choosing a new boiler.


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Old 11-11-07, 05:29 PM
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choosing a new boiler.

I have quotes from 2 different contractors.
1st one quoted me a Trinity high efficiency condensing boiler for $3850 installed. Also quoted a Weil-McLain Ultra, high efficiency condensing boiler for $4850 installed.
The 2nd contractor quoted me a Prestige triangle tube boiler installed for $5900.
Are all of these excellent boilers? I don't want to end up with an unreliable piece of junk like our current glo-core boiler.
Is the prestige worth the $1000-$2000 difference over the other boilers?
Which boiler would be the best to go with?
 
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Old 11-11-07, 05:44 PM
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In mod-con boilers, I would go with a stainless steel heat exchanger. The aluminum block boilers (e.g., W-M Ultra) tend to be very sensitive to water chemistry and other conditions. Given a choice between the other two, I would go with the Prestige, if only because in surfing around the net, I recall seeing more issues with the NTI than the Peerless. MHO.

Ultimately, the best boiler is the one installed (and maintained) by the best contractor.
 
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Old 11-11-07, 06:22 PM
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Randy, the Ultra and Prestige are very comparable in cost and both have very good reputations. The earlier Trinity models had issues, I'm not sure how good the current one are.

How do these contractors compare? Do you have references from "recent" jobs they have done? How are they proposing to pipe it? The little bits and pieces on an install can really add up on a job - ask Grady! The first guy's bids are really low... there's no magic and although you may not get what you pay for sometimes, you never get what you don't pay for so be aware that the devil is in the details.

I have a Prestige and think that it is an excellent boiler, but any boiler installation will only be as good as the installer's work. If it is a single zone install, the Prestige is easiest to install since the circ is built-in along with the LWCO and it can be piped direct. No extra circ, no isolating flanges etc. That said, for it or any of them, I'd make sure that there are take-offs in place should you ever decide to add an indirect tank.
 
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Old 12-03-07, 09:53 PM
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Question selecting a boiler

I am wondering if anyone can help me... I have a few estimates and have to choose between a Weil McLain, Burnham or Crown gas fired hot water boiler.

Can anyone tell me if they are all OK, and reliable or rate them. I would like to get something that is fairly quiet and reliable since I plan to saty in my home for a long time.

Also, I am wondering if it is worth the extra $1,200 or so the contractors are quoting me to upgrade from the Burnham SCG-5 to Revlolution RV-5 or from the Weil McLain CGS-5 to the GV-5.

Any help would be appreciated!! Thanks.

PS. Are there any good websites out there to compare boilers or get costs??
 
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Old 12-04-07, 01:20 PM
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Since you are going to be in the house a long time, I would consider better boilers than those being presented. The newer modulating/condensing boilers are the future, and they are developing a track record that seems ok.

That said, among the manufacturers you list, both Burnham (CHG, Freedom CM) and W-M's (Ultra) offerings in mod/cons have cast aluminum heat exchangers. They appear to be very sensitive to water chemistry and other factors requiring more attention to installation and maintenance than is common today. You might look into Triangle Tube Prestige, Lochinvar Knight, or other mod/cons that use a stainless steel heat exchanger.

I also happen to be a happy Revolution (RV-4) owner. It is not a 50's technology boiler, nor is it a 21st century technology boiler. Paired with the right controls, it is a very effective boiler and should last a long time.

The most important thing is to do or have done an accurate heat loss for your house, and size the boiler to the heat (and hot water, if you add an indirect water heater) load. Unless you have a very big, or very leaky house, or a large domestic hot water demand, I would question an RV-5.

You pay for an oversized boiler for the rest of its life in wasted energy. Size it right. Do not let a contractor say "oh well I sized it based on what you already have" or "I always go a little larger, just to be safe." That's bunk. If your house heats fine with the radiation you already have, it doesn't matter whether you have a right-sized boiler or a nuclear reactor in the basement. There's only so much heat you can put into the house. Generally speaking, a right-sized boiler is cheaper and more efficient than a nuclear reactor for residential heating....

It is also possible (sometimes for short money) to reduce your building's heat loss so that you can go with a smaller boiler. Insulation and air sealing is cheap and hugely effective at reducing energy use/cost.
 
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Old 12-04-07, 02:10 PM
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Are there any good websites out there to compare boilers or get costs??
You are actually paying as much if not more for services than materials when you have a boiler installed. In most cases it is far more important to find a good contractor and then see what they sell, support and recommend and go from there.
 
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Old 12-04-07, 02:48 PM
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my DIY 2 cents

I've just done my first and hopefully last boiler install for a while - DIY style.

I initially ordered a Viessmann and configured that. The guy who is doing my final inspection suggested I change that order at the last minute. The reason was that nobody here in town stocks that unit. After more calls and more research we settled on the Lochnivar Knight unit (unit is sold locally). While I haven't fired it up yet (I'm 90% there) I can say that the unit seems solid and the installation manual and documentation is very thorough. It came with a decent fittings kit (pump, outdoor reset, etc.).

