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Is it worth it.

James Day_2
James Day_2 Member Posts: 191
Hey guys, 

I want to get a few opinions.  I have a weil mclain wtgo-3 oil fired boiler in my home. It is rated at 115,000 btu output.  The house is only 4 years old. The boiler is way oversized for the home.  heat loss is only about 35000 btu.  I also have a wood boiler which runs most of the heating season but i still do burn oil.   Here is my thought, is it worth it to pull out the existing boiler and put in lets say a buderus g125be 70,000 output.   I have hydroair heat right now.  The coil is oversized as well so i can run slightly cooler water around 155-160 through it to heat the house.  Is it worth the cost to change the boiler?  Especially with the rising fuel costs.

Thanks,  James

Comments

  • bill nye_3
    bill nye_3 Member Posts: 307
    I really don't...

    I really don't think it would be worth your time and effort, and money, to change the boiler. How do you heat your hot water ? The boiler is not outrageously over-sized. You could reduce the firing rate slightly.

    The Buderus would be slightly more efficient but we are splitting hairs here. I think the money could be better spent tweaking the house or some energy saving controls.  If it were 24 yrs old, but not 4 yrs.  Unless it was a horrendous installation, I would leave it.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    gotta agree

    with Bill Nye. Lower your input to come closer to matching your output.  It is a good boiler, and not worth throwing the baby out with the bath water
  • James Day_2
    James Day_2 Member Posts: 191
    Boiler

    I have already lowered the output of the boiler.  Weil mclain says i can only downfire 10%.  Thats not much.  I'm just wondering, I plan to be in the home for a while, would installing the smaller boiler pay for itself over time.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    what is

    your fuel consumption in gallons? how many zones, and hot water source?
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Replace Boiler:

    Changing Boiler might work for you. I've never seen it work under the conditions you describe but it might work for you.

    One of your misconceptions you get from all the crud you read about hydronic systems is that the stuff is written by heaters and not plumbers. In August, you don't even need that boiler, only when it is cold in January. Except that that boiler is a WTGO-3. The "T" stands for "Tankless" heater coil. That means you get your domestic potable water from a coil in the boiler. That hot water demand load is 24,7,365 days a year. The domestic hot water load is greater than the heating load. When yoiu get in the shower and want hot water, you need all that boiler will give you. And maybe more. There are certain parameters that oil boilers work best in. The boiler is rated to a certain output. .85 GPH is the firing rate input that the boiler can fire efficiently. . When new and properly adjusted, or older and properly cleaned and adjusted, you will get 84%+ efficiency. And plenty of DHW. You can downfire it but go too much and the efficiency will go down. If the stack tempreture goes below 400 degrees gross, it won't burn as well. Too cool and it really goes down.

    It isn't broken so don't fix it. Just use it like it is.

    Are all the pipes for the heating system insulated? If not, insulate them. You will get far greater fuel savings if you do things like that.  Therrs plenty of things you can do before you need to screw around with firing rates.
  • James Day_2
    James Day_2 Member Posts: 191
    boiler

    The boiler has a tankless coil which is not used.  The aquastat was changed over and a Indirect water heater was installed.  If I do not burn wood, I go through about 800 to 900 gallons a heating season.  The house is about 1400sqft.  Good insulation in walls and ceilings.  All double pane windows.  I just felt like that is alot of oil for this house. 
  • James Day_2
    James Day_2 Member Posts: 191
    boiler

    The boiler has a tankless coil which is not used.  The aquastat was changed over and a Indirect water heater was installed.  If I do not burn wood, I go through about 800 to 900 gallons a heating season.  The house is about 1400sqft.  Good insulation in walls and ceilings.  All double pane windows.  I just felt like that is alot of oil for this house. 
  • Chris S
    Chris S Member Posts: 177
    oil boiler

