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Buderus GB142 vs Burnham Alpine

I need to replace my boiler and am looking at one of the high efficiency

mod/con models.  I  particular the Buderus GB142 and Burnham Alpine

both seem good, and are available through local contractors.  What kind of experience do some of you have with these boilers?  I have read here that some people are not fond of aluminum heat exchangers, and comments about pH.  If I go with the aluminum Buderus do I need to check the boiler water occasionally, and add additives?  I read the Buderus installation manual, but it wasn't really clear.



Any other comments on the operations, controls, ODR function, etc. would also be appreciated.



Thanks!

Comments

  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 930
    boilers

    take a look at triangle tube prestige solo 95% AFUE gas boiler only or their Prestige Excellence 95% AFUE gas boiler with built in stainless steel indirect water heater. 110,000 btu input and this unit delivers 180 GPH on the domestic side can run two showers at one time.

    I have the prestige excellence in my house boiler and ss indirect all in one unit. using Alsons 1.6 GPM shower heads and can run two shower at one time.

    if you need more domestic hot water use their prestige solo with their smart stainless steel indirect water heaters 30 gal to 120 gal.

    boiler is only high efficiency when condensing.
  • stuckinthedirt
    stuckinthedirt Member Posts: 21
    I'll look for an installer in my area

    I have read really good things about the triangle tube prestige.  I think I may have to go at least an hour away to find someone to install/service these boilers, but I will give them a call.

    So you can get these with a "built-in indirect"?  Is that like the DHW coil in my current (rapidly dying) Burnham V7 boiler, only I wouldn't need to keep the boiler hot 24/7/365?  In other words, are these essentially an "on-demand" water heater?

    As for condensing...What is the maximum water return temp to condense?  Do any of the boiler control modules have the capability to target running at a condensing temperature unless (for example) it sees a continual drop in the room temp?  How does yours work?
  • stuckinthedirt
    stuckinthedirt Member Posts: 21
    Aluminum vs Stainless Steel

    Could someone comment on the differences between an aluminum and stainless heat exchanger.  I know that aluminum has a much higher thermal conductivity (that is good!), but many people clearly don't care for aluminum. 

    Do you have personal experiences of problems with aluminum?

    Buderus claims that they have been making aluminum heat exchangers in Europe for decades.  Do they have corrosion problems?
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    If aluminum is so good

    why must we use al294c to vent direct vent boilers? Why cant we use aluminum seamless tubing? It would be so much cheaper and keep the cost of direct vent boiler installs down and the manufacturers would sell more boilers. Yet we are forced to use stainless pipe. hmmmm I wonder why??
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    I am a customer, not a contractor.

    I have a new boiler with an aluminum heat exchanger. I have had it since mid-May 2009, so it is about 10 months old.  Not enough to go by. Its first-year service will be April 5, 2010, so I hope to see the inside of the heat exchanger then (the fire side, not the water side).



    I do not know if the thermal conductivity matters all that much. True, the conductivity of aluminum is greater than that of stainless steel, but since it needs to be thicker to achieve the desired strength, it may come out even. My guess, and a non-professional, is that if aluminum were manifestly inferior to stainless steel, that a reputable boiler manufacturer would not use it.



    It is my understanding that aluminum can last satisfactorily provided that the pH of the water is kept between 7.0 and 8.5, the hardness should be less than 7 grains, and that the chlorine content is kept below 200 parts per million. My water company asserts that the pH of their water is between 7.2 and 7.6, the hardness is 6 grains or less, and the chlorine content is less than 2 parts per million. So, nominally, I should be OK unless the manufacturer of the boiler is being optimistic. I know first-hand that if you put a sheet of 0.050 aluminum in a pH 14 solution of sodium hydroxide, it will be turned into shim stock in about a day, but it is a long way from pH 8.5 to 14.



    I have run this boiler ever since May to drive my indirect-fired hot water heater, and for this year's winter heating. I have checked the pH of the water with pH paper and it comes out at about 7. I also have a pH meter that says it is pH of 8. The pH meter can read to a precision of 0.1 pH unit, and I have calibrated it against pH reference buffer solutions of pH 4.01 and 7.01 and it seems correct. I am not sure why it reads so high. It may be a temperature effect, because the buffer solutions are about room temperature (70F) and the water from a purge valve on the boiler was around 100F when I last tested it. As I let it cool down, the pH decreased a little, but not down to 7.0. As the King of Siam said, "It is a puzzlement."



