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Replacement Oil Boiler (Mass): Energy Kinetics EK-1F or Slant/Fin Intrepid

twmabmchugh Member Posts: 4
Replacing 25 year old oil boiler (has run fine but well overdue and last few days we're having to hit red restart button to get hot water for showers). We have no hot water tank and do not have any outside air intake.
From a full service local oil co. looking at Energy Kinetics EK-1F with 45 gallon SS indirect tank. They will be installing some kind of fresh air intake, which they recommend.
Or Slant/Fin Intrepid with option for indirect 40 gallon hot water tank. This install is by a local heating contractor. I do not believe they are providing an air intake as they said it would not be required with a 25 yr. old house.
Pricing is about the same.
Any advice, input would be welcome-Thanks!


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,121
    As usual... the new boiler must be correctly sized. There is no guarantee that the old one is the right size... Therefore -- if this is hot water, did either company do a heat loss calculation on the house? If this is steam, did either company actually measure and add up the existing radiation?

    If not, you have no way of knowing whether the boiler recommended is correct -- and if it is not, you will not get the efficiency and good operation you pay for.

    That said, they are both good boilers, and the suggestion to use an indirect water heater is very good.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,691
    edited April 2020
    It's not even debatable for me. The Energy Kinetics boilers are my favorite oil boilers for reliability, efficiency and ease of service. Technical support is as good as it gets. The EK-1 can be converted to use a Carlin gas burner too if that becomes an option down the road.

    Of course the installer is the most important factor, and proper sizing.
    STEVEusaPAHVACNUTrick in Alaska
  • twmabmchugh
    twmabmchugh Member Posts: 4
    edited April 2020
    Thanks. Both installers have good reputations.
    How important is the fresh air intake? The oil service guys have recommended it though the plumbing/heating people who have a good reputation have said it is not required
  • PerryHolzman
    PerryHolzman Member Posts: 234
    Fresh air intake is usually needed for modern houses that are relatively air leakage tight, or for older homes that have been sealed up to make them tight (my post "blower door" test showed that my "sealed up" house had about 1/6th the air leakage into the house compared to how it was originally constructed.

    If you current basement supports using basement air without an issue - then it's likely plausible that you do not require a fresh air intake. That does not mean that it might not be a good idea.

    If you or someone in the future does a "blower door" test on the house and seals it up... they may need to add a specific boiler fresh air intake to properly support combustion.

    I personally have a condensing boiler that routes the air intake around the exhaust piping to recover as much heat energy from the exhast as possible. It also condenses the water in the combustion gasses which drains back to the boiler. This is OK for a condensing boiler, and not OK for most non-condensing boilers as the condensate is acidic and will eat up any boiler not designed for it.

    Concerning the cost difference: I'd carefully look at the features, reputation, and reliability history of the boilers in question.

    A truism is that while you do not always get what you paid for (i.e. you can overpay for what you get); that you never get what you did not pay for.

    What is the more expensive boiler providing you that the least expensive boiler (and install) is not, or are they actually equal? Make sure you understand that before making a decision.

    I wish you the best with this,

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,318
    The EK is much better. Fresh air (combustion air) is very important and most likely needed for the other install too. In either case, it's drilling a hole and running plastic pipe.
    No offense to the great ones, but not all 'Plumbing & Heating' people know much about hydronics.
    Either install will require proper commissioning with combustion equipment. Whoever doesn't agree with that you can cross off your list.
    It's also probably that the plumber hasn't been vetted (or want to be) by EK, so they are only offering the boiler they can get at the supply house.
    EK, first, most efficient in terms of total system efficiency. A better triple pass with indirect is second.
  • JayMcCay
    JayMcCay Member Posts: 16
    All good comments, Happy to address any additional questions. We stand behind our equipment and support our family of EK dealers.

    Jay McCay
    National Sales Manager
    Energy Kinetics
    908 328-7154 mobile
    [email protected]
    Jay McCay
    National Sales Manager
    Energy Kinetics
    908 328-7154 cell
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,205
    The EK should not have been offered with a SS indirect water heater. It should have been offered with the EK water heater. Did they say why? You'll lose a lot of the efficiency by not using their tank and piping design.
  • twmabmchugh
    twmabmchugh Member Posts: 4
    They have since come back and stated that Energy Kinetics has come out with a newer product (EK-1T Ascent Combi boiler). Is that the EK water heater that you are referring too?
    Any feedback on the EK-1T Acscent Combi boiler?
  • twmabmchugh
    twmabmchugh Member Posts: 4
    Considering the Energy Kinetics EK-1T Ascent Combi instead of the EK-1F. We currently do not have a hot water tank. EK-1T lower cost as no indirect hot water tank required.
    Any feedback on the Ascent Combi? Reasons not go to with it? Does the plate heat exchanger hold up long term?
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,205
    > @twmabmchugh said:
    > They have since come back and stated that Energy Kinetics has come out with a newer product (EK-1T Ascent Combi boiler). Is that the EK water heater that you are referring too?
    > Any feedback on the EK-1T Acscent Combi boiler?

    No problem with the Ascent at all. A little less efficient than the Frontier. And a combi in general is a different animal.

    If your currently not happy with the domestic hot water production with the coil, then a combi is not for you. It will be limited.

    If you have the space, then the EK-1 Frontier is the way to go IMO.

    The EK water heater I'm referring to is in your first post.
    The EK-1 Frontier supplied with a 45 gal SS indirect tank.
    The water heater offered by EK is not a typical indirect. The combination of the EK water heater, plate heat exchanger, and the Energy Manager make it much more efficient than a standard indirect water heater.
  • twmabmchugh
    twmabmchugh Member Posts: 4
    Thank you.
    We have been ok with the domestic hot water production from the existing boiler-coil.
    Space is tight so space savings would be a nice.
    The original quote was the EK-1F with a 45 gallon indirect water tank or now the EK-1T Ascent Combi (no hot water tank reqd.-looks like it uses a plate heat exchanger instead of a coil). I was wondering if the plate heat exchanger has good life.
    Thank you again for your help and input.
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,205
    No problem at all with the plate HX. It's all relative though. If you have hard water, EK offers a Scale Stopper that gets piped in. And during annual maintenance, the tech can back flush the HX to remove any built up sediment.

    The only issue that I know of concerning the Ascent was the Flow Switch. Not the switch itself but the position its installed in the field. So they put a GIANT ➡️ on it so even guys like me can't screw it up.

    Combustion air should be piped to the burner box whenever possible, but if space is tight like you say, then it's a must.
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,691
    I would definitely recommend the Frontier with the plate heat exchanger and water storage tank. Your oil consumption will be dramatically less than a boiler with a tankless coil.

    If I remember my Energy Kinetics training correctly I think they only recommend using an indirect if the water is really bad to the point where back flushing annually and using the scale stopper isn't enough to prevent fouling up the plate heat exchanger.