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Oil to Gas conversion

718KW
718KW Member Posts: 21
I'm considering a oil to natural gas conversion on my oil fired steam system.

I currently have a Utica 400S oil fired steam boiler (heating capacity 155,000 BtU) with a Becket RWB burner model A.  My oil tank is above ground (in a stucco shed), adjacent to the house. All equipment including boiler, burner and tank is roughly 24 years old. 



Questions:



1. Should I make the conversion?. It is pretty expensive. Roughly $9000.00, NOT including chimney liner.



2. Do I really need a liner.? The house was built in 1915 and has a tile lining. If I need a liner is there a specific type or quality one should buy?



3. What brand and model  natural gas steam boiler do you recommend? Based on several estimates I have been informed I need a 150,000 Btu  natural gas steam boiler (I have 9 radiators in the 2 floors and basement that are being heated) . . Unfortunately, it seems I can only get around 82% efficiency if I switch to gas.  Switching to a hydronic system seems cost prohibitive. A few years my oil company tested my oil boiler at 78% efficiency. One plumber suggested a Weil McClain EG45 cast iron natural gas steam boiler. There is also Burnham, Slant Fin. Peerless, Crown to think of some other names. I thought the neoprene nipples on the McClain might not last that long. I want a very durable reliable boiler that will last for many years.



4. Con Ed ,my utility, says they will announce the rebates and incentives for the conversion in March. Usually ConEd specifies the conversion must be done by September. I want to try to burn off  most of my oil before I convert. I will get my estimates now, and will make my decision in March depending on these incentives. Any other ideas for reducing my cost which seems quite high. Sounds like it might take 10 years or more  to break even. I'm 61 years old and have no immediate plans on selling my house but I do see as you get older it is harder to take care of a house. I could just wait for my boiler to die in the middle of a winter but due to the long delays to get Con Ed permits, I would probably just replace the oil boiler with another oil boiler at that time.  So it seems like now is the right time to consider making the conversion to gas.



I live in the zip code 11361, and would be happy to hear of recommended steam heat experts who can serve as my contractor. What is the recommended guarantee that should come with this conversion

Thank you all for listening to my questions and any advice you have. Thank you

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,330
    edited January 2014
    You can convert that boiler

    with a power gas burner. You don't necessarily need to replace the entire boiler. Here's a similar one we did:



    http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/140889/Columbia-COU-500-Steamer-Converted-to-Gas



    You definitely want a licensed chimney contractor to look at the chimney. There are a lot of factors that go into whether or not to re-line it, and the best way to determine that is to have a pro look at it. If it needs a liner, use stainless steel, NOT aluminum- aluminum doesn't last in a chimney that has served a coal or oil boiler.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • 718KW
    718KW Member Posts: 21
    edited February 2014
    Oil to Gas Conversion

     Is it better to get new gas burner on this old steam oil boiler or better to get a new gas boiler. If so which brand and model do you recommend? My local hardware guy's opinion is not he is not so sure gas will be that much cheaper than oil. He himself replaced his Beckett burner with a Reillo burner and is pleased with his decision partly because of the huge cost of converting from oil to gas. If you change the flue liner and the boiler it will cost about 12 thouisand to convert. At  today's prices would take about 12 years to break even.   I know oil is dirty (it makes a lot of soot so the boiler must be cleaned each year, and even a tiny leak smells awful), requires a lot more maintenance than gas,



    I appreciate your recommendation to change the burner from oil to gas. However, I asked the plumber who recommend a new gas boiler.. He said my old Utica oil steam boiler was made for oil not for gas and it was wrong to just change the burner..



    In fairness to the plumber I recall calling Utica a few years ago and they said my boiler was made for oil not gas and if I want to convert to gas I needed to purchase a new gas steam boiler.



    My friend who is a landlord and owner of old 4 and 5 family houses said I did not need a new boiler just to change the burner. So he agrees with you and more often than not he is correct.



    The Utica oil steam boiler is about 24 years old.. Is it worth it to put  a new burner on than old boiler? 



    I would like to hear from other pros of the benefits of converting to gas to stay with oil, knowing I will still have a steam system either way.
  • 718KW
    718KW Member Posts: 21
    edited February 2014
    Oil to Gas Conversion

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,923
    Just a couple of thoughts...

    from a building super, not a pro (there are several who serve your area on the Wall here; check Find a Contractor by State and don't forget to check adjacent states as well!).



