Oil Boiler Installation

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Old 08-09-04, 06:43 AM
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Question Oil Boiler Installation

In the past I have replaced gas warm air furnaces and oil hot water furnaces with the help of do it yourself.com .
Need help again. My brother in law needs a new furnace. The one he has is an old sears oil fired boiler for steam heat. We would like to replace it with a more efficient oil furnace. My question is, When we decide on a furnace, can it be just plumbed into the old steam supply and return lines that are there or do I have to do something different on the furnace?
Thanks for you help, I really appreciate it.
Joe
 
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Old 08-09-04, 04:05 PM
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I have to tell you that on this one, there are more mistakes to make than all the others put together. Depending on the size of the boiler, there are header design criteria, hartford loop requirements and some good practices that are not actually required. Then there are the requirements to skim the new boiler and waste the condensate for a few days. I will be happy to help you but this one can even get messed up by contractors, let alone a DIY. Don't get me wrong but you may not be out to pick up a while lot of efficiency either. Steam systems have not changed enough to make an upgrade cost effective unless the boiler is leaking. Maybe a burner upgrade would be more appropriate. Is the existing burner on old clunker?

Ken
 
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Old 08-10-04, 02:19 AM
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Hello Ken, Actually it's a double block house, two sides, my brother in law and his wife live on one side and his brother lives on the other side. On his brothers side, they have a Weil-McClain 151,000 btu furnace with the coil and it heats that side of the home really good. On my brother in laws side he has a really old Sears boiler with the coil and it's 75,000 btu's. It's really smaller and older that the one on the other side. He told me that he had the burner replaced about two years ago thinking that was the problem but it still has a hard time keeping the home warm and its constantly running. My guess is that it's undersized, thats why they want it replaced. Anyway, thats the story with that.
Thanks,
Joe
 
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Old 08-10-04, 05:43 AM
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My first suggestion would be to make sure the attic insulation is adequate and increase it if it is less than R-30. For a steam system, long runs are much better than short ones. Also make sure someone has not removed the insulation on the large steam mains in the basement. If so, get some insulation back on them. Thay might also consider installing an indirect hot water maker instead of the coil in the boiler. It won't change the amount of energy required to supply hot water to the faucets but it will give them a reserve that they don't have now. You can use that system with a new boiler when you get one. Someone should check the replacement burner and see if the firing rate of that burner is set to the rated capacity of the boiler. Being more efficient than the original burner meant probably sizing the nozzle smaller than the nameplate says for firing rate but the net output of the burner should still match the input of the boielr in Btus. As I said before, if it isn't leaking, I would approach the problem from many angles instead of getting into the replacement. It could get ugly real fast. It almost always requires cutting, reaming, and threading steel pipe and that requires some tools that you may not have. If you do decide to proceed with the replacement, get the installation manual from the boiler you plan to use (and by all means, don't oversize the new boiler) and read it thoroughly. They will tell you how many risers they require and what size they must be. They will also show the header drip leg and preferred connection to the equalizer pipe. Pay special attention to that because from what I see, probably 7 out of 10 steam boiler jobs are not done correctly and the mistakes are made right at the boiler or a few fittings out. They are impossible to correct easily and require taking everything apart and starting over. Ask any other questions you come up with and good luck.

Ken
 
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Old 08-10-04, 06:26 AM
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Thanks Ken, I'll let you know what we decide to do. I'm going to take your advice first and check the insulation in the attic and on the pipes and then have the burner checked out.
Thanks, I'll keep in touch. Have a really great day.
Joe
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