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Boiler and venting options

JeffGuyJeffGuy Member Posts: 70
I'm hoping to replace a 1940's coal now oil hot water boiler to natural gas. Looking at the different models offered by the gas company; they are all Burnam. Possible boilers are Series 2 (81% eff - cast iron); ES2 (85% eff - cast iron); SCG (85% eff - cast iron); Alpine (95% eff - stainless steel). I rejected the aluminum boilers because of the age of my system and sensitivity of aluminum to air and rust particles.

Foot thick stone foundation, so if want to use side vent and not chimney for SCG or Alpine, it would be easiest to run through a blocked off small basement windows. But this is close to ground level and has a window above it, so would need to take the vent pipe out and snorkel it up and off to the side to get above snow line and far enough from 1st floor window.

The SCG shows a snorkel vent in its IOS manual, but it goes straight up. Alpine doesn't discuss snorkel vent at all in its manual. Does anyone know if a snorkel vent would be allowed with an Alpine; and can the snorkel be placed at a 45 degree angle for either one of them? If I can't work this out I may have to go with a Series 2 and ES2 and chimney liner.

Thanks for any help!


  • JeffGuyJeffGuy Member Posts: 70
    edited October 2011
    Let me try again ...

    OK, maybe I was asking for too many specifics, and here's a more general question.

    My boiler will be in my basement, and my state (MA) requires that a heating vent be placed four feet above ground. This is not possible without either running the vent from the basement into the first floor and venting from there, or by running the vent pipe out the basement foundation close to ground level and then snorkeling the vent pipe up so it is at the four foot minimum.

    But is exterior snorkeling the vent pipe allowed? And if it is, then can the exterior vertical pipe be placed on an angle or must it be strictly vertical? I can't find it discussed with either the Burnham mod-con or another mod-con manual I looked through.
  • lchmblchmb Member Posts: 2,513
    edited October 2011

    Read page 26 and 27 of the install manual. It give's a maximum exterior piping arrangement...Should be more than enough for what your looking for on the Alpine. As far as angling the pipe, I would have to check with Burnham, I think I would try and move it over to get the 1' cleanance to the window if possible just for appearance..
  • JeffGuyJeffGuy Member Posts: 70

    Thanks for the reference to the correct manual. The one I googled was dated 2/08, and it only had the concentric pipe info.

    Unfortunately it looks like the snorkel has to be installed vertically, and not at an angle. "install a Schedule 40 PVC 90 so that the elbow leg is in the up direction". You're right that it would look better straight up, but then it would be right in front of the first floor window. It looks like the MA law has also raised the height of the vent to minimum seven feet to avoid a battery backed up CO alarm.

    I had more than one plumber in who told me that with a humid basement I should definitely not put in a computer controlled mod-con anyway - that it wouldn't survive. Is that true?
  • ed wallaceed wallace Member Posts: 1,613
    venting options

    since you are thinking about direct vent you can put the boiler any where you want in the basement not just where it is as to direct vent i believe as long as it is above the snow line then you do not have to raise it to a 7 ft hieght just need to be 4 ft from any window or door
  • lchmblchmb Member Posts: 2,513

    I would probably run a dehumidifier but any electric control could be susceptible to condensation. Also, even a cast iron boiler could have issues with condensation so I would do my best to resolve that problem.. I recently installed one in a closet on the first floor due to water problems in the basement...they can go almost anywhere..
  • AFredAFred Member Posts: 81
    edited October 2011
    Just an opinion

    Hey Jeff, are they still selling series 2?

    1) I have put in hundreds of those, they are great boilers! I wish I could still get them. I am surprised they only rate them at 81%, we were using the 84%. They have very common service parts(95% of them are on my van at all times).

    2) We are now installing the 3 series/ES2, another good boiler.

    3) I have also put in the Alpines, probably the best mod-con with that heat exchanger, top notch computer too. It will still require more maintenance. In my opinion the savings in fuel won't offset the cost of the extra cleanings and the much more expensive and uncommon service parts.

    All three models are great options. I recommend them in that order, even if you have to fork over extra cash for a new liner.


    PS: amen on the dehumidifier.
  • John MillsJohn Mills Member Posts: 767
    Series 3

    We just put one of them in, nice boiler for the buck. 84% so we didn't have to line the chimney, rep said if we went ES2 at 85% we needed to. Chimney was inside and had a good tile liner.

    Also priced an Alpine but the boiler and maybe the customer would be long deceased before she broke even on it.
  • lchmblchmb Member Posts: 2,513

    about why it would need to be lined at 85% if there is a clay liner present? Unless it's over sized?
  • JeffGuyJeffGuy Member Posts: 70
    edited October 2011

    Thanks for all the help. I am getting estimates now. I'm hoping a plumber who I know and who does great work will be interested in commuting to my job (he moved so its a pretty big trip for him now).

    I found a closet on the first floor that I can use for a vent, so the Alipine is possible now. It's farther away than I'de like, but close enough to work. And I checked my chimney and it has a clay lining that is hopefully good enough condition to use without an additional liner. So that means the Series 2 without a new liner is also possible. To answer the previous question, in the Series 3 ES manual it says that clay liner is not good enough and stainless liner is needed - so that one is out due to the additional cost and minimal efficiency difference.

    So my decision is now between the Alpine and the Series 2. I will base it on what the plumber says (assuming he can do it). If he agrees with AFred and prefers the Series 2, then so be it. I would prefer the Alpine (I would feel better about the increased efficiency - maybe silly, but then my wife drives a Prius!), but don't know what he will say.

    If he says Alpine, then based on the reading I've done it should definitely be primary-secondary piped. What about if he says Series 2? The zones I have are very different - one zone is gravity cast-iron radiators, and the other is slant-fin copper baseboard - though I would like to replace at least some of it with cast iron baseboard eventually. Would I want to use primary-secondary for a Series 2 when hooked up to these two zones? Or is the primary-secondary unnecessary for this application?
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