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Replacing a 1966 Crown oil boiler

is just a bit on the surface, I wouldn't worry. Most old iron pipes would have a bit of surface rust after 80 years or so of service.

I would not switch to electric baseboard. This is much more expensive to operate than your present system. If you want to zone the second floor, use thermostatic radiator valves in those rooms. These will limit the temperature in rooms you want to keep cooler.

Since you're prepared for a major upgrade here, the first thing I'd do is to insulate the house, repair or replace windows, add storm windows etc. Then you can get an even smaller boiler that will use a lot less fuel. If you want to see some numbers, run a heat-loss calculation yourself on the house as it is and as it would be with these upgrades. You can get a free Windows calc program by clicking the Heat Loss Calcs button above.

It sounds like you have an old gravity hot-water system. These need special attention paid to how the boiler is piped into the system. Just hooking up the supply and return piping and installing any old circulator won't cut it. You will probably end up using some sort of primary-secondary hookup, as shown in the attached photo of a job we did. This will keep large amounts of cold return water from making the boiler sections run too cool.

With gas utilities showing unparalleled greed these days, I don't think it would be a good idea to lock yourself into their network. Several boiler manufacturers, from Buderus to Slant/Fin to Smith to Solaia, certify their boilers with either oil or powered gas burners. This would let you choose what to burn without having to buy another boiler. The unit in the pic is a Solaia, which is offered in either oil or gas and can be switched from one to the other by having a pro swap the burner and a few trim items.

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  • L. P.
    L. P. Member Posts: 10
    Replacing a 1966 Crown oil boiler

    I am converting from oil to gas and would like to update my 1966 Crown 175,000 BTU boiler to a gas one. My home was built in 1929 and is approximately 1,900 square feet. The old plaster walls are not insulated and my full (unfinished) attic does not have much insulation in it. I reside in NJ, outside of Philadelphia.

    My question is: The 2,3 and 4 inch black iron (heating) pipes that run along my basement ceiling to the first and second floors have some signs of rust on them. What do you think about the ones inside the walls that lead up to the second floor bedrooms? When I remove the escutcheons from the second floor units and look down a few inches with a flash light, the stem pipes appear to be rusted. My current system is gravity feed with separate supply and return for each radiator.

    Someone recommended to me that when I replace my old boiler this fall, I should consider a smaller unit to heat the first floor and elilminate the radiators on my second floor (3 bed, hallway and small bath)and replace them with electric baseboard heat w/ separate thermostats in each room so that I never have to worry about any water problems with the old pipes on the inside walls.

    Any comments on this topic? I plan to live in the home for 30 more years and like the idea of not having to worry about any problems with water pipes leading to the second floor, but I'm not sure about electric baseboard heat. I do not know much about the efficiency of electric heat. Thank you.
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