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Help with new boiler purchase please

FastEddie
FastEddie Member Posts: 14
edited February 2017 in Gas Heating
Hello Everyone,

I apologize ahead of time as im totally new to boilers. I grew up down south and moved to Long Island and bought a house. The boiler in there now is from 1969 leaks and im sure will die any day. House details are 2800 square feet including basement. Basement does have radiators. 2 zones (one for second floor and one for first and basement together). I only have one baseboard on the second floor. The rest of radiators are in the wall in each room under the windows.

So i have been trying to get quotes and familiarize myself as best as i could with these systems. So far i have 3 quotes. (really 4 but i couldn't stand the guy and do not want to do business with him)

Company 1 is offering Bosch 151 unit - They told me they switched to Bosch from Navien because Navien gave them too many issues

Company 2 is offering Navien 240 (he also quoted me for Bosch because i explained concern about the negative reviews with Navien ) - Company 2 is very fond of Navien and recommends them. Says he has installed 100's of them and no complaints and carries their parts on the truck so if something does break it can be fixed within minutes.

Company 3 is offering Kinetics Energy system 2000 EK-1 or Accel CS. I see they seem to save a lot o money on Oil burners but i dont see much info on Gas burners for them. Also when i try to do research on the forums it seems people either really love them or hate them.

Other than i obviously needing to heat the house, i have 3 women living with me who like to take showers in what would seem like boiling water. So i need hot water instantly and endless. I've mentioned this to all 3 who have all said it should not be a problem. Company 2 even wrote on my quote "Navien NCB-240 AND endless water heater".

I have Lots of space to put so space is not an issue. I hope i have everything down needed. If not please let me know what else i can provide.

On a side note, my gas bill last month was 250 dollars. The heat was on 61 the entire time (5 days for 70). Average temp was probably Mid 30's. To me that seems high but maybe im wrong? I checked the bill and i believe it said gas itself was a little over 100 and they charged 125 to "deliver it". Does that seem right to you? I know boiler is leaking (as well as behind the stove i think) but would that cause the bill to be so high? Dont worry we are not living in the house at the moment. I only go there after work everyday and work a little bit and of course on the weekends.
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Comments

  • LionA29
    LionA29 Member Posts: 255
    Lots of great heating pro on here. Look in the "Find a contractor in your state" link at the top of page.
    Get as much info you can, everyone is very helping in addition to @Hatterasguy recommendation also.
    FastEddie
  • FastEddie
    FastEddie Member Posts: 14
    Thanks for the info. Hatterasguy ill take a look at the system you recommended and also the link provided for contractors in the area.

    I know the insulation is Awful in the house. I plan on re insulating everything within two years (for instance we plan on putting in new windows next month or so, i also will insulate the attic and crawl space as well as basement within the next two months. When we do siding we will shoot new insulation foam but budget may make us wait until fall or next year).
  • FastEddie
    FastEddie Member Posts: 14
    Awful as in its scattered and scarce. In the attic and crawl space its missing in some spots and others theres half and inch to maybe an inch left on what was there. A new roll of insulation is easily double more close to triple the size in thickness.

    Most windows are not in good shape. Most tracks rough or slide down and i can tell she replaced a few but im sure she had her "contractor boyfriend" do the job. If its anything like his electrical work then it will probably fall out soon (thats another story but long story short the mentality was just get it to work i dont care how).

    As far as the basement thanks, thats good to know and makes sense. 80% of it is finished and i have noticed when down there it doesnt really seem that cold. (its actually colder on the second floor).

    I clicked the contractor link but only one person on it near my address. I called but no answer. Hopefully i get a call back so i can set up another appt and estimate.

  • John Mills_5
    John Mills_5 Member Posts: 935
    You boys must get some good deals on your mod cons. What we get here in forced air country tend to run twice what a cast iron boiler does not counting all the extra piping for P/S and maybe another pump. Is nice to see boilers having the pump built in though. We have 2 that HAD to have condensing boiler but since they are running hot water for baseboard, they sure aren't condensing. Glad to see a recommendation of a CI for the OP since he has high temp radiation.
  • FastEddie
    FastEddie Member Posts: 14

    FastEddie said:


    I clicked the contractor link but only one person on it near my address. I called but no answer. Hopefully i get a call back so i can set up another appt and estimate.