I had a lot of piping and retro fitting necessary because the previous boiler was gravity unit and the piping was a mess. I've gotten a lot of head shaking and stink-eye from my wife through this whole ordeal and I'm not out-of-the-woods yet, but it's very satisfying to pipe all this up. It's a very neat and tidy installation.

The boiler, expansion tank, secondary pump, regulator, spirovent, backflow, and concentric vent kit ran $4K. I've probably spent another $500 on copper, BI pipe, valves, straining wyes (thanks Who) and other sundries.

I spent a day removing the old boiler, pipes, old expansion tank, etc and cleaning the mess. A day to plan, hang the new boiler, and create an opening for the venting (glass blocks in old coal bin chute). About 2 days now with twisting new new piping, wiring the electrics and running PVC venting. All that's left is a little soldering copper for the water supply and final look over.

...depending on make and model, your experience may vary...

Good luck.
 
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Old 02-22-08, 04:04 PM
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I want to add on to this thread because I have a similar question and could use some advice.

Iím planning to have my 44 yr old 160K BTU boiler replaced and have had a few installers make proposals. I hadnít heard of condensing boilers before but love the idea of the high efficiency. One guy recommended a Crown Bimini BWC120 (120K BTU). Another guy recommended a Buderus GB142-30 (106k BTU). The Buderus estimate was about 25% more than the Crown.

Iíd love to hear some opinions on which brand or model is superior, if one is. Of course the two guys liked the one they sold.

Also are there different maintenance requirements for the condensing boilers vs standard?

Thanks for your help
JB
 
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Old 02-22-08, 04:19 PM
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I Just Had A Munchkin Boiler Installed Out Here At The Farm. (illinois) Cost 6500.00 But That Included On Demand Hot Water On The Side. I Am An Electrician With Limited Knowledge About Boilers, However I Am Very Happy. Cut Fuel (propane) Costs By Almost 50% And We Never Run Out Of Hot Water. Also The Water Temp To The Radiators Is Adjustable With A Touch Of The Finger. Also Has Zone Valve For Summertime. Neat System In My Opinion. Install This In A Tight Home, Not My Drafty Farm House And It Could Be A Real Savings. See What Others Think About Munchkin. Good Luck With You Guys Installation.
 
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Old 02-22-08, 04:36 PM
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hmm, well none of the installers mentioned Munchkin so I don't know if thats an option. I'd like to have the brand that an installer can and will service when needed. Thanks for the input though, INDII!
 
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Old 02-22-08, 06:31 PM
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Any reasons for not considering the Prestige?
 
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Old 02-22-08, 08:34 PM
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Originally posted by Who:
How do these contractors compare? Do you have references from "recent" jobs they have done? How are they proposing to pipe it? The little bits and pieces on an install can really add up on a job - ask Grady! The first guy's bids are really low... there's no magic and although you may not get what you pay for sometimes, you never get what you don't pay for so be aware that the devil is in the details.
The devil is indeed in the details. "Best" equipment + crappy install = poor job. "Poorest" equipment (nobody makes junk) + top notch install = good job. You do the math.
 
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Old 02-23-08, 05:31 AM
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Playing devils advocate as you know I like to do. If condensing boilers are the best thing since sliced bread and have been around in excess of 20 years in Europe, why is the European market share only 28% mod/cons? How many are on there second one already? When are we Americans going to start realizing we need to service our equipment annually, especially mod/cons?
What is the best equipment to buy? The contractor plays the biggest part in that equation. He may mean well and do a wonderful job with cast iron or steel boilers but the condensing market is different. In the last three weeks alone I have been on 9 problem jobs due to improper installation of mod/con boilers, and also some cast iron boilers installed improperly.

The idea of putting so much interest only in efficiency is ludicrous, you may not be getting what you think you are getting. Are you willing to spend more money on a product that requires more maintenance, more expensive parts, more material to install and lower life expectancy? Install a cast iron boiler for less up front costs, lower priced replacement part costs, less maintenance and more longevity. Sometimes the former is the best choice. You must look at life cycle costs if you want the best application. A word on longevity do you need a boiler to last 40 years today? Technology is changing too fast.
Now letís add to that if you are concerned about pollutants the mod/cons are more green providing they are in a condensing mode, which they operate there much of the run cycles, dependent on the systems they are installed in.
Mod/cons installed in fully condensing markets is a match made in heaven. I understand the Europeans have mandated that all new installs require a max water temp of 137f and mandate annual cleanings. We must applaud them for this move. That will push the mod/con sales above 28% and have a great operating system and boiler. Until we mandate the same standards the mod/con market will continue to take hits not the fault of the boiler.
I know as a fact that at least one of the manufactures from Europe are looking at lowering the high limit due to long term damage to the heat exchanger when installed in high temp systems. I also know a product we get from Canada has not warranted some heat exchangers installed in a high temp systems.
I am not opposed to mod/con as some may think, I just think not everyone is getting what they pay for. I also know the stress the heat exchangers are seeing as they see water temperatures quickly varying between 70 Ė 180f. Mod/con boiler sizing is more forgiving than cast iron boilers but I still advise proper sizing.
 
