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Is Carlin EZ 1 Steam Gas Conversion worth $$$$

Good Morning,

Let me explain my current situation:  I have a 3 year old +/- Smith Series 8 Steam boiler with a Carlin EZ1 Oil burner ( 2-275 gallon Oil tanks--about 7 years old) with a gas fired hot water tank.  I am contemplating making a change to an EZ1 gas utilizing the existing Smith boiler.



To make this change I would need an EZ1 gas burner installed and my chimney lined preferably with stainless steel



 What is your best guess at how much % (money)annually I could save by making this change?  Remember the only change is an efficient oil burner for an efficient gas burner.I currently have Columbia gas if that helps in the guestimation.



My concerns about making the change:

-My return on investment may not be that great

-There are MANY service techs/oil companies that can repair an oil burner, but I'm sure much fewer capable of repairing Carlin gas when the time comes

-The Carlin appears to pose somewhat of a troublesome set up--again probably very few that can set-up and maintain properly.

-The oil burner is supposed to be more efficient than the gas.

Comments

  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    stainless steal

    If its an outside chimney,check to see if stainless steel is required….I think it was last time I looked….
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Carlin

    We install Carlin gas burners on Smith series 8 boilers about 50 times a year. We've made this setup our standard equipment for new installations. It will be just as efficient, or MORE efficient than oil, if installed properly. If a technician does not know how to work on a power burner, than they shouldn't be working on any equipment, especially oil.



    Right now, in NJ, gas is 60% cheaper than oil. The payback is 1 or 2 years.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    Re: EZ-Gas

       On my second season after the conversion. My chimney was already lined with a SS liner, and the conversion was paid for with savings the first season.

       I was on a budget plan with the oil co. , and paid equal payments. With the high prices, the oil co. had nicely gone from 10 to 12 equal payments. In other words, all year long, I paid. Last year, my first year with the ez-gas, my monthly gas bill never got as high as a single budget payment, and I came out of the season not owing a penny.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,228
    EZ-Gas

    I had a Smith G8-3 with EZ-Gas installed a bit over a year ago and been very happy with it. Your cost difference will be dependent on the relative  price difference between natural gas and oil, the BTU consumption will stay about the same. The exact BTU input can be pretty much dialed in by drilling the right orifice and tweaking the gas pressure so you should be able to match your system load pretty closely so you may see some extra savings there.



    It seems these burners can be a bit noisier than the oil burners on some of the smaller boilers. Mine is the smallest Smith and there is a muffled roar with the EZ-Gas.



    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
  • smithsteam
    smithsteam Member Posts: 7
    Thanks for the Input

    I am not going to talk prices specifically, or ask for anyone's price etc.  as I know that is not allowed in the forum.  I am just talking investment and return on investment.  As far as I can tell, the combined investment of lining the chimney ($2,000-$2,500)and installing a Carlin EZ1 gas (approximate $2,000-$2,500 I am estimating a $4,000.-$5000. investment.  For example, If I spend $2,000 annually on oil and save approximately 25% ($500.) annually by switching to oil then it would take me 8-10 years to return my investment of the changeover.  Of course everything is an estimate because we can only project into the future with estimations.



    I have talked to some competent local oil techs that have just never had the opportunity to work on gas units because they have always been employed by oil companies, and some local plumbers (union and non-union) that are great installers of new gas units but are more limited in the troubleshooting/repair/service aspect.  When I open up my local phone book there are numerous oil dealers that offer service as well as independent service companies,  I find much fewer that offer service for gas.  Obviously they are out there but it just seems like a whole lot less.  Maybe, I'm just not looking in the right places.??
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,389
    Where are you located?

    If you haven't tried it yet, try the "Find a Contractor" link above. If you haven't had any luck with that, we might be able to recommend someone or someone might be willing to go a little out of their way to help you out or could at least discuss your options. Once you start working with a pro they can discuss pricing with you privately.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    Looking Forward

    I based my decision on the future(as I see it). Realistically you will save 50% now.With ever dwindling oil reserves, and global unrest, I just couldn't handle the huge swings in oil prices. I'm not saying that gas prices will never go up, but for the near future, it seems to be a much more stable market. I believe you will see more and more companies servicing gas  equipment in the future. There has been countless conversions in the last couple years.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,970
    Value

    I cannot say what fuel prices are in your area and I'm only a homeowner.  However I converted to NG in 2011 and have neighbors and friends who use oil in the area.  I spend less than half what they do to heat my house and have every year since I installed the system.



