Replacing our boiler - are these prices reasonable?


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Old 11-08-06, 05:02 PM
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Replacing our boiler - are these prices reasonable?

Hi everyone,

We moved into a 84 yr old, 2-story house in Wash DC (approx 1700 sqft) with a 20+ yr old gas boiler that has not been working well. We are considering replacing it, based on its age and the cost of fixing it.

So far, we have received two bids:

1. $4,200:
Bryant BW3AAN 112,000BTU boiler.
Watts 9-D backflow preventer & automatic water fill assembly.
Extrol 30lb water expansion tank.
Pressure reducing valve
Thermostat: Aprilaire 8363 thermostat with matching heat/cool sub-base
Install all supply and return piping work

2. $4,000:
Crown Aruba3, Model AWI128. 128,000 BTU boiler
Install new pressure re-circulating valve on water line.

Do these proposals sound reasonable? Is there anything else we should be considering when replacing a boiler?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
 
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Old 11-08-06, 05:08 PM
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Boiler prices

Nobody can give you an idea if the prices you were qouted are fair or not without seeing the job. Every single job is a custom installation.

Have any of the bidders done a heat loss calculation?
 
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Old 11-08-06, 09:03 PM
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Lightbulb

You need "apples to apples".
I see you have 2- different sytems.I would recomend 1 more quote from another dealer of the same equipment.(4 total)
1-Bryant---- 1-Crown.

Make sure all models,associated equipment and options are there and the same.
 
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Old 11-09-06, 04:59 PM
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extras

The copper tubing, zone valves, ball valves, circulators, expansion tank, air eliminator, flow checks, whatever, all total up to big bucks when the final price is tallied. One of your bids pretty much listed the "extras", but the other one didn't!
Make sure the bids note what will and will not be replaced. For a few hundred bucks, go with the guy who will do the job right! A bad installer can hack the best boiler out there! Get references, ask for photos of his work.
 
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Old 11-09-06, 06:15 PM
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Grady, lectric, radio:

Thanks for your responses.
1. Neither of the contractors performed a heat loss calc. I believe they estimated the boiler size we needed by looking at the old boiler and walking through the house (2 story 1920's bungalow w/ basement). I didn't even know that was something we might need until I started reading posts on this forum.

2. Part of our problem is that we are learning how to buy a new boiler system and don't know how to make a comparison of the bids. The contractors both presented bids with their preferred systems. I'll follow up with questions to each of them (i.e. does the second bid include any/all of the 'extras' in the first), but of course they each have their biases and are interested primarily in making a sale.

I have been reading these threads trying to figure out what questions I should be asking, and what I should be looking for in a bid to replace the boiler...

Sounds like at a minimum I need to ask for a heat loss calculation, or try to estimate it myself. Thanks again!
 
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Old 11-09-06, 08:27 PM
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You are on the right track and have the right attitude. About the heat loss. Never, but NEVER, size the boiler by what's already there. Chances are it's twice as big as needed already. Been there, done that.

There are some heating guys who can walk through a house and do the mental math of what boiler will be required to max out the output of the installed radiation. However, with a proper heat loss you might find that you are over or possibly (unusual, but see the recent thread by tb40nd) under-radiated by some percent.

Overradiation is good, because you can run lower water temps (which is more efficient) to achieve the same heat output. This opens up some options for boilers and control strategies that cost more up front but pay for themselves over time. And at today's and the long-term future's increasing fuel costs, the payback time decreases.

Quite frankly, I would not hesitate to drop an extra $1000-1500 up front on a better boiler and controls if you plan on staying in the house more than 5-8 years. (Numbers I made up, but probably in the ballpark.)

So, first things first. Do or have done a decent heat loss. There's threads on that around here and suggested good free software. You may find that the existing boiler is sized exactly right, but that's for the coldest day of the year. Every other day, you can meet the heat needs with lower water temps and if you have a system that can do that, you are saving money every single day.

On the rest of it, radioconnection, lectriclee and Grady are spot on.

Lastly, take your time and do your homework.
 
 

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