Confused as to why some quotes are so high for installing a gas boiler...

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Old 11-07-13, 08:17 AM
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Confused as to why some quotes are so high for installing a gas boiler...

So i got the gas company to hookup a gas line to my house recently. I got some quotes for installing a gas boiler to my house. One guy quoted me $10,000 for a 100k BTU baxi wall hung tankless boiler. Another guy (however, he's unlicensed for this kind of work, but my neighbors were happy with him) quoted me $4800 for a conventional Peerless boiler (not high efficiency) for about 75,000 BTU's.

I talked with my co-worker and he thought even the $4800 quote was crazy and his neighbor got a tankless boiler install for something like $2500 and those tankless boilers only cost like $800-$1000. (EDIT: Ok, i talked w/ my co-worker again, and he said his neighbor already had gas and was just switching out boilers, but still, it seems like a big price difference?)

I looked it up on home depot's website and sure enough, those tankless boilers were in that price range.

Search Results for*gas Tankless Water Heater*at The Home Depot

A couple questions though:

1) I thought tankless gas boilers were supposed to be more expensive? I see tankless heaters that have way more BTU's than i need for only $800. When i got on Pexsupply.com conventional boilers are like $2000-$3000 for less BTU's.

2) Why would everyone else be quoting me much higher?
 
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Old 11-07-13, 08:36 AM
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The answer to #2 is simple. It's so they can make enough profit to cover the costs of being in business and put food on the table. The average person isn't going to buy the boiler, they're going to buy the complete service from a pro.

Shop around, you should get at least 4 quotes on a new system. before you make a decision.
 
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Old 11-07-13, 08:53 AM
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Are you talking about a boiler to heat your home and possibly make domestic hot water (DHW) in addition, or are you just concerned with making DHW?
 
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Old 11-07-13, 09:09 AM
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You need to do a heat loos of your home... Tankless water heaters and modulating condensing boilers are two different animals...

Whats there know and what type of heat emmitters in the home?

How many square ft is the home?

Give us more info and we can guide you better. \

10k is not out of line for a complete mod con with water heater/or combi... 4800 is cheap for a non mod con... but with in reason.

You get what you pay for....
 
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Old 11-07-13, 09:33 AM
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Rockledge: It's to heat the home and make hot water for sinks/shower, yes

Lawrosa: The house is 1670 sqft... the contractors already did a heat loss, i was quoted 75k to nearly 100k BTU's. The heat emmitters are baseboards.

But yeah, i was jumping for joy at the $4800 quote until i talked w/ my co-worker. I just found it odd that the tankless heaters i saw on home depot's website were so cheap and the market would be so much. But in any case, i read tankless water heaters were cheaper than conventional boilers, i guess those tankless water heaters on home depot's website don't heat homes or something?? So confused.
 

Last edited by iypoon; 11-07-13 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 11-07-13, 09:54 AM
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Lawrosa: The house is 1670 sqft... the contractors already did a heat loss, i was quoted 75k to nearly 100k BTU's. The heat emmitters are baseboards.
Cast iron or copper finned?

A rough calc and I get around 41 K for a home your size... Unless you have no insulation and very drafty house 75K would be oversized IMO...

I just found it odd that the tankless heaters i saw on bestbuy's website were so cheap and the market would be so much. But in any case, i read tankless water heaters were cheaper than conventional boilers, i guess those tankless water heaters on home depot's website don't heat homes or something?? So confused.
You cant use a tankless unit thats made for hot water as a boiler to heat your home. You are a bit confused.

Here is an example price for a HE boiler to heat your home... Thats what its made for.

383-500-723 - Weil Mclain 383-500-723 - Ultra 155 - 123,000 BTU Output High Efficiency Boiler (Nat Gas or LP)

The units you are looking at are for how water only.. such as the water you shower with...
 
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Old 11-07-13, 09:57 AM
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But yeah, i was jumping for joy at the $4800 quote until i talked w/ my co-worker.

Well here is a regular boiler thats not considered an HE type. So the price you received was fairly good IMO...

P202X-NG - Burnham P202X-NG - P202X 37,000 BTU Output, Standing Pilot Cast Iron Boiler (Nat Gas)
 
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Old 11-07-13, 10:02 AM
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Lawrosa: Yeah it's copper finned baseboards.

Ok i guess i was confused, now i feel quite a bit better. I dunno, the other contractors were quoting me 100k BTU's, but the $4800 guy who did a much more thorough heat loss measurement quoted me 75k BTU's. I dunno... he said something about high capacity baseboards. Also, my house is all one floor, dunno if that makes a difference. But he said my current oil boiler is way too big, so i guess i'm going with a smaller boiler if i go with him regardless.

Edit: to add the $4800 guy had me measure my room sizes, windows, and baseboards.
 
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Old 11-07-13, 10:15 AM
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dit: to add the $4800 guy had me measure my room sizes, windows, and baseboards.
Yes thats the way to do it...But most contractors are afraid to put the true heat lose size boiler in. So they bump it up some..

But if indeed you need only a 40 k boiler and he wants to put in a 75k thats almost double the size. Thats a waste of fuel..

Possible you can tell him what you learned here and go over the heat loss with him again to ensure he is sizing correctly..

Whats wrong with your old boiler? Whats the make and model of it?
 
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Old 11-07-13, 10:48 AM
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lawrosa: Couldn't tell you the make and model of my current boiler... it's oil btw, switching to gas, that's why i'm switching. The oil boiler is pretty enormous in size though, compared to what the $4800 guy is suggesting.

But yeah, i do have some unusual stuff in my house like really high ceilings (i think the living room is 20 feet), so i think he did mention that as to how he calculated it. Also have skylights.

I dunno, the other guys were thinking 100k BTU boilers based on their observations. Maybe i'll mention it.
 
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Old 11-07-13, 11:34 AM
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Of course high ceilings will add to the heat lose calc... Seems like the 4800 guy may be the better optin to go with IMO....

Oil to gas you should save oodles of money...

What make and model boiler did he suggest?
 
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Old 11-07-13, 12:01 PM
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lawrosa: he suggested Peerless

Edit: oh, yeah, he left me a voicemail, he forgot to tell me the model # though... i texted him back to tell me
 
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Old 11-07-13, 04:12 PM
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I talked with my co-worker and he thought even the $4800 quote was crazy
I personally think that your co-worker is the crazy one! $4800 is not a bad price at all for a boiler install. Especially for a cast iron boiler that will last 25-30 years. You will NOT get that kind of life out of a wall hung... I don't care who makes it.

the contractors already did a heat loss
Yeah, right... sure they did!

The house is 1670 sqft... , i was quoted 75k to nearly 100k BTU's. The heat emitters are baseboards.
As Mike has stated, most contractors seem askeert to abide by a heat loss calculation. Old habits die hard.

Here's some general 'rules of thumb', and are only that, but never the less they are good 'points of reference' to use as 'sanity checks'.

A 'typical' reasonably well built home from the 50's-70's might have a heat loss of say 25-35 BTUH per SQUARE FOOT. If this is your home, you are talking about 42K BTUH (Mike's number) to 58K BTUH.

Modern homes built to 'green building standards' might have heat loss as low as 15 BTUH per SQ FT or even less in some cases. If this is your home you are talking about 25K BTUH. You could just about heat some of these homes with candles!

Older homes... those big old rambling Victorians with rattly windows and no insulation... maybe as high as 50 BTU / SQ FT. Not your home, I know, but if it were... 83K BTUH.

i do have some unusual stuff in my house like really high ceilings (i think the living room is 20 feet), so i think he did mention that as to how he calculated it. Also have skylights.
TWENTY FOOT CEILINGS? Me thinks you might be exaggerating a bit? 20 feet is an INCREDIBLY high ceiling! So even though your home is a one story, it's as tall as a TWO story? I might believe TWELVE...

Skylights can be a heat loss killer... but there's things you can do to improve them if they are that bad.

My recommendation to you is to do your OWN heat loss calculation. It is NOT difficult!

Go to this post:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...alculator.html

and download the calculator. Spend a few hours inputting the data and see for yourself... we're here to help with the data entry and program questions if you need help.
 
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Old 11-09-13, 05:17 PM
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Hi NJTrooper and lawrosa

So yeah, he actually got backed to me and he was skeptical that his initial assumption of a 75k BTU boiler was enough and told me he was thinking of putting in a 100k BTU boiler (the next biggest size), which was a Peerless Mi05sv/sprkwpcn

It would be this one here:

L98-510 | Peerless | MI-05-SV-WPC-N | Johnstone Supply

i scanned the heat loss calc from the $4800 guy and here's the image... oddley enough they calculate about the same BTU as you guys do, wonder why the contractor got 75k then 100k BTU's off that calc, is there something special about my house (i put some images below as well)... high ceilings, recessed lighting, high capacity baseboards?:



I don't quite understand the "Req Baseboard" measurement there and how they calculated that. These are the measurements of the various baseboards in my house (in feet):

Living Room/Dining Room: 26.3, 6.83, 6.83
Small Bathroom: 2.91
Small Bedroom: 9.91, 9.41
Kitchen: 3.75, 7.75
Family Room: 14.41
Master Bedroom: 13.33, 12.08
Master Bathroom: 6.16

In any case, yeah i don't quite know how far up my ceiling is, but here are some pictures (not all ceilings are tall, the kitchen/dining areas have normal sized ceilings):

Living Room:



Bed Room:



Family Room:



Here are my baseboards, he said these were 'high capacity baseboards' which factored into his decision on what boiler to get:






But yeah, basically all 3 contractors quoted me a 100k BTU boiler, 1 of them (the $4800 guy) did an extensive heat loss calc based on my room size, baseboard length, and window size measurements and the other 2 just used the baseboard lengths.

Thanks for the help guys
 
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Old 11-09-13, 05:21 PM
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Let me look at your #'s. I will post back in a minute...
 
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Old 11-09-13, 05:35 PM
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Also, i talked w/ him again and i think his other rationale for going with a higher BTU boiler than the stated heat loss calc he gave me is because on colder days, it may take longer to warm up (we live in the north east, CT specifically), so i dunno. It's just weird all the contractors quoted 100k BTU's basically. They're pretty consistent!
 
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Old 11-09-13, 05:49 PM
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Well the 42k is your heat loss.. I would not worry about the ceilings at this point...

Note... The #'s you measures is that for actual element or are you mesuru=ing the covers??? You need to measure the element only.. The part with the fins on it...


Now...

His calc shows for 42K you need 78 ft of baseboard. Thats standard baseboard heated to 180f from a boiler. 180f water through 78 ft of standard baseboard will give you 42k heat out put...

Since you have high output baseboard you will not need 180f water to produce you 42k heat loss.. You may need only 150F water to heat the home...

So the new boiler temp IMO can be turned down in temp.. This will save you money on fuel..

Next what the contractors are doing is sizing the boiler to your baseboar output... And thats not how you do it.. No way... You will be oversized...

So lets take the 78 ft x 550 btu per ft ( 180f water temp) of reg baseboard.. thats 42k boiler needed..

But now they see you have HO baseboard.. And if you do have 119 ft then that baseboard puts out say 840 btu ft at 180f water. 119 x 840 btu ft = 100k btu boiler...


Wrong wrong wrong... That HO base board at 150f water from the boiler will get you the 42k needed to heat your home on the coldest day of the yr in your city...


Whats this all mean??? Regardless of everything above your heat loss is 42 K.. period. That is the size boiler you need...

Additionally you are probably a great candidate for a modulating boiler, but they are pricy and payback is nil IMO...
 
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Old 11-09-13, 06:02 PM
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lawrosa: thanks for your help! I will definitely reject the 100k BTU proposal.

However, i was wondering about your comment about turning down the temp on the boiler. Say i got a boiler that's still somewhat oversized (like the 75k BTU boiler), can i still have the same effect in energy useage that i'd get from a 42k boiler if i turned down the temp on the 75k BTU boiler, or will that still be a problem waste wise?
 
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Old 11-09-13, 06:13 PM
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75 k vs 42k is 33k... Thats the size boiler for my home. So essentiall you are putting in an additional small boiler thats is not needed. Thats a waste..

And what will save you more a 75k boiler turned down or a 42 k boiler turned down to 150F???


Also lets take this boiler for example. The slant fin s 60. Its a 51k boiler.

http://www.slantfin.com/images/stori...entry_s_10.pdf

Its about 8k bigger then you need but way better then 33K...

The reason I like this boiler is the controls. It will lower the temp automatically. I belive it starts out a 140f... As it gets colder and if it relizes your t stat has not been satified for a certain time it will turn the boilers temp up to 150....and so on.. This is the economy setting.

http://www.slantfin.com/images/stori...tions_2012.pdf

IMO these are one of the better controls out there from my research..

Just my opinion of course....
 
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Old 11-09-13, 06:20 PM
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Ok, thanks again lawrosa, i will talk to my contractor
 
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Old 11-09-13, 06:28 PM
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If that's 'high output' baseboard, then I'm Jon Bonjovi.

