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HELP: NEED NEW OIL BOILER

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JAWMAN
JAWMAN Member Posts: 3
Here is the situation. I bought a house last Sept, and at the time, had a home inspection done on the boiler, and the inspector told me it was fine. Well I’ve been told since it’s under sized for my house, and extremely inefficient (72%).
So I’m looking into new boiler for my home.
I currently have a Oil Force hot water, tank less coil new Yorker.. No hot water storage. So I’m looking into replacing it with a complete new system, but I’ve getting so many different suggestions from different companies it not funny. Even if they sell/install the same stuff.
I don’t have a clue abut this and rely on there opinions, yet I don’t know if they are trying to screw me or not.
What should I expect from a company that comes out to give me an estimate on a new boiler? Should they just look at the boiler, and give me an estimate based on the existing system? Should they take into account the size of the house? I’ve had some just look at the boiler, some measure the baseboard in my house, some tell me I need to extend my chimney. I don’t know what to do.
Any help would be great.. I got quotes on Weil Mclean, Burnham’s, Buedurs,, Viessmann.
Any I should stay away from? Any help with this would be great. Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • Darin Cook_5
    Darin Cook_5 Member Posts: 298
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    A few words

    I think that we could all agree that nothing other than the most efficient oil boiler should be installed. I have been offering nothing other than the Buderus G125BE 89+ AFUE Blue Flame oil boiler to my own customers. Check it out on www.buderus.net.
    A few questions for you:
    1) What is the size of your home?
    2) Are there any areas that do not heat well?
    3) Have you had any work done to the shell of your home? ( insulating, air sealing, windows )
    4) Where are you located at?

    If your home is under 2000 sq ft chances are the smallest model Buderus oil boiler will heat your home and hot water. A heat loss should be done on your home to ensure the accuracy of the boiler selection. I know that there are alot of choices out there and it can be confusing and/or intimidating to make a choice without being a tradesman. How long were most of the salesman in your home? The first sign of a good company is that they are willing to spend some time with you and answer all of your questions and concerns. It does not sound like you have had anyone in your house like that yet. I hope this helps.









    Darin

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  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,542
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  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,703
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    ask more questions

    as the years go on, the boilers are getting smarter, and smarter technicians are needed.

    Don't go 'cheap' with this. Or, if you do, fine, but just don't back crying if it backfires...

    I had a lady last week call up and say she went with some one else (they were cheaper), and the system was screwed up. She paid my tech (i don't know what my tech charged actually, somewhere between 150 and 300) to go over and do a consultation.

    What stinks is that YOU don't know what heating guys know.... forget trying to learn this stuff over night.

    Be a pain in the rear, ask questions, see who's running a tight ship, who has office staff, who has "real" service techs, who runs their business out of an actual commercial location.

    be a fly on the wall, ask at the local supplier who is good. Call the local rep and see what names are out there that are good. You likely won't get "don't hire this guy..."

    Here's a wild thought: Ask, "so, mr heating guy, thanks for your quote, is there anything that I'm not asking for that would make this system even better? i'm not afraid to pay for the best, I just want to understand it."

    If that doesn't do the trick, say to the next guy, "so, mr heating guy, I like what you're offering me but for xyz reason i'd like to spend a little less if it's at all possible. id there anything here that can be trimmed down?"

    NOW you'll start to learn what's what. Most quality heating guys are 'pumping away'. Only some of the old-school guys are still pumping on the return... many oil companies still do it.

    Here's a mind blower: ask the guy if they use an electronic combustion analyzer to tune the combustion. Dumb it up a little, never "threaten" the dude with techie info; most contractors don't enjoy working for smarty panted people.

    Hope this helps. I like the Viessmann and the Buderus too.

