Any suggestions on instantaneous boilers?


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Old 02-13-06, 12:04 PM
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Any suggestions on instantaneous boilers?

I am thinking about upgrading my existing outdated oilfired hydronic heat boiler with one of the high efficiency instantaneous wall hung gas boilers but don't know of anybody who has used them. Anyone out in DIY land have any experience with these? I would ultimately like it to replace my natural gas hot water heater at the same time. Any suggestions that you guys could give would be appreciated.
 
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Old 02-13-06, 05:18 PM
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Are you thinking of something like a Rinnai instantaneous water heater to replace your boiler? I would never do that myself because they were never designed or tested to be boilers. You should be looking at getting a modulating condensing boiler - you could save tons of wasted energy and have a top notch heating system (for both efficiency and comfort). Combine it with an indirect fired water heater and you have it made. Unless you totally understand hydronics, the piping is not a DIY job. The gas connection and a combustion analysis should be done by a pro. You may have a lot of difficulty getting a pro to work with you since much of their margin comes from the sale of the equipment and this margin allows them to service any warranty claims or nuisance service calls down the road. Without a pro, expect little factory support if anything does go wrong with their equipment - they obviously prefer dealing with tradespeople. Your insurance company and municipality may frown on it as well. If you do get someone to do it for you, get someone who knows what they are doing BUT still follows the manufacturer's directions as they are key to optimizing thge potential of the boiler..

I think that these modern boilers will only last a fraction of the lives of the cast iron pigs of yore, so if you don't burn much fuel now, they might not be worth it. However, if you use a lot of fuel then you could save a lot.
 
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Old 02-14-06, 05:22 AM
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Thanks for the reply WHO. I actually own a water treatment company and am very familiar with traditional plumbing and piping but I absolutely agree with you that this work should be done by someone trained in the field. In the past I have piped conventional boilers, installed baseboard, hot water heaters, etc....but I am also a person who knows when to back off when necessary. My problem at this point is that I know only what I read and don't have any friends who have used this technology so I don't know which units are reliable and which are not. My impetus at this point for changing fuels is that I have an underground oil tank and would like to abandon it and also my boiler is a 30 year old American Standard which I'm sure is more suitable in a museum than my house...Thanks again for your input.
 
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Old 02-14-06, 07:49 AM
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By abandon do you mean dig up and dispose of properly or do you just want to leave it in the ground?

My boiler is from the 50's (I think), retrofitted in the early 80's into a home built in '76. I'm in the same boat although I have two oil tanks in the basement. The modulating condensing boilers are very impressive. They are the norm in Europe. They have many benefits. Using PVC or ABS for the venting, most have good built-in controls that include outdoor reset. The modulation allows them to throttle back to match the heat loss rather than bang on bang off like we have with oil-fired burners. They have around 95% efficiency even in the spring and fall when oil-fired boilers are evy inefficient due to short run times. The one I currently like the best is the W-M Ultra. 5:1 modulation, an 80 model, easy venting options, floor or wall mount...

The instantaneous water heaters have to be piped into buffer tanks and typically are lower efficiency.
 
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Old 02-14-06, 09:50 AM
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Around these parts they don't have to actually dig the tanks up. The DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) allows the tanks to be pumped out completely and then filled with an expanding foam. My understanding is that the firm has to have a DEC approval and they issue a certification when the work is done. A client of mine had an oil tank leak and it turned into a financial nightmare, over 80K for the cleanup which was not covered under homeowners insurance. He told me if they didn't have the 80K the house would have been sold to cover the cost of cleanup. Although taking it out or simply filling it in can be an unexpected expense, money for abandonment is sometimes available through local municipalities to help cover the cost so it hurts a little less but it is certainly better than the alternative.
 
 

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