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Best Energy-Efficient Gas Boiler / Water Heater setup for Cold Climate (Massachusetts)

I have been researching and reviewing all the newer energy-efficient boilers and can't really come to any solid conclusions as to which one to install. We are doing a rehab on a 2-family and a oil-to-gas conversion with 2 new gas systems for heat and hot water. With the extreme cold we've been having up here lately I really want to make sure we install the right systems.



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I've looked at Lochinvar, Buderus, Navien Combi, Viessman and many others...

For a fluctuating climate like here in Mass what would you recommend for the best solution for both space heating and domestic hot water?

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*We are also ripping out all the existing baseboard and I am wondering what is recommended as replacement: new baseboard or some sort of new panel radiators?

Comments

  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    It depends

    whats the goal, budget, and how green do you want it? Its the installation not the boiler that makes or breaks the system.
    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
  • ed_c
    ed_c Member Posts: 3
    I converted-- Boston also

    I just got through doing that exact thing--- converting a 2 family from oil to gas. (also done in Boston--- Roslindale).  In my case the overriding issue was going to be the cost of such a conversion. I initially started out looking for an 85% efficiency type boiler . I got a few prices for doing this but, in getting prices I discovered that I'd have to put a liner in my chimney and when I added that cost in and took into account rebate programs offered by NationalGrid and Uncle it turned out I was better with a high efficiency system. I wound up using a Burnham Alpine (my cost for burner was 972, national grid discount plus 1000 for a high efficiency burner) and combined that with an indirect hot water system (megastore). One of the apartments is  owner occupied so I get $1500 from Uncle Sam (I did this at the end of last year). Other than an issue with the thermostats (see post immediatelyt prior to yours) I've been overjoyed with the result (and I'm sure the programmable thermostat issue will be solved). My contract also included removing the oil tanks (when you get prices don't forget to either get this included or factor in the cost--- gas company has program, I think it's 375 per tank). My oil tanks were probably 50+ years old (I grew up in this house) so I'm relieved not to have any worries. Good luck

    ED
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 927
    new boiler / system

    What is the heat loss? Look at using the Triangle Tube Prestige Excellence 95% AFUE boiler and it has a built in SS indirect water heater that delivers 180 GPH of domestic hot water. You could also look at the TT Prestige Solo boiler with their Smart SS indirect water heater. Both the PE & PS Triangle Tube boilers use outdoor reset control this way only firing the boiler at just the right firing rate depending on outside temp. The TT boilers vent with PVC pipe and fittings and the vent and fresh air intake do not need to be located in the same pressure zone. If going with a condensing gas boiler make sure you have enough radiation to keep system and boiler condensing as much of the time as possible. Burnham also has a Alpine and Freedom 95% AFUE boiler that you can add a indirect water heater to. Vents with PVC pipe. Burnham has a cast iron gas boiler the ES2 that can have a outdoor reset control added to it and you can run low return water temp back into this boiler. The boiler needs to be vented into a lined chimney. With the ES2 Burnham boiler you will need to add a indirect water heater or a tank type gas water heater or a tankless gas water heater. There are other units out there like the Quietside boiler & water heater and Navien boiler & water heater all in one unit but I do not know the reliability of these units.
  • DaveCBoston
    DaveCBoston Member Posts: 2
    Goal

    Goal is energy efficient systems without spending tons more that standard units. There are rebates available here up to 1500 per unit depending on afue. Also wil be replacing all baseboard so we can really install anything we want. any installers north of Boston you recommend?
  • JGR
    JGR Member Posts: 6
    96+

    If you get gas from National grid then I would look for a boiler with an AFUE of 96% or more since the rebate jumps to $1500 for those boilers.  You can look up boiler AFUE's on the AHRI directory and can even search by minimum efficiency.
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 927
    Best Energy-Efficient Gas Boiler / Water Heater setup for Cold Climate (Massachusetts)

    Triangle Tube New Challenger BOILER is rated at 96% AFUE and it is rated as a boiler. Limited domestic hot water output. can install a indirect water heater with the boiler.
  • EddieG
    EddieG Member Posts: 150
    Have...

