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Help deciding among quotes for a hot water boiler system

Casa14
Casa14 Member Posts: 8
We have a Burnham RS109 installed in 1989 that is still functional, but we're concerned about it's longevity and would prefer to replace it before it quits on us in the dead of winter.

We got 3 quotes for 3 diff. systems. Nobody did a heating load unless they did and didn't mention it.

Option 1: Buderus G115WS/3 w/ Riello Burner

Option 2 : System 2000 EK-1 Frontier

Option 3: Peerless WBV3 w/ Beckett burner

The house is a ranch, 1100 sq ft. Half basement finished (no heat currently). We're in Seacoast NH. The prices are very different.

Comments

  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,398
    edited August 2017
    The preferences here will vary between the Burderus and the System 2000. The Buderus definitely has the most durable cast iron block of any. Also very easy to clean. It can also take much cooler return water temps; as low as 104* constantly. That, paired with proper outdoor reset, can save up to 40% on fuel over a standard oil boiler.

    That being said, the contractor is 98% of the equation. Do your homework on the contractor before signing with him.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    delta TCharlie from wmass
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,012
    First and foremost, each should have done a proper heat loss calculation.
    After that is done, either boiler can be used with you 1,100 sq ft.
    The BTU'S needed to match the heat loss will come from the burner and its firing rate.

    I believe the Buderus will be packaged with the Riello F3, and is Energy Star compliant. Like @Ironman said, very east to clean. Because of the swing out door on a Buderus, I always install braided oil lines for easy access.
    With the addition of the 2107 Logamatic, and outdoor reset, you will have a very efficient, reliable system.
    One drawback, with your finished basement, it's not exactly silent. It's probably more quiet than what you have now, but the acoustics? of the Riello take getting used to. You can opt for the Riello BF3, Which is enclosed and combustion air gets ducted in from outside. Very quiet.

    The Energy Kinetics EK-1 will come standard with the Beckett AFG and a .75 nozzle @ 130 PSI.
    There are options to downfire if needed to meet the demand.
    The burner compartment is enclosed and has a 3" bung on the bottom of the enclosure to duct combustion air from outside (recommended).
    Was the water heater included in the quote?
    Also very easy to clean. Very efficient, and very quiet.

    The Peerless WBV3 is a tried and true boiler. It's pin style heat exchanger is the least efficient of the 3. That's why I assume it's the cheapest of your quotes.
    It also won't be Energy Star compliant with the Beckett AFG burner. It will need the Riello F3, which I would recommend over the Beckett. Do you know if the Beckett model is the AFG or N/X?
    You can also opt for the Riello BF3 with the Peerless.

    Do you have an exterior brick chimney?
    The Buderus and EK1 will require a stainless steel liner, at additional cost if not in your quotes.

    What are your hot water needs? Were they addressed?

    All being reputable, reliable boilers, my order of preference is, Buderus, EK1, Peerless.

    Again, like @Ironman said, the contractor is the most important part.
    Get references and pics of other installations if possible.

    And get that heat loss calculation.
  • Casa14
    Casa14 Member Posts: 8
    We don't have a chimney. All are power vented but the EK1 which has its own system.

    The quotes don't go into the specs of the burners other than the brand.

    Yes, the Peerless is the cheapest. We have an electric water heater.

    How can I make sure they made the heat loss? It is not mentioned on the quotes.

    The contractors are highly recommended, we did our share of frog kissing before getting to these ones.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,398
    edited August 2017
    With an 1100 sq. ft. house, any oil fired boiler will be over-sized; they just don't make them that small. So, I'm gonna say something that I normally wouldn't: a load calc isn't necessary for your boiler selection since the smallest one would be over-sized.

    I realize that some of my wethead brethren may accuse me of heresy, but in this instance, I can't see the need for it - other than calculating the outdoor reset curve.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    rick in Alaska
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,767
    I agree it which contactor/ company you feel the most comfortable with.
    I guess being a contractor in the Seacoast why a chimney installation was not suggested. I have done 2 installs in the last year that had power vented equipment and I had a chimney built for them. FAR less problems down the road and less noise.
  • Casa14
    Casa14 Member Posts: 8
    Good to know. Would it be different if we added heat to the finished basement (around 800 sq ft more)?
  • newagedawn
    newagedawn Member Posts: 586
    the buderus is the cadilac,very good on energy savings, not a fan of the ek, but the peerless is also a good choice, but its not a triple pass as the buderus is, and yes adding heat changes the heatload of the boiler, they need to do a heatloss
    "The bitter taste of a poor install lasts far longer than the JOY of the lowest price"
  • Jim Hankinson
    Jim Hankinson Member Posts: 99
    With the EK, oversizing does not reduce the system efficiency due to the post-purge feature. This has been verified at BNL and by UL. For power venting you can't beat it for being quiet. Easy to clean, just swing down the front door for full access.

