Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.

If you've found help here, check back in to let us know how everything worked out.
It's a great way to thank those who helped you.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.

Replacing old oil boiler with more efficient system

kitugreatkitugreat Member Posts: 19
Hello everybody,
My oil burner is on its last leg. My oil company - Kerivan lane told me that it needs to be replaced ASAP. They found a leak that they patched up.
I was doing some research on a new boiler and saw that some people replacing it with electric one.
It cost less to install, not as expensive as oil burner, don't need oil tank, takes less space, don't require chimney and also more efficient.
Unfortunately it may cost more to run it due to electricity prices. Some states have discounted electricity prices for people with electric heat, but not sure about MA.
I did some research online and saw that some people also use Sanden CO2 and other high efficiency heat pump systems.
Can I somehow combine them with my existing baseboard radiators for efficiency and comfort?
I also have PV solar panels that provide me with about 5 mega wt of excess electricity a years.
So here are some questions. Would it make sense to do it in our area? Would it be cost effective in a long run in my case? Anybody had an experience with this type of conversion?
Any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.
«1

Comments

  • pecmsgpecmsg Member Posts: 1,450
    Forget all electric. you'll need 200 - 300 amp service minimum.
    http://www.amsenergy.com/fuel-cost-calculator/
    kcoppethicalpaul
  • JacquesD23JacquesD23 Member Posts: 11
    Just go high efficiency propane. You get all the benefits of a high efficiency mod-con boiler. And if you invest in a 500 gallon above ground or below ground tank then you can get pricing as low as $1.50 per gallon right now. The key is to buy your own tank though. If you don't, your at the mercy of your propane company and their rental pricing. The beauty about propane is its been a stable price all the way from the 2000s, its just a lot of people don't realize there are pricing tiers; ie, someone who rents a tank and only cooks will pay $4.00-$6.00 a gallon.... Someone who rents a tank for heating will pay $2.00-$3.00+ depending company. However if you buy your own 500 or 1000 gallon you will always have a low consistent cost, that can be very close to what Natural Gas costs to heat a household. Even if you cant buy the tank up front with the new system you can rent one in the mean time and then buy one in the future.
    ZmanSuperTech
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,956
    Yes -- LP. Nice high efficiency mod/con. There may come a time when heat pumps have gotten to the point where they can function efficiently with single digit outdoor temperatures and run hot water heat; they aren't there yet. All electric in Massachusetts is horrendously expensive (not to mention, as @pecmsg said, all new electric service from the street -- it it's even available at your location).
    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
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,216
    Modern oil boiler will be just as efficient, and clean burning.
    steve
    kcoppSuperTech
  • kitugreatkitugreat Member Posts: 19
    I just had one of the contractors come over to get me a quote for new heating system. They told my that my house would not be possible to heat with electric heat pump or boiler. I have a Campanelli style Ranch that is built on the concrete slab in 50th. They are going to give me estimates for a couple of oil boilers. They also told me that propane is the option, but I don’t really sure I have a space for a large tank. It must be too expensive.
  • MainiacMainiac Member Posts: 12
    You should check out the Energy Kinetics System 2000. We just had one installed a little over a month ago and love it. It's super quiet and very efficient. We keep the house much warmer than we did with our old boiler and even use a little less oil while doing that.

    The company has great customer service too. Its president and techs even frequent this forum. Check it out at the link below and if you have any questions I'd be happy to try and answer them. It would definitely be worth giving them a call to find a couple installers in your area and get an estimate or two.

    https://energykinetics.com/
    kitugreatSuperTech
  • kitugreatkitugreat Member Posts: 19
    I just quickly look at their website. It looks like it comes with a water heater tank. Unfortunately in my boiler room, I don't have any additional space. It is just a space for a boiler and about a foot of space around it. That is why my current boiler is with tankless water heater.
    I had couple of contractors come over today. That are going to give me quotes for these boilers to choose from. Burnham, Lennox, Weil-McLein.
    Which brand is better? Would it make sense to convert from metal chimney to direct vent to avoid leaking from the chimney?
    Some of them want to install boiler with 88k and some 110 k btu. Is it true that btu of the boiler can be adjusted later for better efficiency?