    First, oil is dirty?  How's that again?  Properly adjusted, an oil burner will put out more carbon dioxide than a gas burner will -- but dirty?  Not if it's burning right.  Oil also doesn't blow up if it leaks into your house... although I must admit that cleaning up an oil spill is a bit tiresome.



    Second, I think your local hardware friend may not be that far off; energy prices tend to level out over time.



    Third, there is a supply issue with gas -- at times of very heavy use, you may or may not be able to get the gas pressure you need; this has been mentioned here on the Wall a few times.



    The neoprene gaskets on a Weil-McClain should last; there's no reason for them not to.  Provided, however, they are installed correctly -- but whatever boiler you choose, the ability and craftsmanship of the installer is more than half the bargain anyway.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,330
    edited February 2014
    Utica makes more money

    if they can sell you a new boiler.



    Maybe your plumber does not have experience with conversion burners.



    But we do, that's why I can say your boiler would run well with a good conversion burner.



    Also, you can get rid of the old oil tank, and you won't have to worry about the oil company failing to deliver oil.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Gas

    Natural gas, right now, is 60% cheaper than oil. No brainer.



    You can go either route. If you change the burner now and the boiler cracks next year, just relocate the existing gas burner to a new boiler.
  • 718KW
    718KW Member Posts: 21
    Conversion burner

    Hi All Steamed UP,



    I like your confidence. I will look into a conversion burner. Roughly how much would you save just changing the burner, instead of burner and boiler.



    What is the name of the conversion burner you suggest. Do you know anyone in NYC who has your expertize in a conversion burner? if so I will ask them for an estimate in Bayside Queens where I live.



    In any case thank you very much for your input.
  • 718KW
    718KW Member Posts: 21
    Conversion burner

    If I just changed the burner from a Beckett burner to a gas burner on my  24 year oil steam 150,000 btu Utica boiler what conversion burner do you recommend?



    Any steam experts out there willing and licensed to do the oi to gas conversion using a conversion burner on my old oil steam boiler?
  • sparks
    sparks Member Posts: 6
    oil to gas conversion

    I just converted my house from oil to gas using a Wayne P250 conversion burner. I did the work myself and it was simple. The only complexity was adding a dual swing barometric damper and draft spill switch, required by code and common sense safety.



    Since doing the work, I had it checked by both the local gas company tech and hired a commercial HVAC contractor to check my work and do a combustion analyses.



    The boiler converted was a Weil-McClain boiler circa 1988 with a domestic coil. The boiler was rated at a max of 144K/BTU/hr. I'm firing it at about 120K/BTU/hr based upon my orifice size and clocking the gas meter.



    The original efficiency with oil was about 78%. I've lost about 5% with the conversion. That's a VERY worthwhile trade off considering that the cost of natural gas per therm around here is about 40% that of oil.



    My highest gas heating bill for the season so far is about $240/month. It would have been about $600/month for oil at current (nearly $4.00/gal and rising) oil prices.



    Any pro HVAC guy who tells you that it's not worthwhile to convert an oil gas boiler (or furnace) to a power conversion gas burner is giving you bunk. Admittedly I bought the Wayne burner used, did some minor repairs to it and performed the entire conversion myself for less than $500, including the tech service call. I'll get that back in about two months of use. No, I'll rephrase that, I've ALREADY gotten that back in savings.



    Doug
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,330
    If that's the boiler I think it is

    a 66 series, you would have gotten better results with a Carlin EZ-Gas or a Midco EC. If it's a 68 series, I would have used the EZ-Gas since the 68's flue passages are tighter, and the EC might have trouble moving air thru them. The Riello gas burner would work well too.



    Those Wayne burners were designed to convert boilers that are even older than yours, so they don't have the tighter flame pattern of the EZ-Gas, EC and Riello. As a result, their flames can strike the inside of the firing zone, which reduces flame temperatures and causes poor combustion. Adding more air helps, but reduces combustion efficiency as you've seen.



