Which Oil Boiler Should I Buy????

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Old 03-11-10, 09:52 AM
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Smile Which Oil Boiler Should I Buy????

I am in need of a oil fired boiler (hot water). Knowing absolutely nothing, I am confused on what type of boiler to purchase. First of all, it has to have an AFUE of 90+ to qualify for the Federal Tax Credit. I have read about the Peerless (stainless steel construction) and the Buderus (cast iron construction) but do not know which would be best and why. If anyone could give me any type of direction, it would be greatly appreciated. Any help with makes/models...any info at all is appreciated. Additional info: 2 zone heating system, although only 1200 sq ft is heated. The other zone is basement, and we never have used it. We also need a water heater with this oil boiler as we currently have no hot water after about 30 seconds. (This could be due to the leaking relief valve???)
 
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Old 03-11-10, 01:59 PM
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I am going to change tracks a bit on you. Forget the federal rebate at this time and look at what is more important. I say to ignore the tax credit as it is once and done. You need to pay for operation every year as long as the boiler lasts.
The largest fuel savings is tighten the home first, add insulation and replace doors and windows first. Lower the heat loss so you can buy a smaller boiler which is cheaper to operate and it will create more comfort.
Next have the boiler properly sized. A boiler larger than you need costs more to operate. The more over sized the boiler is the more it costs to operate.
Have a heat loss done. You can have it done before you do anything and they can show you which home updates are the best bang for your buck.
 
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Old 03-11-10, 02:22 PM
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I have already fully insulated my house and had new windows installed last year. So, I am fully up to date on the heat loss issue. Right now, my concern is my boiler. It needs to be replaced due to a water leak and to other issues that are starting to take place (rusting through.)

Right now...all I want answered is what type of boiler I should buy. Can someone help me with that????

THANKS!
 
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Old 03-11-10, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by CTGrandma View Post
...all I want answered is what type of boiler I should buy. Can someone help me with that????
You shouldn't expect people on this forum to give you the answer you seek. Some have their favorite boiler manufacturers, sure, but the answers would be all over the place.

What you should do is select a couple of contractors/boiler installers whose reputation you have checked and trust. Let them recommend the boiler - and ask them why. Maybe they will say that is the brand they sell and are the most knowledgeable and comfortable with. In my opinion, that would be a pretty good answer. I don't think you want to dictate a boiler brand to an installer inexperienced with servicing that particular brand, based on what somebody on the internet tells you.

Select the installer first before selecting the boiler. Many modern boilers are computer controlled - the serviceman needs to be half plumber and half computer geek, a rather special combination. Those servicemen will likely be most familiar with one brand, particularly computer-wise.

You still need a heat loss calculation performed to properly size the boiler.
 

Last edited by Mike Speed 30; 03-11-10 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 03-11-10, 04:01 PM
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What you will get, as Mike pointed out, is OPINIONS. And those are as reliable as what? Also, keep in mind that you have no idea the qualifications of the individuals on the internet from whom you are seeking those opinions... anybody can talk smack on the internet and sound like they know what they are talking about... ahem...

Personally, I like the Burnham MPO, but I don't think you will get the tax credit you are looking for, and I'm with Rbeck on this... forgetaboutit... particularly with oil, it's going to be difficult to find a unit that qualifies, and when you do, expect the yearly maintenance costs to be higher, and eat up that fancy tax credit.

ABSOLUTELY do the homework and either do yourself, or have done, a HEAT LOSS CALCULATION! Do NOT size the boiler off the old one you were replacing... 99% of older installed boilers are TWICE TO THREE TIMES as big as they need to be!

Lastly, I want to address your motivation for buying a new boiler... what do you mean it's leaking? If it's a leak from the relief valve, the chances are good that it's a CHEAP FIX compared to the price of a new boiler. You say the old one is 'rusting out' ... what exactly does that mean?

Has some 'boiler salesman' told you that you need a new boiler? If so, question his motives, and get a second opinion from an UNBIASED person. Believe me when I tell you that many of these guys do NOT have YOUR best interest in mind when they tell you that your boiler is shot... I'm not saying they are crooks, but it's always best to weigh anything you are told with an ounce or two of cynicism.

If we ask 'too many questions' and offer 'too many suggestions' it's because we are NOT biased, and actually want to help you do what's best for YOU.
 