    Thanks
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,099
    The contractors MUST do a heat loss to get the right size boiler. They will give you every excuse. Don't listen.

    You can do your own heat loss by downloading the SlantFin app.

    Any of the boilers mentioned are ok. The best boiler is the one that matches your heating load and the installer knows how to service it
    Canucker
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,956
    All three makes are good. I presume since you have baseboards this is hot water. You ask about the size of the boiler. Step one with hot water heat is to determine the heat loss of the house on a design day -- there are on-line calculators to do this. If your contractors have not done that, you either need to get them to do it -- or find a different contractor. You cannot properly size a boiler without that information -- anything else is a guess.

    As to the makes. All three are good. But somewhat related to the above comment, the quality and skill of the contractor is what makes or breaks the installation. A competent contractor could do a very good job with all three makes. A poor or lazy contractor could really mess up any of the three.

    One other note: you have a serious space problem there, and it may be that what you install is going to be determined by what will fit and still meet code for access for service. Not the best way to choose a boiler, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.
    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
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,216
    kitugreat said:

    I just quickly look at their website. It looks like it comes with a water heater tank. Unfortunately in my boiler room, I don't have any additional space. It is just a space for a boiler and about a foot of space around it. That is why my current boiler is with tankless water heater.

    I had couple of contractors come over today. That are going to give me quotes for these boilers to choose from. Burnham, Lennox, Weil-McLein.

    Which brand is better? Would it make sense to convert from metal chimney to direct vent to avoid leaking from the chimney?

    Some of them want to install boiler with 88k and some 110 k btu. Is it true that btu of the boiler can be adjusted later for better efficiency?



    Thanks

    Look again at the EK. Not all require a storage tank, and they also make a small storage tank and a stand for the boiler that takes up the same footprint as a conventional boiler.
    What’s your zip code and how many gallons of oil did you burn in the last year-September to September?


    steve
    SuperTech
  • kitugreatkitugreat Member Posts: 19
    @Jamie Hall @EBEBRATT-Ed Non of the contractors did heat loss. They just said that they installed a lot of boilers in these type of houses and knew what size to use.( some estimated to 88K and some 110K) :'( I'll try to use SlantFin app to check my heat loss.
    @STEVEusaPA I think the system with the tank below the boiler would be great for me. I have 2 full bathrooms and never was able to use showers at the same time with tankless system. Not to mention using my bathtub. I was told that tankless systems cannot provide more then 5 gallons of hot water continuously. Is that true?

    I'll definitely look into it. My zip is 01701 and I used 960 gallons of oil September to September. I really appreciate your help with this. Thank you so much everybody.
  • kitugreatkitugreat Member Posts: 19
    > @Mainiac said:
    > You should check out the Energy Kinetics System 2000. We just had one installed a little over a month ago and love it. It's super quiet and very efficient. We keep the house much warmer than we did with our old boiler and even use a little less oil while doing that.
    >
    > The company has great customer service too. Its president and techs even frequent this forum. Check it out at the link below and if you have any questions I'd be happy to try and answer them. It would definitely be worth giving them a call to find a couple installers in your area and get an estimate or two.
    >
    > https://energykinetics.com/

    After researching more and looking at the great pictures of your new heat system, I contacted them via their website. I explained my situation and boiler room size limitation. Waiting for them to contact me.
    Thanks a lot for a great advice.
    Just wondering how much more expencive this boiler vs comparable BTU size Burnham, Lennox or Weil-McLein? Did it take a long time before slushing noise dispaired from your boiler?
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,415
    > @kitugreat said:
    > I just quickly look at their website. It looks like it comes with a water heater tank. Unfortunately in my boiler room, I don't have any additional space. It is just a space for a boiler and about a foot of space around it. That is why my current boiler is with tankless water heater.
    > I had couple of contractors come over today. That are going to give me quotes for these boilers to choose from. Burnham, Lennox, Weil-McLein.
    > Which brand is better? Would it make sense to convert from metal chimney to direct vent to avoid leaking from the chimney?
    > Some of them want to install boiler with 88k and some 110 k btu. Is it true that btu of the boiler can be adjusted later for better efficiency?
    >
    > Thanks