    No doubt you are saving money, but we can do better.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • 718KW
    718KW Member Posts: 21
    edited February 2014
    Conversion Burner

    Hi Steamhead,



    I have a 25 year old  Utica 400-S oil steam boiler and 25 year old oil tank. My oil tank is outside the house in a shed.  How long are the oil boiler and oil tank expected to last if maintained well.and I stay with oil?  If I convert to gas how long can I expect the boiler  to last?



    Assuming you will recommend I switch to gas due to the lower cost of gas and less maintenance,  which conversion burner would you recommend if I switch from oil to gas?



    Someone asked a similar question on the attached HVAC blog.  On that blog the HVAC technician said if the boiler is over 20 years old it is better to replace both the boiler and burner. I believe you disagree with that assessment.. If so please explain why.



    Thank you,



    Ken



    P.S.  Next week Joe Starosielec of Thatcher Heating will be stopping by to evaluate my system for the best approach. He is known on this site as a steam expert so I am looking forward to his evaluation and recommendations.



    Resolved Question by HVAC tech :



    I have an Oil based Steam Heating system using a UTICA Boiler. I want to convert to [color=#000000][color=#000000]GAS[/color][/color] and have had two companies provide estimates. Each company has given me different information about the correct approach.



    One company suggests retrofitting the existing [color=#000000][color=#000000]boiler[/color][/color] with a new gas [color=#000000][color=#000000]burner[/color][/color] pack. The second company told me the boiler is over 20 yrs old and should be replaced.



    The boiler is made by UTICA. It is a Series 400 S.Can you tell me an approximate year that this boiler was manufactured, and if I should consider the retrofit approach (this is about 40% cheaper than complete repalcement).



    Thank you for any guidance you can provide



    jack



    submitted: 1 year ago.



    Category: HVAC



    Expert:  Billy



    replied 1 year ago.



    Hello,



    These are tough for me because I cannot evaluate the boiler as to its condition/operation.



    I can tell you the boiler was made in 1982...which makes the unit 30 years old.



    Unless the boiler is in very good condition and has been meticulously maintained I would replace vs repair.



    Whenever

    the repair cost is around 50% of replacement on a unit that old I

    generally go with replacement. You would hate to repair and then lose

    an exchanger in 2-5 years and have to replace anyway.



    Billy





    Billy







    Billy, HVAC Technician
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,330
    If JStar is coming

    have him look it over. He can evaluate it as well as I can. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Pughie1
    Pughie1 Member Posts: 134
    Just my 2 cents

    Been doing this stuff for over 50 years, been coming to this site a long time, retired now so I have more time to come here. It never ceases to amaze me as to the wealth of knowledge and the time these guys are willing to spend GIVING advice to questions presented here.

    Don't know Billy, but unless you could get Dan himself, Steamhead, JStar & Jamie Hall are the best. (I'm sure I've left someone or or more out). They are dedicated students of steam and there advice is priceless in this dying art!

    John Pughe
  • 718KW
    718KW Member Posts: 21
    J Star evaluation

    Pughie,



    I'm very much looking forward to JStar evaluating my steam system for a oil to gas conversion. 



    Thanks
  • 718KW
    718KW Member Posts: 21
    JStar

    Thank you Steamhead. Apparently your peers think very highly of you and JStar.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 2,917
    edited February 2014
    I disagree with a lot of what's being said here.

    Yes. A lot.



    Why on earth talk this person out of changing a 25-year-old Utica boiler to a new gas boiler when that's exactly what she needs and was willing to do? Why tie the customer to a powered gas burner at all when the skill set to deal with them at the residential level is becoming less and less available? Setting these up properly is subject to the talents and attitude of the installer then every random service person to step foot in the house going forward.

    Atmospheric boilers do a damn good job and are perfectly preset at the factory in 999 times out of 1,000. Clean them annually and step away in most cases.



    What in the world is this obsession with "conversion burners" anyway?



    And while we're at it, there's gas pipe to run here and it will require an LAA permit in NYC. That takes a plumber's, architect's, or engineer's license.



    Does this not concern anyone?
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, Master Plumber for Consulting Work
    Or for plumbing in NYC or in NJ.

    Or take his class.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,330
    Your quote

    "Atmospheric boilers.... are perfectly preset at the factory in 999 times out of 1,000"



    Au contraire. I've seen plenty that weren't. Unfortunately 90% of installers just hook them up and walk away without testing anything. Problems I've seen include maladjusted regulators producing flames too high or too low, burners that got dislodged during shipping, wrongly-sized orifices. And if the chimney gets blocked, you can get CO coming out the draft hood. Hopefully the blocked-flue switch will trip, but if it doesn't..................



    No matter what you're putting in, combustion testing is not the option that way too many people think it is.



    The other issue is efficiency. Atmospheric boilers lose a lot of heat out the base. DOE, with their usual incompetence, doesn't consider this as a loss since the heat is released into the basement- where it goes straight up the chimney. Also, atmospheric burners run with more excess air then well-adjusted power burners do. This also reduces their real-world efficiency.



    In the rest of the world, the "blown gas" power burner is king where condensing units are not used. As far as I know, we are the only major country that clings to atmospherics. As American energy standards go up, atmospherics will be the first to be outlawed, so power burners will become the standard.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    edited February 2014
    Burners

    Why assume this person is a woman?



    It's our job as a professional technician to be able to work on anything and everything. If you can't work on a power burner, you shouldn't be allowed to touch any gas appliance. They are just like every other piece of equipment; a combination of parts and knobs that need to be adjusted.



    I test atmospheric boilers to have more CO problems than power burners. Draft hoods are the most dangerous item in your house. They do not work as advertised.



    I work with a plumber/electrician who are licensed in the boroughs, so no worries there.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 2,917
    Please explain

    You "work with" a plumber/electrician.



    I know you do a lot of work in New York. Are you or is there not someone in your company who is licensed to work in NYC?



    Not sure why I assumed this person was a woman. I guess I should've said he/she.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, Master Plumber for Consulting Work
    Or for plumbing in NYC or in NJ.

    Or take his class.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    License

    I don't see this as an appropriate public discussion. You can email me privately if you have a concern.



    The only thing I will say here is that everything we do is done properly with the city. Licensing, permits, etc.



    [email protected]
  • ALIGA
    ALIGA Member Posts: 194
    Qualified Installers

    from what I recall Gateway only services Brooklyn and Manhattan.



    The OP is a Queens homeowner. The OP is in good hands!
  • 718KW
    718KW Member Posts: 21
    Choice of steam boiler

    Hi JohnNY,



    I am an experienced homeowner who enjoys  listening to the different points of views of the plumbers who care enough and and are passionate enough about their trade  to share their expertise on this site.



    If you don't mind me asking, if you were replacing your 25 year old Utica 400S oil fired steam boiler with a 150,000 BTU NG steam boiler in your own house which brand and model number would you choose and why.?



    I understand that the most important decision is choosing a NYC licensed plumber with steam expertise who knows how to do a proper installation. Nevertheless, the brands do vary and I would like to get the best for my situation.



    Thank  you,



    718kww
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    Megasteam oil?

    Hi,

    I'm another homeowner here. If it proves to be too expensive to convert to gas, you might want to consider the Burnham Megastem 3-pass boiler. It's Lifetime guranteed against rotting out due to it's superior design. It's not rated for conversion, unfortuantely so it's only for oil. 86% efficient!!!



    I waited and waited for them to approve for gas, but they aren't considering that at this point. I eventually got a Slantfin Intrepid with a gas conversion burner. I'm already set up for gas so I didn't have that cost to consider. I researched this extensively and switched to the power burner for a number of reasons: efficiency of the burner and the boilers they're made for being primary. The efficiency ratings don't tell the entire story. The atmospherics heat from below and that seems to cause a lot of problems. I was on my second block and decided I wanted more longevity.



    Check about your chimney. I understand it's quite different if you've been heating with oil before and that a conversion requires a SS liner. I'd definitely go for a professional opinion and check what the codes require.



    One advantage of the atmospherics is that you can often get the burner set up for high-low-high burning which really ups the efficiency since it can drop to a lower burn rate after heating the pipes. On the gas power burners in your size that isn't possible. Plus, most everyone will put them in and service them. That said, I love my new boilers.



    Feel free to email me if you'd like further info from my research. Believe me when I say I called every boiler AND burner manufacturer.

    I guess it all boils down to the ROI, but you'll probably need a new boiler coming soon so it' best to research and plan whichever way you go.



