oil fired steam boiler

Old 03-13-11, 07:16 AM
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oil fired steam boiler

I presently heat with a weil mclain oil fired steam boiler, i want to replace this unit with a gas fired steam boiler. The old boiler is about 12 years old, was installed by a good company who did a survey to determine how big of a unit i needed. The boiler was rated for 358 Square Ft of radiator's. Can i go by this rating to buy a new gas steam boiler. And if anybody wants to give me information on what manufacturer to look at. Seems like there are lot of companies that sell gas fired steam boilers , I know there is Williamson, Utica, Peerless, and Union Steam to mention a few. Just got to get rid of this oil boiler, it's way too expensive to heat with it now that the price of fuel has reached $4.00 a gal Thank you Jim
Old 03-13-11, 07:58 AM
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A 12-year old steamer is a kid. You would be far better served by investing in building envelope improvements. For half of what you might spend installing a new boiler, you could cut the heat loss of your building by at least a third, and maybe half. Forever! That's the most cost-effective way to reduce fuel costs. Get a real energy audit with a blower door test and thermal imaging, then develop a plan to insulate and air seal. You will save money, and the house will be more comfortable.

But, if you really, really are set on spending a wad of cash on a new steamer for unknowable and speculative long-term fuel savings, there is a recent thread on how to size a steam boiler here:


You are correct that it is based on the square feet of radiation of the radiators. The EDR calculation is straightforward. But do not rely on the size of the old one. Who knows what their "survey" really was?
Old 03-13-11, 09:53 AM
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The steam boiler

Origionaly someone sized the rads to the requirements of the house, and they were very generous in those days, even though they had to hump those heavy rads all over the house. Mabey they would take the big ones up in sections. So as previously posted insulating and all that stuff, will greatly decrease your heat load, and you probably could down size some of your rads or mabey remove oe or two, and thusly down size your boiler's size, or mabey the burner's fireing rate slightly. In the days of coal, the boiler tender, probably the old man would adjust the dampers and the level of coal so that it would simmer during the time he [or she] sorry, was at work and the steam would trickle up through the system and the rads would be 1 quarter to 1 half hot, enough to keep the house toasty, and if it was super cold out someone would have to open the dampers up a little, and throw in a shovel or two of coal once in a while. When oil replaced coal, that warm toasty feeling. changed to on off, on off, warm but not toasty. Clothes would dry on a rack in front of the radiator, and there was usually a pot of water on a rad for a little humidity.
Old 03-14-11, 04:55 AM
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I would still double check the radiator size to make sure they did not add any fudge. Size to radiation.
First I would make the system more efficienct.
All all the mains insulated in the basement, good main line and radiator vents.
See link
Steam FAQ

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