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Looking for expert advice

Mitch_4 Member Posts: 955
your question will be missed if no reads this on...


  • Robert Sisk
    Robert Sisk Member Posts: 7
    Looking for expert advice

    I have a large (30 HP) Mills 4400 boiler in a two-pipe vapor vacuum system in my 1918 home. The boiler was originally coal-fired but was converted to oil at some point. I just received my first oil bill of the season and it would appear that oil is 50% more than gas on an equivalent $/MBTU basis. I have been thinking about two options:
    1) Convert to a dual-fuel burner (like a PowerFlame) to take advantage of the lower gas price while retaining the ability to burn oil, or
    2) Install a second, smaller gas-fired boiler to carry the base load and leave the Mills on oil set to a lower temperature so that it only comes on when the gas boiler can't carry the load.
    A few things to consider:
    1) The house is very large and many areas aren't normally occupied so we generally shut off the valves at the radiators in areas where there is no risk of plumbing freeze when not needed. This effectively reduces the radiation area by one-half.
    2) The house was built right after the flu epidemic and reportedly the original boiler was sized to heat the house with the windows open as a result.
    What do you think I should do? Go with the dual-fuel burner that will save on the $/MBTU but won't impact the volume of large water needed to be heated to create steam in the old boiler, or install a modern gas-fueled boiler in parallel with the difficulties of getting the two to work together nicely?
  • Rich Kontny_5
    Rich Kontny_5 Member Posts: 116

    One of the experts on this site who live in your area to come out and properly size the boiler in order to give you options. A coal converted to oil is an inefficient way to heat to begin with. You are probaly warmng up your neighborhood as much as your house.

    Good luck!

    Rich K.
  • clif_2
    clif_2 Member Posts: 1
    steam boiler questions

    I am looking to purchase a home that was built in 1943. I believe that it has a steam boiler. It has the cast iron pipes going to the large radiators. I am in the Middletown NY area. I want to know how difficult it would be to add additional radiators to the upstairs. I would like to eventually add 1 or 2 additional rooms in the attic. I think the system is original; it is gas fired.
  • Greg Kalail
    Greg Kalail Member Posts: 2
    hot water baseboard heat

    I have recently purchased a split level 2500sq. ft. home. I installed a high efficiency boiler (Trinity 150) and it works fine, however when the systems is on you can hear a clanking noise that seems to be coming from inside the walls. My thought was it's the pipes rubbing against the wood at the bottom and top plate...any ideas???
  • Mitch_4
    Mitch_4 Member Posts: 955
    Clif & OP

    Start a new thread.

    As to the OP. If it is an old coal conversion and that oversized, rip it out and do it right.

    Based on your post..this may be an interesting read. (it pays to wander off the wall..)

    Your boiler is likely 2-3x too big even if every window inthe place was open!
  • Jim_47
    Jim_47 Member Posts: 244
    expert advice

    To all: Remember, during the peak of heating season, that advice here on the WALL is free. Advice asked at the local mall or coffee house is free, BUT...... Expert advice while I am standing in your basement because you asked me there is available for a price. Recntly I have had a rash of calls for free advice and free estimates. The heating season in New York is tops 6 months long. Friendly chat as well as EXPERT advice at your house in front of your neglected or out of date heating equipment is available, but during my busiest time of the year there is a charge for that.
  • Tim Melley_2
    Tim Melley_2 Member Posts: 10

    Hi, Bob.

    The fuel cost differential you see between oil and gas has a history. Back when gas was $2 a therm, and oil more, many homeowners switched, as did a massive swarm of electric generators, which then raised the gas price to where it is today. In short, either oil has to come down, or gas has to go up to equate the BTUs for millions of thrifty consumers. The big question is when.

    I assume that you have gas on the street. Should you decide to change, ensure a properly sized new boiler. Your present installation boasts a very high efficiency, despite its age. You will use about the same number of BTUs to heat the house, gas or oil.


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