    You can check out my install here:http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/148136/An-Epic-Tale-I-hear-the-Trane-a-comin



    My prior posts detail all the questions along the way so search away with the caveat that I am just a homeowner like yourself depending on the expert, but often differing advice found here.



    C

    P.S. You mention your Btus, but what is your measured radiation (edr)? That's the info you really need to pick the proper sized boiler.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 2,917
    edited February 2014
    Advice

    The brands do vary but not nearly as much as installers vary. With very few bells and whistles to differentiate one residential steam boiler from another, I tend to consider the basics:

    1. I like a boiler that keeps the gas valve and ignition module protected inside the boiler jacket. If that preference were your own, you might eliminate brands like Utica, Crown, and Dunkirk in favor of brands like Burnham, Weil-McLain, and Peerless.



    2. Available customer service is a big must for me. If I'm pounding the dirt out here selling their product, they need to be here for me when I have an issue. It's just got to be. No excuses. I'm not a cheap installer and my clients need me to produce results.

    I must say that the Crown boiler company has really impressed me with their customer service in the past, but I happen to deal with suppliers who carry brands other than that.



    3. I need to be able to install the boiler in a compliant way without significant cost increase in labor or materials on my end. Many Peerless boilers' installation manuals state a 3" boiler riser is required. Cutting and threading 3" pipe on site costs too much money to justify. Yes, I can buy the pieces pre-cut, but then I'm outsourcing something that I am ultimately responsible for. Burnham is approved for 2" risers.

    Weil-McLain, oddly, has not yet produced a good tapping for a secondary low water cut off. More work and more fittings for me. I don't know why this is so considering it is NYC code to have a secondary manual reset LWCO on every boiler installed after July 2008.



    So, what I'm left with in residential steam for a *typical* installation is Burnham. It's got all the right tappings, piping diagram and customer service I seem to need and so that's the one I tend to recommend.



    There is nothing wrong with the other boilers I mentioned, and I do install them on request or when I'm trying to hit a specific mark one boiler meets closer than another.

    Others have very valid opinions on why they prefer one over another as well.



    This is just what works for me.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, Master Plumber for Consulting Work
    Or for plumbing in NYC or in NJ.

    Or take his class.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,989
    Burners

    I have to agree with Steamhead on the burner issue. I would much rather see a power burner than an atmospheric.

    Guess I am just a power burner guy. A wet base boiler with a burner is going to be more efficient than an atmospheric or an induced draft.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,827
    edited February 2014
    WM

    I'm a homeowner, not a pro.

    However I chose to go with a Weil-Mclain EG series atmospheric because it was simple enough for me to install, matched my connected load exactly, and was available locally.  After doing a lot of research I came to the conclusion that all of the brands are pretty much the same.  Burnham seems to have a slightly nicer jacket and trim but are no better than the rest in the end.  The Weil-Mclain EG series has 3" supply tappings which is nice where Burnham only has 2". 



    That said, you can't go wrong with Jstar.  He installs boilers better than most and is the only person in the NJ area I would ever want working on my system.  If I was in your shoes I would probably keep the old boiler and go with a power burner.  What's the worst that will happen?  The boiler leaks, and you buy a new one without burner and install the same burner into it.
    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
  • sparks
    sparks Member Posts: 6
    gas conversion

    Thanks for your comments.

    You might remember that we chatted on the phone too!

    Thanks again for that.



    My recently converted boiler was a Weill-McClain 466 unit.

    I'm sure you're right in that the Carlin or Riello burners would have been slightly more efficient but the Wayne P250 was what I had on hand.



    How critical is the target wall in such conversion? Mine is heavily cracked. If it were to collapse, would the cast iron be stressed enough to crack? I understand that gas burns at a lower temperature and have certainly seen gas flames hit cast iron directly without mishap.



    I'm toying with the idea of converting a 50's era Olsen lowboy oil furnace to gas using a Wayne P265 burner that I have on hand. I'm sure you know the old design whereby the furnace basically has two cabinets bolted together. One houses the firebox and heat exchanger, the other houses the blower and return air.



    The low speed Wayne 1750 RPM burner does test out at a reasonably efficient 77%. It's being fired at about .85GPH. The maximum rating of the furnace is around 150K/BTU.

