Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.

Converting oil to Gas

cutter
cutter Member Posts: 282
I currently heat with an oil back up system. Is it possible to convert that boiler to Natural Gas. Replace the oil gun with a natural gas gun.
The boiler is a Burnham American, Boiler number VP-3W Serial number 7527343. The current Oil gun is a Wayne Model M-SR. This is an older boiler but has not been fired much in the last 25 years. Has always had hot water going through it though.
Is the efficiency way down on this boiler if it can be converted? Or should I just spring for a new boiler?

Comments

  • agurkas
    agurkas Member Posts: 238
    Check with Carlin. I just had my 10-year old boiler converted and I am happy with results. It does also have the IWH too.
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 282
    Who is Carlin? What is IWH?
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 2,761
    Carlin is this company that makes the gas burners:
    http://www.carlincombustion.com/gas-oil-burner-products/burners/residential-burners-gas-fired/ez-gas-burner/

    I've never seen the acronym IWH but I'm going to assume it stands for something like "internal (integral) water heater".

    As in, his boiler makes hot water for the sinks and shower, too.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, Master Plumber
    in New York
    in New Jersey
    for Consulting Work
    or take his class.
  • agurkas
    agurkas Member Posts: 238
    IWH - indirect water heater
  • John Mills_5
    John Mills_5 Member Posts: 935
    Seems to me doing anything with a very old boiler doesn't make sense. Personally I'd think it be time to replace.
  • agurkas
    agurkas Member Posts: 238
    My steam guy talked me out of replacing the boiler and squeezing out another 10 years out of it at least. We ran ROI calculations and even 10% efficiency gain did not make it work. That labor to install new boiler, with often re-piping needed, just kills the ROI.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,863
    IIRC, that VP-3 boiler was the predecessor to the V-1 series. These aren't bad, efficiency-wise, though they don't do as well as a good 3-pass unit.

    I'd use a Carlin EZ-Gas Pro with a 9-slot diffuser, since the firing zone on these units is rather small.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,231
    edited January 2015
    Would that 9 slot diffuser be a good match with the Carlin G8-3 boiler?

    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
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,863
    If you mean the now-discontinued Smith G8-3, the 9-slot should work OK. When we installed these they used the "B" diffuser, which also worked well.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,829
    That boiler is so old I don't think Carlin would approve. I tried to put a Carlin EZ gas on a Weil 66 series and they gave it the thumbs down
  • agurkas
    agurkas Member Posts: 238
    Solution is easy and quick - call Carlin.
    icesailor
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,863
    The EZ-Gas is listed as a conversion burner for oil-fired boilers, as well as for OEM use..... as long as you get good combustion test results, there shouldn't be a problem unless you get a really difficult inspector that fails stuff just because he can. We never have that problem in Baltimore.

    If it'll work in a small firebox like the 3-section Slant/Fin Intrepid or Weil-McLain Gold, it should work fine in that VP.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    icesailor
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 282

    Seems to me doing anything with a very old boiler doesn't make sense. Personally I'd think it be time to replace.

    I sort of agree also. I feel this boiler is not that old use wise though. I have used it as a back-up boiler for my in-the house wood heating boiler system. It has had hot water in it every heating season since I installed it back in 1987. and was used for heat two of those years. I did buy it used so I do not know how old it was before I got it. So I was thinking the fire box has not had that much use in all those years, and maybe it still has life in it and is still use-able?
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 282
    agurkas said:

    My steam guy talked me out of replacing the boiler and squeezing out another 10 years out of it at least. We ran ROI calculations and even 10% efficiency gain did not make it work. That labor to install new boiler, with often re-piping needed, just kills the ROI.

    Don't know what ROI calculations are. But I was wondering what kind of efficiency a converted old boiler would have compared to a new boiler. And would it make sense to convert an older boiler. If I would replace this boiler the re-piping would not be that bad. I need to re-pipe what I have now and have a wood boiler and gas boiler tied together so I can heat either with wood or gas. I do not know what kind of a job it would be to run the chimney out for a gas burner though. I currently have a 8" X 12" clay chimney for the oil boiler and would like to convert or use it for gas. I am in the thinking and planning stage now.
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 282
    Steamhead said:

    The EZ-Gas is listed as a conversion burner for oil-fired boilers, as well as for OEM use..... as long as you get good combustion test results, there shouldn't be a problem unless you get a really difficult inspector that fails stuff just because he can. We never have that problem in Baltimore.

    If it'll work in a small firebox like the 3-section Slant/Fin Intrepid or Weil-McLain Gold, it should work fine in that VP.

    I will check on a burner and see what my options are. The inspectors where I live are building inspectors one day plumbing inspectors the next and maybe heating the next. Permits here are for the revenue they produce.
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    If you move from oil to gas you may have to have your chimney lined with SS, or do direct vent. That's the case where I live, anyway. P.S. ROI = return on investment
    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
  • bio_guy
    bio_guy Member Posts: 70
    There is little sense in investing a lot of money in a back-up heat system if the gain that you are looking for is efficiency. If you need greater reliability than the current boiler can provide, you have to do it, but the return on investment period in upgrades for fuel efficiency in a back-up system approaches infinity.
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 282
    vaporvac said:

    If you move from oil to gas you may have to have your chimney lined with SS, or do direct vent. That's the case where I live, anyway. P.S. ROI = return on investment

    I called Carlin and they said the burner suggested by steam head would work. And like you said I would have to vent it with a SS liner. Problem is the SS liner will not fit down the current clay lined chimney. I do not know if direct vent will work on every boilers. And if they do I have a 30' run from the boiler room to the outside with the only practical run. Or I could install another chimney, But I do have higher walls than roof approximately 10' or so from where the new chimney could be placed. Why do gas fired boilers or furnaces have to have a SS chimney? Why would a clay lined class A chimney not work.
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 282
    bio_guy said:

    There is little sense in investing a lot of money in a back-up heat system if the gain that you are looking for is efficiency. If you need greater reliability than the current boiler can provide, you have to do it, but the return on investment period in upgrades for fuel efficiency in a back-up system approaches infinity.