    In addition to downfiring, consider a hw+.  While you need the high temperatures on the hydro,  longer burns are always better.  In addition, consider insulating your basement walls, and sealing your box beam with spray foam ,  kits are available.  This is probably the largest heat loss area in your home that you can easily address.  -  Chris
  • James Day_2
    James Day_2 Member Posts: 191
    basement

    basement is already insulated. most of heating pipes are insulated.
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,390
    Depends

    With hydroair,the System 200 approach is better,purge all the heat in boiler to the house. I would guess about a 30% reduction in fuel usage. If you don't want to go that way,I'd go with a Beckett AquaSmart,it has a circ off delay feature that will allow to purge heat from the boiler after a cycle. How is the blower being controlled on a heat call? Reverse aquastat?
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Fuel consumption.

    I live in New Jersey and have an 1150 square foot house (cape cod). When I had oil heat, I used about 300 to 500 gallons of fuel oil a year, depending on the weather each year. I tried to keep the temperature at about 70F, and the design day temperature is 14F around here.



    So to me, not a contractor, 800 to 900 gallons a year seems like a lot. Are you somewhere much colder than New Jersey? Do you heat your house to a much higher temperature than I do? Because if your setup, including location, is a lot like mine was (with a 50 year old GE boiler), that oil must be going somewhere. I cannot believe there are boilers less efficient than that GE.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    something is wrong

    my home is a 2200 sqft raised ranch, Utica SFH 3100, 41 gallon Amtrol, 3 zones, and I use close to 500 gallons per year, and it's a warm start maintaining 110 dgrees. Is that boiler set for rear flue? What are your combustion readings? 
  • haventseenenough
    haventseenenough Member Posts: 61
    haventseenenough

    sorry to interject, how can you not love a down fired GE boiler?
  • LarryC
    LarryC Member Posts: 331
    Is the ducting insulated?

    ..

     

    DISCLAIMER: I am not a heating professional.

     

    " I have hydroair heat right now.  The coil is oversized as well so i can run slightly cooler water around 155-160 through it to heat the house. "

     

    Does "hydroair" mean a heating coil in a forced air system?  If so ...

    1)  How leaky are the air ducts?  How much of the heated air leak out before it reaches the conditioned spaces?  Duct tape is not suitable for sealing ducts. I believe "mastic" is the correct material for sealing seams.

     

    2)  How much insulation is on the ductwork?  Is it intact?

     

    3)  You mentioned you burn wood.  If the stove is internal to the house, where does the combustion air enter the structure?  Are you sucking the heated air back out thru the stove?

     

    4)  Have you done a door blower test to see where the air leaks into / out of the structure?  Air infiltration can cause most of your heat loss despite excellent levels of insulation.

     

    5)  Does your kitchen exhaust hood, bathroom exhausts, clothes dryer vent, whole house fan, furnace combustion air, wood stove combustion air, fire place, and any other outside air sources close completely when they are not in use?

     

    As mentioned on this site by multiple heating professionals, money spent on sealing the building envelope is usually paid back multiple times in fuel saved.

     

    Good luck.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Loving a downfired GE boiler.

    I love clever technical devices. That old GE worked just fine from about 1950 when this house was built until I had it removed in May 2009. It sure paid its dues. Not only that, since my floors ran too hot, I lowered the operating aquastat to run from 130F to 140F. I forget what it was before that The aquastat was set by the former owner for a very tight  differential so it rapid cycled very fast. I change it to 135 +|- 5F and that helped a little. Now running it that cool undoubtedly promoted condensing and one thing it was not was a condensing boiler. I did that in 1976 when I bought the house. It rusted out the exhaust pipe once. It was working fine when it was removed and had not rusted out; no leaks. So it was one tough boiler. Around 1980, the original GE downdraft burner (that also injected air upwards at the bottom) needed a valve replaced, and GE did not make them anymore. So it spilled oil on the floor. The oil company took out the GE burner and put in a Beckett one, firing in from the front.