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    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
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  • JAWMAN
    JAWMAN Member Posts: 3
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    hey thanks guys for all your assistance. To answer some of your questions..
    I live in New England and have a 2200 sq ft home.
    Ive had guys, take 5 minutes, and some take 1 hr, and talk my ear off about the technology, and the system thwy would be installing, and this guy actually turned me onto this website to check things out, and ask the questions.
    I have 1 guy that I like alot (he happens to be the least expensve at this point, still over 6K to install) seems to know his stuff, and sells a quality viessmann product. the only thing I dont like is that he does not service what he installs. He contracts it out to another guy. Is this a bad thing? the guy he has do the service work, he tells me is a certified oil technician by viessmann which is located in Rhode island as well.
    regarding work been done on my hosue, This spring i had all the windows replaced with very good Low E , effecient windows. I do hope this helps in keeping the house warmer this winter. regading un even heat... There is 1 room that seems colder then all the others. I've had some guys tell me its because its the nE wall, which it is. One guy suggested that I could put an extension of baseboard in the room that would help.
    thanks again for all your help/ suggestions.. It all does help the homeowner and knowif if they are doing the right thing. keep up the great info ! homeowners really do appreciate it !


  • Leo_13
    Leo_13 Member Posts: 38
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    The guy

    I would lean heavily toward the guy who sent you here. You will get many opinions here and that guy in no way will be able to shaft you and he knows that or he would never have told you about this place.

    Leo
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,703
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    web

    I sent someone here once; they were thinking about spending big bucks on a steam to HW conversion.... some steam guys here tried to talk the lady out of it. Gee thanks!!!!!

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
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    Because

    Some of us truly believe that in most cases the best valve for the customer with a steam system is to fix up the steam system.

    You're welcome.

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  • Leo_13
    Leo_13 Member Posts: 38
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    In some cases

    In some cases keeping steam may be of value to the customer. I'm in the business and presently have steam. Prior to getting into the business I lived in a cape style home with steam. It was easy to heat, the up stairs had one large room with only one rad and was cold. We added a 12 by 24 addition with radiant, added a room above it, converted the original house to baseboard including the cold up stairs. We also added a modine heater in the basement under my son's room that heated when the first floor zone called. New boiler and went from a tankless coil to an indirect. My wife at the time worked for an oil company. We used the same amount of oil after the addition as before. In our case switching from steam was the right decision. The steam system replaced was tight, quiet, and heated evenly.

    Leo
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,703
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    ur kidding

    Isn't there a word for that, when the contractor thinks he knows how the customer should spend his money?

    If someone has an 80 year old piping system/radiators, and the customer isn't broke, you're going to talk the customer into keeping their old system when modernizing is a real possibility?

    If steam is all you do, I understand.

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
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    The customer

    can do whatever they like with their heating system. It's their money.

    But they should be presented with all the facts before they make their final choice.

    80 year steam piping is just starting to get old as far as lifespan is concerned.

    If the customer is convinced that because their steam system is old and performs poorly, it therefor should be ripped out and replaced with something "better", and they got money to burn, and you want to charge them for this, fine.

    But remember, few, if any, here on this forum had any financial motive to sell anything to your customer but the truth as they saw it.





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  • Maine Ken
    Maine Ken Member Posts: 531
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    It pays to know your audience. With all the love for steam around here I wouldn't expect a whole lot of recommendations to rip out a steam system!

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  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
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    Gary

    What does having an office staff, and running a business out of a commercial location have to do with quality contracting? I am in business 23 years now working out of my house. I am a 1 man shop. I hire a part time book keeper and meet with my accountant periodically. There's my office staff. I'd match the quality of my work against any of the bigger shops in the area and more than hold my own. I have my Masters licenses in 3 states and have shared my knowledge with many by teaching night school at a local community college through my trade association. Oh yeah, and I have a combustion anlayzer and know how to use it. I know you were targeting "Rusty Van" with your comment, but be careful. There are many like me who work small but deliver top notch quality work, despite not having a commercial location. WW

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  • Bruce M_2
    Bruce M_2 Member Posts: 123
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    Empire State Building

    Maybe you think that they should rip out the steam system in the Empire State Building. After all, it is 79 years old. The people that rip out steam systems often do it because they do not understand steam and do not have the ability to repair steam.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,703
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    yes

    that's the ticket, rip it out.

    Nothing like a good old steam/HW spar

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  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,703
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    I'm sorry

    the commercial thing was out of place. I was trying to make a comparison between job costs. My monthly rent/mortgage went up 10 fold last year, so my costs are higher now. Thankfully, business is very good at this time; my risk is paying off, so far.