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Old 03-11-10, 05:37 PM
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Shop the installer. Installation is almost everything. There are several very good oil-fired boilers out there. The 3-pass Biasi, Burnham MPO, and the Buderus 3-pass come to mind.

But the installer is the key.

Find an installer who will do a proper Manual J heat loss calculation. He may charge for that, but credit it toward the installation if you hire him.

Do not let anyone size the boiler based on what you have now, or size it by measuring how much baseboard, or how many radiators, etc. Particularly in your case with a newly-insulated and improved building envelope, you need to size the boiler based on the heat loss of the building.

Check their references. They most likely won't be able to tell you about the quality of the install, but they will be able to tell you about the contractor's timeliness, job site practices, billing, service after the sale, etc. etc.

FWIW, I agree with the other opinions regarding the super-high efficiency oil boilers. Forget it. It's new technology with little track record and a lot of very fundamental unresolved questions about service needs, longevity, etc.

Start interviewing contractors. Post their suggested approaches here if you want some opinionated feedback.
 
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Old 03-11-10, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by CTGrandma View Post
I have already fully insulated my house and had new windows installed last year. So, I am fully up to date on the heat loss issue. Right now, my concern is my boiler. It needs to be replaced due to a water leak and to other issues that are starting to take place (rusting through.)

Right now...all I want answered is what type of boiler I should buy. Can someone help me with that????

THANKS!
OK, what is the heat loss? This is the first requirement to selecting a boiler. And since you also require DHW, how much of that is needed in what time frame? It also always helps to ask, what is your budget?

Al.
 
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Old 03-11-10, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
What you will get, as Mike pointed out, is OPINIONS.
ABSOLUTELY do the homework and either do yourself, or have done, a HEAT LOSS CALCULATION! Do NOT size the boiler off the old one you were replacing... 99% of older installed boilers are TWICE TO THREE TIMES as big as they need to be!

Lastly, I want to address your motivation for buying a new boiler... what do you mean it's leaking? If it's a leak from the relief valve, the chances are good that it's a CHEAP FIX compared to the price of a new boiler. You say the old one is 'rusting out' ... what exactly does that mean?

Has some 'boiler salesman' told you that you need a new boiler? If so, question his motives, and get a second opinion from an UNBIASED person. Believe me when I tell you that many of these guys do NOT have YOUR best interest in mind when they tell you that your boiler is shot... I'm not saying they are crooks, but it's always best to weigh anything you are told with an ounce or two of cynicism.

Excellent advice NJ Trooper.
When I bought my home in 1977 it came with a Repco boiler. It was small but efficient and was put into about 90% of the homes in a 300 home development. Within several years a few boilers had the burner flame shoot out the back of the boiler and start fires. That brand boiler was condemned by the local fire dept and many people including myself had them replaced. I bought a Peerless which I still have.

Fast forward to the year 2000, I am now working for a local fuel oil company which offers replacement boiler guarantees if they canít fix yours. Talking with the service manager I find out that they have many customers that still have the Repco boiler. They replaced the guts of the fire chamber with larger replacement material. One of those customers is my next store neighbor.
My advice, talk to several different installers when shopping for large ticket
 
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Old 03-19-10, 10:19 AM
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I have had one particular company tell me that I need a coil (that is why I have no hot water), a new feeder (to repair the relief valve) and the gasket that is on the back of the boiler. (This is made of metal or cast iron...is circular...round and is rusting through). Total repairs are a couple grand. I believe it would be better to replace than to put a couple grand in a 15 year old boiler.

I will post the different contractors responses/prices on here while I am getting them for feedback and support.

I have one huge additional question...until I get this coil replaced, is the only "bad result" going to be going without hot water? What I was worried about was if the oil would be constantly burning trying to heat the water to the proper temperature....or what else are my "bad results" that will occur until someone replaces this boiler.
 
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Old 03-19-10, 02:26 PM
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We can't see the boiler to assess how badly the area around the coil is rusted... but it is apparently repairable.

What I don't understand is how they could charge you a couple grand to install a couple hundred dollars worth of parts.

While you are shopping contractors to do a new install, why not shop contractors to price replacing the coil and the pressure reducing valve? I bet you could find someone to do the repairs a LOT cheaper than those other guys.
 
