Boiler Advice

Old 05-08-09, 02:30 PM
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Boiler Advice

My house is 80 years old; boiler's about half that age. Hot water radiators throughout most of the house, with baseboard heaters in a few rooms where radiators aren't/weren't practical. House is approx. 2000 sq ft.

We're replacing most of the (original) windows in the house w/ fancy new ones.

Wondering if it's time for a high-efficiency boiler and maybe water heater too.

Got an estimate from a heating contractor and developed an immediate case of the vapors. Specifics:

Lochinvar Knight KBN210
Air Scoop and Expansion Tank
System Pump 007
PVC Flue Piping with Side Wall Vent Kit
Backflow Preventer Valve
Pressure Reducing Valve
All Copper Piping and Fittings
Boiler Pad
All Labor
2 Year Labor Warranty
Mfr Boiler Warranty

Total: $16,500

w/ 50 gal Lochinvar Indirect Water Heater
Add $4,000

Before stumbling across this forum, I had no idea what a heat-loss calculation was, or that such a thing existed. But I do know what "a lot of money" sounds like, and this sounds like "a lot of money."

Thoughtful or at the very least well-informed feedback much appreciated.
Old 05-08-09, 04:52 PM
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I think you can do way better than that. That seems very high to me. Wait for some other opinions.

Edit: Now that I think of it, I'd say that you can cut that price in half or better.
Old 05-08-09, 05:30 PM
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Yeah, that's crazy high... I'm with Pulpo, half, or even a bit less...

BUT: That thing about doing the heat loss... if you are making substantial improvements to the building envelope, do the heat loss AFTER you are finished with that.

How's the attic insulation? R40 MINIMUM! usually a relatively easy DIY job if there's access to the attic.

Since it seems that your heating system is still operating, hold off on that until you are all done...

THEN find a contractor who won't take parts of your body home in a jar of formaldehyde.
Old 05-09-09, 03:46 AM
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Find another installer. He broke the cardinal rule of hugely oversizing your boiler. A KBN210 is about 3 times bigger than you need. KBN080 would do just fine, even if your house was totally uninsulated.

Do or have done a heat loss calculation that takes into account the new windows and other things you will do to improve the building envelope (i.e., reduce the heat loss -- windows, insulation, air sealing).

Shop the installer. Get quotes, check references (other customers likely won't know squat about their boiler, but they will have opinions on timeliness, job site cleanliness, responsiveness to problems and service calls, billing, etc. etc.).

The price seems rather high, even for my neck of the woods, where nothing's inexpensive.

The good news is that a new modulating/condensing boiler (like the KBN080, or similar boiler from another manufacturer like Triangle Tube) is a fantastic match to large old cast iron radiators. You will run at a lower average water temperature, keep the boiler in its highly efficient condensing range, and enjoy greater comfort throughout the house.
Old 05-11-09, 09:23 AM
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Thanks, all...

...for the info and insights. Much appreciated.

Old 05-11-09, 09:48 AM
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Keep interviewing contractors until one does that heat loss! I had 2 'salesmen' from 2 oil companies come out and all they did was measure my baseboard. The kind folks on this site told me that was insane then i began my education. Sure enough, word of mouth led me to someone who measureed my rooms and wound up coming up with about the same heat loss as i calculated.

I even had called back one of the sales guys and nicely said are you SURE that's not too big for my house. He said i MUST get one with 150K or else the water wont be heated in my house

the only reason i dont write a nasty letter to his company is they are still my company for service and supply (one of the few that offer rate caps in winter). But if i ever leave ill write to the owner and tell him. But i doubt he will care as most of the people probably have no idea how to size a unit.

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