Looking to replace 50 plus year old boiler

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Old 12-02-12, 02:45 PM
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Looking to replace 50 plus year old boiler

Need some advice. I'm looking to replace a 50 year old boiler for a 3 bedroom ranch styled house. It's currently functioning and is not causing a problem. My concern is the house has older wiring and its a rental property. In this area of NJ, Vineland, Cumberland County it appears oil heating is more prevalent (I could be wrong). My goal is to make the property more affordable with a updated oil burner and also try to discourage and or reduce the dependency of space heaters. I would like to install it before the new tenant moves in.

I have two questions.

1. How to pick to right size boiler? I have owned several investment properties and have good experience with Gas fired forced hot air and Steam boilers (I have installed both but not a circulating hot water/and or oil fired). When I've bought boilers in the past, the supplier asked how many radiators I had and determined the BTU. I have a total of six cast iron circulating hot water radiators. I was told about 100k btu would heat that house assuming its 85% efficiency. I was curious if I could go safely go to a smaller size without running the risk of short cycling. House is also 1500 square feet.

Radiator Size (I don't have measurements as of now)
2 extra large
3 medium
1 Large

2. What was the lowest cost decent quality circulating hot water oil boiler cost.

3. Current barometric damper is missing the counter weight. Does a new boiler usually come with one? Noticed also the galvanized steel flue has a hole in the bottom.

Thanks,
 
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Old 12-02-12, 02:52 PM
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You need to size the boiler to the heat loss, not the amount of radiation. A steam boiler is different in that it is sized to the amount of radiation.

The first thing you should do is insulate the house. This will reduce the size of the boiler and the cost to heat the home.

Do not use a tankless coil to heat domestic hot water. Opt for an indirect water heater that is heated by the boiler.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 03:21 PM
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Since you have cast iron radiators, I'd stick with a cast iron boiler.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 03:33 PM
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Cast iron radiators doesn't really make a difference. Mod/cons usually perform well with them, but a cast iron boiler is going to be lower in cost than a mod/con. Both in installation and maintenance.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 03:33 PM
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You need to size the boiler to the heat loss, not the amount of radiation. A steam boiler is different in that it is sized to the amount of radiation. (Makes sense)

The first thing you should do is insulate the house. This will reduce the size of the boiler and the cost to heat the home. (Make sense)

Do not use a tankless coil to heat domestic hot water. Opt for an indirect water heater that is heated by the boiler. (Huh? I have a independent electric water heater. Obviously a boiler that age supplied hot water).
 
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Old 12-02-12, 03:37 PM
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Connecting a low mass boiler with a steel heat exchanger to an iron system can be interesting, especially after a few years of iron narrowing the passages in the heat exchanger.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 03:57 PM
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I always recommend the Burnham MPO. Great boiler. I just installed one in my own home about a month ago. I used the smallest model they have and I'm at 1800 sq ft. This one is fairly closely matched to my heat loss.

MPO-IQ84 - Burnham MPO-IQ84 - MPO-IQ Series 64,000 BTU Output Oil Fired High Efficiency 3-Pass Boiler

Pex Supply is on Long Island, and you will have the boiler in a week or so if you order from them. Make sure you order lift gate service!

Yes, it comes with a new barometric damper AND a circulator pump. You will have to pick up some various bits and pieces of piping to complete the install.

The smaller size boilers are going to have a FIVE INCH FLUE PIPE, so be prepared for that! I would strongly urge you to have a stainless steel 5" chimney liner installed, otherwise your chimney draft will be excessive. Newer higher efficiency boilers do NOT like excessive draft! Your local building codes may in fact REQUIRE a liner. You can still use galvanized to connect the boiler to the liner though, that's not a problem, but the liner MUST be rated for use with oil fired systems and NOT 304 stainless... use 316 stainless... I'm probably going with the 316 ti (titanium) myself in the spring. You SHOULD DEFINITELY INSULATE the liner also.

I've not ordered from them yet, but have spoken with them on the phone... these guys are very helpful. There's others on the web of course, but I've got no experience at all with them.