    If your price is 15% lower than the bigger shop down the street, are they a 'rip off'?? I'm simply making a point to Jawman to "observe", that's it!

    Thankfully, for you and I, not everyone buys from the one-man guy, and the same for the multi-truck operation. Some people like to buy from one-man shops, others from larger shops. I ran out of my house for 9 years; I'm not talking out of ignorance.

    as far as office staff, I was trying to say, if you're busy out in the field, your office staff can track down other employees that may know what to do. More importantly the customer has a company rep to talk to. Please don't say you answer every phone call day and night...that would be silly. Do you???

    I'm not seeing where I need to be careful, can you share what you thought I was inferring so I can better understand? I don't care who drives a rusty van. I'm a tradesman just like you, so chill.
    Gary


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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
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    \"Isn't there a word for that

    when the contractor thinks he knows how the customer should spend his money?"

    Sure there is. It's called knowing the business.

    If you know how quick, quiet and efficient a steam system can be, you can work wonders for your customer and save them a lot of money- not only from fuel savings but also from NOT dumping thousands or tens of thousands on a labor-intensive, disruptive, messy tear-out and replacement that will only produce marginal, if any, savings over fixing the steam.

    You can also avoid damaging the building by trying to convert existing steam piping and radiators to hot-water, only to have them leak all over the place from the wildly increased pressures. This tends to attract lawyers- and who needs that?

    Those of you who've been on here a while will remember me asking time and again "Where are your numbers?", "What condition was the old system in?" etc. etc. etc. when people come on here with wild energy-savings claims after ripping out steam systems. Every time, the answers weren't there. We have never been able to find a scientific comparison of the relative efficiency of transporting BTUs by steam as opposed to hot-water, when both systems were in optimum condition and with similar, modern boilers. Without such a study, the shrill cries of "rip it out, it's inefficient" sound a lot like what you hear from a snake-oil salesman.

    But go ahead, keep reciting your rip-it-out mantra- and the steam man who can cut the customer's energy usage in a much more cost-effective way will get the job.

    BTW, we don't just do steam. But the fact that we do helps make our business what it is.

    "Steamhead"





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  • David Sutton_6
    David Sutton_6 Member Posts: 1,079
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    David
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,703
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    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,703
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  • bill_97
    bill_97 Member Posts: 172
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    Very well said Gary

    If the homeowner follows your advice , they'll be in good shape . Although I do agree with WW about finding good quality techs whteher they work out of a commercial building or a home .

    I don't know how this subject veered toward steam , but here's my 2 cents . I've replaced 2 or 3 steamers a week my first 10 years in the business . I've seen way too many systems done wrong to reccommend hanging on to a steam system if there's a better option the homeowner is willing to pay for . Not to mention all the living space taken up by the larger pipes . Living space is at a premium where we work ( no doubt everywhere else ) .

    I still love working steam . But it would not be my first choice for my own home , not by a long shot . If you grew up in a radiant floor home you can understand my bias :)

  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,703
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    Ok

    Nice, my house is radiant floor as well.

    It seems I ticked off several people with my "commercial" comment.

    When the original poster mentioned..........."yet I don’t know if they are trying to screw me or not"...........my ears perked up.

    If you're gonna say you're getting "screwed" at least has the aptitude to understand contracting and how different companies charge for their services.

    I got screwed by this large hotel in New York City once. Those rip offs charged my $250 for one night! I could get that thing locally for about $60 around here.

    I could go on with more ridiculous examples.

    Is this site strictly technical?? It seems that way based on the responses.

    The thread veered towards steam when I mentioned I sent a customer here to ask their own questions regarding steam vs. HW. There were people here that recommended "staying" with steam.

    I'll stay far away from anything regarding "screwing" and steam vs hot water in future threads.

    Thanks, Gary







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    Gary Wilson
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  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
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    limited skills

    Some guys just don't understand steam & are scared to death of it. just the way it is. they might rip out an entire cast iron soil stack & replace it with plastic 'cause they were incapable of replacing a cracked F. & W. fitting. gotta know your limitations.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
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    Ron, I know

    from seeing your pics, that after you replace boilers on these screwed up steam systems they HAVE to be working a lot better!

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