    Most components are standard off-the-shelf so the only part a tech might want to carry in their vehicle is a service board, just in case the manager should fail. Even without one it's simple to bypass for emergency heat.

    I don't knock the Peerless, I installed many and had only one that leaked. However, out of the three it is the least efficient and the least quiet.

    That being said, choose the contractor you feel most confident with and get references!
    rick in Alaska
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,186
    Heat loss?????? For the love of everything good:

    It's an 1100 Sq dr home, what good is a heat loss when the smallest oil boilers are putting out triple what the house needs?
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    kcoppIronmanSolid_Fuel_ManChrisJ
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,186
    1100 sq ft home with an 800 sq ft finished basement? Bedrooms in the finished basement? The new boiler will need to breathe.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    kcopp
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 927
    Check out the Trio oil cast iron boiler that is sold to heating professionals by F W Webb. Cast iron three pass horizontal oil boiler with low water volume put it with a Purepro indirect water heater for domestic hot water and you will have a great heating system with all the domestic hot water you will need. 20 year warranty on the cast iron section boiler block. Check out the Trio boiler at the link below. Get a price from your local heating professional.

  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,012
    edited August 2017
    Ah, info is a wonderful thing.

    First, I would suggest getting rid of the electric water heater and getting and indirect for the Peerless or Buderus, or the tank offered by Energy Kinetics. More $ up front, but you won't be disappointed.

    Of your 3 choices, only the EK1 is induced draft (power vent) with a motorized fan to assist in extracting the flue gasses.
    The Peerless WV and the Buderus G115 use direct vent (no moving parts) for flue gas elimination.

    I disagree with @Jim Hankinson as to oversizing. The EK does have an energy recovery feature that will hold open the last heat zone for 20 minutes, or until the boiler reaches a set temperature. That way there aren't standby losses in the boiler to reduce efficiency. However, like I mentioned earlier, it's the firing rate that will determine the BTU'S of the system. Upon checking, the EK1 offers 3 firing rates. It comes shipped with the largest nozzle for the max BTU'S. It can be downfired to a .60 GPH nozzle. At 130 PSI pump pressure, input would be .68 GPH, or 95,200 BTU'S.
    83,000 BTU'S output and 72,000 net IBR which considers pick up factors from the piping, and is the actual heating capacity.
    72,000 at 1,900 sq ft=38 BTU'S per sq ft. That's a lot, even for a poorly insulated home.
    Too high of a firing rate will short cycle the burner, not allowing the system to reach its steady state efficiency. Think stop and go vs. highway driving. Better MPG.

    The Buderus G115 -3 with the Riello BF3 will produce an IBR heating capacity of 64,000 BTU'S. With a Buderus indirect water heater (they also offer a horizontal for a stackable installation if space is a concern) and the 2107 Logamatic system control with outdoor reset, which will automatically adjust boiler temperature according to outdoor temperature, domestic hot water priority, pump exercising (to prevent the circulator's from seizing from lack of use during summer, Warm Weather Shut Down, will keep the heat off if the outdoor temperature rises above a (your) set setting, post purge of the boiler to expel latent heat from the boiler into the heating space or water heater, therefore reducing standby losses, along with a host of of other programming options.
    64,000 BTU'S at 1,900 sq ft= 33.7 BTU'S per sq ft.
    I would recommend the FT-4 concentric vent kit for direct venting.

    The Peerless WV-3 is also direct vent, not power vent. It comes supplied with the Beckett N/X burner which, as with the case of the EK, offers 3 different firing rates. The lowest firing rate delivering 80,000 net IBR.
    80,000 at 1,900 sq ft= 42.1 BTU'S per sq ft. That's nuts.
    The WV will come with the Hydrostat 3250 Plus. It is a combination aquastat, low water cutoff and boiler reset economizer that will sense boiler return water and and adjust the boiler temperature accordingly. It also has a thermal purge option (that must be programmed by the installer) to hold the burner off at the beginning of a heat cycle to expel heat left in the boiler from the previous cycle until the control senses a determined low boiler temperature.

    Unlike the EK or the Buderus with the 2107, the WV MUST maintain a minimum water temperature of about 140* to prevent condensing of the flue gasses and rotting the cast iron. So there will always be standby losses.

    IMO, the Buderus is the easy choice. It offers the lowest IBR rating.
    You cannot shock the cast iron with low return water temps, and with the 2107 Logamatic and indirect water heater, you'll have an extremely, reliable and efficient system.

    No matter your choice, consider replacing your electric water heater with an indirect, or the System 2000 tank in the case of the EK.

    Also note that even if you decide to add a heat zone to the basement, if its below grade, the heat loss won't be substantial.