    EK offers the boiler on a pedestal, and a 40 gallon water heater under it. It's a win win.
    kitugreat
  • MainiacMainiac Member Posts: 12
    kitugreat said:

    > @Mainiac said:

    > You should check out the Energy Kinetics System 2000. We just had one installed a little over a month ago and love it. It's super quiet and very efficient. We keep the house much warmer than we did with our old boiler and even use a little less oil while doing that.

    >

    > The company has great customer service too. Its president and techs even frequent this forum. Check it out at the link below and if you have any questions I'd be happy to try and answer them. It would definitely be worth giving them a call to find a couple installers in your area and get an estimate or two.

    >

    > https://energykinetics.com/



    After researching more and looking at the great pictures of your new heat system, I contacted them via their website. I explained my situation and boiler room size limitation. Waiting for them to contact me.

    Thanks a lot for a great advice.

    Just wondering how much more expencive this boiler vs comparable BTU size Burnham, Lennox or Weil-McLein? Did it take a long time before slushing noise dispaired from your boiler?

    Since we can't discuss pricing I'll send you a message with some numbers that you can use for reference.

    As far as the sloshing sound, it hasn't gone away yet. I'm waiting for the installer to come back out. I want them to send the same person who installed the system and he's been super busy plus with it being the holiday time and such. They should be here shortly after the new year. Honestly that just means the system should be even more efficient once the air is purged from it.
  • szwedjszwedj Member Posts: 24
    EK also has the Ascent Combi system which does not require a storage tank for domestic hot water.
    https://energykinetics.com/ascent-combi-boiler/
    Joe Szwed
    Energy Kinetics
  • kitugreatkitugreat Member Posts: 19
    Would it provide enough water for a bathtub? Or using 2 showers similteniously? I don't really know, if that info available on the boiler specification sheet.

    Thanks
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,415
    IMO, pricing or comparing an EK-1 Frontier, oil fired boiler vs. a conventional pinner or even a 3 pass, is apples and oranges. Three designs so we'll add pears too.

    It's said to death here. The installer is just as, if not more important than the equipment.
    Is there a website gallery? Are the installers and or service techs fully trained on the specific system you're comfortable with?

    BTW, any of the 4 firing rates with the EK-1 Frontier can be sidewall vented.
    kitugreat
  • kitugreatkitugreat Member Posts: 19
    I used SlantFin app and calculated my heat loss to 97 k btu. Should I also try to calculate it by measuring length of my baseboard radiators?
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 5,872
    edited December 2019
    kitugreat said:

    I used SlantFin app and calculated my heat loss to 97 k btu. Should I also try to calculate it by measuring length of my baseboard radiators?

    How many square feet is the home?

    Measuring the baseboard is a good way to figure the max amount of Btu's the home can distribute. If your heat loss is coming in higher than the baseboard count, and the house is presently maintaining temp on the design day, your heat loss is incorrect.

    Air to water heat pumps will not run efficiently at the high water temps your system requires.
    I assume natural gas is not an option?
    The attached spreadsheet allows you to compare energy costs without bias.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 5,872
    edited December 2019
    @Erin Holohan Haskell
    I am unable to post an excel attachment.
    A lightbulb in the bottom left says "You are not allowed to upload files in this category".
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 1,352
    Zman said:

    @Erin Holohan Haskell
    I am unable to post an excel attachment.
    A lightbulb in the bottom left says "You are not allowed to upload files in this category".