    My grandfather had a GE steam boiler in his house. I was interested to find these boilers were very similar, even though mine was a hot water boiler. I think the downdraft burners were particularly clever, considering the technology available at the time.



    You can find drawings and photographs of thes on this site.
  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,472
    Change it out

    with a geo thermal ground source heat pump. It will pay you back in 40 years or so. (just kidding.)  :)
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    GE

    I still have parts, but no unit to install them on anymore. They were ahead of their time, and were amongst the most efficient. Problem was no one knew how to work on them. My all time favorite will always be Timken Silent Automatic. And that they were
  • James Day_2
    James Day_2 Member Posts: 191
    ductwork

    All the ductwork is insulated inside and out.  All Flexible ducts are r-8 insulation.  That is why I am considering replacing the boiler.  I feel like I am using double what I should.  I already have outdoor reset on the boiler.  I am a heating professional so the cost to replace would only be on equipment.  I am just trying to get others opinions to se if it would be worth it.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    Bill I know of one in PIttsfield. MA

    If I am ever cursed into working on it I will get a hold of you. The landlord is too cheap to pay for your travel but I will recommend it anyways.
    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
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    As far as replace or down fire

    I vote for properly down firing the boiler and actually getting it cleaned with a vacuum and brush.
    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
  • bill nye_3
    bill nye_3 Member Posts: 307
    JimZee

    If you want some one to say "Go for It", go ahead. But before you do, why do you use so much fuel? If the house leaks like a sieve with the old boiler why would a new boiler help?

    My house is 100 yrs old this year (the main portion) one addition is 55 yrs old and the most recent addition 1996, 15 yrs. It is about 1482 sq ft and I average less than 600 gal. pr yr . Heat , 70°, and hot water. Maybe a little wood on a very cold week end. Right now I have no wood. And nobody could possibly use more hot water than my wife............ well wait, do you have teenagers ?

    I would check to see if the house was properly insulated and look at the windows. Maybe have some one do some thermal imaging while the weather is still cold.

    On your new aquastat are you doing cold start? or warm start?
  • James Day_2
    James Day_2 Member Posts: 191
    home

    home is well insulated.  R-19 walls R-30 attic.  All anderson double pane windows.  House is set to 68.  I do not set back. leave at a constant 68. I only have one younger daughter, so long showers are not the issue.  I don't understand why we use so much oil.  The only thing I came up with is the boiler.  I am not looking for someone to tell me to change it.  I am looking to get opinions thats all.  Thanks for all the responses so far
  • James Day_2
    James Day_2 Member Posts: 191
    edited February 2011
    flue

     It is a top flue.  I service the boiler every season and have never had soot in the boiler.  I run at about 84.5% combustion efficiency. co2 around 13 and 02 aroud 4-5.  It seems to run fine besides being loud and guzzling fuel oil. It is run as a cold start boiler
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Clean boiler:

    When was the last time someone cleaned it? Did they just brush the kibbles and bits into the bottom and leave them there or did they open the front and open it up and clean the bottom and sides?  Are there holes in the exhaust where combustion testing was done? I have the same boiler as you and I don't burn what you do. If it is a cold start now, too bad because they run cleaner and more efficient with a warm start of 140 degrees than a cold start and filling up with kibbles and bits. That whole front opens up with a swing out door and that funny thing on that wire going into the left side of the burner is a disconnect plug. If you have made it a cold start, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned every year.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    Thanks Charlie, but

    can't get there from here my friend. Too far for me, and who knows how well those parts will work being on the shelves since the early 60's  to 70's. Maybe E-Bay someday.  lol
  • carl_nh
    carl_nh Member Posts: 27
    Buderus install & savings

    JimZ,

    Well, we had a 30 YO pin boiler with tankless HW and FHW heat in our 2800SF cape house here in NH using 900 gal per year - 65-70,000BTU heat loss - we remodeled and did new insulation/windows in 96.

