Replacing Boiler Oil-to-Gas


Old 06-20-08, 07:32 AM
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Replacing Boiler Oil-to-Gas

I live in Southeastern, PA in a 75 year old home. We moved in a few years ago when oil was pretty reasonable, well not so much anymore. In order to save some money this winter, we're looking at many options to reduce our bills. We're planning on replacing the existing single-pane windows as well as insulate the attic and walls. Additionally I would like to replace my existing Burnham Oil Boiler with a natural gas model. I need to go direct-vent/power-vent, as my chimney is unlined brick and is deteriorating quickly.

My setup is a Burnham RSM-126, single-zone radiator distribution, with a domestic hot-water coil in the boiler. I'm pretty handy, and my father owns a construction company, so ideally I'd like to do the replacement myself. However, neither of us has installed/updated a hydronic heating system. I've had quotes to replace the boiler and they've come in quite high (8k just to replace the boiler - 10k w/indirect HW tank). I'm looking for advice on what I should do. The quotes I’ve been getting are for the more efficient modulating heat boilers (Peerless and Munchkin), but I'm only planning on living in the house for 5 or 6 more years. Should I install a Sealed Combustion unit (seem to be way less expensive). Ideally I'd like to be @ about 85% AFUE. Also would it make more sense to put in a traditional power-vent hot water tank, rather than an indirect?

If we decide to complete the work ourselves, what should we be aware of? Do I need to install a new expansion tank, or can the existing one be used (in decent shape). How do I refill the HW system after I’ve drained it and installed the new boiler? Are there any major “issues” or “common blunders” that I should be aware of?

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Old 06-20-08, 10:22 AM
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I'm pretty handy myself and I would not attempt a conversion like this without prior experience. The peace of mind is worth the extra expense of a professional installation. You also want to keep in mind that a future home inspection might uncover mistakes that you won't want to deal with when you go to sell your house. You might be able to DIY the chimney liner though, which you will probably need.

A mod/con boiler will sidestep your chimney problem but they have a long payback time. In my case 6-7 years.

Take a look at the Burham Revolution gas boilers.
Old 06-24-08, 10:21 AM
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Almost the same boat

I live in Northern NY (QC, VT border) and will be replacing my 50 yr old oil-fired hot air furnace with a gas fired HW boiler (adding an indirect HW tank, and an air handler with HW coil). I intend to do 90% of my install myself, with the help of my father-in-law (heating contractor).

There are a few items that you want help on for sure (plumbing the gas, configuring the electric controls, etc.), but you can save considerable money if you are doing the actual install yourself (cut/remove existing boiler, install new boiler, hydronic connections, etc.). The rest I would leave to the pros.
Old 06-25-08, 07:57 PM
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DIY job?

I really don't think, particularly in an application such as yours, this is a DIY job. You can certaily save some money by doing the removal of the old equipment but when it comes to installing the new, I suggest leaving that to an experienced pro.
Old 06-27-08, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by oil_boiler View Post
Take a look at the Burham Revolution gas boilers.
If you're going Burnham, you can do better than a Revolution. Check out their Freedom and Alpine models. Particularly the Alpine. It is much like many of the other common mod/con offerings (it uses the same Giannoni heat exchanger and Honeywell MCBA controller as a number of other brands).

If not tied to Burnham, check out the Peerless Prestige.

Said as the satisfied owner of a Revolution....

Oh yeah, I also agree with Grady about which parts to DIY and which to have done by a pro.

8-10k for the whole job in your neck of the woods isn't unreasonable. These guys have costs too. But you need to make darn sure you check references, see pictures of their previous work, etc. Now more than ever it pays to do your homework.

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