    Forget them.

    Just call Robert O'Brien:

    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/technical-heating

    He will definitely put in the proper sized boiler and won't use a mod-con if you neither desire nor require one.

    Tell him I sent you.
    Thanks for info. I just called him and he will be meeting tomorrow at 10am.
  • FastEddie
    FastEddie Member Posts: 14

    You boys must get some good deals on your mod cons. What we get here in forced air country tend to run twice what a cast iron boiler does not counting all the extra piping for P/S and maybe another pump. Is nice to see boilers having the pump built in though. We have 2 that HAD to have condensing boiler but since they are running hot water for baseboard, they sure aren't condensing. Glad to see a recommendation of a CI for the OP since he has high temp radiation.

    To be honest its a bit more than i originally thought. i know we cant discuss pricing on here but i can say that between the 3 the The EK system 2000 was pricier than the other 2.
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,243
    Despite what you have read from some reviews, the system2000 is a great boiler. They are pricier, but they come with a lot of the parts, including the pump, installed and wired. So you save a lot on labor. All parts are easily available except the control board, which doesn't go out very often.
    Still not sure about using the Naviens as I have no experience with them.
    As most on here will agree to, just make sure whoever you get to install your boiler understands it and can back it up.
    Rick
  • FastEddie
    FastEddie Member Posts: 14

    Despite what you have read from some reviews, the system2000 is a great boiler. They are pricier, but they come with a lot of the parts, including the pump, installed and wired. So you save a lot on labor. All parts are easily available except the control board, which doesn't go out very often.
    Still not sure about using the Naviens as I have no experience with them.
    As most on here will agree to, just make sure whoever you get to install your boiler understands it and can back it up.
    Rick

    I generally liked the system 2000. If anything ive read a lot of negative reviews about the Navien. The only thing for me is the System 2000 is 25-30% more than the rest. I dont mind paying for a system if i know its going to last and truly help me save, but i just dont know if that is worth the extra coin. We are talking thousands of dollars difference.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,576
    Call Robert O'Brien and go with what he recommends.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    FastEddie
  • FastEddie
    FastEddie Member Posts: 14
    So i met with Mr. O'Brien over the weekend. He came out on Saturday. I liked him, very friendly and was very informative. Went over a bunch of different thing about my system, showed me all the different pipes and so forth.

    He basically recommended to me for my situation either a Bosch Greenstar or an old school CI boiler (I believe Buderus was mentioned) as mentioned above. I'm still awaiting on estimates in my email but i'm hoping to get them soon.

    He broke it down for me as easily as he could i believe. Bosch is an updated unit, very efficient but will probably only last 15 to 20 years. With my hot water situation he said a tank would be able to provide with 3 running showers with hot water or so for about 8 mins (keep in mind its myself & 3 women). Will 3 ever be on at the same time? possibly but that would be on occasion. 2 showers he said would never be an issue.

    Old school system will last probably twice as long. give me endless hot water and is basically less complicated. He explained that while the bosch is much more efficient it also comes with more maintenance. So i have some deciding to do. Hopefully i get an estimate soon. But as you mentioned above he did seem to like the combi's and when i asked about Navien he didn't really recommend them and felt Bosch was the better system.

    He also told me the Company 1 was offering the Navien 240 but that would be overkill for my house. I believe he said i would need 50k btu or so to keep the house warm. Its not the system but the actual piping that restricts the system. I hope that makes sense.
  • FastEddie
    FastEddie Member Posts: 14
    His options for me were,

    Viessmann Vitodens 100/35 with 80 gallon indirect

    Buderus GC144/4 with 80 gallon indirect

    Bosch combi 151 P

    Couple of questions. If i decided to go with the Bosch could i also run an indirect tank for help when using 3 showers (aka that 8 minute window?) or is that something only the Viessmann does?

    Im not famaliar at all with Viessmann. Whats the general consensus with them?

    I noticed you mentioned above that if i bought a high efficiency boiler that i wouldn't really get the benefit of it. Why is that? The way my house is heated? Just curious because i like to learn.

    BTW for him, the Bosch was the lowest of the 3. His prices KILLED the competition but concerning the 3 options Bosch was cheapest (im assuming because no tank?)

