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Small Rental House on LP - On the fence about - Modcon VS Cast Iron

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NYplumber
NYplumber Member Posts: 503
Hi there wallies,

In an effort to deliver what the customer needs, and not what they want I have been stuck on the fence. They have a small one bedroom one bathroom home as a rental, under 1,000 sq ft. Its all radiant.

As much as I like mod cons, my best interest is in the ROI for the landlord. He has a modcon in his radiant home and knows there may be draw backs ie. expensive repairs, wait for parts, etc. For his home (on LP) a modcon makes sense as hes saving plenty of money on fuel over his forced air system (which is now his backup).

Keeping specific pricing out of the discussion we all know that one whopping repair to a mod con can leave him without a months rent and a very unhappy tenant.

I propose a small indirect, right sized cast iron boiler, and a small buffer tank. The buffer tank would have an injection controller injecting into the radiant loop. Space is scarce however with this setup I feel there are always parts available. Cost of the boiler, buffer, and injection controller is what tells me to put in a modcon.

Lets hear some opinions.
:NYplumber:

Comments

  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    edited January 2016
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    Being a rental property I think I would go with the cast iron system. I love condensing boilers but the last thing the owner needs is to lose the system for a couple days waiting on parts...simple does have it's place...and that small a house, what's it really going to save total? 100 gallons a year? (doubt it would be that much honestly)
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,075
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    What type of radiant do you refer to, CI, BB or infloor?

    If the chimney/venting is good and if the tenant pays the fuel bill, which IMO is the only way to do it, I would go with the CI. 1000 feet/1 bedroom cannot cost much to heat.

    If the tenant feels he/she should have the efficiency that the landlord enjoys then they should buy their own house and realize what property insurance and real estate taxes really are.
    I don't mean to sound harsh, but having rental property for over 30 years and many tenants who feel their monthly check just goes into the landlords piggybank as pure profit, I wouldn't be overly concerned. A ModCon will not get you any points with the tenant. Try to raise their rent $20 a month because the thing might use less gas, they may not have the history of fuel consumption and the longevity of occupancy to appreciate any savings. But if it is down for 2-3 days you will hear about it.
    A CI might fall down but usually easy fix. Also yearly maintenance on Mod Con is to be considered.

    My, my, such ravings :)
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,441
    edited February 2016
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    I depends on the Mod Con.
    I have become quite fond of the TT Challenger / IBC dc/ hc unit/
    One of the things I super like about it is it has a significant fewer parts to go wrong.
    No diverter/3 way valve
    1 flow switch.
    1 pressure switch

    http://ibcboiler.com/ibc-products/dc-series/
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
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    my other concern with mod cons in this case is maintenance...I've seen far to many rental properties that receive none... After a few years....well you've all seen the results..
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,075
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    Type of radiation??
  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
    edited February 2016
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    Do you stock or your local supply house all the parts for the mod con boilers you install?

    Every time we install a modcon boiler or any other high efficiency equipment it's a risk.
    If space is that much of a problem I would do a mod con. Or even the forbidden word around here of a combi boiler with a buffer tank.

    Maybe even try and sell a ductless split heat pump as a back up. Does the house have ac now?
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    The Lochinvar solution has outdoor reset, and a modulating burner for a reasonable price.--NBC
  • NYplumber
    NYplumber Member Posts: 503
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    We do not stock all parts as every year the companies do upgrades and parts change. We stock the parts we find break.

    Slantfin has a boiler with the hydrolevel which is nice. Many options for CI with ODR.
    :NYplumber:
    njtommy
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    edited February 2016
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    Your monkey on the back is the small load of a 1k SF house. Most all Ci boilers will be oversized. A mod/con pricey up front, and long term. The low end modulation being quite important for efficiency on this system though.

    the UFT has the low end capability, and is cheap. All though I think I like the new Loch KHN much better, but it comes with a much higher cost to the uft.

    I think CI is the best bet for simplicity of repair, up front cost, and dependability. I will add much less buttons, and switches for tenants to play with.

    The only thing I can think of is if the owner needs, or wants a significant write off for the property. The yearly maintenance can go against income on the property.mthen give them a 50k mod/con
  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
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    I'm sure heat loss can't be much more then 30k.
    Gordy
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,433
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    My own feeling -- and I'm a building super, not a pro.,but I am acquainted with a number of landlords and rental properties -- is that I would go with the system which needs the absolute minimum in maintenance -- the CI. Why? Because I have yet to see a tenant -- except for a few who find their way onto the Wall! -- who cares a whit about maintenance, but just listen to the howls if the heat is off for ten minutes.

    This isn't a big enough application to justify the potential hassles in relation to the need for tender loving care.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    JUGHNE
  • NYplumber
    NYplumber Member Posts: 503
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    Heat loss around 26mbh. I figure a 36mbh with a 25gal caleffi buffer and a 40gal indirect. Maybe even skip the buffer and use a turbomax reverse indirect.
    :NYplumber:
    Gordynjtommy
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    I know I'm a landlord......
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    I like the turbo max plan.
  • NYplumber
    NYplumber Member Posts: 503
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    @Gordy i like the turbomax too however i have to calculate to make sure 36kmbh boiler is sufficient.
    :NYplumber: