Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Furnace to boiler conversion in AK

akelyse Member Posts: 1
I've got a funky old house in remote Alaska.  We recently put on a significant addition and we want to redo the heating/water system.  We currently have a terrible forced-air furnace and tankless hot water.  We're thinking we'd like to switch over to a boiler for both heat and water.  Oil is the only real option.  I've heard that many of the higher efficiency oil boilers don't have a very long life span and have reliability problems.  Maybe due to the low pH?

Does anyone have opinions cost vs. benefit of high efficiency boilers?  Oil here is about $3.50/gal and is only looking to go up...



  • bill_105
    bill_105 Member Posts: 429
    $3.50/gal. ?

    That's cheap. I know people out there paying twice that. Where is this?  That price is the big city price.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,723
    Up your way

    I'd consider a steam system. If there is an extended power or fuel failure, a hot-water system can freeze and burst (yes, I know you can use glycol in such a system but that opens up a can of worms). A steam system drains dry when it shuts off, except for some piping in the basement (whose lengths can be minimized by a smart designer or installer) and the boiler itself. So the freezing damage would be minimal.

    A steam system can be installed with either traditional cast-iron radiators, or more-modern emitters such as panel rads, cast-iron baseboard or even certain types of fin-tube baseboard. The only caveats are not to mix cast-iron with other types, and also some of these can't be used on a one-pipe system.

    And if oil is your fuel of choice, look no further than the Burnham Mega-Steam boiler!
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    edited December 2009
    No basements in Alaska

    I thought they were built on floating slabs up there. They need to be on top of the permafrost. I would love to see a Steamer in Alaska Frank just the poor house would sink from the melting ground. Who would think oil would be expensive where they get it from?  At least they get dividend checks, seems at that price you would be paying it right back though.

    As far as boilers, I say see who stocks parts and what they stock the parts for. Buderus is my bet but if Smith is stocked go with that. As for three pass I like the Trio sold through F.W. Webb but none of them out your way so look for another Biasi boiler. It is all about what parts you have near by. May be worth having a spare oil gun and controls in stock in the boiler room just in case.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • Jim Hankinson
    Jim Hankinson Member Posts: 99
    Furnace to boiler conversion

    I don't know what part of the state you're in but System 2000 is sold in many areas. Because it's fairly light it's easy to ship by plane, barge, whatever. Some areas the system ships from NJ, other areas it ships from Fairbanks. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to install and maintain it.
  • bill_105
    bill_105 Member Posts: 429

    With the excecption of some old government stuff. There is not one residential steam system in all of AK.

    We were just in Mass. and VT. and saw lots of the stuff. Neat!  Them drop headers, Pressurtolthings ,Vaporstatstuff, sightglass ( We liked the pigtails) . Then comes those Gorton #2 . We were in Glouster and were looking for fishsticks!

    Ya know that movie, Perfect Storm had a bar that was a fabrication. The Crow's Nest (Hollywood, what's the world coming to?)
This discussion has been closed.