Replacement oil boiler compatible with wood furnace
We are currently getting bids to replace our oil boiler which is original to the house, 28 years old. There is an existing wood furnace tied into the system with a circulator that we want to maintain tied into the new system. With the price of oil, we bought 3 cords of wood for the first time ever, and are trying to use the wood furnace to lower our oil consumption (we used 1400 gallons last year.) Our home is 3400 sq. ft, we have programmable thermostats installed, and heat to only 66 degrees.
We are leaning toward the Buderus G215 ($5100) with Logimatic ($950 option), but the latest tech to come to our house for quote said he didn't think the Logimatic would work with the wood furnace. There are basically no thermal controls on the wood furnace. We just stoke it up and off it goes. My husband starts a fire when we gets home from work, stokes it up before we go to bed, and the oil heat kicks in when the fire runs out. Would we benefit from the Logimatic (or any other Outdoor Reset System), or would we just be wasting our money?
Also, our latest quote came with an interesting alternative. They have a Weil-McLain WGO-4 that they just took out of a new house that was converted to gas, and they are offering us that system at a reduced price. I'm still waiting for the quote so I don't have the $$ amount yet, but is it ever a good idea to buy a used system? They did say that they would give us a one year warranty.
We looked at the System 2000 which they estimated would cost us approx. $7K -$8K (we don't need the water heater), but that was out of our price range. Are we being pound wise and penny foolish?
Thanks in advance!
Re: Replacement oil boiler compatible with wood furnace
Hard to challenge an estimate from an installer once it's been made.
The Buderus is a good unit & the Logimatic (outdoor reset) is a good addition, although both seem to be a little over-priced.
Buderus tends to be pricey because they're made in Germany & the Euro/US$ tradeoff is not advantageous.
A house size of 3400 sq.ft. is a lot of house to heat, but since these boilers are 3-pass and of improved design, you'll see a 30% drop in oil usage, perhaps more if you add lots more insulation to the exterior walls and attic, which would be to your advantage.
If it was MY house I'd hold off a week or two to beef up the insulation---paying $300-$500 for added insulation now is a very wise investment that will keep paying you back over the years in reduced heating bills as well as reduced cooling bills.
The goal of getting down to 800 gal. usage of oil/year I think would be reachable---which would save a lot of $$$
You should have the insulation blown in FIRST before you have a new boiler installed--this should allow you to order a smaller boiler, which will burn less fuel.
Also replace any old or drafty windows.
Get more estimates from heating contractors and fuel oil dealers---you should get at least 5 estimates---the price quotes and choice of equipment will vary widely.
Also get someone to install your new system who has a positive attitude & bothers to do a HEAT LOSS CALCULATION---this is a computer-based math calculation of how many heat btu's/hour the house is losing on a cold day---a free one is below; there's no accurate way to calculate how many btu's/hour the house is losing on a cold day without doing the HLC.
A used Weil-McLain might work if it's considerably less $$$ & has outdoor reset as well (Logimatic), but I would still get more estimates--some Weil-McLain units were made with elastomeric seals in the heat exchanger & they've had problems with some of them leaking; I would avoid a WM if it's made with elastomeric seals.
System 2000 is ok, but they have a lot of propriety parts that can be hard to order & some problems have been experienced with their heat exchanger.
There are PLENTY of U.S. made 3-pass boilers available with outdoor reset that cost a lot less than Buderus, and are still high quality.
The Budurus is rated at 134,000 btu/hr--which is a rather big boiler, designed for large residential and small commercial applications.
if you can get a lot of insulation & improved windows in, you might be able to order a boiler at 100,000 btu/hr or even 80,000 btu/hr with outdoor reset.
Outdoor reset reduces the boiler water temp from 180 degrees to 140 degrees on "not so cold" days (you probably have a lot of not so cold days in Mass.).
This saves a lot of fuel rather than keeping the boiler at 180 degrees all winter.
The combo wood unit may have to go, or you can use a separate wood stove if you choose.
Check to see if the installer has to install a stainless steel flue liner when a new 3-pass boiler is installed--the lower exhaust temps of the new units often create condensation (water vapor) problems so a $1k flue liner sometimes has to be installed.
Other great 3-pass boilers are by Weil-McLain Ultra (quiet unit), Burnham MPO, Crown Freeport (noisy), Biasi B10, Dunkirk EV/Empire, Hydrotherm PB, Peerless PRO/WBV, Slant Fin Eutectic, and Utica Keystone.
Some of these units may not be available in your area, or the installer/wholesaler may not carry some of the ones on the list, but any one of the mentioned units are of good quality & recommended.
Most of these units will cost less because they're U.S. made.
The Biasi is Italian, but is based in the NE so it may cost you less.
Another German model, the Viessmann Vitorond is also excellent, but is in the $7k-$9k price range.
Last edited by NashuaTech; 11-07-2008 at 12:17 AM.
Re: Replacement oil boiler compatible with wood furnace
Thank You Nashua Tech.
All very good points to consider! I'm still gathering estimates and am not in a hurry as our boiler is currently working. But I don't want it to become and emergency either.
I printed off your reply and will go through point by point with my husband before making an decisions.
Thanks so much for the reply, it was sincerely appreciated!