    Also, just wanted clarification, i believe he said that with the Bosch IF three people were taking showers, the water wouldn't become cold, it just wouldn't be as hot if 2 were taking showers where there would be no issue.

    Again i do thank you for all the help and insight. Especially for recommending him as he was very insightful and knowledgeable. He walked around the house and showed me how everything works and even looked at the pool heater with me.
  • LionA29
    LionA29 Member Posts: 255
    Great work @Hatterasguy
  • FastEddie
    FastEddie Member Posts: 14
    Wow @Hatterasguy thank you very much for breaking that down for me. Hopefully he will call me back today so we can chat. He may be waiting (or of course working) because i also asked about mini split quote which i have not received yet. (which is also something new to me as i've always had CAC until i moved up here).

    You broke that down very easy to understand and helped significantly in my search. Ill throw the Bosch out of the equation and ask him about the newer Viessmann. Ill update the the thread once he have spoken again.

    Again thank you very much!
  • FastEddie
    FastEddie Member Posts: 14
    I spoke to him briefly last night and mentioned the Viessmann Vitocrossal Cu3a-26. He said he didn't mention it because it costs quite a bit more than the one he gave me. However, once i got the quote it was still on par with the Company 2 pricing FOR THE BOSCH.

    So Bob's pricing and install is significantly cheaper than the others including company 1 who was offering the Bosch unit at 25% more cost than Bob's most expensive option for me the Viessmann.

    I plan on moving forward with Bob, my only question now is trying to figure out Between the Viessmann or Buderus. He told me the Viessmann is a great boiler "this thing is a Tank". As far as pricing there is a about a 20% cost difference between the two. I dont mind paying for the Viessmann if its going to be the better boiler.
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,674
    IMO, Buderus is the finest, cast iron hot water boiler made.
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
  • DC123
    DC123 Member Posts: 69
    The CU3A doesn't mention a maintenance schedule in the manual other than replacing the gasket after 2 years. The European manuals mention no need for servicing until years 2-3. What are your thoughts about how frequently the CU3A needs routine maintenance visits?
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    A maintenance visit is not about having to replace parts. That is only if needed.

    Cleaning the hx if needed, checking combustion readings, condensate trap etc. to insure longevity of the components. Frequency of these visits can be adjusted by the installer as they see fit.

    This should be done with Ci boilers as well. However they are more robust, with less parts.

    I would also argue that condensing is only part of the fuel savings in a mod/con. Modulation plays a huge role even at 88% efficiency. Think of your car. You don't floor it to reach 30 mph. You apply the amount of throttle needed to reach the speed you need. Well some do at least.
    rick in Alaska
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    edited February 2017
    I disagree Gordy........ A btu is a btu........If you can't produce them more efficiently, you've lost the savings. IMHO
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    Then why make modulating boilers Paul?

    We will agree to disagree Paul.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    edited February 2017
    What do these three charts have in common. They are from different sources. Aside from the fact that even in their least efficient return water temperature scenario, they are still more efficient than an average ci boilers efficiency.

  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    Which one is right?
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    Three-pass boilers are even closer. Does anyone flush the HX every year as part of annual maintenance?
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    edited February 2017
    Correct. That is with high return water temps. Which we all know is not all season long. Also as return water temps drop the gain in efficiency from using the lower modulation range widens. So then we can agree to disagree?

    Here is a few more charts for Paul. I even threw in how ci fixed output boilers efficiency drops vs its load. Which as I said is most of the heating season. That's if there is NOT any zoning. Throw zoning in the efficiencies plummet.






    choice becomes more evident.

  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    It would appear that a btu is not a btu once it leaves the burner. It's how the btu is consumed by the boiler choice, and the system.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    You've done an impressive job of proving that you can save $50 a year by installing a mod/con in a situation where RWT will not allow condensing. You need a real big hammer, to bang a square peg into a round hole.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    Paul, my point was the ability to modulate alone DOES promote higher efficiency. Even at high operating temps.

    Your still failing to put it all together. Look at the fixed output boiler to load charts. Now compare efficiencies when the fixed output boilers load is half........ don't tell me that never happens.

    Now if you want to argue about is the minute savings in fuel at FULL output is worth the expense of the up keep a mod/con requires. Get back to me when fuel prices escalate.
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,674
    Paul48 said:

    Three-pass boilers are even closer. Does anyone flush the HX every year as part of annual maintenance?

