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Will the Condensing Oil take over the USA?

JackFre
JackFre Member Posts: 225
My first warm air furnace, when I entered the rep business, was the Yukon Ultima EX-95. What an experinece for a rookie, or anyone else for that matter. Condensing oil cries out for, in fact demands, certified trained technicians. If Yukon proved nothing else, they provd that. I cannot tell you how many consumer calls I got where the comment was, "It worked perfectly the first year I had it but I got it serviced and it hasn't worked correctly since." Asking an untrained service tech to work on that unit was just unfair to everyone. Couple that with the "in the field" product development issues and it was a catastrophe of the first order.

The technology for that unit was developed by Wayne and sold to Yukon with the requirement that it have Blue Angels on it. I never did see one run with a Riello, and the BA, while an excellent unit had to be right on the money with the set-up. No wiggle room! They warped retention heads at a furious pace. Yukon finally pinned the retention heads so the tray assembly would index properly to the retention head. Also, with the burner at the top of the unit there were a ton of oil delivery lssues.

With all that said, They were a true 95%. They condensed like crazy, but you had to catch and treat it. If the condensate escaped it was another..."Uhhh, mam, what do yu mean the bottom of your furnace is gone?"

By the time Yukon went out of business they had them working, but it was to late for them and the product.

I would be happy to see the oil condensing technology come into the US market as I am a firm believer in it, but whoever does it had better control sales carefully.

Comments

  • Supply House Rick
    Supply House Rick Member Posts: 1,404
    We are going to stock the Pinnacle Oil

    Based on fuel (gouging) prices, Is this going to take over the oil using community? People are spending all kinds of money on high efficient gas boilers, they are flying off our shelves.

    Consumers are very internet savvy and are telling contractors what equipment they want installed. This could be BIG if it works...
    Any thoughts?

    Rick


  • When it modulates... does it modulate?
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928


    Cute Rob...

    Maybe on-off thermostats turn a modulating boiler into a staged boiler ;)
  • A.J.
    A.J. Member Posts: 257
    Oil issue

    I was just with the budarus rep last night and he was telling me that we will never see a german oil condensing boiler over here becuase are oil is not up to their standards. That is putting it politly.
  • A.J.
    A.J. Member Posts: 257
    Oil issue

    I was just with the budarus rep last night and he was telling me that we will never see a german oil condensing boiler over here becuase are oil is not up to their standards. That is putting it politly.
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,538
    Unfortunately No

    IMO. Most oil boilers are sold by oil co's and they are resistant to change. Add in the sulfur problem,the need for some type of water heater and the "new technology" factor and I see most using the same pin type/tankless coil setups they have been selling for 30 years.You're right an increasing % of consumers are wiiling to spend for efficiency but here it is still a vast minority. Now if only boilers were installed in Kitchens! Or Driveways!

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  • I wonder, if you can get a local source for biodiesel, wouldn't that be far clean enough to use one of the fancy oil boilers from europe?

    hmmm. there's a place two towns over from me....
  • Dave Yates (PAH)
    Dave Yates (PAH) Member Posts: 2,162
    If ISH

    Germany is a guideline for what to expect - and it certainly was where condensing, modulating, gas-fired boilers were concerned - then last year's show featuring a host of condensing & modulating (not step-fired) oil-fired boilers will be coming to our shores in the near future.

    The NAOHSM group was invited into a private meeting with the Buderus folks who, once they made writers put away notepads & swear not to reveal anything said or seen(G), revealed R&D stuff they're bringing to market (probably about now) in the mod-con oil-fired markets - over there where oil is cleaner.

    If they weren't pulling our collective legs, we're going to be seeing some really amazing technology in the very near future.

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  • A.J.
    A.J. Member Posts: 257


    > Germany is a guideline for what to expect - and

    > it certainly was where condensing, modulating,

    > gas-fired boilers were concerned - then last

    > year's show featuring a host of condensing &

    > modulating (not step-fired) oil-fired boilers

    > will be coming to our shores in the near

    > future.

    >

    > The NAOHSM group was invited into a

    > private meeting with the Buderus folks who, once

    > they made writers put away notepads & swear not

    > to reveal anything said or seen(G), revealed R&D

    > stuff they're bringing to market (probably about

    > now) in the mod-con oil-fired markets - over

    > there where oil is cleaner.

    >

    > If they weren't

    > pulling our collective legs, we're going to be

    > seeing some really amazing technology in the very

    > near future.

    >

    > _A

    > HREF="http://www.heatinghelp.com/getListed.cfm?id=

    > 98&Step=30"_To Learn More About This

    > Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in

    > "Find A Professional"_/A_



  • A.J.
    A.J. Member Posts: 257
    Hope your right Dave

    We all need to start thinking about the bigger picture,instead of the fastest, easyest, cheapest.
    If the gas condesing boilers are an indicator there sure is a market for a oil condensing boiler. I sure would like to try one.
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    It may be a number of issues...

    ... as Pete Caruso likes to point out, the FCX has a proven track record of 20+ years in the EU with the same sulfur-laden oil as the US. But I doubt it could ever modulate because it consists of a boiler with two distinct HX's, the first of which cannot handle condensation. Only when the whole HX can handle condensation does low-end step-firing or modulation become a reality.

    Another factor is technical expertise. There are still contractors out there that tune boilers by eye and then wonder why the thing soots up. They blame the condensing technology, not the fact that they used an inaccurate means of setting up the boiler in the first place. As Jim Davis likes to point out, a fast-response flue gas meter can do wonders in terms of fine-tuning a boiler... yet what percentage of boiler techs have taken his classes to understand what goes on in a boiler/burner?

    For that matter what percentage of boiler techs have been to the classes about the boilers they work on every day? Look at Carriers experience with the Infinity Scroll compressor... a good idea... but way ahead of it's time and as a result they had nothing but trouble with technicians who were unqualified to work on these units.

    We are rapidly approaching an era where boilers, HVAC, and other house systems are becoming so proprietary that training becomes pretty much mandatory. Now, the internet, etc. can help remediate the schooling gap by putting lessons and data on the web, but the technician and his/her boss have to be motivated enough to read and understand it. Plus, personal interaction to cover things not covered in the lesson goes a very long way.

    Another factor in the US is the litigation that goes on and the huge penalties that some people have had to bear as a result of consumer malpractice. In Germany (and the rest of the EU) damages are generally capped, in the US, they are generally not. That scares a lot of companies away and/or limits the amount of product that they are willing to sell to a minimum.

    Another factor is that the US a lot of paperwork/protectionist standards to comply with, perhaps moreso than across the the EU and most other markets. ASTM and their 1/4" boiler wall thickness requirements is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to certifying that your boiler is fit for sale. Economists call these arachaic standards non-tarrif barriers to entry. Every country has them.

    Another factor is filtration, something that becomes ever more important as you go down in the firing rates. Firedragon has three pots, as does Ron Schroeder. A 50, 10, and perhaps 5-micron setup will perhaps become a standard in the future for those installers who don't want callbacks in the middle of the night. Combined with a vac-gauge, the customer/technician has a visual indicator of how saturated the filters are with gunk.

    Lastly, (and IMO least importantly) there is the fuel question. There have been reports of bad fuel making the rounds, being sold at discount but of questionable quality. Allow the sulfur to spike, and ANY boiler but the wide-passage cast iron coal-conversions will soot up in a hurry. It comes back to the customer... if you can't rely on them to be "good citizens" with their boiler, then selling them a low GPH condensing unit is maybe less than wise.

    To me, condensing oil boilers are like thoroughbred race horses. More than ever, they require proper care, maintenance, good feeding, etc. to give you top perfomance. This is precisely why I worry about Pinnacle when it comes to releasing these boilers.

    Like most manufacturers, they have very little control over their distribution network. As a result, they have very little control over who installs these units. Trouble will ensue.... The only hope is that the upcharge to go with a condensing Pinnacle will scare away the hacks... but if the customer demands it, even a hack will try to install one of these, whether it voids the warranty or not.
  • S Ebels
    S Ebels Member Posts: 2,322
    I second that............

    I recently contacted a number of European manufacturers of high efficiency boilers that burn "alternative" fuels. The fuels being wood, wood pellets, biomass pellets, wood chips etc. The technology of nearly all of these boilers is amazing considering the fuel source, many of the boilers I looked at have modulating "burners", some of them even condense. They have outdoor reset capability and DHW production circuitry built in. They are pricey compared to the junk that the US wood burning equipment industry is producing here.............you get what you pay for.

    In corresponding with these companies regarding bringing their product to the USA, none of them said they were interested. The reasons given are exactly what Constantin has stated. All, and I mean every one of the companies I contacted brought up the topic of liabiilty issues here in the US. The approval process and the cost for testing to standards which they deem to be lower than the ones they already meet was another impediment to bringing these outstanding products over here. Couple these issues with their generally expressed opinion that the high efficiency market is "weak" in the US and these products stay where they are. Which is to say, not available here.

