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Should I switch to gas(Mod/Con) or replace burner from oil to gas

rosbournerosbourne Member Posts: 7
I am running an oil system with steam and I am being told to switch to gas. The boiler seems relatively new got with house in 2010, house was made in 1930.

I have attached a few pictures of boiler and also the piping which a plumber said he thought was piped incorrectly. I notice the radiators to the left side seems to get way more heat than radiators on the right also, based on the loops in the pipes from my layman eyes piping seems inefficient. I have been playing around with gorman valves to try and balance the system(Thanks to this forum)

I have no intention of selling this house anytime soon.
I have gas in property for water heater and stove.
(I am located in Bronx, NY)
I don't think my oil bill is super high compared to other folks I know but my buddies using gas claim their bills are way lower.

So my question is should I switch burner to gas or replace the entire unit and do over pipes etc?. I see lots of mention about mod con.


  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,862
    edited January 2019
    Couple of thoughts. I can't quite make out the pressure settings on you pressuretrol. Make sure that the cutout is no higher than 1.7 psi, with a 1 psi differential. Second, I can't see all the piping around the boiler, but what I can see is much better than many.

    On the cost: it's almost impossible to get an honest answer from people as to how much they spend -- or not -- on heat. Worse, it varies too much from building to be useful information anyway. Would switching to gas save you money (assuming the boiler can be converted -- not all can)? It might -- but keep in mind that both oil and gas prices vary; sometimes one is more expensive than the other, sometimes not. Would you recover the investment required to change from oil to gas over the remaining life of the boiler? Most likely not. You can consider that when and if the boiler needs to be replaced -- but that Burnham should have a number of good years left to it.

    I might add, too, that "mod/con" is not applicable to a steam heating system. That's only for hot water. Anyone who is suggesting that you switch to gas mod/con is clueless, and you needn't pay any attention to them.

    On the uneven heat: do you have main vents, and if so are they properly sized for the mains to which they are attached? Almost always in situations where one whole section, served by one main, is unbalanced with regard to another, the problem can be traced to inadequate main venting on the slow section.

    Steam piping sometimes does look a little odd In terms of layout. However, if you get no water hammer it's probably just... a little odd. Can you describe further what you see?
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,410
    Burnham does not approve of a gas conversion in that boiler.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • rosbournerosbourne Member Posts: 7
    I had researched and found that my model did not have the ability to convert to gas but that was some years ago was hoping things had changed.
    Thanks for the clarification for mod/con and steam Jamie.

    I have RADs in all rooms and just mixed and match the valves but overall it's not that bad I also had some water spitting out of the valves did some pitching and that seems to have subsided.
    One quick question what type of Radiator should I buy for steam as I got one from the plumbing supply but not impressed with performance and I have a Gorman C valve on it.
    So 2 story house + basement with C valves at far rooms and cold rooms, have one room on the left side of boiler that seems to warm up faster than rest which I switched out from C to a 4, when Thermostat was at 68 that room was 80.
    I used the Gorman website and bought valves based on proximity to thermostat and I also did a walk through with my infrared temp measurer and was getting a good balance.
  • rosbournerosbourne Member Posts: 7
    wrt to piping if U notice one of the pipe goes up and then back down and across to the left, why not just go up and to the left, may not be a big deal just seems odd to me plus I hit my head on that pipe so want to raise it a little higher, any considerations in doing that?
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,862
    Yeah, the pipe arrangement is a little strange... The main thing to consider about raising it is to be sure that the new pipe is pitched to drain -- which I presume is somewhere off to the left there. Wonder why it was done that way?

    On the vents -- I have a sneaking suspicion the you either do not have main vents, or if you they are too small. It is essential that you have adequate main venting -- until you do, juggling with radiator vents -- while possibly entertaining -- is not particularly useful.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • rosbournerosbourne Member Posts: 7
    ok, I will take more pictures of the back of the boiler and the other pipes as not sure what I am looking for.
  • rosbournerosbourne Member Posts: 7
    btw that should be Gorton valves
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