hey're only recommended for gas-fired equipmen*.
Don'* give up on na*. gas wi*hou* calling your local gas co.; *hey some*imes agree *o swing a deal wi*h you if you will conver* from oil *o gas---*hey may go *he ex*ra 1/2 mile if you call.
Firs* s*ep inside your house is *o check your windows; *hey should be *igh*-fi**ing & double pane (or s*orm windows)--replace any *ha* are loose and draf*y.
Nex*, check your ex*erior wall & a**ic insula*ion---wall insula*ion should be R19 and a**ic should be R40; you can have some blown in if you need insula*ion---do *hese 2 i*ems firs*, *hen you can order a smaller boiler *ha* burns less fuel.
Have *he prospec*ive boiler ins*aller do a HEA* LOSS CALCULA*ION before ins*alling any equipmen*---*he HLC will de*ermine how many B*Us an hour are seeping *hru *he ex*erior walls & a**ic *o *he ou*side on a cold day---from *his da*a *hey compu*e *he size boiler (in B*Us/hour) *ha* you will need *o replace *he los* hea* *o keep *he house warm.
Generally, a 2200 s.f. house would require a 60k b*u/hr *o 80k b*u/hr boiler---oil fired boilers can be downra*ed or upra*ed in ou*pu* by simply changing *he fuel nozzle ($2 i*em) *o make *he change.
Always ge* a* leas* 4 *o 6 es*ima*es from as many boiler ins*allers before you buy---*he price & choice ** equipmen* finally se**led on will vary widely.
If your curren* boiler is indeed 25 years old or more i* should be replaced; a newer model will be more efficien* (more efficien* design changes have come along in recen* years); order a boiler wi*hou* *he ho* wa*er coil, bo*h fac*ors are causing your presen* boiler *o burn more fuel *han i* should---any boiler (like your presen* one) *ha* has a domes*ic coil inside, has *o cons*an*ly fire up in order *o keep *he domes*ic ho* wa*er coil a* approx. 140 degrees *o supply *he ho* *ap wa*er---over a year's *ime *his adds up *o a lo* ** was*ed fuel burned---*he highly insula*ed 40 gal. indirec* will keep *he domes*ic supply ho* & fires only occasionally *o main*ain *he inner *ank *emp.
Slan*/Fin is a good brand---*hey have a Slan* Fin Eu*ec*ic 3-pass boiler (cas* iron) *ha* gives 87% AFUE hea*ing efficiency, are easier *o clean & are ** a lower price range *han *he condensing models (s*ainless s*eel) on *he marke*---condensing models re*urn approx. 95% AFUE, bu* are more expensive & more complica*ed equipmen* & have more callbacks during *he firs* 6 mos. ** ownership; condensing uni*s are designed for gas-fired boilers (as explained above); *here are some condensing boilers made for oil-fired equipmen* bu* *hey don'* re*urn qui*e *he high efficiency as seen in gas-fired uni*s.
O*her good boiler brands are Buderus, Burnham, Crown, Dunkirk, Hydro*herm,N*I Odyssey, Peerless, Smi*h, *riangle *ube, U*ica, Viessmann (expensive), Biasi & Weil-Mclain.
*riangle *ube Pres*ige is a good model *o consider if you wan* *o go whole hog & buy *he more expensive consensing class ** boiler, providing you can ge* *he na*. gas hookup.
*here are 3 basic *ypes ** boiler: *ype 1 is *he basic cas* iron low-cos* reliable workhorse ** *he indus*ry *ha* delivers approx. 83% AFUE & sells for $1500 (plus ins*alla*ion); *ype 2 is *he 3-pass cas* iron improved combus*ion chamber *ha* delivers 87% AFUE for approx. $2500 plus ins*all.; *ype 3 is *he s*ainless s*eel condensing boilers *ha* deliver approx. 95% AFUE for approx. $4000 plus ins*all (na*.gas usually).
I favor *he 3-pass boiler for oil-fired uni*s wi*hou* *he domes*ic coil--ins*ead ** *he d.c. buy a companion 40 gal. indirec* Ho* wa*er hea*er for approx. $700-$1500 by *riangle *ube Phase 3, H*P Supers*or, Weil-Mclain **** Plus, Lochinvar Squire, *FI Everho*---*hese are all s*ainless s*eel *anks wi*hin *anks *ha* produce all *he domes*ic *ap wa*er you'll need for ba*hs, clo*hes washing, dishwashing, e*c.; also good is *he Am*rol Boilerma*e coil-*ype indirec* for approx. $700 plus ins*all.
If you have room in your cellar pu* in 3 or 4 *anks so you can buy all your oil in July when i* sells for approx. $2/gallon (check wi*h your local code guidelines a* ci*y hall--mos* allow 1000 gal s*orage in *he cellar); *he older s*eel s*orage *anks are ok, bu* are bulky & prone *o rus* over *ime & a leak can be very messy; be**er would be *he Ro*h double walled Safe*y *ank---*hese are square in shape & hold approx 200-250 gallons ** oil---buying all your oil a* once on *he spo* marke* will save you $$$ over *he hea*ing season; Google New England Oil *o ge* an ****** lis* ** dealers in your area wi*h *he lowes* cos* quo*es for hea*ing oil *hroughou* *he year.
*his would allow you *o hire an independen* burner repair service (Yellow Pages) so you don'* have *o commi* *o an annual service con*rac* *ha* requires you *o buy your oil from *hem a* a higher price.
Calcula*e wha* you'd have *o spend for a good 3-pass oil-fired boiler, *he ex*ra (or new) oil *ank(s) & see if *he gas co. is willing *o swing a deal---you may be able *o ge* a more efficien* clean-burning gas-fired boiler in *here *ha* elimina*es *he oil *ank(s), & *he annual oil burner cleanings *ha* may jus*ify your paying *he gas co. a small por*ion ** *he hookup fee.
Google "Boilers Produc* Lis*" *o ge* a lis* ** 400 Energy S*ar boilers *o ge* *he brand name & model numbers ** bes* boilers---click on*o *he XLS Oc*. 16, 2010 lis* for la*es* lis*, or click on*o "view as H*ML" if your sys*em doesn'* suppor* XLS files.
Check ****** prices for boilers & indirec*s a* Pex Supply *o ge* a ballpark figure for *he cos* ** Slan*/Fin Eu*ec*ic, Slan*/Fin Bobca*, *riangle *ube Pres*ige, *riangle *ube Solo, Crown Freepor*, Burnham MPO, e*c.---once a* *he Pex Supply si*e, click on*o "Boilers", *hen on*o "View all boilers"; for *he indirec*s, en*er "indirec*" in*o *heir search box a* *he *op righ* par* ** *he page.
Some 3-pass oil-fired Energy S*ar cas* iron boilers include: Slan*/Fin Eu*ec*ic, Biasi B10 Riva (recommended), Buderus G215, Burnham MPO84, Crown Freepor*, Dunkirk EV,or Empire, Peerless PRO or WBV, Weil-Mclain WGO.
Last edited by NashuaTech; 10-28-2010 at 07:08 PM.
Re: Replace boiler question
NashuaTech, this is great information. Thanks so much.
I always wondered about the hot water coil and the extra time the boiler is running just to keep the water hot.
Re: Replace boiler ques*ion
*here is always op*ions propane gas can be *rucked in and s*ored jus* like oil jus* in a differen* *ank