Narrowing Down New Boiler Choices- Input sought


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Old 09-10-06, 09:46 AM
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Narrowing Down New Boiler Choices- Input sought

Hi all,

I am in the process of replacing my Gas Fired forced hot water baseboard system. I am looking for a High Efficiency condensing system with PVC venting and adding indirect water heating as well.

The contractors have given me the following choices and after reading through all the post here and doing some research I can't tell what system might be best. Here are the choices so far I would like your thoughts on pros and cons. The brochures all sound great but need help in cutting through them. Thanks.

1 - Weil-Mclain: Ultra 105 with an added 40 Gal Indirect Water Tank (Installer is not using the matched Mclain unit but another unit with a life time warranty) Installed with life time warranty to include same day maintanence is $8900.00

2 - Triangle Tube: Prestige Solo 105 with Smart 40 Indirect Fired Water Heater. Waiting on price.

3 - Muchkin: Decided against this unit based on this forum and additional research. Any postive notes for this units compared to others is welcome though.

4 - Lochinvar: Knight system with 40 Gal Indirect Water Heating. Waiting on price

I also looked at the Buderus systems mentioned on this forum but haven't requested an installer to quote for my area. I live in Rhode Island. Please feel free to provide input and thoughts on these systems as well.

If it helps I am replacing a 1981 Repco Model LA100c with input BTU 100.00, Heating Capacity 79.00 and Net Heating BTU 68.70. House is two story with 2 heating zones

Last year this forum was extremly helpful in my self repair of some items on the unit to get it back up and running. Replaced expansion tank, pressure valve and was back up and running. At that time it was mentioned that I have gotten a good long run from this boiler and it might be a good idea to start looking for a replacement. I want to replace it before it dies and I have to. This will give me some time for an installer to put a new high efficency system in a new location without having to worry about the outside temps being to low.

Thanks again for your input and help.

David
 
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Old 09-10-06, 12:24 PM
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Decent choices all. Some are not too keen on the Weil's elastomeric seals (instead of push nipples). I would say all are below a Buderus (say a GB-142, which is their mod/con). Depends on what you're looking for.

Have heard good initial things about the Knight.

In general, it's unclear how long these modulating/condensing boilers are going to last. Almost definitely less than 20 years; possibly as few as 12-15. They have not been around that long, even in Europe, so there's not a long track record yet. They absolutely need annual maintenance.

Burnham is coming out with a mod/con. Haven't heard what the intro date is, only that it's coming. Will probably be good.

I assume you've had a comprehensive heat loss done and that you really do need a ~100k BTU boiler. You can run a 40 gal indirect with a smaller boiler, if properly controlled (i.e., DHW priority). If you really do need a ~100k boiler, it might do to see by how much. Improvements to the building envelope can do much to reduce heat loss. If you're on the border between an 80 and a 105, go with the 80 and caulk your windows or add insulation to the attic.

What kind of heating elements do you have? Copper fin-tube baseboard? Cast iron baseboard or radiators? This could also inform your choice of boiler.

For reference, I have a two zone hotwater system with a 40gal indirect. My 2100sf house loses about 50k BTU/hr on a design day (5F), and it's not terribly tight (yet). I'm east of you.
 

Last edited by xiphias; 09-10-06 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 09-10-06, 01:58 PM
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Interesting. I have actually done some major improvements to tighten things up. Installed Newpro windows through out and added siding to home. No one did an energy loss analysis. I think they assume go bigger for the indirect hot water system. My smaller current unit heats the house fine with base board forced hot water copper pipe with heat fin collectors.

You brought up an excellent point about the longevity of these systems. There isnt a long history to track this. I did see that many of these systems need annual maintenance of some kind as well. One of my contractors was at a training convention recent and had the Lochinvar and Triangle tube reps going at it. I might wait it out another year but really wanted to do some additional remodeling inside that would reclaim area taken by current outside venting and looking to have roof done as well.
 
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Old 09-10-06, 02:25 PM
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Absolutely do the heat loss to see where you stand. Yes, the indirect is probably the larger load, but I don't think for a 40gal tank you need a ~100 boiler. You could also run the indirect hotter (like 140F) and use an anti-scald tempering valve on the DHW supply. That would effectively increase your hot water.

How did you size the 40 gal indirect? what's your load like?
 
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Old 09-10-06, 05:48 PM
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They looked at the current hot water tank size and household. For now I am single and 40 gallon hot water tank is more than enough but I wanted that size for resellability. So they base the size of the indirect tank on usage it seems.
 
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Old 09-11-06, 05:45 AM
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Suggest doing the 40 gal tank and the tempering valve.

For a 40 gal tank I don't think you need a ~100k BTU input boiler. I'd go ~80k and make sure you have DHW priority. Even though your candidate boilers all modulate, I'd still go smaller if the heat load allows.

Good luck!
 
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Old 09-18-06, 05:03 PM
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I'm in the same boat...

