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need steam boiler

dirtdog Member Posts: 1
The old gas Weil mclain steam boiler went.Its about 23 years old,spark ignition.Looks like the new ones haven't changed much.Question is the extra money worth it for the spark ignition.Would the pilot burn a couple hundred bucks worth of gas in another 23 years?I would leave the pilot off about 6 months a year.I know how to lite a pilot, change a thermal couple and clean a pilot.Less parts to maintain.Is there any reason to really get spark ignition.Thanks for any response



  • Brian_74
    Brian_74 Member Posts: 237
    Depends who you ask

    I'm in a similar situation, and have looked into this question. The answer seems to be, it depends who you ask. At the low end, study (now nearly 10 years old) say it costs $3/month. Duke Energy says 6.4 CCF per month, which they calculate as $7.50/month. And one guy says that a fireplace pilot light would add 27% to his heating bill. Now obviously a boiler pilot light isn't as bad as a fireplace or stove pilot light since it is heating the water and so the energy is not entirely wasted. I'd be curious to hear what you decide.

    References, in the order mentioned:




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  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,629
    The facts concerning

    pilots on heating equipment. Most natural gas pilots have a .018 orifice in the pilot. The pilot is on line pressure so a good ball park pressure to use is 7" W.C. A .018 pilot at 7" will use about 1.12 cubic feet an hour. That multiplied by 24 hours in a day = 24 cubic feet per day. If the pilot is on 24/7 then 24 X 365 days = 8,760 cubic feet x 1025 (BTU content of a cubic foot of gas) = 8,979,000 BTU's divided by 100,000 (A Therm)= 89.79 Therms. Then find out what the cost per therm is from the local gas company and that will give you the answer.

    It typically comes out to around $100 to $120 a year.

    The next consideration is if you go Mod/Con 90 plus what will the savings be per year versus the cost of the equipment. We call it the return on your investment.

    The next consideration is the annual maintenance required on the Mod/Con, the ultimate end of all this is you may just break even.

    Thermocouple systems require less maintenance as far as controls, but should still be checked once a year and a combustion test done.

    Hope this helps.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 17,008
    I'd consider

    a wet-base boiler with power gas burner, for its added efficiency. All of these are spark ignition. Atmospheric boilers lose a lot of heat out the base, and need more excess air for a clean burn.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    boiler died 10 yrs. early

    make sure the replacement is installed as the mfg specifies. i am sure that your boiler should have gone on quite a bit longer, if there had been no problems with the system.

    good maintenance=lower operating cost.

    as far as the pilot light goes, just go with the standard equipment for the boiler you choose, but double check the output for your radiation, as you choose the replacement.--nbc
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