    Have you installed a Challenger yet? I saw it in PM magazine. Not much on there site yet. I called tech support to get some info on it, the other day. Seems like they are making it to compete in the Tank-less Combi market. I have a job that I am looking at that the Excellence would be a little over kill, that's why I was inquiring. Also looking at the Navien Combi, since the LP model is now available.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,084
    More Info Please

    What is the heat loss of these apartments? What is the domestic need of each apartment? Need the info to provide the best advice.



    If I'm designing from scratch then a condensing boiler with panel rads seems like the best way to go. I'd oversize the rads using the correction factors to get the boilers condensing the entire heating season. As for 96%, I would be looking at the Vitodens 200 or the Lochinvar. They are the only 2 boilers that have the listing, have presence in the filed and a trac record of a fine piece of equipment. The Challenger having a  listed 96% AFUe still has no AHRI rating and is nothing more then a kick space heater on steriods with no US installation presence as of yet. Triangle doesn't even make it. They use another maufacture for it. It's there answer to the tankless companies promoting combi units. It's funny how a company that promotes stainless as the way to go now toughts what they have been against just for sales growth.

    It was brought here to contend for the apartment project complexes so they have a viable means of getting the job because there stainless boiler with the indirect while a nice piece of equip just wasn't at the price point those projects wanted.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • JGR
    JGR Member Posts: 6
    edited April 2011
    Boiler Choice

    I have installed 14 of the Rinnai boilers over the past two years; these are true boilers and not water heaters.  These boilers are rock solid, have great features such as a true modulating pump, a pre-built plumbing kit, high efficiencies, a great heat exchanger design, and are a time tested design. All the owners have been very happy with the boilers and have seen fuel saving up to 40%.  I would recommend this boiler to anyone.  And 4 of the models have 96%+ AFUEs that are listed with AHRI, while the other three models are 95.7% AFUE
  • PKtech
    PKtech Member Posts: 1
    Boston Guy

    Who/What Plumbing & heating contractor did you use? I'm north of Boston and need to do my system and I was wondering.

    Thanks
  • Greg Maxwell
    Greg Maxwell Member Posts: 212
    Efficiency

    Look at the Heat Transfer Products Pioneer. You can add an indirect water heater to it, and you will have a nice system. As has been said, do a heat loss on the building, try to get the water temp as low as possible.
  • sox
    sox Member Posts: 1
    Weil-McLain GV-90+ or 95/96% mod/condensing boiler

    Which system will have the greatest lifespan with the fewest problems and require the least maintenance? I have a 2000 sq. ft. home with old baseboard copper heating element. some heating professionals have sized boiler at 85,000 and others have sized it at 105,000. we also plan on installing an indirect hot water heater. GV90 seems to have a much better warranty, but it will get 5% less efficiency. the mod/condensing boilers (95% and above) seem to have only an 8 to 12 year limited warranty. And no one seems to think they will last past 15 years. Also, do programmable thermostats work better with the GV90? And should programmable thermostats be used with the modulating condensing high efficiency boilers? will the extra 5% efficiency on the highest efficiency units out weigh their lesser warranty (compared to the GV90+). Is it reasonable to think the GV90+ will last 25 to 30 years? and could I expect the 95% (and higher) mod/condensing boilers to last 25 to 30 years
  • Greg Maxwell
    Greg Maxwell Member Posts: 212
    Heat Transfer Products

    Makes an excellent product. Look at the Pioneer boiler. As far as condensing gas boilers go, that would be my choice. Panel rads will give you the most bang for your buck because you will be able to size the panel for a lower water temp, but still be plenty to heat the space. Good Luck.
  • RLM
    RLM Member Posts: 3
    Residential Mod-Cons for 20 - 30 MBH range

    As a follow-up question on "what's the best...", what would be recommended for very low heat loss rate (20 - 30 MBH, design) applications? I'm designing a system for residence in the National Grid (MA) Deep Energy Retrofit Pilot Program. I'm thinking of panel radiators as emitters selected for design heat loss at entering temperature of 140 deg. Any comments are appreaciated!  Thanks
  • RLM
    RLM Member Posts: 3
    Residential Mod-Cons for 20 - 30 MBH range

    As a follow-up question on "what's the best...", what would be recommended for very low heat loss rate (20 - 30 MBH, design) applications? I'm designing a system for residence in the National Grid (MA) Deep Energy Retrofit Pilot Program. I'm thinking of panel radiators as emitters selected for design heat loss at entering temperature of 140 deg. Any comments are appreaciated!  Thanks
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