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Old 03-19-10, 02:35 PM
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If the coil for the hot water is the problem, maybe you should replace it with an indirect hot water tank. It gets hooked up to the boiler like it is another zone. It will cost more than the coil replacement, but you can use it with a new boiler when you get one. It also makes hot water better than the coil.
 
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Old 03-19-10, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by drooplug View Post
If the coil for the hot water is the problem, maybe you should replace it with an indirect hot water tank. It gets hooked up to the boiler like it is another zone. It will cost more than the coil replacement, but you can use it with a new boiler when you get one. It also makes hot water better than the coil.
This would be an excellent plan.

Couple grand to do the proposed repair work is out of line, I think. For that much, you could probably do the indirect option.

Any chance you can host some pictures of the current boiler installation?
 
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Old 03-19-10, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by CTGrandma View Post
I have had one particular company tell me that I need a coil (that is why I have no hot water), a new feeder (to repair the relief valve) and the gasket that is on the back of the boiler. (This is made of metal or cast iron...is circular...round and is rusting through). Total repairs are a couple grand. I believe it would be better to replace than to put a couple grand in a 15 year old boiler.
CTGrandma This photo is my boiler after a coil replacement. maybe this will give you an idea of whats involved. I bought the coil locally for around $175.00 with a gasket, a feed valve for $25.00. It took a few hours for the whole job done by a licensed plumber.
A few photos of your boiler would enable the helpers on these forums to better understand you problem and probably save you a lot of money. My boiler is 24 years old.

new coil picture by mrbizness1 - Photobucket
 
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Old 03-19-10, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by CTGrandma View Post
Total repairs are a couple grand. I believe it would be better to replace than to put a couple grand in a 15 year old boiler.
A 15-year-old boiler is (or should be), a relative youngster.

Like Trooper, I wonder about that quoted $2K repair cost. But, for the sake of argument, let's say that the $2K is a good number. Maybe a new, replacement boiler is 10K? If so, that $2K repair cost looks pretty good to me.

I'm wondering who recommended replacing the boiler. A boiler salesman, per chance?
 
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Old 03-19-10, 05:45 PM
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Mrbizness1...on your picture...the black circle with the bolts in it...is almost entirely rusted through. The man told me that if the gasket had been replaced earlier...it would have been okay. The rust is literally falling off from it onto the floor. I will keep you posted of the boiler repair costs and new boiler quotes as I go through the upcoming days. I expect to get a few quotes before I proceed.

I do have the question, however, as I am going away for a while and am concerned. Until I get this coil replaced, is the only "bad result" going to be going without hot water? What I was worried about was if the oil would be constantly burning trying to heat the water to the proper temperature....or what else are my "bad results" that will occur until someone replaces this boiler.
 
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Old 03-20-10, 05:15 AM
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I would set an electric hotwater heater and pipe and wire it in.
reasons are If this is your primary Domestic hot water source. And You don't run heat year round ( commercial application ) How efficient can keeping a oversize boiler Hot just for domestic hot water. We not only have radiant heat loss on a static boiler, but also continues heat going up the chimney.
typically the only time i can see designing this setup is with seasonal changeover to another domestic hot water source electrical how water heater.
This way you will have domestic hot water. You still can get your coil replaced and install valving if you wish.
What do you all think?
 

Last edited by LukeP; 03-20-10 at 05:16 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-20-10, 12:26 PM
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I think an indirect is better than an electric tank.
 
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Old 03-20-10, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by drooplug View Post
I think an indirect is better than an electric tank.
Please explain for the life of me i dont see it.
We didnt even discuss water fouling and the insulating properties that a nasty boiler water has. Alot of these older boilers the water is as black as can be not to mention chunky.
You all so have to keep your boiler at a higher temp then your electric hot water heater. Laws of heat transfer the greater the temperature difference the greater the heat loss.
We need to consider stack loss a boiler at 160 sitting idle will have a draft due to the temperature difference from 160 and outside air temp. Constantly money going up the chimney. If you need heat as in heating season, or year round commercial application vav reheats , perimeter heat , hell ya might as well put an additional load on the boiler.
Everyone talks about dont oversize a boiler, That is exactly what you are doing when running your boiler in the summer for domestic water.
Also keep in mind some of these boilers are at best 80 to 85 % efficient now take a boiler that has been neglected and not optimally tuned and you could be 72 75 efficient
Would love to hear your point of view. I may have gotten off subject my bad .
 