    Bluntly stated by one person I e-mailed, his company feels the pain threshold required to purchase high efficiency products en masse, has not been reached, nor has our government taken any steps to encourage their utilization. The sad but true point of technician expertise was also mentioned in a round about way by one company that asked me if I had a nationwide organization to sell, install and maintain their products. They didn't want them intalled by just anyone.

    We have a long way to go from what I can see to even begin to convince a large portion of the US population that an energy crisis even exists. I hear comments regarding "big oil" and Bush controlling the market everyday. People don't realize that neither we nor any entity(s) here in the US are in control of our energy destiny at this point. We are at the mercy of others and will be as long as we are importing a high percentage of the "lifeblood" of our economy.

    After e-mailing back and forth with these companies and hearing the same issues brought up by them time and again, I became frustrated enough to write ALL of my elected officials at the state and federal level. In the 5 weeks that have passed since I did this, asking for help with all of the issues raised by these companies, I have received one (1) response from my US representative reffering me to several committees that deal with trade problems. Nothing from my Senators, nothing from anyone at the State level. I guess that shows what priority energy related topics are getting in our government. I don't think the "pain" level has been reached yet either.

    Good Grief!! 10AM on Saturday morning and I'm already ranting.
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    Trouble is....

    ... if the dollar trend that the WSJ has been reporting on today continues, these units will remain out of reach to most Americans. Bluntly put, the Treasury allegedly is doing what it can to devalue the USD relative to the currencies of the nations that we have the largest trade deficits with, i.e. Japan, China, etc.

    US Investors are apparently jumping on that bandwagon as well, snapping up record amounts of bonds, stocks, and other financial instruments denominated solely in foreign currencies. Ladies and Gentlemen, the slide I predicted has begun. We can only hope that it can be controlled.
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,656
    How Long???

    Dave, I saw these products 12 years ago at ISH. Don't hold your breath. Changing the sulphur content of US #2 oil is a daunting task. Perhaps NAOHSM wants to take it on?

    I think the hydronic industry would be better served to expedite smaller "smart" circ pumps that are variable speed, variable flow, such as the Alpha Grundfos pump. Larger energy savings would occur without intense lobbying and political swordfights.

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  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    Hear Hear!

    Removing the sulfur is not a technical question. The real problem is what to do with the stuff afterwards. Allegedly, there is a sulfur mountain growing in Canada near a refinery, large enough to be seen from space. Transporting it to the local port would be more expensive $/ton than the value of the sulfur on the world market.

    As the sweet wells start to dry up and heavier oil begins to be refined, the amount of sulfur being pulled out will only increase.

    As an aside, do the circulator pumps represent a huge load? Methinks that switching consumers to CFLs would have a quicker and more immeadiate payback. Ditto on getting more efficient compressors into refrigerators and the like. But that's just a theory.
  • Ron Schroeder
    Ron Schroeder Member Posts: 998


    There is less of a percentage improvement going from non-condensing to condensing in oil (less latent heat to recover) than doing the same switch in gas. It is a lot harder to justify the cost benifit ratio with condensing oil. The market penitration will undoubtably be less.

    Better controls and lower power usage circs. and zone valves will give much better return on investment.

    With constant circulation or multiple zone circs. the electrical energy savings can be significant with the low wattage zone valves (like the Taco ESP) and low wattage circs (like the Laing D series or Grundfos Alpha).

    My own system draws about 30 watts average for all of the zoning and circulation where it would have drawn about 600 watts average if I had zoned it with 007s.

    Ron
    Robert O'Brien
  • Maine Doug_36
    Maine Doug_36 Member Posts: 7
    I think

    that until we have some real standards or requirements geared towards cutting use of energy we will continue to suck local resources dry. We talk of going after the remaining Alaska oil as a cure. But what happens when we have squandered that?

    There are summer homes here in Maine that are being used for year round living. We now have 50,000 or so homes on tax supported oil relief, EVERY YEAR!. We are building McMansions all over the country, heating the drivays and all, without energy penalties for doing it. Want to build an energy pig of a house? Fine, here is the cost of your building and energy permit. Nah, let's find more oil and move the problem 15 years down the road.

    Since the US ranks about 28th on the list for health care that actually works and that dealing with this is not a priority, why should we get excited about energy conservation?

    Ain't going to happen soon in the general public that has other things to worry about. We need far more than fancy technology and ongoing higher prices will probably drive that.
This discussion has been closed.