    If you choose the EK1 or the Buderus with the 2107, make sure the installation company also does service for these boilers. The 2107 is not for a tech who's not familiar with it.
    With the EK, if the installer doesn't service them, then you need to find a company that has trained techs with Energy Kinetics products. Their equipment cannot be purchased through a wholesale distributor and therefore companies that don't offer them, probably don't have service techs that are experienced in troubleshooting and maintenance.
    They always seem to say "The board is bad. This is a POS.", when in fact, they might as well be looking at schematics of the space shuttle.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,767
    I would not recommend doing the direct vent oil option on any boiler. Way too finicky on the combustion settings.
    Again... a chimney is your best bet.
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,012
    > @GW said:
    > 1100 sq ft home with an 800 sq ft finished basement? Bedrooms in the finished basement? The new boiler will need to breathe.
    >
    >
    > They're going direct vent, or power vent in the case of the EK, all with outside combustion air.
    GW
  • Casa14
    Casa14 Member Posts: 8
    edited August 2017
    The house does NOT have a chimney. Now that I know all the pitfalls of power venting, I wish it had, but it does NOT. And unfortunately, the way the house is laid, there's no easy way to build one where the boiler is without making big changes to the house and systems.

    There's a possible bedroom in the basement (not being used as one currently). The basement was finished by previous owner, but it has not heating.

    The HW heater was installed May 2017. We didn't want to depend on the boiler for heating. I know all about efficiency, but our electricity is "free" (Solar PV).
  • Casa14
    Casa14 Member Posts: 8
    Of course, we'd like to add heat to the basement. It's not fun being there in February (Family Room). We use portable electric heaters, but it's not enough...
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,012
    edited August 2017
    We can't help you if you don't help us.

    If you had provided the info about the solar tank in the beginning, you would have saved us some time getting you specs and links.

    Since you know all about efficiency, then you know that electricity is 100% efficient, and with a relatively small house, and "free" electric, get an electric boiler. There are plenty out there in the BTU range you need.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,186
    Bedrooms don't count for make up air. The rule for gas is 50 cubic feet per 1000 BTU. Just basic math, even a caveman can do it. I suppose oil need similar air as gas does
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    kcopp
  • Casa14
    Casa14 Member Posts: 8
    We have solar panels on the roof, we don't have any solar tank (whatever that is).

    When I say that I know about efficiency, I meant that it's not considered cost efficient to use electricity to heat domestic water, that was it.

    An electric boiler I don't think would be good for us since we do have the panels, but they were not sized for heating and NH has one of the highest electricity rates in the country. And that we need heat in the winter when the sun hours are less and the electric boiler wouldn't be a solution. We're stuck with oil.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,767
    I am a plumbing heating contractor in Dover...
    Have you put any thought into LP gas?
    Fixes a number of issues....
    delta TIronman
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,012
    > @Casa14 said:
    > We have solar panels on the roof, we don't have any solar tank (whatever that is).
    >
    > When I say that I know about efficiency, I meant that it's not considered cost efficient to use electricity to heat domestic water, that was it.
    >
    > An electric boiler I don't think would be good for us since we do have the panels, but they were not sized for heating and NH has one of the highest electricity rates in the country. And that we need heat in the winter when the sun hours are less and the electric boiler wouldn't be a solution. We're stuck with oil.
    >
    >
    > IMO, the Buderus is your best option as far as being able to deliver the lowest possible BTU rating from your 3 choices. Make sure a BF3 Riello is being installed for outside combustion air and the FT-4 concentric vent kit. Also, the nozzle should be a Delavan .50 70*A, at 160 PSI pump pressure to deliver .60 GPH input to achieve the low BTU rating.

    Consider having a "future" zone (1") roughed in at the boiler, so when it's time to replace the water heater, an indirect will be easily adaptable.
    If your not opting for the 2107, or you decide on the Peerless, a zone control board needs to have space for the future zone.

    No "future" is needed in the case of the EK1. It's a different application, and is an easy add on.

    With ANY installation, a combustion analysis MUST be performed for safe and proper operation.

    Good luck, and if you can, post some before and after pics.
  • Jim Hankinson
    Jim Hankinson Member Posts: 99
    The EK-1 does not come set to fire at the highest firing rate, it comes with a .75 nozzle installed. At 130 psi pump pressure that's .85 GPH firing rate equivalent. The lowest firing rate should be used only if power venting.
    Unless the system is broken into many small zones there is not a problem with short cycling the burner.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,192
    heat loss on such a small home with oil. will help with setting parameters but basically you will be getting the smallest availible for your given manufacturer. The new boiler Will be too big. That is a given as there are only so small they make oil boilers and your contractor is also restricted by what is stocked locally. I personally need to plan weeks ahead if I need a 2 section as no one stocks them even though a third of the houses I see only need a 2 section.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 927
    You could install the smallest oil boiler and also install a buffer tank that is well insulated and run your heating zones from the buffer tank that way when the oil boiler fires it will have longer run times and not run for short periods of time.
    HVACNUT
  • Casa14
    Casa14 Member Posts: 8
    We got another quote for a Trio P3 direct vent with a Riello.
  • Casa14
    Casa14 Member Posts: 8
    We had all the contractors out in the same week, but I guess this one is slower to quote.