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need advice: have baseboards, replace oil boiler vs. elec water heater vs. ...?

kaz
kaz Member Posts: 9
After researching options for days I am more confused than ever what is the best way to go.

I upgraded the upstairs of my house to have new heating and cooling. The downstairs heating was using baseboard hot water heating via an oil boiler, which also supplied the hot water to both levels.
The oil boiler has died and it is not at all obvious to me which of the various directions to go.
Since the house has PV solar panels that produce way more electricity than I need, I would prefer to switch to electric heat and hot water, but have not found any electric water heaters that seem like they will produce hot enough water to run the baseboards (I am in southern CT).
I would put in separate water heaters for space and water heating if I have to (better than buying another oil boiler).
I have not found any tankless systems that seem like they will work.
I have only found combi units that run on gas (would getting a tank for gas make sense?).
I am also considering replacing the baseboards with 5 wall mounted electric convection heaters but expect that the cost to wire new circuit for them would make that an expensive option.

It would take weeks, at least, to learn all I would need to learn to properly digest my options and figure out the best path.
I would greatly appreciate advice from your sage members, as my family has had no hot water for 10 days now.

The lower unit has 76 feet of baseboards.
House has two bathrooms, 5 people.

Comments

  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    What are your rates for electricity, LPG, and oil? How many kWH do you have banked with the utility, and how many extra kWH are you generating per month?

  • kaz
    kaz Member Posts: 9
    We just moved in, only activated solar a few weeks ago. The solar people are charging us half the normal rate, which I think is about $0.12/kWh. I do not know the rate for LPG, we just filled a 500 gal tank at $2.17 with oil that I hope to sell back to them at a small loss.

    I have not gotten a bill yet but estimate that our 3-person family uses 13 kWh/day and have been generating 25 kWh/day since going online 2 weeks ago. Of course all these numbers will change during winter, etc.

    If these estimates are accurate we are generating an extra 300 kWh per month, but of course this will decline dramatically during winter.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,490
    In Southern CT? Your extra 300 kWh will disappear very very quickly on those cold dark winter days which we get. I would not consider electric heat in Connecticut, even with a really big solar array (and that one isn't). The base electric rates are astonishing.

    Go with oil or LP or, if it is in the street, natural gas, and a proper heating boiler or combi unit.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Bob Bona_4
  • Eastman
    Eastman Member Posts: 927
    Who are the "solar people"?
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    300 kWH = 1,024,500 BTU = roughly 6-1/4 gallons of fuel oil burned in an 84% efficient boiler. With a properly sized, installed, and commissioned heatpump, it would still produce less heat less than 20 gallons of oil.
    kaz
  • kaz
    kaz Member Posts: 9
    Eastman said:

    Who are the "solar people"?

    Vivint (vivintsolar.com) put in a system for free.
  • kaz
    kaz Member Posts: 9

    kaz said:


    The oil boiler has died and it is not at all obvious to me which of the various directions to go.

    Can we discuss "died"?

    If the block is not leaking, this boiler can be resurrected from the "dead" at relatively reasonable cost.

    At the end of the day, an oil boiler is most likely your best option as LPG is going to cost quite a bit more.

    As mentioned above, electric heating is not a viable option in CT. You simply cannot generate sufficient power and even if you managed it, the infrastructure to deliver it is significant.
    The boiler has cracks and is leaking water. I only got one opinion that it was not worth fixing it (17 years old, Weil-McLain).
    Should I get another opinion?

    This basement level is below grade except for the top two feet, not sure if that makes it warmer enough to affect the choice (it did not need cooling this summer whereas the upper level did).

    Thank you all for the comments!
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    What part of CT, I may have a referral.
  • kaz
    kaz Member Posts: 9
    Bob Bona said:

    What part of CT, I may have a referral.

    Greenwich
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    PM me please.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,490
    I would add for the OP's benefit -- Bob Bona is one of the best in the business. Talk to the man. He has YOUR best interests in mind, unlike some others...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • kaz
    kaz Member Posts: 9

    I would add for the OP's benefit -- Bob Bona is one of the best in the business. Talk to the man. He has YOUR best interests in mind, unlike some others...

    I did send him a PM, waiting for a response...
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Thanks Jamie, just sent him an email. Was repiping a header this am.
  • kaz
    kaz Member Posts: 9


    Yes, sadly it has died and cannot be resurrected.

    Let Bob take a look at the entire situation and he'll offer you the best option. It will most likely be a replacement oil boiler.

    If that is the case then I could use help with two other questions.

    1) One guy suggested that I avoid a stainless water heater tanks because some city water supplies contain corrosive ingredients and that I should get ceramic or glass lined.
    Is that true?

    2) I want to remove the underground oil tank before it leaks and want the new tank to be inside but do not have room for a full size tank.
    Given that I would be heating only the basement level, can anyone suggest a source for a smaller tank (or at least a smaller footprint) that would fit on a 4' x 5' floor?
  • Brewbeer
    Brewbeer Member Posts: 616
    Check out Roth oil tanks, they have one that will fit your footprint. Do you know the chloride content of your water supply? This can frequently be looked up.
    Hydronics inspired homeowner with self-designed high efficiency low temperature baseboard system and professionally installed mod-con boiler with indirect DHW. My system design thread: http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/154385
    System Photo: https://us.v-cdn.net/5021738/uploads/FileUpload/79/451e1f19a1e5b345e0951fbe1ff6ca.jpg
    kaz
  • kaz
    kaz Member Posts: 9
    Brewbeer said:

    Check out Roth oil tanks, they have one that will fit your footprint. Do you know the chloride content of your water supply? This can frequently be looked up.

    Thank you!

    I found a water quality report for Greenwich, the chloride content ranged from 38 to 69 ppm with an average of 56 - how do you interpret that number in this context?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,490
    kaz said:

    Brewbeer said:

    Check out Roth oil tanks, they have one that will fit your footprint. Do you know the chloride content of your water supply? This can frequently be looked up.

    Thank you!

    I found a water quality report for Greenwich, the chloride content ranged from 38 to 69 ppm with an average of 56 - how do you interpret that number in this context?
    If anything, on the low side. Not to worry about. Just use it as it comes out of the pipe.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    kaz
  • kaz
    kaz Member Posts: 9
    Thank you!