David,

I'm in RI also, and going through the same process. I got a 50 year old oil boiler and converting to gas, since I had the GAS CO. bring it in to me for my gas stove. I'm looking at the McLain Ultra 80 and water heater. MY buddy at Taco told me that the taco 007 circulator that is shipped with the Ultra has cartridge problems that must be replaced due to failures. Recommended the taco 014 instead. Do you have a chimney or are you just venting out with PVC?

The Munchkin system looks great also, but you need the Vision I System to get "outdoor reset". At least the McLain is all-in-one package. Also need certified contractor to install the Munchkin and Vision System. So, we are limited to contractors. I prefer to use someone I know if possible. So Munchkin may not be a viable option.

The Buderus was my first choice, and I'm sure more pricier. You also need the logomatic control system for "outdoor reset".
I'm waiting for pricing for both the McLain and Buderus. I'll share that once I know.

What kind of annual maintainence is required for these type boilers?

ronyd
 
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Old 09-18-06, 06:48 PM
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Taco 007 vs.0014

The 0014 has a much higher flow rate & head capacity than the 007. If the system does not need this much circulator, you could be in for one noisy system.
 
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Old 09-18-06, 07:12 PM
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Ditto. the 0014 is basically a commercial building pump. The 007 is by far the most common Taco residential pump. I have not heard much bad about the 007. I have one, my buddy has one. It's quiet and reliable. Taco world HQ is in Cranston. If you have a problem, go talk to the President. He actually listens.

I'm not sure what the annual maintenance would be on the mod/cons, but from what I understand, an annual look-see is basically required. There's a fair amount of electronics governing things like firing rate (modulation up and down) and if they go south, they need to be addressed sooner rather than later. I'm guessing an hour or so at prevailing New England plumbing rates.

I only mention the following because RI is a coastal state. It was observed to me by one installer that people are beginning to keep an eye on these new aluminum block boilers in salt-air environments. I'm not sure how close you have to be to the ocean/bay, but apparently the concern is the intake carrying salty sea air to the aluminum heat exchanger, causing corrosion. I have no clue whether this is legitimate for boilers. I do spend enough time dealing with metals in the ocean to know that there are concerns with mixing aluminum and salt. And I also know that Grady's going to think I'm off my nut.
 
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Old 09-18-06, 08:09 PM
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Aluminum & salt air

Even if he is nuts, Xiphias has once again thrown out food for thought. Anybody make a bronze boiler? LOL
 
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Old 09-19-06, 06:45 AM
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Stainless should be ok. Munchkin, Lochinvar Knight, Viessmann (if you're independently wealthy...), Peerless Pinnacle (which is a Munchkin with a differnt plastic cover) all have stainless heat exchangers.

Cast iron, for that matter should be fine as well. Long history of CI boilers in salty environments and they seem to do ok.

Like I said, it has come up as a potential issue. No idea if it has any merit. Technically/chemically, it makes sense. Time will tell.

And if you want to get truly geeky, there is a school of thought (just a couple fish, I think) that have voiced concern about PVC venting. The thinking is the condensate may leach the chlorides out of the PVC and back into the heat exchanger. (The C in PVC of course standing for Chloride).

But then again, I don't care much for chemistry, and I think the likelihood of any of this coming back to haunt you is pretty small unless you're an end-member case (beachfront home with constant salt spray).
 
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Old 09-19-06, 06:49 AM
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And if you really want to go that route, you can get a Munchkin and a Vision 1 package on the internet. I think the Vision 1 runs about $150. Short money for a reset control.

They absolutely need to be piped by the book, however. It's a full-on primary/secondary setup and needs to be done right.
 
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Old 09-19-06, 09:06 AM
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Rony D

GEM actually said the Buderus is cheaper than the Weil-McLain. Now due to some remodeling I am looking to do inside I am considering adding radiant heat to the mix. The reason is I am looking to remove a wall between my kitchen and dinning area that has baseboard on it. See link below of current setup.

http://members.cox.net/davidmp/Basement%20Heat%20Piping%20and%20Measurements.xls

I found that I could do my entire first floor with radiant heat and used this site to answer many of my questions and actually spoke to them on the phone.

http://www.houseneeds.com/index.htm

They were very helpful and gave me options for my second floor as well. Using a hanging Myson hydronic radiator.

Ok back to the boilers I think I will be going with the Triangle tube Prestige unit. It is uses the best stainless steel for the heat exchanger. The aluminum heat exchanges will transfer heat better but I was told require more upkeep. You have to add a buffer product to the unit every year or two. The Triangle also has a self cleaning system. On paper it sounds great.

I am really intrigued with the radiant heat option now and will have to review all my options.
 
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Old 09-19-06, 05:10 PM
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Radiant is really neat as it opens up a huge array of options for lower water temps and how they are supplied (e.g., solar), but it's a pretty different world from hotwater baseboard. There's a lot that goes into the design and execution of a proper radiant system. Do your homework. It's not hard to get right, but truly painful to get wrong.
 
 

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