If that's not standard "Slant Fin Fine Line 30" I'll give up beer for a week. Wait... that's kinda harsh... I'll give up beer for a day.

As Lawrosa says, sizing the boiler to the amount of installed baseboard is NOT the correct way to size the boiler.
 
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Old 11-09-13, 06:31 PM
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So you understand?

I dont explain things well sometimes... But like I said they are sizing the boiler to the btu output of your baseboard and thats wrong and not how you do it...


Not that it matters but can you take a pic of your baseboard with a cover off? Any names the endcaps to a brand?
 
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Old 11-09-13, 06:40 PM
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Sorry trrop I posted same time you did...

In the first two pics troop see the baseboard on the wall? One pic covered by the curtains I think? Looks fatter off the wall...



Regardless if it was line 30 its 65k btu.

And at 150f water 119 ft @ 400 btu per ft is 48k btu....

So I say the installers have no clue how to size..


Plus to the OP... These boilers have a fudge factor of 20% built in. so a 50k boiler is closer to a 60k supposedly....
 
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Old 11-09-13, 06:42 PM
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Additional info on 'turning down the boiler temp'...

In many cases this is not even necessary.

Look at it this way; one of your thermostats calls for heat. Boiler fires. Water is heated and pumped. Home heats up and thermostat is satisfied, BEFORE THE WATER EVEN GETS TO THE HIGH LIMIT SETTING!

For some points of reference I will add some details about my own home.

1900 sq ft. two story expanded Cape style. CALCULATED heat loss via Slant Fin software was like 62K or there abouts... I don't recall exactly, it's been years, but that's close.

Several years ago I put a meter on my OLD boiler (a 141K BTU) and using this meter was able to measure exactly how much oil I was burning in gallons. Knowing the BTU content of a gallon of fuel oil and the 'degree day data' (basically the average temperature in a day) allowed me to track exactly how many BTUs I was burning to heat my home. A little bit of math and I determined that on a 0 day, my heat loss would be about 45K BTU.

I installed one of the smallest size OIL burning boiler available. A Burnham MPO-IQ 84. Still larger than I needed, but the smallest available for oil (limitation is in nozzle size for oil).

Last winter was first season with new boiler. Water temperature never had to go over 155-160 to heat my home toasty warm.

Old boiler was about 3 times as large as necessary.

Last winter I think I saved about 20-25% on my fuel bill, so much so that my oil supplier called ME to ask why I didn't need a delivery!

Don't let them install a bigger boiler than you need!
 
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Old 11-09-13, 06:45 PM
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These boilers have a fudge factor of 20% built in
I think it's the heat loss calcs that have the 'fudge factor' built in... 20-25% as evidenced by the numbers the calcs gave me for my home and the ACTUAL heat loss by measuring the oil vs degree days.

That said, one does not want to cut TOO close to the actual. You want a little bit of overhead... like for when you pull out to pass a semi on the highway...
 
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Old 11-09-13, 06:48 PM
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Thanks again guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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Old 11-09-13, 06:49 PM
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Thats right the calc has the 20%... duh... I feel stupid..

That said, one does not want to cut TOO close to the actual. You want a little bit of overhead... like for when you pull out to pass a semi on the highway...
Yes.. The OP is 43K... I would be fine putting a 50K in.. How much more do you suggest troop? I know your a worry wort though...
 
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Old 11-09-13, 06:50 PM
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Hard to tell from the pics Mike if that's H.O. board or not. I don't think so though.

By the way Iypoon, in the BR ... when you are heating, you don't want those curtains down over the baseboard like that. keep them up like the one on the right in the picture.
 
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Old 11-09-13, 06:52 PM
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I feel stupid
Now STOP THAT! You keep that up and I'm likely to say something like, "yeah, you LOOK stupid too!" ha ha ha ... just kidding, you know that! :yankchain:

I know your a worry wort though...
Yes, I am! I would not spec anything bigger than 60K, and that's only because of those skylights and the fact that there may in fact be minimal insulation in those vaulted ceilings... and that big pane of glass at the top on the end of the room.

With 60K you could probably pass TWO semis on the highway.
 
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Old 11-09-13, 07:13 PM
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NJ Trooper: Ok, i'll pull those curtains up

I actually do have a few more skylights than what is shown as well. 60k sounds good. Thanks!
 
 

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