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Old 03-20-10, 03:55 PM
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Luke, the boiler does NOT have to be run as a warm start to operate an indirect. The indirect acts as any other heating zone would, the indirect cools down, and calls the boiler to fire from a cold start. There is no need to keep the boiler warm.

Most indirects are so well insulated that chances are if the boiler were to fire up in the morning for showers, etc, it would not have to fire the rest of the day when occupants are at work...

Contrast that to an electric WH which would probably increase the monthly electric bill by $40-$50 ... or more, depending on electric rates.
 
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Old 03-20-10, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
Luke, the boiler does NOT have to be run as a warm start to operate an indirect. The indirect acts as any other heating zone would, the indirect cools down, and calls the boiler to fire from a cold start. There is no need to keep the boiler warm.

Most indirects are so well insulated that chances are if the boiler were to fire up in the morning for showers, etc, it would not have to fire the rest of the day when occupants are at work...

Contrast that to an electric WH which would probably increase the monthly electric bill by $40-$50 ... or more, depending on electric rates.
Sounds like a more effiecent way to do it engerizing the the boiler as demand dictates. Is the Ops set up this way.

THere may still be a decent amount of indirects out there that the burner is energized off of an aquastat on the boiler at least in Maryland. Thermostat on the wall energizes the zone circulator on a call for heat. Flow control valve prevents migrational flow when circulator is off.
Have you seen this style that i describe in your area? Is the Op set up like this?
 

Last edited by NJT; 03-20-10 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 03-20-10, 06:06 PM
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Indirect water heaters have a much faster recovery time then electrics. You can have a much smaller water heater because of that. Even going from my gas direct fired water heater to an indirect i was able to shrink the size of the tank from 50 gallons to 35 gallons.
 
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Old 03-20-10, 06:10 PM
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Yeah, unfortunately... it seems that when folks switch from the coil to an indirect, many installers never bother to change out the aquastat and just turn the low setting way down. Plus, it would add a couple hundred to the job, so when it gets bid in order to stay 'competitive', they don't do it.

That, and the sometimes chance that when a boiler that has lived as a warm start is allowed to cool, they sometimes begin to 'weep' ... and that doesn't usually look good for the installer, cuz the homeowner won't be convinced that they didn't do something wrong...

What droop just said about recovery time is very true also... electrics have the worst recovery time of all... well, except for boiling pots of water on the wood stove.
 
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Old 03-20-10, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
Most indirects are so well insulated that chances are if the boiler were to fire up in the morning for showers, etc, it would not have to fire the rest of the day when occupants are at work...
this is very true. After my new install i monitored things like this. After the single fire up in the morning for the shower, nada all day unless i did the dishwasher etc. The govt should eliminate all coils and give everyone indirect!
 
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Old 03-21-10, 04:57 AM
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I was clearly wrong there can be a huge difference in cost to operate per year.
My eyes have been opened Thanks guys.
 
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Old 03-21-10, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by CTGrandma View Post
Mrbizness1...on your picture...the black circle with the bolts in it...is almost entirely rusted through.
The rust was from the old bolts. There was only a little surface rust on the face of the boiler that sanded off when I removed the old coil. This is what it look like before replacment.

http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r...eerless024.jpg
 
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Old 03-22-10, 08:08 AM
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I have a contractor coming on Tuesday. I will post his findings here along with the costs.

Could someone answer this question in the meantime..I do have a question, however, as I am going away for a while and am concerned. Until I get this coil replaced, is the only "bad result" going to be going without hot water? What I was worried about was....would oil constantly burn non-stop to try to heat the water to the proper temperature thereby running out of oil in a very short period of time......or what else are the "bad results" that will occur until someone replaces this boiler and/or coil?
 
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Old 03-22-10, 09:59 AM
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"Bad Results" ...

The boiler shouldn't fire constantly... it will fire occasionally in order to keep the water at the set temperature, but this is no different than what it's done for the past 15 years.

If the pressure increases and the relief valve blows, that's a different story...
 
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Old 03-22-10, 03:20 PM
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You wrote the following....

