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Gas boiler choice

Bill H.
Bill H. Member Posts: 30
I have narrowed my search for a replacement gas boiler for my 2-zone SlantFin radiator system, and have picked a Burnham SCG-4 and a Weil-Mclain CGs-4E as candidates. DHW will be supplied by an indirect. The 2 units have similar attributes as far as I can tell. The Burnham heat exchanger has steel nipples, whereas the W-M has elastomer O-rings. Please give me your thoughts on which unit may be better with regard to reliability, longevity, and ease of annual maintenance. Assume proper installation by trained technicians, in accordance with manufacturer instructions.  Thank you,Tim, for this wonderful web site, and thank you users for your comments.


  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    Hold Off

    If this is not an emergency you may want to hold off a bit. The SCG is going away. It will be replaced with a newer version that contains the Burnham IQ Control platform that is now used in the Series 3, ES2 and MPO. With changes coming in 2012, boiler mfg's will begin bringing out their anwsers to the new regulations regarding all boilers must have some means of outdoor compensation. With the new control platform the boiler will give you outdoor reset and domestic priority for your indirect. Just food for thought...
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,506
    Bill you are welcome

    but this is not my site it is Dan Holohans site. I am an invited part of the great site he heas put together.

    I agree with Chris if anyone is looking to change heating systems and you can hold off for a while changes are coming from 2012 until 2015 that wiil change the way we look at heating.
  • Bill H.
    Bill H. Member Posts: 30
    gas boiler choice

    Thanks Chris and Tim for the heads up. Unfortunately, my Laars boiler combustion chamber needs replacing, and the cost is too great. I've had my share of problems with this unit, and I've lost confidence that it will get me through another heating season. Thus, while not an emergency, I want to replace the unit with either the Burnham or Weil-Mclain soon and thus before 2012. Present unit is power vented to the side, and I have no chimney. I'd still appreciate all comments on the 2 candidates. Thanks again.  Bill
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    Have You Considered

    A condensing boiler instead? What is the heat loss of the home and what type of heat emitters do you have. Does the local utility offer rebates for the installation of 90% plus gas equipment? The cost difference between a draft induced boiler compared to the cost of a condensing gas boiler is not miles apart. If you haven't looked at them your leaving a viable option on the floor..

    I'm not a big fan of Weil. Have seen way too many issues and their support or lack of was a reason we dumped the line 4 years ago. As always, the piece of equipment you choose will only operate to its capability based on the installation. Your primary concern should be the installer.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    I cannot tell if I am a fan or not.

    I do have a Weil-McLain Ultra 3 boiler. The issues I have had have all been in the nature of errors of ommission or commission on the part of my former contractor, except for one circulator that got noisy (not from air). Since I have never owned any other current boiler (old one was oil fired GE from the 1950s), and since I have had it only two winters, I cannot compare it with others.

    I have had no problems with W-M support. One problem I had mystified my new contractor's technician (water in the compartment where the control board was located). We knew the problem was the water, but we could not find where it was coming from. The W-M rep came right out and was very helpful. Problem (former contractor had put the purple primer on the vent pipe but no cement) was easy to fix, once it was identified. Hidden by unnecessary foam insulation on the pipe. It may depend on where you are located what kind of support you get.

    As others may have already said, it matters more the competence of the contractor than it does the minor (in terms of efficiency) differences you get from one manufacturer to another. Get a really good pro, and then go with what the pro gets the best results with. This includes support from distributers, tech support, etc.
  • Bill H.
    Bill H. Member Posts: 30
    Reply to Chris

    Yes, Chris, I've considered condensing units. I am apprehensive about them because of lack of trained techs  for needed extensive annual servicing, plus I have 122 lineal ft. of slantfin copper tube/aluminum(?) finned baseboard emitters that I believe are more efficient when hotter water passes through them. My home is 1800 sqft and is well insulated and has standard double pane glass. Load was calculated as 65 MBH. The W-M unit is rated 67 MBH net, and the Burnham 78 MBH net. A smaller SCG-3 is rated at 52 MBH net, but I thought that might be too small. Is it better to err on smaller size ( 78 MBH too much)?   Thanks.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    edited April 2011
    A little Heavy

    I think that loss is a little heavy but we will use it for this purpose to hopefully educate you.

    Load is 65K so that means 6.5gpm - I'll split that in half for the zones. I don't know the load of each zone so this is the only way I can explain it. Each zone is 3.25 gpm. We will use the 3gpm rating for baseboard. You have 122 ft. We will split that in half also..61' per zone.

