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Columbia Gas Disaster / New Boiler questions

sbthomann Member Posts: 2
edited October 2018 in Gas Heating
My house was impacted by the Columbia Gas disaster in Massachusetts and will require a new gas boiler. Columbia Gas will pay to replace condemned appliances with like-for-like appliances, but I don't mind covering the overage if it gets me a more reliable boiler. I have several questions I was hoping this forum could assist me with.

Home specs:
  • 1922 Colonial (picture below)
  • 2,200 square feet, 4 bed, 2 bath
  • Windows: Anderson 400 Series Woodwright® Insert Windows
  • Insulation: some loose wool insulation in the attic (10" floor joists); no insulation in the walls (I'm in the process of scheduling an insulation company blow insulation into my walls / replace attic insulation, but they require a working boiler first to perform a combustion test); my house has a lot of air leakage
  • Family: 2 adults, 3 kids

Current Appliances specs:
  • Boiler: HTP (f.k.a Munchkin) MC120 Gas-Fired Circulating Heater (needs replacing)
  • Hot Water: HTP - SuperStor Ultra Indirect Water Heater 45 gallons (not being replaced)
  • HVAC / Air Handler: Hydronic / High Velocity; Unico System, Series M; (Heating Module: MH3660; Blower Module: MB4260H); located in attic (not being replaced)

  • I was told by a HVAC / Plumbing company that Lochinvar Boilers were the "Cadillac" of boilers and extremely reliable - is this true? Are there other boilers that fit this description (money not really an issue assuming it's priced somewhat comparable to the Munchkin MC120)
  • What make / model / size would you recommend; would this recommendation change if I insulate my walls with Class I Cellulose, replace current attic insulation with a 10" layer of R-37 Class I Cellulose (can't do more as we require the attic for storage), and air seal vs. do nothing?
  • Any recommendations for reputable companies / named installers or how to find one (would asking the manufacturer be a place to start)?
  • Is blown Class I Cellulose the best option for a 10" layer of insulation in the attic? I have a slate roof and no vents.
Please note my current boiler is wall mounted, but I'm open to changing if there is a better option, as long as it doesn't require changing my current system as a whole.

*Thanks in advance to anyone who took the time to read and / or reply to this post - the situation has sucked up a lot of my time and I truly appreciate all of the help.


  • NY_Rob
    NY_Rob Member Posts: 1,370
    edited October 2018
    If you'd like to stay with HTP... their UFT series condensing boiler is probably the closest drop in replacement for your present boiler.

    You should do a heatloss estimate to try to correctly size the replacement boiler. Slant fin has an app that will help you come up with a heatloss estimate for your house.
    Rich_49GBartJean-David Beyer
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,397
    What @NY_Rob said is good advise. Lochinvar seems to be a popular choice lately as Munchkin was 10 years ago......time will tell...they are probably as good as anything.

    Hope you get heat soon I am at the other end of the state. The part of MA past Worcester that doesn't exist. Getting a contractor to do a heat loss down their now will probably be tough...............they are all busy with this gas outage and wont take the time. They will have every excuse

    You can do your own with the Slant finn calculator.

    What are your heat emmiters?? Baseboard??, cast iron radiators??
  • sbthomann
    sbthomann Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the replies NY_Rob and Ed.

    I guess I'm less concerned about "drop-in ready" than I am quality, reliability, ease of service, etc. I don't really have a trusted plumber, so I thought i would start with a trusted product (thinking Lochinvar or Triangle Tube based on some posts in this site) and see if I can find a certified contractor.

    I'll attempt the heat loss estimate and hope to get reasonably close to what a professional - I watched a video on how to use the product and there seems to be some selections that require more knowledge than I have.

    My heat is emitted though a high-velocity forced-air system through the Unico MH3660 Heating Module (located in my attic). (in case i'm not explaining correctly - my boiler heats glycol, which is then pumped up to a fin-radiator module in my attic - air is then sucked through it, heated, and dispersed through my ventilation duct work) The previous owners had the old cast-iron radiators replaced about 12 years ago with this new(er) system.

    Thanks again,
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,397

    If all your heat comes out of the Unico air handler than save yourself a step. Size the boiler for the maximum heat output of the Unico air handler.
  • GBart
    GBart Member Posts: 746
    edited November 2018
    Word to the wise boys and girls, never mind what an executive decision says or what your boss says or what the bean counters say,,,, YOU DO IT RIGHT

    The company at the center of the Merrimack Valley gas explosions and fires is now facing a criminal investigation.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666

    I guess I'm less concerned about "drop-in ready" than I am quality, reliability, ease of service, etc. I don't really have a trusted plumber, so I thought i would start with a trusted product (thinking Lochinvar or Triangle Tube based on some posts in this site) and see if I can find a certified contractor.

    I am not a heating professional, but let me suggest a different approach. First, find a heating professional (not specifically a plumber), that you can trust, and only then pick a brand of equipment. You must trust the contractor, and it may be best to take what (s)he recommends and is most familiar with. The best boiler in the world my treat you badly if installed by someone who does not really understand it, or if there are no replacement parts available where you are located.