If the pressure increases and the relief valve blows, that's a different story...

Could you explain that a little further?
 
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Old 03-22-10, 04:01 PM
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Sure... you said early on that you had a problem with the pressure reducing valve leaking, and that was causing the pressure in the boiler to increase, and that was causing the pressure RELIEF valve to open and discharge... correct?

If you've still got that problem, then it certainly could happen when you were away from home... and water damage could occur...

You don't want that...

Now, IF your system has NO LEAKS WHATSOEVER, you could theoretically set the system pressure where it should be and then close the manual feed valve... but there are drawbacks to this approach also... for example, say that gasket on the coil was leaking (and it may well be!) and you had the water to the boiler supply turned off... and the boiler leaked out it's pressure, and you had low (or no) water in the system... then the burner fired up ... it's not a good thing to fire a boiler with low, or no, water in it.

How long will you be away?
 
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Old 03-22-10, 04:09 PM
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One other point that I wanted to make, and keep forgetting...

Even if you do decide to go with the indirect water heater option, you would STILL need to have the gasket and pressure reducing valve repaired...
 
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Old 03-22-10, 04:13 PM
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I would be gone for 9 days. What type of water damage are we talking.....water running continuously into the basement for the entire time...or a certain amount of water running into the basement?
 
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Old 03-22-10, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by CTGrandma View Post
I would be gone for 9 days. What type of water damage are we talking.....water running continuously into the basement for the entire time...or a certain amount of water running into the basement?
If the home is going to be empty, shut off the water.
 
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Old 03-23-10, 10:31 AM
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That will not hurt the boiler? If the furnace requires water to work...what will happen when there is no water for the furnace to pull into the system?
 
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Old 03-23-10, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by CTGrandma View Post
That will not hurt the boiler? If the furnace requires water to work...what will happen when there is no water for the furnace to pull into the system?
you also need to off the boiler power switch then shut off the water.
 
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Old 03-23-10, 02:55 PM
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The boiler would only need water if there was a leak. It's supposed to be a 'closed' system. It doesn't actually 'consume' any water.

I would probably at least get the pressure reducing valve repaired, and when they put in the new boiler, you can keep the same one... it's brand new!
 
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Old 03-23-10, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mrbizness1 View Post
you also need to off the boiler power switch then shut off the water.
If I turn off the boiler power switch...then there would be no heat...am I correct? Temperatures here are still in the 30's at night. I can't let the house get down to that type of temperature. And yes...there is a leak....in the relief valve. Does that figure into the equation of the boiler not needing water...unless there's a leak????
 
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Old 03-23-10, 04:07 PM
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And yes...there is a leak....in the relief valve. Does that figure into the equation of the boiler not needing water...unless there's a leak????
Yes Grandma! That's what I been saying...

You said early on that they told you the reason the relief valve was leaking is because the boiler pressure is increasing because the pressure reducing valve is leaking through... at least that was my understanding.

And that's why I said that you should at least get the pressure reducing valve replaced. If their diagnosis is correct, then that will solve the problem of the over pressure that is causing the relief valve to spew.

Even if you do decide on a new boiler, the money on the reducing valve won't be wasted, because the new one can use the brand new valve...

No, if you have concerns about freezing, then don't shut the system down, or turn off the water.
 
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Old 03-25-10, 07:14 AM
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Got a quote for a Weil-Mclean boiler WTG03 plus the indirect Weil 3 (40 gallon). Keep in mind this is Connecticut ....everything including installation is 6800. Carlin burner. Any feedback?
 
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Old 03-25-10, 12:25 PM
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That $6,800 price doesn't sound particularly out of line to me, but could only be verified by getting an additional quote or two. But there are three other questions:

What is this contractor's reputation. You'd need to check that out on your end.

How did he size the rating of the proposed replacement boiler? If he didn't perform a heat-loss calcualtion, then that is a serious fly in the ointment.

Thirdly, what happened to the option of repairing your present, relatively young, 15-year-old boiler? For a couple of $ grand or less?
 
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Old 03-25-10, 02:12 PM
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think 100 times..

You should think 100 times before buying a new boiler. Make sure it's worth your penny. Gather some information regarding the brand, usage, pros and cons of the boiler before buying it. Listen to some advices and make a wise decision.
 
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