    Even if the oil burner was slightly more efficient there is no way its going to make up for the cost difference between NG and oil.  Not to mention I never have to clean or vacuum my boiler or replace nozzles or filters.  Not sure how this goes on the NG power burner but I'm assuming its similar.

    I live in a 1700sqft 150 year old house with original windows and practically no insulation.  I keep the house at 71F most of the time and the most we have spent on NG in a year including cooking, hot water and drying clothes is $1700.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Prices and efficiency

    http://www.eia.gov/neic/experts/heatcalc.xls is worth a few minutes of your time.  The difference in efficiency between a properly setup gas gun and a properly setup oil burner should be 1% or less.  The difference in fuel cost per million BTUs is likely to be at least 50%, quite possibly more.  The worldwide premium placed on liquid fuels is likely to continue for at least another decade, perhaps several.
  • smithsteam
    smithsteam Member Posts: 7
    Thanks for the Personal Messages and Overall Input

    It definitely appears that it would be worthwhile to change from Carlin oil to Carlin gas!!

    A couple members have graciously sent me some personal messages telling me about there recent experiences in installing new Carlin gas burners and sharing with me the amount they spent on doing such changeovers.  It appears my original guestimations about the amount this would cost me were somewhat high.  So, it seems that it may be a somewhat lower initial investment to do the change over.



    I would welcome more personal messages reflecting other members experiences in how much money they invested in a Carlin changeover / lining a chimney in both aluminum or stainless steel.  I know this money issue is a sticky situation on the forums and every job is different as are different service areas etc.  So, please if you're good enough to share your info. with me, please do not disclose which contractor performed the installation.  No one has yet and I prefer that no one does as I'm just using the info. as a general guide for my own personal research/knowledge .  I'm just trying to create some type of framework towards seeing how this will fit into my personal budget.   I will not  discuss any of this on the forum.  I hope this is acceptable as I'm really not trying to step on anyone's toes, or cause any type of unrest.



    Also, how loud are these comparatively speaking to a oil burner, and does the Carlin noise reduction enclosure help???



    THANKS EVERYONE
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    stainless steel liner only please

    The aluminum liners can corrode from leftover soot in the chimney from the outside in. also being an oil boiler it will still have left over soot no matter how well it is cleaned out. The Stainless is not that much more then the aluminum to make changing it twice a good investment.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • smithsteam
    smithsteam Member Posts: 7
    Thank-You, Opinion on Noise????

    I agree that the stainless seems like a much better option. 



    How about the noise factor of the gas burner as compared to the oil, and does the Carlin noise reduction enclosure help and is it worth installing???
  • rich11coop
    rich11coop Member Posts: 25
    edited December 2013
    Quiet

     
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,228
    Noise

    In some boilers there is a roaring noise that is louder than an equivalent oil burner. I think it's related to the size of the combustion chamber because it seems more prevalent on smaller steam boilers but it does not affect all small boilers.



    The cover helps with the fan noise but does nothing for the rumbling if your setup has it. Because my boiler was oversized i was able to cut a lot of the rumble out by downfiring the boiler (smaller orifice) to match the connected load. Another important point is the system has to be tuned with a combustion analyzer to be sure it's operating correctly.



    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
  • rich11coop
    rich11coop Member Posts: 25
    Quiet

    My EZ Gas is A LOT quieter than the old Beckett oil gun.

    I installed myself back in Oct. & so far very impressed with both noise level & operating cost.

    I don't have a cover on mine BUT if I did I think it would all but eliminate any noise.

    I have around $4000 invested which included running the gas supply piping, rebuilding with a drop header, aluminum liner, installing real main vents, replacing all radiator vents & insulating pipes as necessary.

    I believe this to be a advanced DIY project BUT knowledge & research are key.

    I spent alot of time here (thanks all!), Bought Dans trilogy on steam & took a adult continuing education 10 week boiler class, bought & learned how to use a Dwyer digital manometer & old school Bacharach combustion effieciency tester.

    Cheers,

    Coop
  • smithsteam
    smithsteam Member Posts: 7
    Thanks Bob

    I believe I might be in for the "rumble" as I have a small boiler. Is there anything that can be done about that, or is that just the way it is?
  • smithsteam
    smithsteam Member Posts: 7
    Coop, you're more adventurous than I....

    You definitely undertook quite a do-it yourself project.  My system is running nicely/balanced etc.  Now, It's down to making the change from oil to gas and getting the chimney lined, both of which I will hire-out .
  • Steve Garson_2
    Steve Garson_2 Member Posts: 638
    Conversion

    Plan on a louder rumble with the gas burner. You'll get used to it. The savings will astound you: both in fuel dollars and maintenance.
    Steve from Newton, MA