New boiler vs old boiler system

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-21-05, 11:00 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 52
New boiler vs old boiler system

Are the new boiler systems really much better than the ones built in the early 70ís? We have a house that is 1700 sq ft and I am thinking about getting a new boiler system because our monthly bills are outrageous. We put new windows in and the bills are still really high. A couple of months ago our bill was around $250 for one month. I understand that insulation, the swing in temps all play a role, but in general would a new boiler system drop the monthly bills?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-21-05, 03:54 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 13,928
New vs. old boiler

Chances are, a new boiler, properly sized & installed would cut your energy bills significantly. I have seen 50% and more savings with new boilers. Is your existing boiler gas or oil; hot water or steam? One of the first things you need to do is run a heat loss calculation to determine what size boiler you need. Steam boilers must be sized to the attached radiation where hot water boilers should be sized to the heat loss of the house.
 
  #3  
Old 03-26-05, 08:00 AM
Cream Puff
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
old boiler vs. new

We have a similar system and our new old home is about 1700 square foot also. And, our bill runs around your bill. We, too, areconsidering getting a new boiler. Well, our current boiler is hanging by the thread actually. It's 26 years old! We have a hotwater baseboard heating system and we are also considering going central heating and AC. One company told us that we may not be able to switch to central heating (is there another term for this? I don't know all the terms), because we have high ceilings and no attic.
 
  #4  
Old 03-26-05, 08:26 AM
Ed Imeduc's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Mountain Williams Missouri
Posts: 18,389
Wink

Cream Puff

Dont know how far north you are. But if you are I dont think you will like hot air over the hot water set up you have. Now no attic but if you have a basement there .Yes for sure you can have a hot air furnace and AC put in the home. With the duct all in the basement.

ED
 
  #5  
Old 03-26-05, 08:27 AM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 13,928
Question Central Heating

By "central heating'" are you refering to warm air heat with ducts & vents (registers)?
 
  #6  
Old 03-26-05, 05:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: New England
Posts: 75
New Boiler

hawks13:

Yes, there has been a great improvement in boilers in the last 10 years, spurred on mostly by the European engineers in Germany & other northern European contiries & higher fuel prices; older boilers of the 70's era get 50% to 60% efficiency; that means that 40% to 50% of the heat is wasted & going up the chimney; the newer oil-fired boilers are getting 85% to 89$ efficiency; some gas-fired condensing boilers are getting >95% efficiency; the tradeoff for the condensing boilers is often louder operational noise.

What happened is the European countries (especially Germany) subsidize the German boilermakers (Viessmann & Buderis) with govt funds so that they can improve thier products to take advantage of the high cost of fuel in Europe; hot water boilers constitute almost 100% of the heating market in Europe; in the U.S boilers share only 6% of the market; nevertheless, the technology has been adopted by U.S. companies like Peerless, Burnham, Utica, Neca, Weil-McLain, Smith, Crown, Slant-Fin & many others; a typical cast-iron wet-base boiler is mostly all cast-iron, weighs 500 lbs & will last 20-30 years.

You should consider other factors, like blowing insulation into the exterior walls of your house; R24 in the walls, R40 in the ceiling & R19 in the floor; try to get more fuel tanks in the cellar so you can buy all your oil in August in one shot when it is cheap.
 
  #7  
Old 03-28-05, 12:15 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 52
Best Maker

Thanks for your help and feedback. We have decided on going with a new gas boiler system, but the problem is which one. Thanks for giving me all the names, but I am really new to this type of system. If you had to replace your system, what company would you trust or which company offers the best product for the price? Thanks
 
  #8  
Old 03-28-05, 02:30 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 13,928
Gas fired boiler

As far as I'm concerned, Buderus can't be beat unless it's by a Viesmann. I have no first hand experience with Viesmann but from what I hear, they are the premo boiler. I have installed some Buderus boilers & can tell you they are NICE equipment. One I would stay away from is Weil-McLain.
 