    As far as venting goes. the manufacturer says PVC Schedule 40 D1785, CPVC Schedule 40  F441, PVC-DW D2665, and ABS-DWV schedule 40 D2661 may be used. In addition, AL29-4C may be used.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    Be Careful with that Comment Tony

    You can't vent with a certain stainless either but there are mod/cons out there with the same stainless grade heat exhangers.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    Alpine

    Is actually a nice mod/con. The Sage 2 control is really nice and the boiler is one of only a few mod/cons that actually use supply side temperature sensing. Burnham offers a very nice extended warranty that you can purchase. You could always go to Burnhams web site under the homeowner section and find a contractor in your area.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    Here is something you may want to look at

    Here is a link to a European heating company selling Buderus aluminum condensing boilers. http://www.discountplumbingsupplies.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=1_50_565_569&products_id=879   Notice the price. About 900.00 bucks with a factory warranty of 5 years on the exchanger. Thats about what we pay for a power vent water heater with a similar warranty. Thats fine, 900 bucks for something that last 10 years and saves you money on fuel. I could live with that, it cost you less than 100 bucks a year for the appliance, kinda like a good dishwasher, right. Problem is your not going to be paying 900 bucks are you! You dont have to have a degree in metallurgy to figure out which exchanger is going to last longer. We also do well work, alot of wells today suffer the same problems as modcons, heavy amounts of carbonic acid. That is why stainless well fittings are quite popular today, they are unaffected by carbonic acid. I have yet to see aluminum well fittings!
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    That may be true Chris

    but the reason is simple. Allegheny Ludlum has a patent on the superferritic stainless al 29-4c. So it paid them to have the testing and approvals for the boiler piping because after they were finished they new you would have to buy it from them. General electric did the same thing for the resins in PLEX-VENT AND ULTRA VENT, once again showing how corporate America can just buy off the system and how little the approvals really mean. No one is going to pay for the approvals on 316 series because its not patentable. I just read another thread on here about chimney liners with a link. The link was to a company that sold chimney liners 316L, 316 TI, and al29-4c. they are all suitable for gas. AL29-4C is used for heat exchangers immersed in ocean water, way overkill for a little gas condensate.
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    edited March 2010
    Here is a copy, you will get a kick out of

    Check out the venting, later the revised issue tells you to seal the joints with silicon lol. I had a bout a dozen of them installed like that  when al29-4c came out. Weil rep came to me and told me I should replace the galvanized with AL29. NOT OFFERING TO PAY FOR IT.  After I stopped laughing I called all the customers and told them to call Weil and the BBB. They finally kicked up cost and labor. Left a bad taste in my mouth afterward and I switched to Burnham
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    How do we post a pdf file?

    pdf file
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    edited March 2010
    $1,000.00 plus shipping at the current exchange rate.

    Also is a bare bones model boiler. You want long lasting? go cast iron. Every boiler has a trade off you need to decide which ones matter most to you. I have several Buderus boilers installed and the customers are happy. I have removed some other boilers that died prematurely due to poor installation practices. You need to go by how the installer presents themselves. Currently I am looking for a larger truck for specific work and as luck would have it every truck manufacturer makes the best truck in the world and can tell you why. Burham has 85% on an atmospheric gas boiler maybe that would work for you? Also the company selling one stainless steel boiler has 2 aluminum boilers. If you go power vented you can get 88% from cast iron and Burnham.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Just curious,,,

    Charlie,, what do you prefer for a mod/con?
  • stuckinthedirt
    stuckinthedirt Member Posts: 21
    What are my objectives

    Thanks for all the input. It is all very interesting.

    As I read this I ask what are my objectives?  First is RELIABILITY, and second is lowest overall cost (installation, repair, fuel).

    After federal and Virginia rebates I can get a GB142 for a couple hundred less than a GB124 (w/o ODR).  Based on that I am leaning toward the GB142.

