Request for advice: Viessmann vs Lochinvar vs ?

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Old 11-19-08, 03:34 PM
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Request for advice: Viessmann vs Lochinvar vs ?

I have scoured the forums and online tech specs and narrowed by decision down to a Viessman Vitodens or a Lochinvar Knight.

I have a ~98 year old home, 3 floors, ~2800sf (not considering basement) with cast iron rads and currently running a poorly maintained Lochinvar RBN180. I had the system serviced last year, just after moving in to this new-to-me house. The boiler looks ancient - lots of corrosion on the exhaust and the cover. Pump is quite noisy (even with lubrication) and several times last winter the boiler failed to start during the night. I now know the corrosion is the result of condensation from the flue gases and yes it has damaged my chimney. So beyond a reliable boiler, I would also like to stop damage to the chimney.

The first company I called for service sent a guy that had no idea about hydronics -- even though they knew I wanted my boiler cleaned and inspected -- however he knew enough to tell me I should replace my boiler immediately and he would even arrange a salesman to visit (.... mmmm yeah right).

So then I called Lochinvar's Canadian distributor (15 minutes from my house) to find they do not service residential boilers, nor do they know anyone who does... wth? So I started calling hydronics companies within a few hours drive and luckily found a very helpful guy in London, Ontario who agreed to come service my boiler, but he was also hopping mad that the Lochinvar Canadian distributor couldn't help me. So he call them and then got back to me as to who I should speak with with at Lochinvar's Canadian distributor. Lochinvar's Canadian distributor then recommended 2 contractors, but it turned out only one would do residential (seems excellent, no complaints about him).

Ok, sorry for the long winded rant, but here's what I want:
- high efficiency mod-con
- indirect heated dhw (not instantaneous)
- stainless hx
- zoning
- quiet operation
- reliable
- external temp sensing
- serviceable

The list of would like (not required, but future considerations):
- expandable for some retro-fitted radiant floor heating
- expandable for some snow melt

I had been set on the Lochinvar Knight from the start, but the Lochinvar recommended contractor has been quite difficult to communicate with and that started me wondering what I would do if he wasn't available... even a call to the Lochinvar's Canadian distributor provides no alternatives to their original suggestion.

1st. question: Those of you that have experience with both Lochinvar and Viessmann, do you have a recommendation between the two? Why? Alternatives? Are parts more easily available? Lochinvar is in Burlington, ON, ~15 minutes. Viessmann is in Waterloo, ON, ~60 minutes.

2nd q: While every install is different, can you tell me if I will I be paying extra for Lochinvar features that come standard on Viessmann? or visa-versa?

3rd q: I am looking for a ballpark on what I expect to spend on the boilers. All posts I have read have said the Viessmann are expensive, but they also all say it is the best. I don't want to chose the Lochinvar for lower initial cost, only to find that I'll spend nearly the same after install.

I have NOT done my own heat loss calculation. I will do this and also ask the contractors to do this (and yes I know it will cost). However for the sake of comparison, lets assume you're looking at similar output as the current Lochinvar RBN-180 (rated at 148 MBH) output.

Closest I see:
Lochinvar Knight KBN 150

Viessmann Vitodens 200 (not sure WB2-32 or WB2-44, I know heatloss calc would answer this)

Thanks for your input. Beer 4U2

PS - any advice on reading for maintaining my hydronic system?
 
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Old 11-19-08, 10:05 PM
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Given what you've already been through with Lochinvar, it would seem that is not a viable brand in your area.

Look at Viessmann and Triangle Tube (their Prestige boiler).

Finding a good installer is as important, if not moreso, than choosing between 2-3 good boiler brands.
 
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Old 12-07-08, 01:56 PM
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Viessmann

I had a Viessmann Vitodens 100 mod/con installed in June of this year as our very old system was near failure (it was so old it had to be carbon dated ). I have to say I am thrilled with this system. I paid extra for the outdoor reset and highly recommend it. This system is whisper quiet - you have to stand next to it to hear it. Also replaced the water heater at that time and that works off the Viessmann too - it's all good. The heat is consistent and the house way more comfortable than the old system. Best of all the therms useage of natural gas is about 1/3 of the old inefficient unit.

Also agree it's most important to get a good installer - they have to know what they are doing, it's not a job for a novice.

Good luck, whatever you decide.
 
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Old 12-08-08, 11:17 AM
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Given that Viessman is outside of Toronto, I would give them strong consideration. looking for a better price and many would argue simpler design nd less potential problems I would consider the Triangle Tube Prestige also.

I had a PS 110, serial # 000000024 and I have since sold the house but remain in contact with owners with no problems.
 
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Old 12-09-08, 10:28 PM
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I'll concur with ZL700 on the rationale for the Prestige. The HX design is tops and the controller is rock solid.
 
