Boiler Replacement - Advice Needed

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Old 03-01-07, 01:29 PM
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Boiler Replacement - Advice Needed

Folks,
I'm faced with replacing my old Weil McClain boiler. Currently, I have a oil fired boiler with hot water radiator heat. I have 5 zone valves currently. My house has a separate electric hot water heater and I do not heat water with the furnace..

Various heating professionals have given me estimates and I have narrowed my selection to 2 boilers and I need your advice on which way to go.

Option 1) Weil McClain ULTRA Boiler
PROS: 3 pass technology, quite, easy to clean, nice energy efficiency
CONS: This company is new to the 3 pass technology. Boiler assembly is not done via using steel/cast iron push nipples, it is done via gaskets (silicon ?). These tend to erode over time and due to the thermal shocks.

Option 2) Buderus - Residential Boiler (G115)
PROS: Very well known in the 3-pass technology and have been doing this for a long time. Robust German construction technology. Very good reputation in commercial/industrial/residential market; although they are newer to the US markets. Boiler is assembled via robust steel push nipples.

CONS: Not any that has come up in my research yet. If there is one, please let me know.

I have been more inclined towards Buderus than the Weil McClain ULTRA, but I needed an affirmation before I make this long term decision. I have read various newsgroups and people/professionals tend to respect Buderus. I do not want to discount Weil McClain which is also a reputed, respected boiler; but the service representative told me that Weil McClain is new to 3-pass technology and I should go with Buderus if I were to choose to go with 3-pass technology.

Thanks in advance for your help !
BoilerHelp
 

Last edited by BoilerHelp; 03-01-07 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 03-01-07, 02:48 PM
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Tough decision for all the reasons you mention. Not sure what I'd do. I am concerned about the need for care and feeding and resultant long-term longevity (or not) of the aluminum heat exchangers used in mod/con boilers like the Ultra. But they are so new the jury is still out.

If you go Buderus, absolutely get the R2107 Logamatic control for maximum system efficiency. Will pay for itself in two years or less.

Just to throw another wrinkle in, is there an installer near you who installs Lochinvar Knight boilers? If I was getting a mod/con, that would be the one (presuming I can't afford a Viessmann, which I can't...).

This would also be a great time to ditch the electric heater and add an indirect to the boiler.

Finally, make sure the boiler is sized to an accurately-done heat loss calculation.
 
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Old 03-01-07, 04:12 PM
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New Boiler

Between the two & to me, it's a no-brainer. Buderus, without hesitation. I have absolutely no faith in Weil-McLain's oil fired products.

Unless you have already ruled it out for some reason, another to look at is Burnham's MPO. I have never used one but Burnham has a very good reputation.

As Xiphias already said, a complete & proper heat loss calculation is a must. I would also agree with his suggestions of an indirect & outdoor reset (Buderus' Logamatic or similar).
 
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Old 03-01-07, 06:10 PM
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Oops. I missed the part about the oil. Yes, if oil, Burnham's MPO would also be good. In which case, I'd pick the Buderus or the Burnham. Nevermind the Knight, it's gas.
 
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Old 03-01-07, 07:50 PM
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The Biasi is a sweet boiler... the Crown Freeport is really nice as well. I think it's a Viessmann casting. System2000 and Burnham MPO would be other options.

I'd get a good heatloss done. Get it super accurate and then try and find a boiler about 75 to 85% that size. Then you can consider which company has boilers in that range. Then think about things like noise and servicing.
 
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Old 03-01-07, 08:51 PM
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Question Sales Representative

Thanks a ton for your replies. I ditto with your comments about Burnham boiler reputation also. I had one ot the representatives mention them about the Burnham boiler and that they are the only American boilers made nowadays and that there is customer service is top-notch.
Actually the rep that I'm dealing with used to work for Weil McClain for a good number of years in NJ. When I broached the topic of Weil McClain ULTRA, he gave me the gamit of 3-pass boilers and how Buderus has been doing it for sooo many yrs now and how Weil McClain has now realised that 3-pass is way to go and is trying to enter into the 3-pass boiler world. Further he had stated to me that he has seen first hand soo many failure/leak of WM as compared to Buderus ... at one point he stated the ratio can be as startling as 100:1 ... Hearing him, I said "this stuff is coming straight from horses mouth and can't get any better". At his suggestion, I started to research Buderus boiler and the more I looked; the more I got upbeat about it.
As far as System2000, he had commented to me that EnergyKinetics does not tell people is that their system (combustion chamber ?) is made of steel and that can erode/fail over time. Personally, I have no opinion about System2000, but I have also read some good reviews about this product.

I think, I will be switching to Buderus but I reckon Burnham is a good alternative too.
I have some questions though, I hope I can get some general costing for them from you guys -
1) How much expensive it is to add a indirect water heater to the system ? I understand it will differ from person to person and product to product. But if I were to choose Buderus, how much adding a indirect water heater is going to cost me more ? Some general cost range suggestion is fine for me.
2) In how many yrs can I expect an indirect water heater investment recover ?
3) Is electric water heater too inefficient to have ?
4) Also, how much in general a "R2107 Logamatic control" going to cost me ?