    Well was time to replace due to DHW and the tankless output faiming so we installed the Buderus two years ago (Feb 10 09) and we went with the Buderus blue flame G125BE21 (smallest unit) and a ST160 horizontal tank. We have three grundfos zone circs, and one for the DHW.

    Our fuel consumption is now 500 gal per year. The burner has been the best investment we have made in a long time, with $3 oil plus the $1500 Federal tax credit we have recouped 50% of our investment already. 

    I think you mentioned you are running hot air from a hot water heat exchanger and I beleive you might not have the same results as we do with FHW since you are pushing air around this can be drier and feel colder than FHW systems. Thats the only thing I can think of why you are consuming so much oil - also if you have a ODR setup that should cut your boiler water temp too.

    At the end of the day if you are just replacing the boiler and not all the rest of the hardware thats about a $3.5-4K investment if you do the work, so with the Fed credit and oil savings you should have under a 3 year ROI..

    I'd really like to know tho where all those BTU are going first.. up the stack?
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    If you told us where you live, ...

    ..., then I do not remember. If you are in  Verkhoyansk, Russia, it may be quite reasonable to use that much oil. It is -51F there at the moment, but will warm up to -49F later tonight. On the other hand, it is probably unreasonable to burn that much in New Jersey.
  • LarryC
    LarryC Member Posts: 331
    Blower Door test ?

    James,



     Have you had a blower door test performed on the structure?  You might find that the house is very leaky and that is why the boiler drinks like a ... very thirsty person.
  • Ron Jr._3
    Ron Jr._3 Member Posts: 603
    I agree with the 2 Bills

    Lower the firing rate to match the load of the house . I'm currently burning .50 in my Peerless WBV3 . What brand oil burner do you have ?
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    You say you service it and have a 13 co2

    Do you open it and brush it out? Can you convert it to rear outlet on the flue? I am wondering where all that oil is going to.
    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
  • James Day_2
    James Day_2 Member Posts: 191
    flue

    I can't convert to rear flue, not enough space behind it.  I brush the heat exchanger and vacuum the fire box out every fall.  I give it a good service every year, which is why I have never had any soot in the boiler. I set it up with the testo combustion analyzer.
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,668
    edited February 2011
    A few questions

    Where are your air handler located in the basement or attic and are you using seperate pumps and if you are using circs are there flow checks on the  supply and returns .When i pipe indirects i always installs flow checks on both supply and return to stop any and all thermal migration this is espically true when using hydro air and having a indirect i also install 2 flow checks on any hydro air system with out them durning the summer you will have migration from your indirect to the hydro air  espically when the a/c is running .How do i know i have seen it first hand on some million dollar top end home that did not have top end heat designs used just cheap .With the boiler off and a indirect piped with no flow check valves you might have thermal migration from the indirect to what  ever in the system has a lower fluid temp which will cycling of your boiler to maintain your domestic aquastat setting try wideing the differential on you indirects aquastat if it has a differential setting .i would look at that and what temps are the indirects aquastat set at .What are your stack  temperture looking like and is there a barometric damper installed and also what are you using for combustion air for your boiler.To myself it does seem like you are using alot of oil for your sq footage . if you air handler is located in the attic check for a maintaining aquastat or a freeze stat it may be wired as to keep it from freezing which would increase your oil comsumpition .Have you checked to be sure that the properly sized hydro air coil was installedand does your unit seem to short cycle if so that an waste alot of oil also  Hope this gives you a few things to look for and check out .Peace and good luck .clammy where are you located
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • James Day_2
    James Day_2 Member Posts: 191
    boiler

    air handler is located in attic. It does not have a freeze stat.  I do have flow checks on all the returns. System is zoned with circulators.  Stack temp usually around 450degrees.   I have checked the pipes during the summer months, it doesn't seem like I am getting any migration to the air handler on a call for domestic hw. 
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,668
    edited February 2011
    Not one of my favorites