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Old 12-14-08, 01:01 PM
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Update -

After going over the quotes we went with the Lochinvar. While price was a consideration, the installer really was the deciding factor. He priced the equipment I inquired about and talked to me about the options and then suggested additional options. The other installers talked specific equipment but quoted different parts/products...

So now we have a Lochinvar KBN150 (two zones) and a Weil McLain indirect DHW. It's only been a few days but we immediately noticed a more consistent heat in the house which has meant we can lower the thermostat and remain comfortable. Boiler is very quiet - hard to believe this little machine heats the house better. The contractor also mentioned something along the lines of the Lochinvar having the same HX as the Vitodens 100 ... not sure about this, but I do recall them looking similar.

The contractor said that the outdoor reset wouldn't work with my setup because of the way the two zones are set up. Does this make sense? Also, what parts are there with the external reset? (There are no extra parts)

My only "complaint" is the look of the intake and exhaust vents - any word on why the coaxial venting was removed from the market? Will it return?

The forum is great - thanks for the feedback.
 
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Old 12-14-08, 09:10 PM
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There is a small outdoor sensor that uses the same type of wire as t-stats. You (well your installer) supplies the wire and and attaches the sensor outside.

Call the installer up and demand that they install the outdoor sensor and run the cable to it and connect it to the screws on the contact strip on the boiler. Man... how to make a condensing boiler way less efficient!

Disgusting BS they put up in defense of them shirking some of their work. Those zones are getting the same temp as each other whether reset or not, and reset is:
- more comfortable
- much much more economic (must keep return T under 130*F)
- less expansion and contraction of the heating pipes / possible noise

I'll bet they have that boiler or yours set up exactly like a conventional boiler would fire.

***************************

Outdoor temperature sensor
1. Connect outdoor temperature sensor (FIG. 8-3) to the
outdoor sensor terminals on the connection board to
enable outdoor reset operation of the Knight boiler. If
fixed temperature operation is required, do not install
outdoor sensor.
2. Mount the sensor on an exterior wall, shielded from direct
sunlight or flow of heat or cooling from other sources.
3. Route sensor wires through a knockout at the rear of the
boiler (see FIG. 8-2).

Not too tough...

Call them and demand it.
***********************

I'm no fan of coax terminations. I'm glad my intake and my exhausts on my body are far apart. Wind can do strange things, any weird air buffeting and the intake sucks in corrosive exhaust.

I'd like to see a pic of the intake and exhaust. Did your contractor install the bird screens on the intake and exhaust?
 
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Old 12-15-08, 02:38 PM
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The two heat exchangers are not even close.

Two zones is one the indirect? If so I know why he didn't install the sensor.

I hope the indirect has it's own circ which allows the boiler setup to be used as it should, outdoor reset and higher temp, priority domestic hot water production.
 
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Old 12-15-08, 09:09 PM
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Looks like I have some reading to do. I'll get him to install it - thanks for the info. No screens on the vents.

Originally Posted by Who View Post
There is a small outdoor sensor that uses the same type of wire as t-stats. You (well your installer) supplies the wire and and attaches the sensor outside.

Call the installer up and demand that they install the outdoor sensor and run the cable to it and connect it to the screws on the contact strip on the boiler. Man... how to make a condensing boiler way less efficient!

Disgusting BS they put up in defense of them shirking some of their work. Those zones are getting the same temp as each other whether reset or not, and reset is:
- more comfortable
- much much more economic (must keep return T under 130*F)
- less expansion and contraction of the heating pipes / possible noise

I'll bet they have that boiler or yours set up exactly like a conventional boiler would fire.

***************************

Outdoor temperature sensor
1. Connect outdoor temperature sensor (FIG. 8-3) to the
outdoor sensor terminals on the connection board to
enable outdoor reset operation of the Knight boiler. If
fixed temperature operation is required, do not install
outdoor sensor.
2. Mount the sensor on an exterior wall, shielded from direct
sunlight or flow of heat or cooling from other sources.
3. Route sensor wires through a knockout at the rear of the
boiler (see FIG. 8-2).

Not too tough...

Call them and demand it.
***********************

I'm no fan of coax terminations. I'm glad my intake and my exhausts on my body are far apart. Wind can do strange things, any weird air buffeting and the intake sucks in corrosive exhaust.

I'd like to see a pic of the intake and exhaust. Did your contractor install the bird screens on the intake and exhaust?
 
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Old 12-15-08, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ZL700 View Post
The two heat exchangers are not even close.
Perhaps I misunderstood him - something is the same...

Originally Posted by ZL700 View Post
Two zones is one the indirect? If so I know why he didn't install the sensor.

I hope the indirect has it's own circ which allows the boiler setup to be used as it should, outdoor reset and higher temp, priority domestic hot water production.
The DHW has it's own loop and is not the second zone.
 
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