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Old 02-23-08, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Who View Post
Any reasons for not considering the Prestige?
The only reason is that no contractors have mentioned it so far, so I'm trying to gauge opinions on Crown and Buderus relative to each other. Is Prestige better?

So far the only condensing boilers they have mentioned are the Crown and Buderus. A Lennox and a different model of Crown were suggested if I want to go with the conventional boilers.
 
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Old 02-23-08, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by rbeck View Post
Are you willing to spend more money on a product that requires more maintenance, more expensive parts, more material to install and lower life expectancy?
Not really, and this is exactly the sort of thing I'm trying to learn about. Efficiency would be wonderful but I'm not sure what the difference in maintenance and longevity are. What are the differences in maint cost and lifespan of these types of boilers?

Originally Posted by rbeck View Post
Install a cast iron boiler for less up front costs, lower priced replacement part costs, less maintenance and more longevity. Sometimes the former is the best choice. You must look at life cycle costs if you want the best application. A word on longevity do you need a boiler to last 40 years today? Technology is changing too fast.
Now letís add to that if you are concerned about pollutants the mod/cons are more green providing they are in a condensing mode, which they operate there much of the run cycles, dependent on the systems they are installed in.
Mod/cons installed in fully condensing markets is a match made in heaven. I understand the Europeans have mandated that all new installs require a max water temp of 137f and mandate annual cleanings. We must applaud them for this move. That will push the mod/con sales above 28% and have a great operating system and boiler. Until we mandate the same standards the mod/con market will continue to take hits not the fault of the boiler.
I know as a fact that at least one of the manufactures from Europe are looking at lowering the high limit due to long term damage to the heat exchanger when installed in high temp systems. I also know a product we get from Canada has not warranted some heat exchangers installed in a high temp systems.
I am not opposed to mod/con as some may think, I just think not everyone is getting what they pay for. I also know the stress the heat exchangers are seeing as they see water temperatures quickly varying between 70 Ė 180f. Mod/con boiler sizing is more forgiving than cast iron boilers but I still advise proper sizing.

Good info in there thanks rbeck. Lots to consider. I think I'm going to try to find a really knowledgable contractor and get some more input.
 
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Old 02-23-08, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Joe Banks View Post
The only reason is that no contractors have mentioned it so far, so I'm trying to gauge opinions on Crown and Buderus relative to each other. Is Prestige better?
Well, when I was buying a boiler 14 months based on everything I could research and compare it came out tops on my list. YMMV
 
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Old 02-24-08, 02:37 PM
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If you want to go with standard cast iron and try to gain significant efficiency, remember that you will be adding a modest amount of additional piping (possibly pumping as well), and a control package.

Look at total system cost, lifetime/lifecycle cost, etc. to make your decision.
 
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Old 02-24-08, 05:07 PM
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The cost of either decision as xiphias is emphasizing will be about the same. You get the cast iron boiler cheaper but have to add the extra controls for outdoor reset, which is included in mod/cons. I would avoid chimney vented products at any cost. You can get sidewall vented boilers in the high eighties that may be where your condensing product could be operating half the time.
Unlike a lot of people I believe not every job is going to be a best of all worlds installation. I think you need to look at a few things when installing a boiler. How the boiler may react to the system, expected longevity, length of stay in building and how high your checkbook goes. Do the best you can for what you can comfortably afford. If you have to borrow the money you are not ready for the best you can get.
The other thing which has been said here many times and is the best advice you can get is upgrade the home with windows, insulation, doors etc. This buys a smaller boiler and cuts the fuel costs even more. A lot of people do it backwards. Buys the boiler than the other items. Now the boiler is too large and wastes money.
 
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Old 02-24-08, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by rbeck View Post
The cost of either decision...
Thanks. According to the installers the sidewall venting is not an option, due to the location of the boiler relative to windows, patio and a deck outside that room. I would have to use the vertical shaft used by the original boiler. What is the disadvantage to vertical venting?
 

Last edited by NJT; 02-25-08 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 02-25-08, 04:42 AM
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If it is not a chimney there is really nothing wrong with it. If the boiler has a fan you have higher efficiency than a natural draft boiler. A natural draft boiler (vented into a chimney) has a larger pipe. The direct vent boilers have a fan for venting and a lot smaller pipe. When the fan stops the boiler allows very little heat to rise up the smaller vertical pipe past the fan. As the vertical pipe cools more rapidly than a chimney the natural draft slows much faster. Any vertical vent will have higher standby vent losses than a vertical piped vent.
 
 

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