Chimney Liners, Covers, Flues, Clay Pots - Fireside Chimney Supply

Read through my install 'blog' here:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...n-finally.html

Is the fuel tank indoors? (basement?) I do have a caution if it is not. (there's some info in the above link about that)

You can perform a heat loss calculation yourself. Not so hard to do, takes a couple hours. Go to the following link and download the "Slant-Fin Heat Loss Explorer" program. Install on your computer and input the data from the home. If you have any questions there are several folks here who have used the program and can guide you.

Contact Us - P.V. Sullivan Supply Co., Inc.

When I've bought boilers in the past, the supplier asked how many radiators I had and determined the BTU.
EHHHHHHH! Wrong answer! as Droo pointed out, only for STEAM systems, NEVER for hot water!

Droo also suggested insulation, as it's FUEL YOU ONLY PAY FOR ONCE! If you can't do the walls, at least bring the attic up to R40.

I was told about 100k btu would heat that house assuming its 85% efficiency.
I'm sure you were told wrong. That's probably TWICE the size boiler you need. Do the heat loss calc and we'll talk about that some more.

Due to the fact that oil boilers generally don't come much smaller than 85K BTUH (INPUT), your boiler will still be oversized to a degree... no way around that.

smaller size without running the risk of short cycling
A smaller boiler has LESS likelihood of short cycling. Short cycles come from a boiler that is way too big. It heats the water faster than the radiators can put it into the home.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 04:28 PM
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Cool beans, I like it...3 pass cast too!
 
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Old 12-02-12, 04:38 PM
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Connecting a low mass boiler with a steel heat exchanger to an iron system can be interesting, especially after a few years of iron narrowing the passages in the heat exchanger.
Why would iron narrow the passages in the heat exchanger?
 
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Old 12-02-12, 04:41 PM
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It acts like a magnet, believe me when you mix metals the iron builds up inside of there and it's really difficult to get it out. Soon the unit will restrict and overheat after so many years, I know, I've done this lol
 
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Old 12-02-12, 04:48 PM
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Where is this iron coming from? And why would cast iron react with steel? You sure it wasn't calcification?
 
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Old 12-02-12, 04:51 PM
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All of the old cast iron rads in the house...lots of rust build up in the heat exchanger...went through a lot of rust out to try to dissolve it. Got it back open, but the problem would keep coming back. Lessons learned (10 years ago)




 
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Old 12-02-12, 05:49 PM
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Droo said: Do not use a tankless coil to heat domestic hot water. Opt for an indirect water heater that is heated by the boiler.

Dgoode said: (Huh? I have a independent electric water heater. Obviously a boiler that age supplied hot water).
Not sure why yer confused ?

While a large number of boilers of that age DID have tankless coils, it's not a 'given' that they did.

I think the point that Droo was making was that if there is a CHOICE, and funds allow, to always opt for the indirect.

Unless your electric rates are way low, like on Hydro or something, an indirect on OIL or GAS boiler will be cheaper to run than an electric.

If you have 'normal' ( HIGH, and I know you do cuz youze in Joisey too! ) electric rates, I know an indirect on a GAS boiler will be cheaper, on an OIL boiler maybe a little cheaper, but probably close (and getting closer every day!)

Nice thing about indirect is that the supply of hot water can be almost unlimited... if everything is sized properly the recovery time is VERY fast.

Bottom line, NEVER EVER install a new boiler with a 'thankless coil' for domestic hot water. The only thing worse is a kettle on a wood stove. Except for the kettle, ANYTHING is a better way to provide domestic hot water!
 
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Old 12-02-12, 06:16 PM
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Thanks NJ Trooper. I saw some of your post on other threads and was hoping you would respond.

Yes. Burnham is a good boiler manufacturer. I owned a 3 family home which had one (sold it a while ago).

Flue pipes. The flue pipe will need to ge reduced. It's currently the width of the Titanic smoke stack.

Chimney Liner. You were reading my mind. I need to inspect and see if a liner is currently installed. It's only one story so pulling a liner shouldn't be too bad?

