High Efficiency Boiler - Need Reccomendations....

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Old 12-14-10, 10:23 AM
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High Efficiency Boiler - Need Reccomendations....

Once this heating season is over we are going to pull the trigger on a new heating system. We currently have an old steam system (barf) that is on its last legs and its time to upgrade to a forced hot water system.

I'll be doing most of the install and I'll have my plumber friend make the final (and important) connections. He is a fan of Weil Mclain but I'm looking for more opinions from you guys on a good high efficiency boiler...

My heat loss calculation is about 47k btu for my two story 1600sq.ft. house. I'm looking for a natural gas, wall mounted (preferably), condensing unit with 90%+ efficiency. It will be a direct vented out the side of the basement wall.

Who makes a good boiler with these features? Who should I stay away from? Which ones are easiest/cheapest to service?

Just a quick look on the internet tells me that Burnham, Lochinvar, Triangle Tube, Viessmann, and Weil Mclain all make boilers for my application. What do you guys think??? Thanks!
 
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Old 12-14-10, 12:03 PM
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You will get alot of opinions here. I would go with one of these: Lochinvar, Triangle Tube, Viessmann.

The Lochinvar has the smallest 10-50K BTU for you app of 47k btu. The others are slightly larger. Are you doing domestic HW? Do you have city water? The mods usually fail sooner when on well water, from ph and other things. Water needs to be treated. How long you staying in house? Just things to consider.

I would probably keep the steam heat

My 2 cents go with Lochinvar.

Mike NJ
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-14-10 at 05:03 PM. Reason: removed unqualified 'stay away from...' - hearsay - just the fact ma'am
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Old 12-14-10, 12:51 PM
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Triangle Tube Solo 60 would be good. So would one of the new Lochinvar's which I think are based on Triangle Tube's heat exchanger design. They should be readily available come springtime.
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But a well-tuned steam system is really nice.

If it is at all possible to keep and reuse your steam radiators as water, do it. All that cast iron mass and a high-efficiency modulating boiler makes for seriously efficient and comfortable heating.
 
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Old 12-14-10, 01:17 PM
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Thanks for the opinions guys...

As for the steam system. The house is 110 years old and mostly in original shape. The steam radiators are in rough condition. A couple have cracks and are leaking bad enough to put a pan under them to catch the condensate.

Plus, we only have heat on the first floor....nothing on the 2nd, so it makes more sense for me to install forced hot water than go with new steam radiators and a steam boiler.

BTW, what do you guys think about purchasing boilers online??? Does the manufacturer turn thier back on you? It looks like I can get a better price than my plumbing friend.

A Triangle Tube Solo 60 boiler is going for $2900 at pexsupply...
 
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Old 12-14-10, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
You will get alot of opinions here. I would go with one of these: Lochinvar, Triangle Tube, Viessmann.

The Lochinvar has the smallest 10-50K BTU for you app of 47k btu. The others are slightly larger. Are you doing domestic HW? Do you have city water? The mods usually fail sooner when on well water, from ph and other things. Water needs to be treated. How long you staying in house? Just things to consider.
I don't plan on using the boiler for DHW, I was planning on using an efficient on-demand type system (feel free to convince me otherwise). We're on city water...so hopefully we're okay there. We are probably going to be in the house for at least 5 years. Even though it won't likely pay for itself over a 85% efficient boiler, the local rebates make it pretty competitive.
 
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Old 12-14-10, 02:11 PM
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5 yrs in the house? I would not spend the money. You can find used radiators and fix what you have. Craigs list is full of them or go to your local scrap yard.

Used Cast Iron Radiators For Sale - Yakaz For sale

I dont know what you have for heat upstairs or how many square ft but I would go with heat pump style window units.

I think the warrantys get void if bought online but I cant be sure.

$2900 for the boiler
$1200 for baseboard end caps ect.
$6000-8000 labor and misc. material, removal old cast, remove and install boiler, run copper, install baseboard

$12,100 ??? This would be my guess.


Or this

$200 possibly on used radiators
$600 two window heat pump units???
$200 boiler tune up minor repairs.

$1000.... That would be my guess.


I would take the extra money saved and go to Hawaii for a month or two. LOL

Thats just my thinking. I dont like to spend unless I have to. And hey let me know if my prices are way off. I used to be a good at estimating jobs but been out of it for over a yr now.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 12-14-10, 02:52 PM
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If you go high-efficiency boiler, then indirect water heater makes a lot of sense.

- it's efficient (depending on how you size it, can even be made to run in condensing mode for DHW).

- it's long lasting.

- it doesn't add another combustion appliance to your house (needs maintenance, etc.).

For a retrofit, consider doing a home-run piping system using 1/2" oxygen barrier pex, and using steel panel radiators where your existing radiators are located. Size them based on room-by-room heat loss so that on your design day they use 130F water or lower. That way you will achieve the high-efficiency of condensing.
 
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Old 12-14-10, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
5 yrs in the house? I would not spend the money. You can find used radiators and fix what you have. Craigs list is full of them or go to your local scrap yard.
I agree with you in most situations but ours is a bit different than most. This is our first house, its 110 years old and mostly original. Its essentially a gut and remodel job......except it looks like its going to take about 10 years! We moved in 5 years ago with the hopes of slowly remoodeling it and eventually selling it (best case scenario---5 years from now) and make enough money for a down payment on a much newer house. Realistically it will be 7 years from now.

Just for resale purposes, a new heating system is a must. Since there is going to be new drywall, I'd rather not have some old freshly painted radiators in every room. The goal isn't just to get a newer heating system, but to get the house up to date.

Installing a complete forced hot water system for my house is going to cost about $6000 if using pex. I will be buying the parts and installing them. My good friend, who is a plumber, will connect the pex to the boiler and all the zone valves and such. His labor will be very cheap and will be supplemented with beer and smoked BBQ food.

With the local rebates (not including the tax rebates) my total cost is looking at $5000.
 
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Old 12-14-10, 05:08 PM
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Realistically it will be 7 years from now.
That's what we said 25 years ago... but, we're gettin' there!

His labor will be very cheap and will be supplemented with beer and smoked BBQ food.
Count me in too! Beer and smoked ANYTHING is for me!
 
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