I will be communicating with the service rep in the next couple of days again and I will ask him these questions and get some cost estimates from him again.

Many Thanks again for your replies and STAY WARM !
- BoilerHelp !
 
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Old 03-02-07, 08:47 AM
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How are you sizing your new boiler?
 
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Old 03-02-07, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Who View Post
How are you sizing your new boiler?
I was planning on using the slantfin heat estimator software. Am I on right track ?

Also, I've taken suggestions from the heating professionals that came out. Everyone pretty much looked at the house and gave me a ballpark estimate of the boiler size. And then there was only one who measured the length of all the baseboards and calculated that I have about 280ft linear feet of baseboard radiators.
I would be happy to learn some pointers on this topic. Thanks.
 
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Old 03-02-07, 10:09 AM
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Yes, that's a good move. Try and have a good idea of your infiltration numbers. A blower door test is a nice way to know your infiltration numbers. It can also tell you where you can stop air leakages so that you can use an even smaller boiler. The manual J numbers will be overstated. Most contractors will try and sell you a boiler that is too big for the load - they'd rather you lose a bit of efficiency than risk having you call on the coldest day of the year saying it's only 71 instead of 72... That sort of thing.

You should also try and derive some idea of your heat loss needs based on your current boiler. If your current boiler is 120K and you find that it only runs about a third of the day on the coldest day of the year, then you know that you could get by with a 40K or less (less because the new model should have at least a slight edge on efficiency).

When you do your heatloss you can also plug in differrent design temps. Then you can gauge your boiler's performance at say 35F, to see how often it runs out of an hour.
 
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Old 03-02-07, 10:30 AM
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280 feet of fin-tube baseboard? That's around 154,000 BTU output at 180F (which is a lot!). How big is the house?
 
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Old 03-02-07, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by xiphias View Post
280 feet of fin-tube baseboard? That's around 154,000 BTU output at 180F (which is a lot!). How big is the house?
yeah .. its a large ranch style house. Although the 280' is not entirely correct since about 80' of it is probably in the basement which is unfinished. Also, the fact that I have 5zones, does compensate the need to have a large boiler.

If you guys can please give a brain dump on this indirect water heater stuff; I would greatly appreciate it. Here are my questions from above -

1) How much expensive it is to add a indirect water heater to the system ? I understand it will differ from person to person and product to product. But if I were to choose Buderus, how much adding a indirect water heater is going to cost me more ? Some general cost range suggestion is fine for me.
2) In how many yrs can I expect an indirect water heater investment recover ?
3) Is electric water heater too inefficient to have ?
4) Also, how much in general a "R2107 Logamatic control" going to cost me ?


Regards,
BoilerHelp
 
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Old 03-02-07, 01:03 PM
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1. Who's adding the indirect, you or your contractor? If it's your contractor maybe $2.5K or more. I've never heard any complaints about the tank, but for its price, I'd go stainless and not worry about changing anode rods every few years. The bud tank used to have to plug into an outlet just to monitor that - but they took that feature off.

2. Too many unknowns. Do you have 12 kids, live alone, refill your hot tub every 3 days? Figure out how many gllons you think you use of hot water. Then convert that to pounds by multiplying by 8. Then take the temp of your hot water and substract the temp of your incoming water. That difference gets multiplied by the 8 and the gallons. That's how many BTUs you use just to heat up the water.

3. Electric water heaters are extremely efficient - pretty well tops in fact. It's just the cost per BTU of the energy can be double other fuels. Here, it's actually very close to oil. Standby losses are exteremely small in any better insulated electric model.

4. Trade cost would be $700 or so... maybe $1200 installed. My personal preference would be to buy Tekmar, maybe even their tn4 line before that controller, but that's me...
 

Last edited by Who; 03-02-07 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 03-02-07, 01:25 PM
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what are your fuel costs there?

oil x/gallon
elect y/kwh
ng z/therm
 
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Old 03-02-07, 03:33 PM
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I ran a few numbers the other day on electric vs. indirect.

My current electric heater costs me about 30-35 a month in electric.

An indirect would _probably_ cost about half that in oil, assuming stable price.

It cost me $3.84 in electric for the same BTU as a gallon of #2 (last paid $2.29)

If you have a large family, and are planning on being in the house a while, indirect is definitely the way to go. If you've got an existing electric that's less than 5 years old, and your family is smaller, and you plan on moving in 5 years, I'd say stick with the electric.
 
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Old 03-02-07, 03:49 PM
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Indirect

I don't think the $2-2.5K figure is far off. A 40 gallon stainless indirect tank costs me somewhere around a grand. Add a circulator, flow check, piping, etc. & the cost keeps going up. Be that as it may, I've never had a customer complain about their indirect.
 
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