    I am not looking for an efficiency improvement. I am looking for a cost of fuel savings. It costs a lot more to heat with oil than natural gas. The savings would pay for the gas boiler over time.

    My main heat source is a wood fired boiler that sits next to the current oil boiler. I am planning on being gone for extended periods of time over winter, maybe all winter. So the gas boiler could be upgraded to the primary source and the wood boiler would become the back up source of heat.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,231
    The exhaust from a gas burner is acidic and will slowly destroy the clay liner, that is why it should be SS lined. The chimney should also be inside the house, if 3 sides are exposed to the outside the liner would have to be insulated for it to work.

    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
    icesailor
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 282
    kcopp said:

    That boiler is so old I don't think Carlin would approve. I tried to put a Carlin EZ gas on a Weil 66 series and they gave it the thumbs down

    Being as how this boiler has sat idle most of it life Carlin said it would work. But I have a flue problem or obstacle that I need to figure out.
  • Xmytruck
    Xmytruck Member Posts: 85
    cutter said:

    I currently heat with an oil back up system. Is it possible to convert that boiler to Natural Gas. Replace the oil gun with a natural gas gun.
    The boiler is a Burnham American, Boiler number VP-3W Serial number 7527343. The current Oil gun is a Wayne Model M-SR. This is an older boiler but has not been fired much in the last 25 years. Has always had hot water going through it though.
    Is the efficiency way down on this boiler if it can be converted? Or should I just spring for a new boiler?

    What is the reason that you want to convert to gas?

  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    @Xmytruck‌, I think he said NG is cheaper and this will probably be the primary boiler from here on out. @cutter, for some reason it's the conversion that's the issue, although some other parameters come into play. If it's a conversion to gas you must install a SS liner. If 3-sided exterior with gas appliance (regardless of conversion), one must SS line it. My boilers were a gas-to gas conversion using a dedicated interior chimney so Slantfin and the local code said I didn't need a SS liner. Oil to gas is different.
    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
    icesailor
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 282
    BobC said:

    The exhaust from a gas burner is acidic and will slowly destroy the clay liner, that is why it should be SS lined. The chimney should also be inside the house, if 3 sides are exposed to the outside the liner would have to be insulated for it to work.

    Bob

    I have wondered that for years, Thanks
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    cutter said:

    Steamhead said:

    The EZ-Gas is listed as a conversion burner for oil-fired boilers, as well as for OEM use..... as long as you get good combustion test results, there shouldn't be a problem unless you get a really difficult inspector that fails stuff just because he can. We never have that problem in Baltimore.

    If it'll work in a small firebox like the 3-section Slant/Fin Intrepid or Weil-McLain Gold, it should work fine in that VP.

    I will check on a burner and see what my options are. The inspectors where I live are building inspectors one day plumbing inspectors the next and maybe heating the next. Permits here are for the revenue they produce.
    Thats sad,that the plumbing inspectors are not good, as you say…They are there for very good reasons..to protect you and the installer…Safety is ,and should be your number one concern …Go by the book at all times…In my area there are lots of wannabe plumbers out here ripping people off…Its good you found this site as you do get some great advice...
  • bio_guy
    bio_guy Member Posts: 70
    cutter said:

    bio_guy said:

    There is little sense in investing a lot of money in a back-up heat system ....

    I am not looking for an efficiency improvement. I am looking for a cost of fuel savings. ... So the gas boiler could be upgraded to the primary source and the wood boiler would become the back up source of heat.
    I was responding to this:
    cutter said:

    bio_guy said:

    if it can be converted? Or should I just spring for a new boiler?


    With current fuel prices, you can certainly recoup the cost of a gas conversion to your existing oil-fired boiler. It will come much sooner than a new boiler. In my very limited experience you are looking at 5-fold lower investment, but get quotes for both boiler replacement and burner swap from several contractors. You just need to do some arithmetic using the initial costs for both paths with as accurate an estimate as you can come up with of the use that you get out of the gas vs. wood.

    Is there an energy efficiency program in your area that will pay for an energy rating? The energy rater can do those calculations for you.


  • bio_guy
    bio_guy Member Posts: 70
    BobC said:

    The exhaust from a gas burner is acidic and will slowly destroy the clay liner, that is why it should be SS lined. The chimney should also be inside the house, if 3 sides are exposed to the outside the liner would have to be insulated for it to work.

    Bob

    The exhaust from an oil-fired burner is more acidic than from a gan burner. They way I understand it, the problem is lower flue temperature with gas combustion. You get condensation of what acids are produced by the natural gas along with water. Both the water and the acids will cause trouble.