    With its firebrick combustion chamber and plate steel heat exchanger, it might well last indefinitely. White it's never been a fuel hog, the price of oil is killing the tenant.



    Am I nuts to think of installing that Wayne P265 burner?



    tnx,



    Doug

    New Haven
  • Athana
    Athana Member Posts: 94
    718KW

    I am a homeowner who had similar situation..you want to know about savings..

    I live in NJ but come from Jamaica Queens.



    My Boiler was Petro(OIl Company) installed about 2001...it was big WM 490,000btu input..400,000 output (and oversized)..for a big old house.

    Oil was killing us being out of work for a long time so for 3 years we've had our house temperature at 60º ,stayed out of most of the house and only used bedroom suite with electric heater supplement..and kitchen being over boiler was a bit warmer and we topped it up with oven. Sweaters…all the time.

    We kept oil use way down but it is a burdensome life.

    We switched to gas..for now switching to gas is right off half the cost to heat yourself compared to oil. In my case Id say about 60% less.

    A Peerless or Smith Series 8 Boiler is about 86% efficient. I would guess Oil suppier/people

    are not telling you the truth as to the efficiency. Id guess it is exaggerated.

    I had an old General Motors Boiler from 1970 in my last house and they were telling me similar baloney numbers.

    I really do not recommend changing the burner..in the medium/long run it is a waste of money as most of the conversion cost is the install/adjustment..go for the Smith or Peerless. Im hoping the Peerless may be a little quieter but Smith is similar at a great value built in same factory.

    Gas may go up later and oil plummet but I would not count on it. In that case this boiler can be converted back to oil.

    Anyway now we set temp at 63º..(but our kitchen and bedroom suite is warmer).Id say with this recent cold January it would have been 450-500 gallons at this temperature($1700-2000)..it was $660 in gas.Some radiators are not working on first floor..once they are working,if possible,thermostat will not kick on as often.

    So anyway thats my experience.I'd count on a solid half + the cost to heat yourself when going to gas.

    We used Joe (JStar)..we dig the guy a lot.

    He put in a Stainless Steel liner ,he will put it himself with his partner and part of the deal will be venting the steam faster to the radiators. Others were just going to put the Burner/Burner in and not address the venting. Good Luck
  • Athana
    Athana Member Posts: 94
    More info

    I spoke to my neighbors today as they still use Oil.

    They are a bit on the older side and keep the thermostat temp at 72º.

    They have a good sized 1900's Colonial.

    They used about 380 gallons of oil in around 3 weeks which came to about $1400.

    The guy on the other side of me has gas and a similar sized Victorian house.

    He keeps temp at 72 but drops it down when going to bed then cranks it back up

    in the late afternoon. He paid $315 including water heater & range.

    Now I dont know how he does it but he says they are highly insulated.

    The house we are in is a bit over 50% larger than these neighbors..our bill not including the range & water heater was $650 for the month.

    Good luck
  • Scott_from_CT
    Scott_from_CT Member Posts: 3
    Steam Oil to gas conversions

    In choosing to convert from oil to gas I always recommend replacing the boiler as opposed to adding a conversion burner. Steam boilers aren't necessarily known for their long life span so opting for one that is designed from the onset to operate on gas is the best bet. Otherwise when the time comes to replace the boiler you will be committing to either an oil boiler that will once again be converted to gas or scrapping your "new" burner.

    A new chimney liner should always be installed. You don't need to consult a Chimney expert to determine it. Any steam boiler in operation is most likely being vented into a chimney that is at least 60 years old. Many are a century old. Don't risk your family's health.



    In choosing a boiler size always perform an "attached load" heat calculation. There are many radiator sizing charts available. Also consider pipe sizing and pipe insulation values. Then know where the water level of the boiler is.

    In choosing a boiler from all the manufactures in the market I look at the sizing need first then the installation procedure from the manuals. Do all you can to replicate the piping of the original system. This is a case where you can have preference of boilers but the house should ultimately dictate the selection.



    A homeowner is going to have a hard time determining local support. They should rely on a contractor's advise to best local representation. I speak to a lot of other contractors around the US and their opinions will vary greatly by region in regards to the boiler they think is best. It really comes down to the support of the wholesaler and their distributor as to the brand which will be ultimately recommended.