Fuel tank is indoor. I know a in ground tank has a 10 year lifespan.

I found a heat loss calculator. There is minimal insulation in the ceiling (R11). No insulation in the walls I'm aware of. My heat loss calculation is 83,298 btu.

If ceiling was better insulated and walls were insulated. My heat loss calculation would be 61060.

Short cycling - Your right. What I meant to say it will run harder.

Thanks for all your help. It would be interesting to calculate the heat loss in the house I live in.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 06:28 PM
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MPO-IQ84 - Burnham MPO-IQ84 - MPO-IQ Series 64,000 BTU Output Oil Fired High Efficiency 3-Pass Boiler

This is a very nice boiler. It's doable but looks like something I would put in my own personal home. Remember this a rental house and I'm jumping from a WWII to 2012 boiler. I know when a heating device efficiency goes up so does its cost and complexity. I would prefer a boiler with a less efficiency and less electronics for increased reliability. If that makes sense...
 
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Old 12-02-12, 06:58 PM
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Yes, sure it does...

The MPO isn't really all that high tech. ALL boilers you get today will have an electronic aquastat, such as the Honey L7224 (which the MPO has a variation of).

Oil Boilers , Boilers , Biasi B-10 , Weil McLain SGO Steam , Weil McLain Ultra , Weil McLain WGO , Weil McLain WTGO - PexSupply.com
 
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Old 12-02-12, 07:12 PM
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Old 12-02-12, 08:20 PM
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Yes, if you like, and it meets your heat loss, but you should note that :

NOTE: Burner DOES NOT come included w/ boiler, must be purchased separately.
Requires GO-2 Burner
386-700-392 - Weil Mclain 386-700-392 - GO-2 Beckett Oil Burner, for WGO-2

So add another $440 to the price of the boiler...

Thought you found a 'deal', didn't ya?

Do your own research and decide for yourself, debate rages for decades between 'push nipple' and 'elastomeric seals' between the boiler sections.

Be aware that the internet is severely slanted toward the negative. Every jackleg with an axe to grind will post bad reviews all over the net, but rarely will you find someone saying something POSITIVE about a product.

But, as I said, make your own decision.
 

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Old 12-03-12, 06:43 AM
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I was aware it didn't include the burner when I posted. Its close in price to the MPO series boiler.
 
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Old 01-31-13, 01:29 PM
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My old boiler was on its last legs and over the weekend I ended up replacing it. Bought a Crown TWZ100 which is a oil fired circulating hot water boiler. It was my first boiler I ever installed. I did have a friend (he has installed all my boilers in the last 15 years) give me some technical support. It was also tough because I needed to bring the house up to code as far as fire proofing, back flow preventer, low water cutoff (RB122E), automatic water feeder, emergency cut off switch at the cellar door and changed the breaker for from 15 amps to 20 amps. Not to mention the rental home was 3 hours round trip.

Other small challenge was modernizing the feed and returns for the boiler.

I also replaced the copper oil line from the tank to the burner. Changed it from compression to flared fittings.

Turns out chimney liner was good also.

Tomorrow is my plumbing inspection. Wish me luck.

Looking forward to the super bowl.
 
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Old 01-31-13, 03:28 PM
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But... where's the pics? Must have pics!
 
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Old 02-01-13, 06:04 PM
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I passed inspection today.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 06:30 PM
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Size:  13.4 KBPictures of before and after. Keep in mind this house still has galvanized steel pipes. The old boiler and water heater were too close together. Sears installed the water heater. The pipes were covered and I forgot how much steel was in this house when looking to install the boiler.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 06:44 PM
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Wow... that old flue pipe was a disaster waiting to happen, wasn't it?

Looks pretty good what I could see in the pics.

Congrats on the inspection!
 
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Old 02-01-13, 07:08 PM
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Thanks! This is the hardest boiler replacement...going from 1945 to 2013. It's worth every penny you pay person to do this type of work.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 08:36 PM
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Yeah, I know EXACTLY what you mean by that!

And ppl complain that they charge so much! I say, let them try it themselves in order to gain an appreciation... like you just did! and you appreciate it!
 