    I like the lower fuel use of the mod/cons, and their fancy controls, but ultimately however, I want a reliable boiler that won't send me to the poor house.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    Just use File Atachment

    It's right below the box in which you type your post. If you want to attach more than one, use the +Add Another File button. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    I put it in the box Dan

    and it doesnt post?
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    Send it to me and I'll try.

    I'm traveling today but will try as soon as I get back online. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    I prefer to not mod con unless radiant is used

    I like the Buderus and I also like Smiths which is a rebadged New Yorker.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Charlie

    Have you installed many modcons?



    The modcons I have in my life have been just as trouble free as the cast iron atmospheric behemoths out there, and NONE of them is supposed to go without service for a long period of time, modcon or non.



    Just curious.



    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • bill garnett_2
    bill garnett_2 Member Posts: 21
    WB2B

    If it were my home I would look @ Viessmann-lifetime warranty on the heat exchanger and it is manufactured by V. The new WB2B has Lamda Pro combustion technology-31 to 370 mbh inputs and priced to compete in USA-check it out www.viessmann.com
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    Yes Mark I have installed a "few"

    I have serviced many more. It is not the boilers fault when they do break from what I have seen. It is that people are sold on this dream that gas does not require service like oil does. Well they are right it does not require service like oil does but it does require service, just in a gas appropriate manor. I will admit 75% of the boilers I install have no radiant attached to them and 90% of those with radiant attached also have baseboard heat. I see the benefits of a mod con but as with many things they do not shine with every system. If I go into a typical 1980's baseboard house in my area and the people need a new boiler I can not tell them they will get 95 or better efficiency. The original baseboard was sized for 200 F water temps and even then it does not keep up on a cold January day. Most people want a new boiler not me to tell them they need a whole new system. I have had more calls to repair mod cons under 5 years old than I have had to repair atmospheric boilers under 10 years old by at least 4 to 1.



    Can anyone tell me what ratings Stuck in the dirt can expect with a mod con vs the Burnham ES2 or even a Smith GB boiler?
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    edited March 2010
    Savings

    Charlie without seeing the heat loss and heat emitter sizes can't really give you an honest answer. I will say this though. By the time you price out the ES2 with the odr card, low-water cut-off card and the liner you are just about at the price of a mod/con. You have to take into consideration the tax credit for the mod/con and that brings it to less than the other boilers. Now, I would give in that most likely he will be running anywhere between 88% and 92%.



    I see this argument concerning mod/cons quite a bit on the site and I haven't seen anyone come up with this. Affordable long term solutions. What I mean by this is let's take Stucks job. Maybe after the heat loss he has to run a curve starting at 180 degree water because that one small zone of residential board only puts out 560 btus @ 1gpm. Now compare that same 1gpm flow rate with high output board. That high output at 160 degree water puts out the same 560 @ 1gpm. If we take the rule of thumb for every 3 degrees we can run a system below 180 degree water we can save 1% of fuel that equates to a 8 percent savings alone just by changing out the board.



    But maybe he can't afford that board change out this year. In today's economy we are all looking for better ways to develope more business and this is an avenue I haven't seen anyone talk about. A boiler upgrade is only one part of a heating system so why should it be the only part that is ever updated. Changing out board doesn't mean tearing into walls and it doesn't mean you have to change it all out in one shot either.  Developing long term solutions with our customers may be a change in the way we have tradiationally done business but its a viable solution to Charlies question concerning savings.



    Just my 2 cents any others?
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    I agree Chris

    I have often tried a whole system approach. the issue usually comes down to fundsalow. That terrible disease that afflicts so many people. Boilers are slick easy up grades. I have a wonderful customer who has a great old home. They also have staged Smith mod cons I installed sized properly for the home with a tekmar control. The issue is the economy tanked and the customer is without funds to add the baseboard and extend the heat to the last 1/3 of the home. So they actually have oversized boilers and the water temps are around 140 at the lowest due to the lack of emitters. Perhaps this year things will pick up for them?
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • stuckinthedirt
    stuckinthedirt Member Posts: 21
    edited March 2010
    More from Stuck

    Charlie - By radiant, I presume you mean radiant floor heat?  Yes I only

    have copper fin baseboards. 