    Scott Basso



    Steve Basso Plumbing Heating & A/C

    83 Brookfield Ave

    Bridgeport, CT 06606

    203-335-0224

    [u][color=#0000ff]www.bassophac.com[/color][/u]
  • Athana
    Athana Member Posts: 94
    thanks

    Yes my neighbor across the street did a conversion oil to gas on existing unit which only lasted 2 or 3 years.



    The total in cost to heat ourselves with gas with these new boilers in this very cold winter came to $2550 for the year.

    Had we been on Oil it would have been about 2000 gallons. Oil was just under $4 a gall through our Full Servive Oil People..plus the Proguard Tank Insurance which was nearly $500.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Boilers

    A lot of bad information here.



    I take care of some boilers that are 90+ years old and still operating. Is that long enough?



    Not every chimney requires a metal liner. You DO NEED a qualified professional to inspect the chimney. You can't file permits without that certificate.
  • Scott_from_CT
    Scott_from_CT Member Posts: 3
    Boilers

    I agree that there are still 90 year old boilers still operating today. But there are No boilers made today that are built the same way. The mass of  today's modern light weight boilers just don't compare to those old boilers. In the name of efficiency boiler construction changed. The trade-off is a lowered life expectancy (I won't know for sure I won't be here in 90 years). I have replaced many boilers that were only 10-20 years old. Some were installed incorrectly but not all of them. A proper installation with all the preparation that goes into it is the key to a system that will be long lasting, comfortable and efficient.

    In regards to Chimney liners. When I stated  that "You don't need to consult a Chimney expert to determine it." My intention was that a homeowner with such an old system should assume they need a new liner and budget for it from the onset. A properly Licensed professional should look at it and give them a quote to have it done. If by chance a 90 year old chimney doesn't need a liner they can be pleasantly surprised but it shouldn't be expected. A boiler that is 90 plus years old in Connecticut, where we are from, has most likely been converted from coal to oil. And today if it is available will be converted to natural gas. That chimney has seen a lot.

    Every boiler replacement we do in Connecticut is permitted and inspected. The chimney even if it is in good condition has the possibility of being incorrectly sized. Older boilers' stack temperatures  were higher than today's more efficient systems.

    Scott Basso

    Steve Basso Plumbing Heating & A/C

    83 Brookfield Ave

    Bridgeport, CT 06606

    203-335-0224

    http://[u]bassophac.com[/u]
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,330
    We also need to re-state

    the other advantage of converting an oil-fired boiler to gas... better efficiency.



    AFUE can be quite misleading. We need to look at a boiler's thermal efficiency, which means what percentage the DOE or Gross Output rating is of the Input rating. Typical atmospheric (so-called gas-designed) gas-fired steam boilers have thermal efficiencies of 80-82%, whereas wet-base steamers normally sold as oil-fired boilers and equipped with good power gas burners rate up to 86%.



    There are two reasons for this:



    1- The wet-base boiler's cast-iron heat transfer surface almost completely surrounds the flame, whereas the atmospheric's flame is completely below the cast-iron. So the atmospheric loses a lot of heat out of the base. DOE doesn't care about this because technically the heat is released inside the building, but we want the heat to go to the radiators- not the basement, unless there are radiators located there.



    2- The power burner offers much better control over the combustion air supply than the atmospheric. Excess air on an atmospheric is often 35-50% whereas a power burner can usually run at less than 25% without making CO. Excess air just blows heat up the chimney, so for best efficiency it needs to be limited. How do I know these figures are correct? Because we test every unit we work on using a digital analyzer! Can everyone in this thread say the same?



    If you use a conversion burner with different available air tubes, flanges etc such as the Carlin EZ-Gas, you can easily transfer the burner if it becomes necessary. This protects the customer's investment.



    I have read that in Europe, in cases where condensing boilers are not used, this wet-base/power-burner setup is standard. They call it "blown gas". We seem to be the only major country still using a lot of atmospherics.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Athana
    Athana Member Posts: 94
    Joe..

    Joe..anything Steamhead just said which can help us over here ?
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    I'm curious

    what kind of excess air numbers the Midco LNB is producing.  We see near-perfect combustion from that type of burner in other applications.