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Thinking of replacing Burnham MPO147TB with Gas

roadsession Member Posts: 3
Hi - we recently bought a home that has a 5 year old Burnham MPO 147TB oil burner. we are thinking of going all natural gas for heat and cooking in this home - and have some time before we move in to do it. (we are in metro-west Boston area).

So a few questions for you fine folks:

1. is this a good thing to do

2. if so what gas system should we replace it with. The home is a 1950's colonial with a finished basement and 2 upper flors - about 2500 sqft - probably going to expand to 3,000 sqft soon.

And finally...any contractors who can do the job that you'd recommend?



  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,338
    edited July 2012
    Oil prices are coming down

    so you might not get your money back from the conversion for a while.

    The MPO is a very nice boiler, so I'd think twice about replacing it. We've been asking Burnham to approve gas burners for their MegaSteam (to which the MPO is related) for some time now. Whenever this happens, it will make a conversion much more affordable.

    In the meantime, look into adding outdoor reset to your system if not already so equipped. This is a proven fuel saver.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 1,840
    stinkin' manufacturer approval

    In my day I didn't need no stinkin' manufacturer's approval to install a gas burner ?
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    And In

    Those days, consumers didn't walk around with the lawyers phone number on speed dial either.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 1,840
    edited July 2012
    everybody pays for lawyers

    "And In Those days, consumers didn't walk around with the lawyers phone number on speed dial either." Good point. Generally gas utility approved anything CGA allowed and judges believed CGA more than desperate lawyer. In Canada you can't insist on a jury trial either.

    The downside of oil to gas switch was the difference in radiant heat transfer.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,308
    Lawyers and the Bard

    Shakespeare said it right but he did actually employ lawyers in his time so some of this was tongue in cheek.

    The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

    (2 Henry VI, 4.2.59), **** the Butcher to Jack Cade

    All scholars, lawyers, courtiers, gentlemen,

    They call false caterpillars, and intend their death.

    (2 Henry VI, 4.4.36), Messenger to Henry VI

    DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. There's no time for a man to recover his hair that grows bald by nature.

    ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. May he not do it by fine and recovery?

    DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Yes, to pay a fine for a periwig and recover the lost hair of another man.

    (The Comedy of Errors, 2.2.71)
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Jack
    Jack Member Posts: 1,046
    Given that

    You want to do the whole house with gas and that you have natural gas available, I'd make the change in a heartbeat. Oil is great heat, but there is no more volatile heating fuel $ource. Prices are heading down as Steam noted. They only seem to go up from Oct-April. One "World event" and oil is through the roof. Contact Nat'l Grid and see what conversion programs they are running. Keep us posted on your progress/decisions.
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,506
    As someone who has

    done over 3,000 coal & oil conversions to a gas power conversion burner it is a good move. That being said as folks here get very nervous about lawyers and righfully so boiler manufacturer approval not forthcoming is an issue.

    I would find a reputable contractor who has experience installing power gas conversion burners and then convert your existing oil boiler over to gas. Set the oil burner aside as you may want to put it back if prices do a flip flop in the future.

    I would not remove that oil boiler and replace it with a gas atmospheric cast iron boiler as you may loose some efficiency. As for Mod/Con that remains to be seen as it depends on what you have for an existing radiation package and what amount of work needs to be done on that.
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,506
    If you are going to replace I would

    suggest contacting www.modconserviceandsupport.com and speak to Rich Swatton they will give you excellent support. They are in the Boston area at 617-775-9272, give them my name when you call as a reference.
  • roadsession
    roadsession Member Posts: 3
    Which Burner/boiler?

    Thanks everyone for your very helpful replies.

    I've decided to go FULL boat and replace with a new gas furnace.

    So my question is the following. The current oil burner is rated at 129 MBH.

    If I convert to gas, and buy through national grid with their fantastic rebates, I'm thinking of going with a high efficiency unit. My choices are:

    Burnham Freedom Forced Hot Water

    HE Cast Aluminum

    Condensing Wall Hung Boiler

    Input 120,000, AFUE:95.2% Equipment price of $2,680


    Burnham Alpine Forced Hot

    Water HE Stainless

    Steel Condensing

    Input 150,000, AFUE: 96%; Equipment Price $3,196

    Which one do you guys recommend?
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,308
    Shame to trash that boiler

    I'm just a home owner but that MPO is probably a lot better boiler than the two you were offered. Keep in mind that high efficiency boilers are only in that mode for parts of the year, for a lot of the time they function as a standard boiler UNLESS extraordinary care is exercised in matching the boiler to the building and the radiators / baseboards in it. If the heat emitters are relatively large for the building a modcon can work in the condensing mode for a lot of the time, if not the boiler will not run in condensing mode for a lot of the time.

    National Grid is not known for taking care with anything they install, choose the installing contractors carefully because if everything is not done right you will not be happy with the result or the fuel usage.

    If it were my house i would get a knowledgeable contractor to install an EZ Gas power burner and outdoor reset. Doing this will void the warranty on the boiler but if your about to trash it, who cares.

    Just my two cents,

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    I Agree

    With Bob. MPO is 87%. If I were to invest money is would be on the system side. first things first though. heat loss, heat loss, heat loss, measure emitters and compare capable output to each rooms loss, find the right heating curve. Would also invest in a Grund Alpha or better yet in a month the Taco Bumble Bee and zone it with Taco Zone Sentry's if zoning is needed. Would really look at getting the system on constsnt circulation. Best investment is staying oil and upgrading system efficiency.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
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