  #9  
Old 03-28-05, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: New England
Posts: 75
Baest Gas Boilers

hawks13:

I agree with Grady, the higher-quality units like Viessmann & Buderis will cost a lot more up front to install, but will pay for themselves as the years pass; everyone has their own "best boiler" list, & often you will be limited by what's available in your locale & what the local contractors are putting in; try to get 6 estimates (quotes will vary widely) for a gas-fired varialble speed condensing boiler, but also consider a U.S.-made unit by Hydrotherm, Energy Kinetics System 2000, Thermopride or Munchkin; other U.S. & offshore mfgs of quality units are Utica, Neca, Burnham, Dunkirk,

The site below has a "best" list by Consumer Guide.

http://www.aceee.org/consumerguide/topboil.htm
 
  #10  
Old 03-28-05, 04:34 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 13,928
Boilers

I have a BIG problem with that acee list. It is based only on supposed AFUE and lists Sears as a manufacturer . The majority of the boilers are steel. A good cast iron boiler will not only outlast a steel boiler but get better fuel efficiency in the long term. You get what you pay for.
 
  #11  
Old 10-29-07, 04:48 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: islip ny
Posts: 151
BOILER INSTALLERS and REPAIR ALL RIPOFFS?how many others have been scammed!

wrong post.
bump
 
  #12  
Old 10-29-07, 09:48 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 2,459
Burnham. Check out their boilers.

I have a Burnham Revolution and tekmar control package and am very happy. Should last a long time.

Buderus is also good stuff.

I would stay away from the aluminum block modulating/condensing boilers (including the Burnham Freedom). They are sensitive, expensive beasts. Go with a stainless steel mod/con or a traditional cast iron with temperature protection (Burnham Revolution, or Buderus with their 2107(?) control package) and you should be very happy.

Finding a good professional can be time consuming. Best time is spring or summer.

THE THE THE best place to save on heating costs is insulation and infiltration. Seek out the EPA, DOE and other guides to insulating (Taunton Press has a good book in weatherizing and insulating) and weatherizing your home.
 
  #13  
Old 10-30-07, 07:22 AM
Who's Avatar
Who
Who is offline
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: San Jose
Posts: 2,175
I'll vouch for the Triangle Tube Prestige boiler. This Belgian built modulating condensing boiler in my opinion is tops in the market without being priced outrageously high.

It's built in Belgium, uses an exceptionally high grade stainless steel and has a unique low head downfired self-cleaning heat exchanger design. It also has a rock solid proven controller that adjusts heating water temperatures to correspond with outdoor temperatures so that you get maximum comfort & economy and your rads don't ping and clunk from wide temperature extremes each cycle.

The Prestige has a built-in 3 speed circ that can be piped direct to minimize the electrical consumption to the same degree as the natural gas.

Triangle-Tube also makes a fantastic indirect fired water heater that should be strongly considered when upgrading your boiler.
 
  #14  
Old 10-30-07, 05:04 PM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Upvotes Received: 1
check the dates guys... those posts are from '05 ...
 
  #15  
Old 10-30-07, 05:31 PM
Who's Avatar
Who
Who is offline
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: San Jose
Posts: 2,175
One of these days Alice!!!
 
  #16  
Old 10-30-07, 06:35 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 13,928
Alice

Who, You are showing your age.
 
  #17  
Old 11-02-07, 06:45 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 3
Well, I appreciated the added info. I have a 3200 sq/ft 1880 Victorian with a HB Smith Boiler. It is a gravity fed hot water system, and I burned about 2000 gallons of oil last year. I am looking to switch to natural gas. If I could afford one and actually find somewhere to buy one, I would love to go for something like a Viessman or Buderus. They don't generally sell to homeowners though. I was thinking of going with a Weil Mclain Ultra 105, but after reading some of the opinions here I am not sure which way to go. I know I am going to set up 5 zones and am looking to use PEX. Any further opinions are welcome.
 
  #18  
Old 11-02-07, 07:10 PM
Who's Avatar
Who
Who is offline
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: San Jose
Posts: 2,175
Attila, did you see my post about the Prestige?
 
  #19  
Old 11-02-07, 08:20 PM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Upvotes Received: 1
Atilla, your biggest savings will come from tightening the building envelope as much as possible. Insulation and windows first... or have you done all that already ?
 
  #20  
Old 11-03-07, 08:11 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 3
Yes, Who, thank you!! I did see the post on the Prestige and am checking it out. NJ Trooper, I brought the attic up to about R 45, but the walls are basically uninsulated, and it has the old windows with storms. The house has a small basement flanked on either side with large dirt crawlspaces, one that has some insulation under the floor the other with none. The later is basically open to the outside and I just wrapped the heating pipe that went through there with R19 and 6 mil plastic because it was basically bare in many places. The current boiler comes on when the temp outside goes below 60. The aquastat then keeps the water temp at whatever you set it at, now 140, and you regulate the amount of water going into each upright radiator with the valve that is on it. I can't put a new boiler in this season, but was wondering if anyone knows if you put a thermostat in the house on one of these old boilers if it will work properly. So, better to let it stay on all winter keeping the water at temp, or let the thermostat shut it down and heat the water up? It has 3 inch pipe in the basement, so there is a lot of water to bring up to temp.
Improving the insulation and windows are sure to help, but do to the nature of this current boiler set-up I don't know if I would burn significantly less oil even making those changes since it isn't really measuring the air temp in the house directly.?
 
