Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Fire Tube Worth $ Upgrade?

Lakefront
Lakefront Member Posts: 11
edited April 2020 in Gas Heating
Since we just got natural gas service to our house, I'm working with a local contractor to replace my current oil boiler with a new gas mod/con. The installer sells Burnham, and I have quotes for two models - one is the water tube HX K2, and the other is the fire tube HX Aspen. He says they both perform about the same and require the same amount of maintenance, but the price difference is around $, so it's a big difference. He recommended going with the K2 but he can support either one. Everyone here seems to think that fire tube is the way to go, though, so I'm not sure that a water tube is a good investment. I also called Burnham and, in their opinion, they're equivalent. They said that west coast installers prefer fire tube, and east coast likes water tube. Would the K2 be a mistake?

Comments

  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,695
    How has he sized this boiler.

    The installing contractor is more important then the name on the box’s.
    Canucker
  • Lakefront
    Lakefront Member Posts: 11
    The boiler was sized based on a calc done with HVAC-calc when the house was built, and the contractor is the same for either boiler :-)
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,542
    Firetubes generally require a bit less maintenance by design and will use a few bucks a year less energy for pumping due to their low resistance design.
    As much as I am a firetube fan, if it was my money I would go with the water tube.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    Intplm.
  • Pat_11
    Pat_11 Member Posts: 49
    Both good choices. I’m a water-tube fan. Easy service.
  • PerryHolzman
    PerryHolzman Member Posts: 234
    From a long term perspective. It's more likely that you can retube a firetube boiler 10-30 years down the line than retube a watertube boiler.

    While I've only personally been involved in retubing a few boilers in my youth and younger years. The water-tube boiler was a real PIA, and the old dodger I was working with told me that was typical, and he tried to avoid retubing them.

    Most heating contractors would not have a clue these days. Look for commercial heat exchanger and industrial boiler service shops. It's still done (and I'm currently doing at home gig work for a heat exchanger shop north of Milwaukee that would do it). They principally serve the Power Industry building and servicing large heat exchangers and power plant condensers. Retubing a small boiler is a lot less work (and the same tubes) as retubing a tubular combustion air-preheater in a power plant (and a lot less tubes).

    Retubing a boiler is far cheaper than replacing it....

    Have a great day,

    Perry
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,429
    I think we're talking about small home boilers where they are done when then heat exchanger leaks here.
    Zman
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,542
    mattmia2 said:

    I think we're talking about small home boilers where they are done when then heat exchanger leaks here.

    I was thinking the same thing. Most have a 5 or 10 year warranty. After that, it is usually time to refresh the whole unit. For large commercial plants, retubing is a great option. I may be missing something but I have never heard of anyone retubing a small residential boiler.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein