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Most reliable radiant boiler?

Brule Member Posts: 4
Exploring boiler options for new home in rural setting where storms frequently knock out power during the heating season. In scanning the internet for information, the reliability of mod/cons in this country and the UK raised some concerns. One source has told me the most reliable boiler would be a non condensing, standing pilot cast iron----has a proven track record. Yes, its not as efficient, but when its below zero, reliability is vital. It would be located in a utility room where I could provide outside combustion air. Am thinking about wiring the system so I could plug it into an inverter and run off storage batteries during outages. Appreciate all thoughts.


  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    As usual, it depends...

    On both the product and the installation.  If you have a high incidence of lightning in the area, the quality of your grounding system will have a major effect on the reliability of everything electronic (and these days, that's pretty much everything in the house.)  Do not assume that a ground rod installed by the electrical contractor (if it's even there) is sufficient for the purpose.  If your soil is at all acidic (think east of the Mississippi) the plating on a standard ground rod will only last a 10-15 years anyway.  More than one rod, or even better a UFER ground (wire or rebar embedded in your foundation or slab for at least 20 feet, pretty much standard on new houses) will help to provide a low impedance path for that unwanted energy.  You should install a whole house surge protector as close to the utility as is practical, and it should be connected to your grounding electrode system by as short a wire run as is practical.

    Many boiler controls do not like the output waveform which is produced by typical UPS systems, so make sure you get a true sinewave inverter.  Personally, I'd suggest a small genset as a better option.  Batteries are a spectacularly expensive and inefficient way to store energy when compared with liquid fuels (including LP gas.)
  • Tim_Hodgson
    Tim_Hodgson Member Posts: 60

    Does the house have a heating system yet?

    If yes, then what type of radiators do you have? Cast iron, copper baseboard, radiant floor...

    Do you have a multi-level home?

    What is the pump motor horsepower?

    The most reliable system is a gas fired, milli-volt powered, gravity flow system.

    They are 80 plus years old and still working... without electricity.

    Unfortunately many existing systems will not work that way with out major control or piping revisions, so the back up generator and a standard natural draft, gas fired  boiler would probably be easiest to do.

    Good Luck,

    Tim Hodgson
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