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high efficiency boiler vs regular

Vad
Vad Member Posts: 55
Hello,

I am planning to convert from oil to gas and I would like to install a baseboard heating.. My goal is to have the most efficient system that will not cost a fortune to install. My house was built around 1925. One of the Plumbers I talked, mentioned that He does not install High Efficiency boilers in the old houses because of the venting requirements. He told me that it will cost thousands $ more to install a high efficiency boiler in the old house.

Is he right or he just do not have an expertise with high efficiency boilers?



Thank you.

Vad

Comments

  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    What are you heating with now?

    Most efficient is good but is it most efficient for the dollar or full out squeeze every drop of heat from your fuel? Are you planning on sealing up your building envelope as well? New windows, insulation, new doors?
    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
  • Vad
    Vad Member Posts: 55
    high efficiency boiler vs regular

    Yes, I am planning to seal my house.I am looking for the combination of a right price for the installation and boiler and I would prefer to have the efficient boiler.

    From the other side if to by the efficient boiler and install it cost me much more than to buy and install a regular one (~81 -82%), I will install the regular one.

    Much more I mean that it will take  more than 3-4 years till it pays for itself.

    For info, I am heating with an oil and furnace (2nd floor), steam (1st floor). I want to have gas and baseboard heating instead on both floors and basement.



    Thank you,

    Vadim
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,480
    If you are going to remove all of the

    equipment and start from scratch it can get very expensive. How old is the equipment you now have?
  • Vad
    Vad Member Posts: 55
    continue

    I understand this, However I want to get read from the oil tank in the middle of the baisment and from the other related equipment.

    I would like to get an advise regarding if it worth to install a high efficiency boiler in the old house or not.

    I would appreciate your answers.

    Thank you

    Vad
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Replacing old oil boiler with high efficiency gas boiler.

    I am afraid I will be comparing apples with oranges here, but here is one datapoint for you.



    I replaced an about 55 year old GE oil-fired boiler with a W-M Ultra 3 unit.

    This was an about 55 year old 1100 sq. ft. Cape Cod type house in New Jersey (700 sq. ft downstairs, 400 sq ft upstairs).



    The old GE boiler is on pages 11 and 12 of this manual:



    http://www.heatinghelp.com/files/articles/1025/177.pdf



    Page 10 of that manual, for a similar steam boiler, will give you a general idea how it worked.



    I made the change in May 2009, after the end of the heating system here, although I replaced an electric hot water heater with an indirect-fired one from the new boiler at the same time. I also had it converted from a poorly balanced one-zone system to a two zone system, and replaced the two convectors upstairs that contained a 3 foot piece of baseboard in each, with 14 feet of Slant/Fin baseboard in each so I could run lower temperatures up there. So we really are comparing apples and oranges.To make comparisons worse, I have no idea whether winter last year was warmer or colder than the year before, and, knowing I was removing the oil tank, I did not order oil to fill up the tank so I do not know how much oil I used.



    What I do know is that my gas bill for the year I had the new boiler was less than the oil bills I used to get. The comfort is greater. The boiler is next to noiseless (I cannot hear it in the house; with the old boiler I could hear the burner (first GE, later Beckett) and an old 3-part circulator). And to make price comparisons more difficult, in those days, oil prices per gallon always went up, and so far, gas prices have been going down (how long that will go on is anybody's guess).



    With all the extra heat emission upstairs, the outdoor reset on the new boiler, and the condensing I get almost all the time (some of the time heating hot water gets very little condensing), my guess is that I do get about 93% efficiency from that boiler. I read that the most that can be expected from a non-condensing boiler is about 87%, so it is up to you to decide if the extra 6% efficiency is worth it to you. I am biased in favor of efficiency, so I went with the higher efficiency unit. I have no idea what the payback interval will be. I hope the new boiler lasts past the end of the payback interval, though. Or past me (I am 72), because I do not want to replace it.



    My house has its walls solid foam, except for the kitchen that is fibreglass. The ceilings upstairs are 6 to 9" fiberglass. The windows are High-E Marvin windows. But I have had no blower test done to see about leaks. The easy leaks are fixed, but if they did not put enough fiberglass around the windows when they were replaced, I do not know that.
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 928
    new gas boiler

    Last October I took out old 33 year old cast iron oil boiler and went to High efficiency Triangle tube Prestige Excellence PE110 95% AFUE nat gas boiler with built in stainless steel indirect water heater. last year oil would have cost me $2100 and my nat gas cost for the year is going to be about $980.00 big time savings. I have older house close to 100 years old will be putting in more insulation and should be able to lower heating cost some more. If I were you I would go high efficiency gas boiler and install high out copper baseboard and put in as much baseboard as possible so you can run the water temp as low as possible. Depending where you live and how much your budget for this project you could get used cast iron radiators and install them. they heat great even at low water temps and sill look great when cleaned up and painted. regular gas boiler do not have the federal tax credit of 30% up to $1500 like the high efficiency boilers do. the state of Pennsylvania was just giving a $1000 cash rebate on top of the federal tax credit. venting of high efficiency boilers can be hard but if you can get 3" PVC pipe down your old chimney and there is nothing else being vented into the chimney that is one way to vent the Triangle Tube Prestige boilers and fresh air can be pulled in from another source. Just find a good HVAC contractor in your area that has installed these boilers and they can tell you if you can vent the boiler without problems. Go with the highest efficiency boiler you can afford the cost of energy is going any where but down
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,840
    Why not