    Quick review of my project:  Currently have a dying Burnham 5 section V7

    (190k BTU) - but I can, and would like to switch to nat gas.  I have

    about 118k BTU of copper fin baseboard (ONE zone, plus the basement).  I

    haven't found a contractor YET who does actual Manual J head loads

    (sigh!), but I have run the slantfin program, and IF I plugged in all

    the values right I have somewhere about 90k BTU heat loss at -10 F (we

    might see this temp once every year or so).  At the typical coldest

    nights of the year my circulator is not running anywhere near all the

    time (I guess < 75% of the time) - so my 90K BTU heat load may be

    correct???   I am an engineer by day and only pretend to be a heating

    person by night (Ha Ha) - while very interesting I'd really rather be

    playing with my kids or reading a good book!



    I am open to replacing some of my baseboards (Chris - with what?) to get

    better heat exchange - and then be able to run lower temperatures

    (would that be important if I am already maybe 30% oversized on the

    baseboards?)  I am thinking my $ may be better spent first on sealing

    leaks, etc.  I have pretty even heat, even with the single zone.  This

    is a VERY solid 50 year old home - it leaks a bit here and there - but I

    know that I can improve the envelope. 



    I have one quote on a Burderus, but they have never installed a

    mod/con.  I just contacted another contractor today that has, it sounds

    like he may even do a heat calc! (Buderus also is the favorite of one of

    the main local wholesalers, so that speaks well for me).



    I have read enough to realize that I won't get top efficiency from a

    modcon on the coldest days.  But I presume that with my currently

    oversize baseboards, that I should get some benefit compared to if my

    baseboards were "properly" sized.







    Bottom line - presuming that the Buderus modcon does "crap" out on my

    like the Burnham did - I should be able to expect to come out ahead vs a

    conventional gas boiler - no?







    Thanks,



    Ed
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    edited March 2010
    Here you go.

    That PDF.
    Retired and loving it.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    Ed

    I would have to see the heat loss. Not the overall loss by the room to room/zone to zone and also the length of emiitters in each room or zone. I'll give you an example as to best I can.



    Let's say zone1 has a heat loss of 15,000 btu's broken down into

    Living Room - 7,500   - Exisiting 20' board @180 water 1.5gpm rating = 11,400 

    Kitchen - 2,500  - Existing 6' board @ 180 water 1.5gpm rating = 3,420

    Dining Room - 3,000    Existing 8' board @ 180 water 1.5gpm rating = 4,560

    1/2 Bath - 500 Existing 2' board @ 180 water 1.5 gpm rating = 1,140

    Entry - 1,500 Existing 4' board @ 180 water 1.5 gpm rating = 2,280

    Now using the charts for Suntemp residential board I could get away with using 165 degree water as it will give me 452 btu's a ft. So I could start my curve at 165 and not 180.



    If I change that board out using the same lengths to hi-cap I could start a curve using 140 degree water at design. Hi-out put board would put out 452 btu's a foot @ 140 degree water with a 1.5gpm flow rate. Now I would atleast be in the condensing mode all the time and. I would be in the 90% AFUE area all year long. I have a much better shot at getting to that 95 mark.



    As my previous posted said. Maybe this year the customer can't afford to change it out but developing a long term plan with them could bring repeat business and a very happy customer
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • djthx
    djthx Member Posts: 52
    Slantfin heat loss

    Ed,



    How were you able to access the slantfin heat loss program?  (Their heat loss software link is not working.)
  • stuckinthedirt
    stuckinthedirt Member Posts: 21
    Slantfin

    I got if off the Slantfin website, but it was a while ago.
  • stuckinthedirt
    stuckinthedirt Member Posts: 21
    room by room

    Chris,

    I haven't done a room by room heat loos yet.  I see now what you are talking about.  That will take a bit more work.  And yes the customer (Me :) ) may not have the fund to replace any baseboards this year, but at least I can figure out where would be the best place to start when I get to it.

    Ed
  • Chrisplumbs
    Chrisplumbs Member Posts: 10
    munchkin

    As far as the 95% boilers go i've had the least amount of problems with munchkin.......they're easy to clean real quiet nice boilers. Outdoor reset built in to the control & they have a stainless steel heat exchanger, look into them i find that the buderus are a little over kill for what they are...just my opinion
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    Thanks Dan

    I don't know why that didn't post for me.
This discussion has been closed.