    We do.
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
    Gordy
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    @Stephen Minnich ....Thanks! I was just curious.
    @Hatterasguy Are you saying that CNN had something to do with the facts? :wink:
    delta T
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    The choice of the boiler comes from the proposal by the installer, and the owners budget constraints. Ruling out a mod/con in their proposal because they do not understand how the efficiencies work with both units. To many installers balk at high temp systems, and immediately rule out a mod/con. I blame that on lack of education.


    You have to think about the emitter end also.


    You also have to think about how often you are at those higher operating temps. 2%? After that the system efficiency plummets on a ci boiler.

    The two ci boiler charts are from two different sources. Not one persons opinion.
    Steve MinnichZman
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    edited February 2017
    As for where the btus go. Up the stack. If a fixed output boiler produces 100k, and the system only needs 50k it can not except the extra 50k. It inputs 100k regardless.

    Think of the HX as just another emitter, just like a room emitter. If the room emitter can not except the full output of the boiler the btus go back to the boiler narrowing the delta, and up the stack. Same thing with the boiler HX except the unexcepted btus go up the stack before going out in the system.

    The advantage of modulation is to keep the input interlocked with the btus needed out in the system. So not as many of the btus go up the stack.


    This is viewing the system as one zone. Start zoning things go south in a hurry.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    Most of the sentiments against mod/cons is that the additional cost is not worth the gain at higher operating temps. I get that, but you can't argue that it's less efficient than a ci boiler in even at its worst scenario of operating temps. Modulation helps make that possible.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    Real world..........They should do a chart for efficiency of a mod/con that fails to match load, then. Because a ridiculous number are not sized correctly, and or installed correctly. We know that, from the 1000's posted here. I know we're talking properly installed, but........
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    @FastEddie ..........I'm sorry, we hijacked your post. I'll give it a rest.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,037
    Robert has been there maybe he can weigh in on the radiation. If it has adequate radiation it may never need high (define high) temperatures.

    I run my cast iron rads at 130
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • hydro_newbie
    hydro_newbie Member Posts: 37
    I've wondered about some of those charts showing large efficiency drops for a CI boiler as well.

    Under low-load conditions, the CI boiler starts to cycle more often, which presumably causes the efficiency loss. I'd be interested to understand what the cause of this is (not really being an expert at this stuff). Things that I can think of:

    1) Fuel lost in starting the flame.
    2) Fuel that goes into heating the boiler itself.
    3) Once the boiler is heated, jacket losses while in operation.

    Of the three, it seems like #2 is the only one that would cause a significant loss in efficiency. Maybe the charts assume that the boiler is starting from something below operating temp, and you need to put in a bunch of BTUs to heat up all that cast iron.

    Not quite sure what happens in reality. I guess with enough time between runs, you will eventually lose all the BTUs stored in the iron (and the larger mass of water inside the boiler), and need to replenish them on the next cycle. With good jacket insulation and something to prevent ghost flow, maybe this could be lessened? I guess in the end though, mod/cons are typically lower mass, so there is less to lose either way.

  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    Let's look at that. If the boiler is in the basement. Losses go into the structure. If the boiler is insulated, are we forcing more btus up the stack? Path of least resistance. At least the losses go into the structure with out it.

    Of course this all depends on boiler location, whether a basement is used for activities helping warm the area.

    In the end the goal is to keep the boiler temp up so the next call the boiler is warmer than ambient. So yes it would help. However to put a number on that is tough.
  • Leonard
    Leonard Member Posts: 903
    edited February 2017
    Do these discussions assume the exhaust stack is closed off when burner is not firing? No cooling air flowing thru boiler and up the chimney.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    1% efficiency gain from stack damper.
  • hydro_newbie
    hydro_newbie Member Posts: 37
    Good points. I've been assuming that the boiler is in an unconditioned basement, so losses there don't help to heat the structure.

    If the stack damper doesn't help that much with efficiency (1%), does that mean that we don't really lose much of the heat stored in the boiler due to an open stack, or that the dampers just aren't that good?
  • Brewbeer
    Brewbeer Member Posts: 616
    What about comfort? Which boiler produces a better occupant experience? The boiler that runs continuously, or the one that is turnin on and off?
    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
    Gordy