    sorry to say i have never been a big fan of hot air weather it is hydro or not i just think there is to much engery lose in the tranmission.And the wosrt part is that i started in the bussiness as a plumber moved to hvac and still hated hot air always been a steam/hot water guy .I do residental and commerical hva but i still will not install or sell a hydro air system .What type of insulation are your ducts wrapped with for me it would be a minium of r 8 wrap with all joints sealed with either hardcast gaset tape or mastic sealant . what is the temperture set on the boilers aquastat  180? Also what is you temp rise across your hydro coil and your discharge temps at the registers.Are all your cieling boxes insulated i always wrap all my cieling cans but then again i have been told that i am quite insane all around in every aspect .I find it amazing that some  one would  install a hydro air coil in a attic with out a freeze stat that takes some balls i could never do it i would worryabout it and with my luck it would freeze and either damage the coil or rupture the coil and damage the cieling.if i where in your shoes i would start by doing a heat lose on your home and check the equiptment which was installed to see if it falls with in your needs .Does the boiler short cycle while there is a all for heat ,short cycling wastes energy big time .Also having hydro duct installed in a attic always increases operational cost just a fact of life the only way around it is to be anal about sealing and properly insulating it .Fiberglass foil faced dut wrap must not be wrapped tightly if it is you will never get the rated r valve bee there seen it fixed it big difference.Did the guys who installed it just put a piece of sheet metal on the return  end of the unit with no insulation there should be a return air box which should be externally wrapped .Doing anything correctly is not cheap and if a builder is involued you can be assured it was the later i know i have had a/c hydro systems that i have layed out and priced bre thrown out by G"s and builders because my price was way outta line .They did get hydro air installed for about 60 % less then my price and the HO are paying for it every winter   .How about trashing the hydro coil and install some baseboard  or panel raditors with TRVs and size it for about 160 water temp ,lower water temp will increase system eff and increase comfort and lower heating lose through piping..Just afew more thoughts peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • James Day_2
    James Day_2 Member Posts: 191
    system

    it does not have a freeze stat but it does have a pump timer on the taco pump control which cycles the water in the attic every hour for about 4 minutes.  I would love to get rid of the hydro coil and put in baseboard or panel radiators like the buderus, but I am having a hard time on convincing my wife on that. 
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Is it worth it?

    I really have to agree with Clammy.

    Some of the biggest fluster clucks I have ever seen were done with air handlers. Too many to remember.

    I once went to a freeze up with water coming through the ceiling on the first floor. The second floor bathroom froze up. There was an air handler in the attic space. It was 20 degrees outside. The air coming out of the bathroom ceiling registers was 50 degrees. Perfect for the summer. I'll bet that the temperature coming out of the vents in the summer would be perfect for winter.

    A second floor had a cathedral ceeiling. There was an air handler on the knee walls on the east side. They needed to get ducts across to the other side. They ran it over to the other side. In a 2X10 rafter space, they ran 8" flex duct. It was ice cold before it got to the other side. It would have been toasty warm in the summer for the winter.

    You have a large heat usage from that recycling pump to the air handler. I could tell you a better way but it is a band aid.

    They shouldn't be allowed to do this.
  • bill nye_3
    bill nye_3 Member Posts: 307
    covincing spouse

    but I am having a hard time on convincing my wife on that

    Comfort is something that is hard to perceive to a person who has not experienced it. My wife has been living in a house with outdoor reset, radiant floor and radiant panel baseboard since 2000. I don't think she truly appreciated what we have until she started helping an elderly woman who lives in a house w/forced warm air, lousy windows and a wood stove.

     The house is either too cold, too hot, noisy, etc. My wife is hearing impaired and she thinks the forced air is noisy ! The most comfortable home is one where you are not even aware of the temperature because, ... well because it is just right and you are not aware of it. I have virtually no noise and no temp. swings, no air movement. Unless the house is very quiet you rarely can hear the burner run.

    I think you should try to convince the Mrs. to give it a try, you could even let her call my wife.

    Bill
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