Should I replace my boiler?


  #1  
Old 01-24-07, 04:51 AM
B
BRN
BRN is offline
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 30
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Should I replace my boiler?

Hi. I have a Crane boiler from 1967 in my 1927 home. Home is insulated, has new replacement windows, an adjustable thermostat, cracks sealed. It's steam heat, all radiators get hot although it takes awhile.

Last year I had an energy audit and was told that my boiler/furnace (I call it a furnace) had 77% efficiency. I had someone from the gas company look at it and he said that I would only get about 84% efficiency from a new boiler, so not worth replacing. Had another heating/plumbing guy say, yes, it should be replaced.

Help!
 
  #2  
Old 01-24-07, 10:22 AM
Who's Avatar
Who
Who is offline
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: San Jose
Posts: 2,066
Upvotes: 0
Received 2 Upvotes on 1 Post
And now you are asking people that can't even see it... ;-)


My advice?

You might want to first get familiar with steam heating - I'm not and doubt I'll ever be, but that said, Dan Holohan has some good books on the HeatingHelp web site for folks with steam heat. Know eneough to know if you have a good steam person that can service your boiler. Then discuss that with them.
 
  #3  
Old 01-24-07, 01:33 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 222
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Well, you could calculate how much you would save in heating costs with the greater efficiency, and how long it would take to recoup the cost. [Include the cost of lining a masonry chimney, if you have one.]

Frankly, I wouldn't replace it if it's still working fine.

If your radiators don't heat as quicky as you would like, replace the vents with adjustable ones.
 
  #4  
Old 01-24-07, 02:11 PM
H
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 56
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
If you had a 1967 car would you replace it if it were running OK?
 
  #5  
Old 01-24-07, 02:52 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 222
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
No.

At least not for 7% better gas mileage.

That would save me a little over $2 a week, call it $2.50 to be generous, thats $130 a year. Assuming that a new car would cost $10,000, the savings would pay for the car in a little under 77 years.

Maintenance? Newer models [cars or boilers] are not maintenance free, either.

I would start saving for a new one now, but wait to replace it.
 
  #6  
Old 01-24-07, 05:39 PM
HVACGuy's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 132
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Unhappy

Ok here's the skinny. Your 1967 boiler forgot to die.

When the term efficiency comes up, it most often refers to combustion efficiency, which is how much heat in BTUs you get out, compared to the available BTU content of the fuel you put in. Example: 100,000 BTU in to a gas boiler based on 100 cuft of gas/hr (NG being 1000 BTU/cuft), and producing 80,000 BTU/hr for your home would be a combustion efficiency of 80%. Good so far?
Now out of that 80,000Btu's the system will suffer jacket losses, standby losses, cycling losses infiltration losses and a number of other immeasurable losses.

Berkley Labs released a paper in the last few years addressing this. By the Berkley method, your unit would come in around 38-40%. A very ugly number.

On another note, think of this:

Based on a degree day average in my area, the average heating system is firing 2700 hrs each year.

The average car is driven 15,000 miles/yr, averaging 540 hours of use.

Based on these estimates, the average furnace puts on about 75,000 miles/yr

Your furnace has clocked 108,000 hours and 3 MILLION miles, and returns heat based on 40% of the fuel you buy.

You are already paying for a new one, you just don't get to have it.
 
  #7  
Old 01-24-07, 05:47 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 12,682
Received 41 Upvotes on 39 Posts
1967 Boiler

The 77% effiiciency was probably combustion efficiency. There is a substantial difference in combustion efficiency & Annual Fuel Utilization Effiency (AFUE). If your boiler has a pilot which stays lit all the time (called a standing pilot), you would be lucky to have an AFUE of 60%.
 
  #8  
Old 01-25-07, 05:54 AM
B
BRN
BRN is offline
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 30
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
thanks for your replies. It does have a pilot light. I wouldn't replace a 1967 car if it were running fine. You have all given me much to think about. I appreciate your responses.
 
  #9  
Old 01-25-07, 10:20 AM
Who's Avatar
Who
Who is offline
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: San Jose
Posts: 2,066
Upvotes: 0
Received 2 Upvotes on 1 Post
I'd hang onto a '67 car as well, but I might have second thoughts about using it as a daily driver all winter long...
 
  #10  
Old 01-25-07, 05:27 PM
B
BRN
BRN is offline
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 30
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Excellent point. I will most likely replace what I have. What the hay--it will make the house more desirable for my kids to sell when I croak. Once in awhile we have to take care of the less glamorous aspects of home ownership. It can't all be cosmetic. However, my new kitchen and bathroom are terrific!
 
  #11  
Old 01-25-07, 08:11 PM
Who's Avatar
Who
Who is offline
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: San Jose
Posts: 2,066
Upvotes: 0
Received 2 Upvotes on 1 Post
It's gonna fail at some point in its life. It has probably lived longer than all the ones produced that year. It's better when boiler changeouts are planned and actually start with a warm home.
 
  #12  
Old 01-26-07, 05:51 AM
B
BRN
BRN is offline
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 30
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Going to fail

You are most likely correct. I am usually very good about preventive maintenance, but this, being so expensive, is something that I haven't been as attentive to as I should have been/be. Thanks.
 
  #13  
Old 01-26-07, 08:13 AM
D
Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 349
Received 3 Upvotes on 3 Posts
boiler

and check your steam pipes, are they insulated? YOu can loose a lot of heat otherwise. Ive seen a dramatic difference with one radiator. I have the entire path in the basement sealed up and on the steam pipes in the exterior walls I am opening those up and sealing them to make a difference. How much efficiency is lost because the pipes are not insulated in one fashion or the other? It could be a lot.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: