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/.

Boiler Replacement Manufacturer Help

njb52
njb52 Member Posts: 11
Hi,
We live in Massachusetts and are beginning to so research on replacing our existing gas fired Utica Boiler, that has served us faithfully for 41 years. We are looking for boiler manufacturers that have most of the following criteria:
Cast Iron heat exchangers with as thick walls as possible
Replacement parts must be off the shelf and readily available
Very minimum electronics to minimize parts/components that can fail
Good reliability and very low repair history
Maximum guarantee
Good manufacturer local support

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,834
    Is this for a steam or hot-water system?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • njb52
    njb52 Member Posts: 11
    Thanks for your quick responses :smile:

    Sorry for not being specific. I have a forced hot water system and a gas fired boiler.

    I am first trying to get a few manufacturers and a load calculation, so I compare apples to apples pricing with one spec.

    Hope that clarifies my strategy.
  • njb52
    njb52 Member Posts: 11
    As you can see from my question, my knowledge is very limited. Is there such a thing as a high mass modulating boiler?
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Yes, though there's a lot more to a boiler replacement than the boiler. The heating system is just that -- a system, and the system also includes the house.
  • njb52
    njb52 Member Posts: 11
    Thanks - good to hear that I can minimize the on/off cycling with a new modulating unit that is high mass.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,302
    njb52 said:

    Thanks for your quick responses :smile:

    I am first trying to get a few manufacturers and a load calculation, so I compare apples to apples pricing with one spec.

    I would recommend reading Jamie's post again; this isn't a new car or some item you would buy at Costco or Sears, it's a service

    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    Ironman
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,555
    The vast majority of problems in systems 10 years old or less are due to the installer, not the product. A good mechanic can take an average boiler and make it run great and a knucklehead can take the best boiler in the world and make you wish you'd never heard of it.

    Vet your installer well; he's 98% of the equation.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    GWMark Eatherton
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,555
    edited February 2016
    njb52 said:

    Thanks - good to hear that I can minimize the on/off cycling with a new modulating unit that is high mass.

    ''Cast Iron heat exchangers with as thick walls as possible
    Replacement parts must be off the shelf and readily available
    Very minimum electronics to minimize parts/components that can fail"

    Please let me know when you find this animal.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    Bob Bona_4Mark Eatherton
  • njb52
    njb52 Member Posts: 11
    Thanks for the emphasis on the installer and vetting he/she out thoroughly. I'll make sure that they have plenty of experience solving client's problems as well as advocating for the client to get the manufacturer to honor any guarantee/warranty.
  • Docfletcher
    Docfletcher Member Posts: 481

    Boilers from Costco with their "certified installers".............I love it!!







    My boiler doesn't work. The contractor won't return calls.
    What should I do??

    My piping is superb compared to rats nest in the photo.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,302
    Yes, please hire the best pro you can get, and just do what he says; install what he likes. You'll be happy, he'll be happy. If you insist on trying to outsmart the heating buy, best of luck with that. Only an entry level dude is gonna deal with you.

    This is what I love about my profession. We are not esteemed like doctors or lawyers, yet we're not at the bottom of the heap either (because we deal with thing that can blow up your home). After 27 years I have dealt with just about every type of character under the sun. Most people don't understand they can't stumble into a good relationship with their heating guy; it takes effort from both parties. If someone treats me like their pawn, I am gone, never to be seen again. Treat me with some basic respect, and I'll bend over backwards when you're in a jam (you know, your heat is down). Only in America!


    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • Leon82
    Leon82 Member Posts: 684
    I wonder if the homeowner demanded the piping stay inside that trim area.

    That's more work than doing it right.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,302
    Ironman said:

    The vast majority of problems in systems 10 years old or less are due to the installer, not the product. A good mechanic can take an average boiler and make it run great and a knucklehead can take the best boiler in the world and make you wish you'd never heard of it.

    Vet your installer well; he's 98% of the equation.

    Yes Bob, yet if the boiler is ignored it could spell big dollars (as you know). New Years Eve we yanked a poorly serviced GB142 and installed a ZBR; the homeowner was distraught, let down that the original installer (8 year old system) had not serviced the boiler well. Previous HVAC Co had Buderus on the phone for a while he told me, and the Buderus people said, "it's done, time for a new boiler" it was completely blocked up, total plug job, LP fuel.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,555
    edited February 2016
    Gary, I would consider that squarely on the installer too. It's his job to provide service after the install and educate the customer about the necessity of proper maintenance. If the customer doesn't comply, then the blame lies with him, not the equipment. That was my point: the majority of failures in the first ten years are due to human error, not equipment quality.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • njb52
    njb52 Member Posts: 11

    njb52 said:

    I'll make sure that they have plenty of experience solving client's problems as well as advocating for the client to get the manufacturer to honor any guarantee/warranty.

    With all due respect, that is most likely going to be a very difficult task for you. A contractor knows exactly what to say and how to "sell" the product. It may, or may not, reflect on his capabilities to install and properly support it.

    We've seen it on here hundreds of times.

    My suggestion is always the same.

    Simply ask the contractor for a digital photo of the last two installations of the type of equipment that you wish to purchase. If the contractor balks...........dismiss him out of hand. If he provides the photos, post them on here and we'll dissect it and tell you in a few minutes if he knows what he's doing and how the workmanship compares.
    Thanks for that great suggestion - I will make sure I get photos to post as part of my vetting out process for each contractor that I meet with. That is very generous of you, and greatly appreciated.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,302
    Yes i think we are saying the same thing. But you know how home owners don't remember certain things.

    I'm not totally sure about "his job to provide service"; we don't twist arms to get back in their home for service. But again, I think we are on the same page.

    Many years ago I started adding a line in the opening paragraph of my agreements:
    bla bla bla Home owner agrees to familiarize themselves with the basic function of the new equipment, and follow the manufacturer's maintenance guidelines (general maintenance is not included in this agreement). Only ONCE in the last 10 years has a prospective customer asked me to remove that sentence. The irony is she never did go forward- and she later sold the house, and the next home owner DID buy; I love it when a plan comes together.

    We still get haunted several times a year from people that call and say "I was never told this boiler needs annual service', but it's quite rare and it doesn't really affect the outcome anyway.

    We had a call a few days ago, oil system installed 3 years ago- no maintenance done. This was OIL, and the guy had oil before we were involved in his life. We spent an extra 1 1/2 hours there, they paid. Our office girl is pretty good about saying" the price is normally $$$, but since it hasn't had a tune up in x years, it very well may be more"

    Many heating guys don't even do the ongoing service, yet they obviously don't disclose that nugget of information when they're in your home trying to sell you a heating install. Oh how sweet the aroma is when getting quotes and one is $2000 less than the other guy's.

    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    kcopp
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,555
    Gary, I like the idea of adding that line in the contract. I have something along those lines that says our warranty doesn't include normal maintenance, but what you have puts the responsibility upon the customer to assure it's been done.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,302
    Yes Bob, I just got sick of hearing "you never told me the (system) needed maintenance". When we started doing high efficiency stuff 10 or so years ago, it was time for a new clause. It goes on every proposal that has a 'system' involved, heat cool, whatever.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    SWEI
  • Lance
    Lance Member Posts: 170
    NJB52, cast iron is good, mass is good, savings better. Might want to consider a condensing boiler. No cast iron but can really make a difference. Look at Slant/Fin, and a few others. Add good features like outdoor temperature reset, and outdoor air for combustion. Eliminates chimney draft waste.
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,607
    If you have to have cast iron and need local parts availability I suggest Buderus GC144 series if you want close to direct replacement . If you want better efficiency and sealed combustion look at the GA124 series .

    If you want to start to live in the 21st century though and are concerned about the local talent you may want to consider a boiler that is manufactured in Mass , represented out of Mass. , has MASS and is the least complicated modulating condensing boiler on the market and can pipe right into your existing piping , of course after a thorough cleaning of 41 years of trash and nasty deposits throughout the system . This , by the way should be done regardless of what you replace with .

    http://www.htproducts.com/pioneer.html

    Something like this will allow you to lower water temps , use outdoor reset , eliminate short cycles . Be certain to perform a have a heat loss calc performed so someone can determine what water temps you really require and what size you'll need for design conditions .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
    Henry
  • njb52
    njb52 Member Posts: 11
    Thanks Rich - I really appreciate your input :)