    run steam to the second floor and install a hot-water loop for the basement that runs off the steam boiler? That would be your least invasive way to go. Steam can run off either fuel.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Vad
    Vad Member Posts: 55
    Thank you for your proposal. I do not think it is a good way to go for my case

    since I still need to change a boiler. It is too small for both floors. To run steam to the second floor is more invasive compared to hot water pipes. One of the contractors told me that I am going to ruin the house if I do this.
  • Vad
    Vad Member Posts: 55
    Thank you for reply. From reading on the Internet,

    I found that High Efficiency boilers (95% and up) require much more maintanance compared with cast iron boilers. Electronic parts brake often and they can be very expensive. The money I safe because of the high efficiency I will spend for the maintenance.

       From  my Gas company, I have about 50% rebate for Burnham Alpine boilers.

       Since you already mentioned about venting of such boilers, can I ask you a question?

    You described that I can use 3'' PVC pipe in the chimney. You mentioned that fresh air can be pulled from another source. Another source can be a hole drilled in the wall close to the basement?

        I wanted to install 85% efficient cast iron boiler Burnham ES2, But it requires chimney relining. Do you think it is possible just to attach a pipe (PVC or steel) to the boiler. The length of the pipe can be equal to the length of the chimoing to workney. Is this going to work or not? I attach a manual for the boiler ES2.



    Thank you alot



    Vad

      
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    "regular" boilers also need maintenance

    The regular boilers are now electronic controls and are supposed to be maintained every year. It is in the owners manual. I respect your choice but the logic is not based on fact, just myth and legend. My statement is a reflection of those you got your information from not you as a consumer.
    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
    kcopp
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,840
    Actually it's less invasive

    since you only have to run one pipe to each radiator. Was the second floor originally piped for steam?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,480
    edited August 2010
    As someone who has been

    in the gas heating business over 50 years I can tell you that all systems require annual maintenance and that will never change.



    Also all boilers and furnaces today are mid or high efficiency so no matter what you purchase they all have electronic components and require a very well trained technician to service them. That is why i have a training school to do that.



    I would look into many things along with a new heating system including new windows and insulation.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,085
    Scary

    Read the manual..NO! NO! NO! to your vent question.

    I have to agree with all the guys. A high efficiency boiler requires no more maintenance than any other boiler. You speak of the ES2. What would you consider this boiler?  I would consider it high efficiency. With the IQ package I can pop in an outdoor reset control module, display screen with diagnostics, return 110 degrees back to the boiler and low stack temps. Might not be a Mod/Con but has the ability to provide energy efficiency above any other non condensing gas cast iron boiler on the market today. Still need to line that chimmney though.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Vad
    Vad Member Posts: 55
    I am thinking that maybe it will be more cost effective

    to bue Series 3  Burnham and pay full price (gas company do not give any rebates on it) and not to reline the chimney. As for as I understand Series 3 can work with old chimney. Am I correct? Does the Series 3 offers the same advantages as ES2 boiler?  

    I only see that it is 1% less efficient. IQ package for ES2 comes with the boiler or I have to buy it separately? Same IQ packages can be used with Series 3?

        I am still deciding which one to use. High efficiency boiler can be the option as well after reading other posts.



     Thank you,

    Vad
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 928
    high efficiency vs regular gas boiler

    If you install a Triangle Tube Prestige Solo or Prestige Excellence you can get a 5 or 10 year parts and labor warranty. this warranty does not cover annual inspection and cleaning of the boiler but if any part breaks for up to 10 years you are covered for the part and labor to replace it. get a quote on the triangle tube boiler and see how much a professional heating contractor in your area will charge you for the extended warranty.
    wyo
  • Nox
    Nox Member Posts: 2
    My Weil-Mclain hi-efficiency seasonal maintenance cost is quoted as $450-$475 per year, just to do the recommended cleaning. That seems to amount to the cost of a new boiler every ten years. So, is my "efficiency" benefitting me? Or did I get taken?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,080
    Fascinating. The OP needs to consider several questions and do some research here -- or at least should.

    First, what is the actual goal? Least life cycle cost (could also be least yearly cost, if capital such as the boiler and new piping, if any, if properly depreciated)? Least fuel usage, regardless of cost? Or?

    Second, having figured that one out, what are the options and the costs, in terms of capital, maintenance, fuel, repairs, etc. associated with the various options. Things which need to be considered are the cost of additional insulation vs. a bigger boiler and more fuel, for example, or the costs associated with various possible boilers vs. running and maintenance costs.

