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need new gas fired steam boiler for house

djmacdjmac Member Posts: 5
I am seeking a new steam boiler for my house and a heating contractor located near Springfield MA. The oil fired boiler I have now, which came with the house is a Weil McLain 78 Boiler, model 478. Apparently the unit is way oversized for the house. 400,000 Btu/hr. Anyway, I am seeking advice as to a qualified contractor and a gas fired steam boiler to replace what I have now.

I found online a Burnham Independence IN6 Gas Fired Steam Boiler, NG, Electronic Ignition, M&M Probe, With Damper, Up to 2,000 Ft Altitude, Packaged - 175,000 BTU AFUE 83%, Traditional Steam Boiler, Easy to Install, Great Lifespan, Cast Iron Heat Exchanger ($3300)

The house is 3600 sq. ft. 1922 model with the third floor mostly finished. I do not really want to remove all of the radiators so I thought maybe just switch to a gas fired steam boiler would be more efficient. As it is I am going thru alot of oil (maybe 15 gals/day).

Any advice will be appreciated.




  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,540
    Choosing a boiler, and someone to install it

    To start, you should measure the radiators, and calculate their EDR, so you will know what size boiler you need.

    That boiler must be installed following the manufacture's instructions, at a minimum in order to work properly. A drop header will be an added benefit, as it will dry the steam and make the labor cost lower.

    Add a 0-3 psi gauge, so you can see how much back-pressure of venting you have, in order to select the amount of main (not rad) venting you will need. If you have chosen the right size boiler, you will not need a vaporstat.--NBC
  • djmacdjmac Member Posts: 5
    thanks -

    It seems it is somewhat difficult to find steam contractor. Maybe not too many around doing residential work. Seems like quite a task even to calculate the boiler size if that requires measuring each radiator. What is EDR? If necessary, I will put forth the effort to learn enough at least to make sure I get an appropriate sized boiler. I guess bigger isn't necessarily better in steam boilers.

    Thanks for your help.

  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 11,380

    are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • djmacdjmac Member Posts: 5

    east longmeadow, ma
  • RodRod Posts: 2,067
    edited April 2013
    Local Steam Pro

    Hi- You're in luck as there is a really good steam pro, Charles Garrity, located near you. He's listed in the Find a Contractor section of this website. Here's a link to his page:

    - Rod
  • djmacdjmac Member Posts: 5

    Thanks for your help.

    I checked a map and C. Garrity is only abt. 53 miles from my house.

    Quite a drive, but hopefully not too far away.

    Thanks for your help.

  • djmacdjmac Member Posts: 5

    Thanks for your help.

    I checked a map and C. Garrity is only abt. 53 miles from my house.

    Quite a drive, but hopefully not too far away.

    Thanks for your help.

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 6,705
    As a matter of fact

    Charles's office is 53 miles from where you are -- but at last count he actually lived only about 10 miles away.

    And he is most assuredly the man you want to talk to.

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Radiator04Radiator04 Member Posts: 2
    Need a new boiler

    Currently have a gas boiler.  It is shot need a new one.  Most of the repairman in the area are for furnaces.  Afraid to get someone inexperienced.  Help please?  Also on a budget don't a need a specific price, but am looking for a round figure before we look into a loan.  Area is about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, PA
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 3,923
    I live off of Sumner Ave in Springfield

    My father and the shop are in Lee, MA. SO call my Cell # 413-841-6726
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • RodRod Posts: 2,067
    Planning for a New Boiler

    Hi- Welcome to  “the Wall”!   It would be a big help if we had some more information about your present steam system. What type of system is it? What exactly is wrong with your present boiler?  It would really help if  you would post a photo of your present boiler . Take the picture from back a ways so see can see the attached piping.  We can blow it up if we need to see more detail.  Also let us know the make and model of your present boiler. (It will be on a data plate on your boiler).

    There is a lot of information available on this website . Here are a couple of links that will be of help to you:

    This is a good video on the importance of the proper configuration of the boiler’s piping

    If you don’t have them already you might want to get a couple of books that are available in the Shop section of this website: The first one to read is called “We Got Steam Heat!”

    and the second one is "The Lost Art of Steam Heating”

    Both the books are easy reading and written so the home owner can understand them. A few evenings of reading will put you light years ahead in your knowledge of steam heating.

    Price wise we can’t help you much as one of the few strict rules of this board is we don’t discuss pricing.  Since you have a few months available before you need heat again you have lots of time to research the subject of steam heating and that will put you in a far more knowledgeable position to decide which direction you should take.  Generally the best approach is to just replace the present boiler. If you have had steam in the past, you won’t be very happy with hot air.

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