Need Advice Switching to Gas


Old 05-13-13, 03:48 PM
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Need Advice Switching to Gas

I am looking to switch to natural gas. I currently have a 20 year old oil burner (also does hot water). Brick House built in 1901, replacement windows upstairs, attic has insulation (and is a living space), down stairs has original windows with storm windows.

I just got a quote to put in a slant fin Victory VSPH or Lynx Combi. The VSPH (86%) is for $5,080 (with hot water heater installed) and the Lynx (92%) is for $6,575 (tankless hotwater heater).

The lower efficient one has a 25 year warranty and the high efficient one has a 15 year warranty.

What should I chose? I probably wont be in this house forever and I would like to stop paying 2,800 a year in oil.

I am also worried about the life of the boiler. Aluminium verses Cast Iron etc.

Here are the links to the boilers:

Victory VSPH

Lynx Combi
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Old 05-13-13, 04:52 PM
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I, personally, would be leery of aluminum. And, I'm not keen on a wall-hanging combi.

Most experienced gas people go for a separate gas-fired water heater. They last about 10-15 years, or more, but my last one lasted 60 years.
Old 05-13-13, 04:57 PM
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Uou need to do a heat loss first. Rule of thumb is not to put the same size boiler that was removed.

There are stickys at the top of this forum. And the heat loss calc.

How many square ft is the home?

What type of heat emitters?

I dont like either of those boilers, but lets get more info.

Whats the make and model of the boiler thats there?

How many zones?

How do you heat your hot water now?

How sound is your chimney? Masonry? Liner?

High eff will condensate so that may be an issue. Sounds like the two estimates you got were from install and run type companys...
Old 05-13-13, 05:13 PM
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Let's repeat our Mantra a few more times...


Air leakage is responsible for the majority of heat loss in a building, start there... plus, it's cheaper than an insulation contractor and is DIY friendly. A bunch of tubes of caulk and a few weekends...

Consider having a ENERGY AUDIT by a reputable firm done on your home, and this energy audit should include a BLOWER DOOR TEST. It will cost a couple hundred bucks to have this done, but well worth the money.

If your current system is still fully functional and not in imminent danger of failing, the FIRST thing you should do to reduce your fuel bills is to reduce your HEAT LOSS.

Also, KNOW the HEAT LOSS of your home. You can do a heat loss estimate yourself very easily.

Also, read this:

Point of reference:

When I bought my home, over the course of the first few years, I was able to cut my fuel usage by nearly 40% simply by sealing the air leaks and insulating.
Old 05-13-13, 05:15 PM
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Thanks for your quick response!

I have read through some of the stickies.

I am working on heat loss (any suggested estimates would help)

Home is about 1600 sqft

190 ft of radiant fin baseboard

Two zones. 1 main zone and the basement zone (used less frequently)

Current boiler is 175,000 btu and is a boiler made by a local company in South Williamsport, PA

Current hot water is in the oil boiler

Chimney is in decent condition most likely without a liner and is brick. (Current estimate is with power venting the low efficient and the hot water heater)

This installer is a local master plumber, state licensed with insurance. His estimates are really the only ones I can afford.
Old 05-13-13, 06:30 PM
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After you do your heat loss you have a lot to think about.

I would say rough guess you will be looking at a boiler from 40-56k btu. Let me ask you something??? What size boiler do these plumbers what to install?

If its not in the ball park I quoted then you need to find a new installer, or demand the proper equipment goes in and dictate how the install goes... We will help you greatly here.

Now the info you get here may be mind boggling so be patient. You will learn a lot.

OK once you get a heat loss you will most likely need to line the chimney. You also need to decide how much you want to spend. You can go atmospheric boiler that vents in the chimney, These run just for the boiler about $1500 to $2000.

You can go high eff that vents in PVC and goes out a side wall. These run 4k plus with out install. These high eff units let you heat the home at lower water temps, and since you are way over radiated with your baseboard you will be an ideal candidate. You can save money on heating cost but the cost to install is great and the payback is nil. These units also need special piping and additional pumps so the cost will go up.

Also think hot water. Ideally you will want to install a indirect HWH and these work well with either boiler. No flue required. I suggest a superstor brand. But thats another discussion for later.

You can also do a separate water heater. That would be your choice. You can do a atmospheric that vents chimney of power vent that vents PVC.

I would prefer a tankless.

Here are some boiler suggestion that are popular.


I would say the 203 would be in your BTU area.

Slant fin. I like this model and would be my boiler of choice. The reason being is the controls work of your thermistate use and adjust boiler temp accordingly, to save fuel and give you the most comfort.

Indirect... The ssu 30 is a good choice. IMO Think about $800 for these.

OK enough for know. Whats your thoughts?
Old 05-14-13, 05:40 PM
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I agree the heat loss will probably be less than 50k if the home has decent windows & doors and some attic insulation.
Any mod/con that allows you to limit the input. Why input much more than needed?
If this is correct I would suggest the Series 303 as it has an easy add on outdoor reset. The best feature is the G3 block which allows 110f return water temperature without condensing. This allows higher efficiency when using O reset. It also allows to heat inputs or a heat and DHW input and includes DHW priority.
I also like the Alliance IWH, you get more hot water with lower boiler inputs than many of its competitors with lower flow through the IWH coil.
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