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Oil to Gas Conversion of Smith Cast Iron Boiler

AndyM
AndyM Member Posts: 5
<span style="font-size:12pt">Current system:</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">2200 sq ft colonial, 2.5 baths, circa 1985.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">4 forced hot water zones (one in finished basement).</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">1 priority zone for 60 gallon SuperStor Ultra Indirect Water Heater (separate circulator).</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Smith Cast Iron Boiler, 8-W-5, fired with Carlin EZ Pro oil burner.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">8 inch exhaust pipe with damper to masonry chimney with clay liner.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt"> </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Smith recommends either a Carlin EZ Gas or a Riello Series 40-G400 SBT.  Can anyone recommend either burner based on performance/reliability/serviceability?  I have not priced either yet but I know the Riello is more expensive.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt"> </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">My other concern is exhaust venting.  I believe I need a chimney liner, but am unsure of the size needed for the application or what would actually fit in the chimney.  If the liner ends up being smaller than 8 inch, where would the transition be as the boiler has an 8 inch cast iron collar?</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Thanks for any info.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt"> </span>

Comments

  • conversiontime
    conversiontime Member Posts: 87
    edited October 2012
    went with riello 400

    I was in the same place this summer when getting bids, it came down to the exact same two burners. I went with the Riello although it is more expensive. The final hang/turn on is this wednesday so cannot comment on how well it runs yet but I went with it b/c supposedly once tuned they run very well with little adjustment. I was told by every contractor that the ez gas is a very reliable conversion burner though and it is less expensive. I will update my conversion thread after running the new burner for a few weeks with more feedback.



    I too have a 8 in breech that led to clay lined chimney (in good shape). I chose to reline with a new stainless liner and was able to downsize to 7 inch liner. Saved a little money.   I relined b/c that acidic water vapor will damage any mortar chimney, imo even if in good shape as mine is.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    7 inch

    The boiler has a 7 inch smoke hood, and would transition right at the chimney to a 6 inch liner, if need be. Smith sells it with the Carlin ez gas, and it can be ordered from Carlin all set to bolt onto that boiler. I had the chimney re-lined about 8 years ago, so I didn't have to pay that price when my series 8/5 section was done 2 weeks ago. I had to have the  gas company up-size the meter, and the contractor had to increase the piping to the area of the boiler, where I already had a gas water heater. Demand and the economy have driven the prices of this, like everything else through the roof. Be prepared for a big nut, to get away from oil prices. Maybe this is not applicable in your case, but it makes no sense to re-line an uncapped chimney that needs re-pointing.
  • AndyM
    AndyM Member Posts: 5
    Oil to Gas Conversion of Smith Cast Iron Boiler

    Conversiontime: Thanks for the info.  Do you have specs on that stainless liner? Wall thickness, tees, caps,etc.  Does it have an insulation blanket wrapped around it?

     

    Paul48: Thanks for the correction; I will double check that it is 7 inch.  Just to clarify, you said are running a Carlin EZ Gas on a Smith 8/5?  Was that a conversion?  I was unaware that Smith would sell the boiler with a gas burner as I thought they marketed that boiler as oil fired only.  That it is available from Carlin ready to bolt on is very good news.

     

    On the liner, I think I may be forced by the local inspectors to put a metal liner in the chimney even though it is in great shape as the natural gas exhaust is supposedly more corrosive.  But I have seen that this could be done by the homeowner.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    edited October 2012
    G8

    http://www.smithboiler.com/html/g8.asp The Carlin ez gas is a conversion burner, but in our case, it's technically converting an 8 series to a G8, factory tested....doesn't get any better than that.
  • AndyM
    AndyM Member Posts: 5
    Oil to Gas Conversion of Smith Cast Iron Boiler

    Thanks Paul48, that info is perfect.  I was worried that my desired configuration would generate mostly responses suggesting scrapping the cast iron boiler for a condensing boiler.  It’s nice to see the manufacturer supporting this technology.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    Contractor

    Finding a contractor might prove challenging, depending on your location.Add up the btus of all the gas appliances in the house, then check the meter to see if it's big enough.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Smith Series 8

    Is a top-notch boiler, and well worth the investment to convert (assuming it is in good shape.)
  • AndyM
    AndyM Member Posts: 5
    edited October 2012
    Oil to Gas Conversion of Smith Cast Iron Boiler

    Hi Paul48, Please expand on trouble getting a contractor, though here is some more info on the gas conversion.

    Line from street just bolted to foundation last week, no gas line in house yet.  I have a licensed plumber to run gas line to boiler room, working on permits now.  I can get parts from a supply house at wholesale, this is where I am planning on getting burner and possible chimney liner.  I was thinking of installing the chimney liner myself.



    Longer term gas improvements include clothes dryer, stove, fireplace insert (maybe 2nd direct vent), and possible outdoor grill.  Line to boiler room would supply all the above so that would need to be properly sized.



    Hi SWEI, I really wanted to keep this boiler as it has been completely trouble free for 7 years and still looks brand new.  Very happy with Smith.
  • conversiontime
    conversiontime Member Posts: 87
    liner, burner, diy

    not sure on the lining thickness but the ss liner is like any one you see online for diy ss liners. You do want the t connector at base and cap, I also had a plate installed as my clay liner is cut flush with the crown. Originally my plan was to do the liner and save some $, but I negotiated the liner job down to a level where it made sense to have the pro do it. I know the fine line between diy to save money and paying qualified contractor to save sanity.



    same with burner, I got a better price on the riello burner via the contractor bid than I could have buying direct and trying to find somebody to do the just install work. In my area there are several very good conversion contractors, but they are quite busy and I suspect they would turn down work not of interest to them (e.g. jobs where margins already squeezed by diy homeowner).
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    Shortage

    There is a shortage of (qualified)contractors willing to install conversion burners. You may encounter the ones that will claim it is a terrible idea, and you will never get the necessary heat out of the boiler. Have you called around yet? The burner has to be set up with a digital combustion analyzer.
  • AndyM
    AndyM Member Posts: 5
    Contractors and Pricing

    Good point on the contractors and pricing out the whole conversion. I always want to know component pricing to see where my money is going. If I get a good price I too would hire it out. Some jobs I would never do, like setting up the burner and gas regulators. It can be hard to get someone to do just those parts of the job though, and I understand that.



    I am just starting the process as the gas line installation was tricky and there were significant delays so the schedule was not well defined. My post here was an attempt to be as informed as possible. I do think I will run into people who will stamp this as an inefficient and unwise solution. It would be nice to know the efficiency you can actually achieve with this configuration to have a productive conversation with them.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    efficiency

    Equal to, or better than oil, at half the price.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    edited October 2012
    G8

    Is no longer sold by Smith as a package, but the combination is fully approved by both Smith and Carlin, so you minimize your risk of finger-pointing in the event a warranty claim should arise.
This discussion has been closed.