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Webster - Two pipe vapor with return trap: New Boiler
I’m a recent addition to the steam heat community, recently moving into a 1917 home in November of 2013.
I’m overwhelmed with all of the great information on this site – not to mention in Dan’s books!
After we moved in, I spent a lot of time learning…and reading…to the point of recognizing that the terribly uneven heat was partially due to failed thermostatic traps. So, we replaced all of them – radiators, cross-over, and end of main F&T traps. Luckily no damage to the house!
Fast forward to today; we are in the process of getting bids on replacing the current 27 year old Weil-Mclain (EGH-125) boiler, which has been leaking for some time through many rust holes in several of the sections (most above the water line).
OK, so we need a new boiler.
Four steam experts have come to look at the boiler, each of which did the EDR calculations and each of which are coming to a similar conclusion – the boiler is undersized. Turns out that the current Weil-Mclain is undersized to the tune of 18-30% smaller than required, based on the radiation requirements in the house.
So, to my questions:
1 – Following the replacement of the traps (capsules), I didn’t really notice uneven “heating” where some rooms are ice cold and others are super hot. I did notice some radiators getting extremely hot and others not so much, but the net effect was 66 degrees all throughout the house, even on the coldest days where it didn’t get above 5 degrees for 30+ hours. Will a properly sized boiler provide better (more efficient or cheaper or even) heating?
2 – one of the contractors has mentioned that it would be cheapest to keep the existing piping and replace the EGH-125 with another. Considering the answer to #1, is replacing an undersized boiler with an (nearly) identical, undersized boiler a good or bad idea?
3 - Considering the size of the current boiler (the top of the chain for that generation of Weil-Mclain) the next step larger is commercial sizing, which certainly carries more cost – both for the boiler and for the updated piping. If the EDR calculations are pointing towards a larger boiler, does anyone have ideas on how to calculate the cost / benefit for this type of decision? For example, if the new commercial boiler + piping would cost $100 (right!) more than the swap of one EGH-125 for another EGH-125, how could I calculate when I would break even on that $100?
Thanks so much for any advice offered.