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Converting from Oil to Natural Gas Heat

WetmWetm Member Posts: 7
I live on Long Island, NY and am about to convert from oil to natural gas heat. I have hot water baseboard heating., two zones with about 2700 sq feet of space. I am reading that a high efficiency furnace like Triangle Tube or Burnham Alpine 95% would not be worth choosing because basebaord hot water requires 180 degrees temp. From what I read the higher efficiency burners are not much more efficient than to 85% efficient burners for baseboard heating. Is this true?

I also read that the elctronic circuits on high efficiencey gas burners are problematic and can take days or even a week to replace, which in the dead of winter is a problem.

If I should go for a 85% efficient then:

Are Burnham gas burners problematic? (Natural grid is offering a good price on them)

If Burnham is not the choice then which make is the most relaible?

Comments

  • lchmblchmb Member Posts: 2,471
    reguires

    It may require 180 degree's for design temp, but on warmer day's the zone may satisfy with 140 or even lower water temps. With a condensing boiler and outdoor reset you can see very good savings over an 85% system that runs to high temp no matter what. As far as parts, that depends on your area. I can get most parts over night, worst case, you may have to go a weekend.
  • WetmWetm Member Posts: 7
    Oil to Gas Conversion

    Thanks for the response LCHMB. I do have a few other questions of the forum:

    How does Burnham Alpine ModCon compare with the Peerless Triangle Tube as far as reliability and durability?

    If I go ModCon high efficiency, does anyone which of the better brands are more common, popular and have parts distributors local to Long Island (I want to be prepared!) ? Knowing this will also help me pick an installer.

    I see alot of listing of fuel oil companies handling installation around my area, for intance Peerless lists several on their website...is it better to use one of them take a maintenance contract with them? Or is it better to use an independent plumber?

    Would I face fewer repair/upkeep issues with a lower tech 85% efficient Burnham SCG5NI-TS? Would the loss of efficiency going from 85% to 95% with 2 zone hot water baseboard heating amount to much savings?

    I will want to have my hot water supplied by a seperate hot water heater whcih will also allow me to have hot water if the electric is out (the recent hurricane has taught me that, oh those cold showers!) Any recommendations for a hot water heater that can adequetely supply two showers and washing machine at the same time?

    Thank you for your time and thoughts!
  • WetmWetm Member Posts: 7
    Thank You

    I would also like to thank Tim for moderating this forum....reading through it is an education...even if I am limited in my understanding of the technical information. So thank you!!
  • 0409004090 Member Posts: 142
    One more thought

    We're in a similar situation, and wanted to add a comment to the lower operating temp of the SCG5 you're looking at.



    Sure, the mod/con may control the temperature of the water that's circulating, but it's an easy adjustment seasonally to increase or decrease the water temperature in the SCG5.  We've been doing that for years with our antiquated system.



    We opted for the SCG5 instead of the mod/con because if you add up the required additional annual maintenace costs of the Alpine (or similar) and include something for electronic parts that are apt to break over the years, the savings of the advanced system are negated.  They sound wonderful, but with small users like us the economics are threshold.  For a large volume user, the mod/con would be the choice in a heartbeat.
  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,527
    I have a mod-con with outdoor reset.

    In winter it can get 10 or more degrees colder outside at night than in the daytime. I cannot think of anything I would hate more than to change the supply water temperature twice a day. Similarly, my boiler delivers 112F water to one zone when it is design temperature, and 130F water to the other. So I would have to switch that whenever a different zone were calling for heat. I prefer modulating with outdoor reset for this.



    As far as maintenance is concerned, I do not know how to compare it with my numbers. I can find out what an annual service contract from my oil dealer cost when I had an old oil burner. I know what the annual service contract for my new gas mod-con is, and it is considerably less. That is for the routine maintenance. I have not had enough failures on the new boiler to know what those cost.



    And I cannot show those prices here anyway. I very much doubt that posting them would make any reasonable conclusions possible because we are dealing with different contractors and different types of boiler. I.e., apples to potatoes comparison.



    My current contractor charges significantly more for a maintenance contract for oil boilers than for gas,
  • lchmblchmb Member Posts: 2,471
    keep in mind

    ANY gas system should be serviced yearly, no matter how much product you use. As far as changing water temps..I'm with JDB on that one...
  • lchmblchmb Member Posts: 2,471
    thoughts

    I would suggest you look for references for different companies in your area. Contact a number of different companies and ask for a quote on a system. You should be looking for someone to come in and do a heatloss, inspect all close piping and check for any codes that could come into play for a new system. Ask for references from them and call those people. See if they've had issue's with service. As far as the unit of choice, that would be something you and an installer your comfortable should discuss. Look at all options and dont be hurried into signing anything. As far as a stand alone HW heater, how often have you had an issue with loss of power? The cost increase from having this type of water heater compared to an indirect is substantial. And if loss of power is the bigger concern, adding a generator may be a better option then you can have your boiler plus and still save product over the years...
  • 0409004090 Member Posts: 142
    Not what I wrote

    My suggestion was not to change the water temperature manually daily, but SEASONALLY. 



    Works fine here.
  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,527
    SEASONALLY. Works fine here.

    It would not work fine here. Perhaps in Seattle or even SanFrancisco, but not here in New Jersey near the shore.



    Here I might need 112F water at night and 102F water in the daytime for downstairs and 130F at night and 125F in the daytime for upstairs. And the next day I might need 120F at night and 106 in the daytime. That is a lot of running out to the garage (where my boiler is) to adjust things. And the temperatures are a lot more important with my at grade radiant slab because too much heat causes great overshoot and undershoot of temperatures in the rooms there, and too little heat makes it cold..
  • lchmblchmb Member Posts: 2,471
    understand

    but a modulating boiler can change as the temp changes..each and every day..
  • WetmWetm Member Posts: 7
    A few questions?

    I wonder if anyone with expertise could weigh in on the questions below?

    - If I go ModCon high efficiency, does anyone which of the better brands are more common, popular and have parts distributors local to Long Island (I want to be prepared!) ? Knowing this will also help me pick an installer.

    - I see alot of listing of fuel oil companies handling installation around my area, for intance Peerless lists several on their website...is it better to use one of them take a maintenance contract with them? Or is it better to use an independent plumber?



    - I also read that the elctronic circuits on high efficiencey gas burners are problematic and can take days or even a week to replace, is this a common problem?

    - Would I face fewer repair/upkeep issues with a lower tech 85% efficient Burnham SCG5NI-TS?



    - I will have my hot water supplied by a seperate hot water heater which will also allow me to have hot water if the electric is out (the recent hurricane has taught me that, oh those cold showers!) Any recommendations for a hot water heater that can adequetely supply two showers and washing machine at the same time?



    I appreciate any assistance. Thank you.

    Bill
  • WetmWetm Member Posts: 7
    Iclb

    Thank you ICLB again. I missed you comments above...they are indeed helpful. I am scheduling with hvac folks in my area and a couple of plumbers to get their thoughts.



    Bill
  • WetmWetm Member Posts: 7
    Ichmb

    Thank you IChmb again. I missed you comments above...they are indeed helpful. I am scheduling with hvac folks in my area and a couple of plumbers to get their thoughts.



    Bill
  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Member Posts: 2,897
    edited September 2011
    I would recommend

    Either Viessmann or Triangle Tube and would install either in my LI home,if only gas were available! BNL did a study here on LI about baseboard systems and condensing boilers, can read it here

    http://www.bnl.gov/isd/documents/28709.pdf
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Member Posts: 2,897
    I would recommend

    Either Viessmann or Triangle Tube and would install either in my LI home,if only gas were available!
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • SpeedyjoeySpeedyjoey Member Posts: 7
    Im also on LI and doing the same converting.

    My home was built in 1985 and is about 2,450 sf. Im not sure which unit to go with. either the Burnham ES2-4 or the ES2-5?? I have two zones.
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 3,860
    The Burnham ES2 is not a condensing boiler

    for the information of those who are looking to go that way.



    It has a higher efficiency however than most mid efficiency packages I believe it has an AFUE of 85.1 %. It does however have electronic controls which are equally as complex as any mod/con so that should be considered. In the context of that however no matter what mid or high efficiency package you choose they all pretty much have electronics of some sort or at least a vent damper.
  • lchmblchmb Member Posts: 2,471
    have

    Have a heat loss done, dont guess on what size boiler you need. It's not hard to do and even if you are charged a small amount for it, it's well worth it...
  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Member Posts: 2,897
    lchmb and Tim

    Are absolutely correct .The ES2 is a nice boiler but it is single input and can't compare to the efffciency of a modulating unit. Gas is cheap relative to oil right now but it hasn't always been and may not to continue to be. Investing the the highest eff possible is always the way to go even if that turns out to be an ES2. BTW an outdoor reset control is available for the ES2,it's standard on mod/cons
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • WetmWetm Member Posts: 7
    Thanks for the help

    I want to thank everyone who replied to this thread it was very helpful to me in choosing a gas a furnace, water heater and contractor! This site is of immense assistance to those of us who start out knowing very little.

    In the end I went with the G 124x with logamatic controls and outdoor reset and indirect hot water. I hired Bob O'Brien who contributes to this site after meeting 5 different contractors. He was very knowledgeable and responsive. His team completed the job in 8 hours and did a very professional job. the equipment looks great, laid out very clean. After using my old American standard oil furnace for 38years I am looking forward to the fuel savings. The Buderas is also very very quiet in comparison.



    Thanks again

    Bill
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 11,183
    If Bob did it

    we know it was done right!
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
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