    Thanks for the heads up, @Zman. We'll fix it.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,099
    @kitugreat

    Like I mentioned the contractors will use every excuse not to do a heat loss. Make sure they give you a discount for doing their job for them LOL

    Using the slant fin app is the best way. Then measure your baseboards and allow about 600btu/hour for every foot of baseboard..........measure only the footage that has fins...you can use this to double check the slant fin calculation you did.

    The slant fin will probably be less than the baseboard output.

  • SuperTechSuperTech Member Posts: 1,344
    I just wanted to second everyones advice on installing an Energy Kinetics boiler. They are great when properly installed. The stackable model is perfect for tight spaces, running out of DHW is never a problem with the plate heat exchanger supplied water storage tank. I would take that over any electric or LP option.
  • kitugreatkitugreat Member Posts: 19
    Happy New Year!!!!
    EK sent me a list of installers in my area. Unfortunately most of them are also oil dealers and only service their customers.
    I looked at their reviews and they are mixed. Some good, some bad.
    Do you have any tips on choosing reliable and experienced installer? You were saying that good installer is more important then boiler itself.
    So, how do I find one?

    @Zman my house is 2000 S.F. and no gas on our street yet.
    There is a gas on the street next to mine, so we may get it too at some point.

    I took some pics of my boiler just to show how bad it is.

    https://1drv.ms/f/s!AmCOuvnJLiv5g9xohiu3a2dMPWn3nQ



  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 5,872
    edited January 1
    I sent the comparison sheet Via PM as is still would not post. I would take a look at natural gas. If you can't get it installed immediately, you could go with propane in the short term and then convert to natural gas. The boiler you have is at least 100% oversized for a 2,000 sq/ft.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,216
    kitugreat said:


    EK sent me a list of installers in my area. Unfortunately most of them are also oil dealers and only service their customers...

    Are you saying they don’t want a new customer, or you don’t want to switch oil dealers?
    The EK can be converted to gas if need be, but you may find with a modern super efficient oil burner/boiler it wouldn’t be cost effective to switch.
    Any EK recommended/vetted dealer should be fine. EK has excellent support and stand behind their product. They are also regulars here and take a lot of pride in customers happiness.
    steve
    SuperTech
  • kitugreatkitugreat Member Posts: 19
    I just calculated BTU by the length of baseboard. It came up at 77.3 k BTU.
    What do you mean by " the house is presently maintaining temp on the design day," ? What is the design day?

  • kitugreatkitugreat Member Posts: 19
    @STEVEusaPA I don't mind to switch to another oil company, if their oil price is comparable with others. I just don't want to be in a situation when they raise their prices too high and I would have to keep paying just to get maintenance on the boiler.
  • kitugreatkitugreat Member Posts: 19
    I finally got my old boiled system replaced in May of this year. Here are the pictures.
    Before.



    After.



    Unfortunately, I already lost heat 3 times. It is good that we are in the summer now, but today I had to take cold shower.
    I just took pictures of energy manager (E140 error on the display) and Carlin ProX (Lockout No flame)




    I believe that first couple of times we lost heat, was the same error.
    What could be causing it? I have not had so many issues with my old system.
    Thanks


  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,415
    edited July 31
    Beautiful! I'm jealous. 

    I think you'll find that the issue is not boiler or burner related. Look to the oil side. Suction leak, high vacuum, etc. 
    Is there a printout of a combustion report?

    Edit: I see it stapled to a tag on the right wall.
    szwedj
  • szwedjszwedj Member Posts: 24
    edited July 31
    @kitugreat Nice choice with the Frontier, you will love it.  Sorry to hear about the problem you are having.  The E140 error on the System Manger is letting you know that there was a call for heat (in this domestic hot water) but the boiler water did not heat up within a certain amount of time.  As @HVACNUT indicated, In this case, the burner primary control is locked out on safety.  It did not see a flame when it expected to see one.  This shouldn’t be much more then basic oil burner troubleshooting for your service tech and they should be able to get you back up pretty quickly.  And as always they can call in to tech support if they need some help figuring things out.