    Here is the board capable output based on the 3gpm flow rate using 180 degree water. 585 per foot x 61 = 35,685. x 2  (for both zones) = 71,370. So if your heat loss is correct which I believe is off by 20,000 plus, then your choice of a cast may be the best way.

    I believe your loss is between 40 and 45K if not less. Which makes each zones flow rate around 2gpm. Using 160 degree water that board would put out 442 btu's a sqft.

    If I take the high 45K divided by 2 each zones loss is 22,550.

    61 ft x 442 = 26,962 btu's x 2 = 53,924. Now a condensing boiler makes sense. I only need this water temp and btu's output on the coldest day of the year. Why make it everyday all day.

    I would suggest you get more estimates and find someone that knows the science of hydronics and is not just a wrench turner. There are other considerations we look for. Furniture lay out and maybe even a long term plan for you. Put the condensing boiler in today and then slowly change the baseboard out to a high capacity board that puts out more btu's will less water temp using the same footprint the exisiting board is in.

    Most contractors and all consumers think the heating plant is what dictates efficiency but I feel system efficiency plays more of a role in fuel savings. I can tell you I have been part of hunderds of Viessmann Vitodens 100 installs with baseboard and when designed and installed correctly you can easily save between 35-50% in fuel consumption. I'm sure the guys here that install other mfg products that design and do what they are suppose to be doing can say the same.

    I would be calling the mfg of the equip you choose and ask them for contractor references. Interview them like you were offering a job. It's your money, your investment and your home. A pro will give you options. One could be the cast iron option but you should atleast be given the choice.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Terry O
    Terry O Member Posts: 67
    edited April 2011
    If you are not sure about condensing...

    and have a little time.... Weil Mclain is introducing a new higher efficiency version of it old tried and true GV series... the GV90 Attached is the .pdf brochure. You may want to give it some consideration. Word is they will be shipping June 1st. Good luck!
    Terry O
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Gas Boiler Choices:

    After reading Chris's (HVHEHCCA) analysis of your load and what you are trying to do, I wouldn't consider anything else but a Mod/Con boiler and indirect. Last month, I installed my first Veissmann Vitodens 100 and I am in the process of installing another one. If you are already direct vented, I do not see why you wouldn't use a Mod/Con. Installing these units has been the most fun I have had in years. The performance of the one finished is absolutely stunning. These units have been around long enough to have had all the bugs worked out of them. If an installer reads and carefully studies the installation and service manuals, and follows the manufacturers requirements, you will not go wrong.

    If you go to pick ANYONE to install a system, the first thing I would ask them is "Do you own a digital combustion analyzer?" If they don't, don't hire them. There is no way on this earth that anyone can set these appliances without one.

    Go Mod/Con. You won't be sorry.
  • emmrut
    emmrut Member Posts: 2
    thinking of converting to gas boiler

    I am not very knowledgeable about heating systems. I have an old oil boiler. I think it may be original to my home which was built in 1950. When I bought the house last year, I was told that the boiler will last forever, but clearly, it is not an efficient system. Recently, I noticed a there was an oil spot under my oil tank which ay be the sign a a leak. I am not sure how long it has been there. I placed a newspaper over it a couple of weeks ago to see if the tank is leaking and there is no new oil spot on the paper. So the tank may be ok, for the moment. Also, the oil line from the burner to the tank is not code compliant, and it has to be replaced by the end of July.

    So, I am considering converting to a gas boiler. I already have gas in my home. (gas stove, hot water tank and dryer) I am in the process of gathering estimates. My home is about 1675 sq feet and well insulated .

    I am considering Navien combi system, a triangle tube prestige or a peerless boiler. I am comparing costs. I am interested in recommendations.


    I just read your posts suggesting that it woud be better to hold off until next year? Why?
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    Easy Decision

    Gas in the house. Convert. Not a fan of Navien, not a fan of Giannoni HX's (Peerless). The Prestige is a nice choice. If your looking at a combi unit why not the Triangle Excellence?
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • emmrut
    emmrut Member Posts: 2
    edited May 2011

    Could you explain why you are not a fan of Peerless and Navien?

    The triangular tube is an expensive option. Trying to decide if it's worth it.

    What do you think of the Lochinvar whn?
  • MsNMac
    MsNMac Member Posts: 1
    SCG Discontinued?

    Hi Everyone,

       I have a Burnham Revolution that I am replacing tomorrow.  The plumber told me he is ordering an SCG because Revolution is discontinued.  When I look online I see that SCG is now also discontinued.  What should I tell my plumber? He is removing my Revolution tomorrow morning and bringing the SCG in the afternoon.  Cost for the Boiler is 2200.00.

    H-E-L-P.  Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    Tell Him You Want

    A ESC and call it a day.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
This discussion has been closed.