    The second is not an easy task. He (or she) should have on hand several quotes from reliable people for each of the options considered -- and that may be a cost in itself; the time spent by a first class workman to do a careful estimate should not be free.

    If the OP is looking for least fossil fuel regardless of fuel usage, he or she should also look into various possibilities for solar space heating. When comparing various "efficiency" ratings of boilers, it is well to remember that "your mileage may vary"; the ratings -- particularly of high efficiency units -- are established under rather strictly contolled conditions and, while it is perfectly possible to match those conditions or at least come close in the real world, on must realise that it isn't strictly plug and play.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    We are not supposed to talk prices here, but for my W-M Ultra 3, the maintenance contract here in New Jersey is about half yours. My contract includes the maintenance kit that has a new ignitor, all new gaskets, checking the chemistry, condensate trap, cleaning the fire side of the heat exchanger, .... . It takes the technician a little over an hour to do this unless he needs to add the Sentinal X-100 that is a little difficult and takes an extra 15 minutes.
    Tim Potter
  • Nox
    Nox Member Posts: 2
    Thanks to Jean-David Beyer for aptly describing the maintenance kit used under his contract. Do you have that intensive maintenance, with the kit, done every year?
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    When comparing various "efficiency" ratings of boilers, it is well to remember that "your mileage may vary"; the ratings -- particularly of high efficiency units -- are established under rather strictly controlled conditions and, while it is perfectly possible to match those conditions or at least come close in the real world, on must realise that it isn't strictly plug and play.

    I would broaden that a bit and say that by far the most common use of the term "efficiency" applies to AFUE, and that AFUE (at least as it is currently calculated) does not properly account for standby losses and has literally no understanding of either radiant heating or thermal mass.
    CanuckerRobG
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Sort of like comparing MPG in your car. When driving in traffic with a lot of long traffic lights, and driving on the Highway.

    I stopped at a long red light with my drivers side window down. A car pulled up next to me in a left hand turning lane. The engine stopped. I thought, Prius, battery etc. Then I noticed that it said "X5" on it. "Oh, BMW is making an electric car". I didn't know that. Sure enough, it was a probable 1% woman driving a new X5 BMW. Her light turned green. I heard the starter engage and it was not an electric car, she shuts the engine off when waiting for a light.

    Some of us have no idea what lengths the 1% will go to save a few cents. That add up.

    Then, there's the guys with big dually Diesels, leaving them running for 20 minutes while they go into Starbucks to get a Grande Cappuccino. Because they believe what someone told them. That it cost more to start it than to leave it running. My John Deere Diesel tractor would start if just ONE of the three cylinders fired.

    If you carefully track your gas mileage, you know that is another urban legend.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Nox said:

    Thanks to Jean-David Beyer for aptly describing the maintenance kit used under his contract. Do you have that intensive maintenance, with the kit, done every year?

    Yes, every year. My Ultra-3 has an aluminum heat exchanger, so I want to do everything right in the hope it outlasts me (I am a ge 76).

  • HydronicComfort
    HydronicComfort Member Posts: 12
    You may want to consider paying a Professional Engineer to design your system. You would be provided with a room-by-room heat loss calculation for the entire house which will be necessary in order to size the room heat emitters.

    This would be roughly in the $1000 dollar range, give or take. It's money well worth spending. You will be informed as to equipment choices of differing efficiencies and costs along with control strategies and pumping and zoning layouts that can maximize both heating and electrical operating efficiencies.

    Another benefit is that you have a system layout to provide to your installer and built-in system design and installation support from the designer. This can be invaluable if the installer has any questions or runs into any problems. The designer can also check the installation to ensure it has been performed correctly.

    The life expectancy and maintenance cost of modulating condensing boilers can commonly negate or exceed the efficiency savings. Remember, high-efficiency systems need to see return water temperatures at 130-degrees and below. The lower it deviates from that temperature, the higher the efficiency. For example 92% efficiency would need a return water temperature of approximately 118-degrees and 94% approx. 101-degrees. So, make sure you have enough emitter sizing to meet your design goals.

    With the proper controls and mixing valves, a cast-iron boiler will allow systems to run at very low temperatures without causing any damage to the boiler. You would be able to exploit the advantage of a full outdoor reset strategy. This system may last you significantly longer than a high-efficiency unit and provide you with potentially more reliable use and overall lower operating costs in comparison.

    A professional and well-designed system will optimize the system material and operational cost and enhance system efficiency and longevity.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    The life expectancy and maintenance cost of modulating condensing boilers can commonly negate or exceed the efficiency savings.
    ...
    With the proper controls and mixing valves, a cast-iron boiler will allow systems to run at very low temperatures without causing any damage to the boiler. You would be able to exploit the advantage of a full outdoor reset strategy. This system may last you significantly longer than a high-efficiency unit and provide you with potentially more reliable use and overall lower operating costs in comparison.

    Ten years ago, I would have recommended the same thing. I can't say that now for most applications.