    Joe 
    Energy Kinetics 
    Joe Szwed
    Energy Kinetics
  • kitugreatkitugreat Member Posts: 19
    Here is the report.
    Oil tank and new oil line was also installed at the same time as this system. They couldn't run oil line under the hardwood floor. They ran it up to the attic and down to the boiler. Could this cause issues like that?
    Service company is coming today to look at it.
    They told me they replaced some wires last time to resolve this issue.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,216
    What did they do/fix when they have came out.
    Up to the attic? Yeah I think it's just loss of prime, or not properly power purged, or a small vacuum leak. Or even too much vacuum.
    All can be checked with a vacuum gauge.
    If impossible to find, or too much vacuum, plan B would be to go with...a Tiger Loop.
    steve
    szwedj
  • kitugreatkitugreat Member Posts: 19
    Today technician, reset power switch on the energy manager and system came up. He checked oil line and said it was fine. He primed it. He didn't find any issue at all. They suspect puff switch being defective, so for now he short circuit it. If no issue for a month he was going to replace puff switch.
    He is how puff switch looks now.

  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,216
    edited July 31
    Oh I wouldn’t override a primary safety switch and leave it like that. That’s a huge liability.
    Which primary control is on that burner? If it’s a Carlin, it would’ve told you if that was the reason for the lockout.
    You said ...“if no issue for a month he was going to replace puff switch...”
    That’s not correct.
    You were done a disservice. I still think the problem points to the fuel system-oil line, vacuum leak/or high vacuum.
    steve
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,956
    Oy. Well, I agree with @STEVEusaPA -- if a technician shorts out a primary safety and says we'll check it in a month, he is somewhat beyond incompetent. That applies whether the switch in question was giving problems or not.

    It's a safety control. If it's malfunctioning, replace it on the spot (or leave the unit locked off until you can). If it's functioning correctly, it's warning of an unsafe condition, at which point you leave the unit locked off until the situation can be corrected.

    What's so hard about that?

    I also agree with the thought that it's an oil line problem. Lines which come out of a tank, go up, wander along, and come back down are remarkably hard to do right and keep right. Did the technician actually test the oil line, end to end, to check for a vacuum leak (not pressure test -- vacuum test; things which leak under a vacuum often don't under pressure, and vice versa). A visual looking over isn't going to do it.
    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
  • szwedjszwedj Member Posts: 24
    The Carlin 70200 has blocked vent terminals labeled BV on the front of the control that the “puff switch” (blocked vent pressure switch) on the front of the boiler is wired too.  If the puff switch opened and caused the burner to lock out, there will be a history of the event stored in the control.  
    Joe Szwed
    Energy Kinetics
    rick in Alaska
  • kitugreatkitugreat Member Posts: 19
    I didn't see how technician was testing oil line. Would Carlin Pro X show somewhere in the history the reason for the lockout?
    Is it something I would be able to see on my own?
    This company installed this system and they were recommended by Energy Kinetics. They told me that they installed a lot of systems like this. If they are really incompetent, I am in trouble.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,956
    Cheer up. There is probably nothing much seriously wrong with the boiler itself -- though it may not be adjusted all that well. The oil line, though... up and over is common enough, but it if often a source of trouble, which can be hard to find.

    The Carlin diagnostics may only show that the control didn't see flame, or didn't see it in time. It won't be able to tell you that the reason it didn't see flame was a loss of prime, for instance, or a delay in establishing flow after a partial loss of prime.

    I might add that particularly if the burner is adjusted slightly on the lean side, and you do have a complete or partial loss of prime, the problem will be much worse...
    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
  • Robert_25Robert_25 Member Posts: 191
    My vote is on the overhead oil line. I had similar problems with my setup until I got fed up and switched to a gravity feed. If it turns out to be an issue with the oil feed losing prime, a Tigerloop would be my next step.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Welcome

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!