  #21  
Old 11-03-07, 11:11 AM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Upvotes Received: 1
I must confess that I know NOTHING about gravity systems other than the little I've read about them.

Be careful about insulating the heat pipes if there are any other plumbing pipes in that area. You don't want THEM to freeze up !

Insulation never hurts, it really is the front line of defense in heat loss management. Your old windows with storms may not be as bad as you think they are in terms of heat loss if they are in generally good condition. (in my home I have modern double pane windows and I still put homemade plexiglas storm windows on the ones on the north side) If you spent a little time with various products to reduce the air infiltration factor around them, it would be time well spent.

So, there's NO THERMOSTAT in the home ? And only an outdoor sensor to tell the boiler when to operate ? And all it does when operating is to maintain the water at a fixed temp ?

Insulation will still help. Here's why: If you reduce the heatloss in the home, the water in the system will not cool as fast, thus reducing cycling of the boiler to maintain the aquastat temp.

I'm sure you could install a thermostat. It would require some creative control wiring I'm sure. What it would probably serve to do though is make parts of the home too cool, and parts of the home too warm. Placement of that t'stat would be critical to operation. If you placed it in a room with generally less heat loss, other rooms would get cold. Vice versa if it were in an area with higher heat loss.

My vote is still insulate, weather-strip, insulate some more, caulk, insulate some more...
 
  #22  
Old 11-03-07, 01:39 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 3
There was asbestos on the pipes that I put insulation on, but I had that removed. It was in bad shape. Otherwise, I don't have issues with risking pipe freezing. The heating pipes were also uninsulated in the main part of the basement and I wrapped them too, but the boiler still gives off significant heat to prevent any freezing problems.

I am going to run around with caulk and weather stripping here at some point. I have about 32 windows and 5 doors.
Three of the doors are ancient, and odd sized which makes replacement difficult and expensive, so I am working out ways to make the most of them.

So, yeah, there is no thermostat inside the house. I should be able to wire one in without too much trouble by just replacing the thermostat measuring outdoor temp with one that is inside. The other issue is the burner is undersized for the size of the boiler. It burns .85 gallons/hour and it really should use a larger one, maybe 1.3 gal/hr

I have had about eight plumbers/HVAC pros come look at the heating system, they all think I should replace it (of course, money in their pocket), but none of them have gotten back to me (they all ran screaming). They were all pretty perplexed by it. I wanted someone to come in and say "Oh yeah, I have done a bunch of change overs from these things. Really your best option is this....". If I wanted to spend 12K I have a couple guys that would love to put in a Buderus or Viessman.

I was going to have a guy come spray some closed cell foam in the crawlspace areas to insulate the floors, but it was more than I could swing. A friend and I might go in on a rig and do both of our houses (the rigs aren't cheap, I know, but we could sell it afterwards) Would like to spray the slow rise foam in the walls, but it makes me a little nervous (don't want to blow them out), so undecided between that and cellulose. Anyway this is only the second winter in this house, so I will see what improvements I have made with the stuff I have done to date.

Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it!
 
  #23  
Old 11-03-07, 03:51 PM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Upvotes Received: 1
You might just be able to wire a t'stat indoors in SERIES with the one outdoors. As long as the new thermostat is a DRY CONTACT i.e. RELAY output, it shouldn't be a problem. Both would have to call for the boiler to come on. If either was satisfied, then no boiler.

I'm not sure I'd be so quick to increase the nozzle in the burner. You will probably see increased efficiency due to the longer burn cycles... maybe ... theoretically you should anyway.

Cellulose might be a good choice for a couple reasons, first of course it's probably cheaper, and no danger of blowing out a nice vintage plaster job. Also, the cellulose is treated with Boric Acid (borax), a fire retardant, and non-toxic. The upside to this is that it's positively deadly to powder post beetles (and termites, and ants, and...)

You get the rig and I know a place in NJ you could make a few bucks!
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes