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Boilers I should stay away from?

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JoeT21
JoeT21 Member Posts: 12
I'm in the market to replace an old Fitzgibbons boiler in my home. I haven't been able to find any information on whether some boilers are better than others. Are there boilers that people here recommend -- or boilers I should stay away from? Any advice would be appreciated.

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  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    System

    Can you give us some information about the system? Is natural gas available?Are you thinking about heat only, or heat and domestic hot water? Keep in mind, proper sizing and proper installation of any system, plays a huge part in how well the boiler functions.
  • JoeT21
    JoeT21 Member Posts: 12
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    System

    Yes, the old boiler runs on gas. The boiler is for heat only -- I have a separate water heater. The radiators are 2 pipe. Any recommendations?
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,542
    edited August 2012
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    Edit

    removed
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  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,542
    edited August 2012
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    not the biggest decision

    The installer will have a much bigger impact on the end result than the choice of what box you use.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    Recommendations

    Get the best, most knowledgable Steam Guy in your area, and let him install the boiler he is most comfortable with.
  • JoeT21
    JoeT21 Member Posts: 12
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    one last question

    Just to make sure I fully understand the responses --- is it really the case that the brand of the boiler makes no difference? Or is it the policy of this website not to appear to be endorsing specific products? Thanks.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    No

    Recommendations are made all the time on this web site, but if you get a top-notch steam guy, he will match your system with the best boiler for you.The boiler brand is less important than the proper size, properly installed, with all necessary repairs to the system, as a whole. I know it sounds simple, but the good steam guys are true craftsman. There are a few that frequent this site that you would be very lucky to have install your boiler.
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,542
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    Not much difference

    There really isn't much difference between atmospheric gas steam boilers,flip a coin! On the other hand there is a huge difference in how they are installed
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,901
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    Take some pictures

    of the boiler area and some radiators and post them here- let's see what you have. 



    Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 2,012
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    Ditto

    Main thing is installer. No question about it. There are some differences such as wet based vs. atmospheric, size of trappings etc. Main thing is installer. Bears repeating main thing is installer. Now the real question is how do you figure out who is a qualified installer? Tip #1. Get some quotes and see how they decide on which boiler. If they don't measure radiation then show them the door(be polite). Radiations means radiators. Different radiators put out different amounts of heat(measured in btus). The amount of heat produced by the boiler should not be more then the amount of heat that the radiators can handle(should be obvious,Right!). There are other tips for weeding out the unqualified installers but this is a big tip#1. If they measure the radiators(properly) then you are ready to move on to step #2.
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 2,012
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    Ditto

    Main thing is installer. No question about it. There are some differences such as wet based vs. atmospheric, size of trappings etc. Main thing is installer. Bears repeating main thing is installer. Now the real question is how do you figure out who is a qualified installer? Tip #1. Get some quotes and see how they decide on which boiler. If they don't measure radiation then show them the door(be polite). Radiations means radiators. Different radiators put out different amounts of heat(measured in btus). The amount of heat produced by the boiler should not be more then the amount of heat that the radiators can handle(should be obvious,Right!). There are other tips for weeding out the unqualified installers but this is a big tip#1. If they measure the radiators(properly) then you are ready to move on to step #2.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,578
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    Meeting a new installer

    If the contractor will merely look at the old boiler, and make his bid, then he has not done his job, and show him the door, the radiators must be measured for their heat capacity, (edr). From this measurement, then the boiler can be sized properly. It cannot be sized from the building heat loss.

    The old steam supply piping cannot necessarily be reused, except if taken apart. The piping diagram supplied by the manufacturer must be followed, in order for the boiler to supply dry steam. If done properly, you will be amazed how much better the system works, on less fuel: quiet, even, and economical--nbc
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
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    Do it right the first time

    I assume this is a steam system and on a steam system it is important to match the boilers rated sq ft of steam to the radiators total sq  footage (EDR). If you have more radiation than boiler the system won't be able to heat properly, if the boiler is too large it will waste fuel.



    Search for the Boiler Sizing Chart on this site; that chart will give you the rating of the most common radiators so you can determine the EDR of each one. Add up all the radiator EDR's and that gives you the total EDR, the boiler wants to equal or exceed that number (it should not exceed it by too much but boilers are not available in very fine gradients so you often end up with a larger boiler than you need). If you don't see your radiator on the chart, take a picture of it and post it on this site and someone will tell you what you have.



    Now when you call someone to give you a bid you will know if he is trying to blow smoke up your ****.  I  agree with the other posts that are telling you the right installer is the most important thing to look for. A good installer has to utilize equipment he is familiar with so he can do the best job.



    I will say that simple systems usually work the best, they may not be the absolutely most efficient but they are usually worry free IF THEY HAVE BEEN INSTALLED PER THE MANUFACTURERS SPECIFICATIONS. That means the boiler has to be installed per the piping diagram in the install manual at a minimum - no shortcuts.



    There are several books available on this site that will let you understand how your system should work. Investing in them and understanding them can go a long way towards making sure you get a good boiler installed. Your about to spend thousands of dollars in a new boiler, the $50-100 investment in books is well worth it.



    Good luck with your project,



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • JoeT21
    JoeT21 Member Posts: 12
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    Baseboards

    Thanks for all the great advice! I appreciate it. I went through and measured all my radiators as per the advice here.

    I have another question that I could use some advice on. Along with the radiators in my home, I have (from a previous owner -- I didn't put them in), 3 baseboards. One baseboard which is about 5' long actually works well. The other two baseboards, each 10' long don't work that great. Maybe 1 to 2 feet of the baseboard actually gets hot. Any advice on what to do?
  • fixitguy
    fixitguy Member Posts: 92
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    Air my friend

    First thing to check is pitch and venting on those disfunctional baseboards
  • fixitguy
    fixitguy Member Posts: 92
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    Air my friend

    First thing to check is pitch and venting on those disfunctional baseboards
  • fixitguy
    fixitguy Member Posts: 92
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    Air my friend

    First thing to check is pitch and venting on those disfunctional baseboards
This discussion has been closed.