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Old 02-02-13, 01:00 AM
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Looks good on the new. Scary on the old flue!

I'm surprised NJ didn't chime in yet about supporting that expansion tank to something. There were also a bunch of post/links with the Watts RBFF so when you need to service it things go much easier. Still a great upgrade from what was there. With that lack of insulation, that should be large priority to reduce your operating expenses.
 
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Old 02-02-13, 09:28 AM
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Good call Sequoia! I didn't look to closely... my monitor is kinda poopy, and the pics are kinda dark so I sorta breezed by...

dgoode, in this pic:



That 'long arm of the law' that is holding the expansion tank needs to be supported. When that tank fails (it will, eventually...) it will become full of water. Say 4 gallons at 8 lb/gallon... plus the weight of the tank... say 40 pounds... that will exert a LOT of torque onto the other piping. Run a piece of pipe strapping from the elbow above the tank up to a floor joist above.

If my eyes aren't deceiving me, just the weight of the tank ALONE is already bending that pipe a wee bit...

In this 'sticky' post:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...sion-tank.html

scroll down and look at the graphic that shows an extra pair of valves in the line to the expansion tank. Consider adding these at some point... it will make servicing that tank a piece of cake... and you SHOULD service it at LEAST bi-annually because as mentioned in that post, these tanks lose about 1-2 PSI a year... normally... even a brandy new tank... service it every 2, even better, every year and the tank will last a LOT longer and you won't have problems in 4 years with the relief valve blowing out on you.
 
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Old 02-02-13, 09:34 AM
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One other thing I noticed since looking harder...

You should oughta had put the circ pump on the supply side, pumping AWAY from the air scoop and expansion tank connection...

Google "Pumping away" and read anything you find on this by John Siegenthaler to understand why.
 
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Old 02-05-13, 11:40 AM
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There also isn't enough room before the air scoop. In this situation, with the piping 90 degree piping so close to the air eli inaction, i would have like to see a micro bubbler. (Spirovent)
 
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Old 02-10-13, 07:06 AM
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You know, I was told by a couple of contractor it should be on the return.

Looking at the instructions it said supply. My first mock up was on the supply but was told it was wrong.

My worker had a TWZ100 and it was on the supply.

My worker consulted a master plumber said as long as the arrow was pointing in the right direction is what is important. He mentioned though the pump might last longer on the return because of less heat.

NJ Trooper, I will take a look at that. Working on another crisis. After finishing the boiler, passing co\boiler inspection...the truck died. I need catalytic converters ....jeeze
 
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Old 02-10-13, 07:10 AM
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When I google micro bubbler and click images... I see water bongs!!! I'm sure thats not it. Can someone send me a link from the example.

all of you ...thanks for the advice..
 
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Old 02-10-13, 07:19 AM
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Good points. It's not sagging yet but will be over time,
 
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Old 02-10-13, 07:34 AM
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google spirovent. Links will have other versions like Taco vortech I believe.
 
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Old 02-10-13, 09:38 AM
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Here's the bottom line as far as I can see... and OPINION...

It's working now, right?

Yes, there are a few 'should haves' being mentioned, but they aren't 'heat stoppers'.

"Pumping away" is an ideal to strive for, but the reality is that if your system operates properly without having numerous and repeated air blockages, and air gurgling through the pipes, then leave it be.

Looking at the instructions it said supply. My first mock up was on the supply but was told it was wrong.
Should have researched it a bit more... wouldn't and shouldn't the MANUFACTURER of the system that employs Engineers know best?

consulted a master plumber said as long as the arrow was pointing in the right direction is what is important. He mentioned though the pump might last longer on the return because of less heat.
The guy is 'old school'. If you mentioned 'pumping away' to him, he would think you were talking about porn... yes, in the olden days, the reason the pumps were on the return was to protect them from excessive heat, but the modern pumps are built with materials engineered to withstand the 20 or so extra degrees of heat they might be subject to.

DO throw a support on that pipe to the tank.

DON'T sweat it on the other details is it's working OK.
 
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