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Stay with oil or go to condensing propane?
I'm still trying to work through the best solution for replacing my 20+ year old oil HW boiler (this saga started towards the end of last summer). I also think it's getting close to time to replace the dual oil tanks of about the same age. (those things were all old when we moved in 15 years ago). On top of that, the 208 year old chimney (about 40' from flue pipe to peak) is going to present some challenges if I try to go to an efficient triple pass oil boiler. We squeaked through this past mild winter, and I often lay awake at night listening to it run, hoping that it would hang in there.
The combination of factors has me thinking that perhaps I should go to a condensing propane boiler (natural gas not available here). That would eliminate the need for opening the can of worms that is my chimney since I can just vent it through the sidewall, and I can avoid the cost of two new oil tanks (although I still have to get rid of the old ones of course).
Is there any compelling reason to stay away from the condensing propane boiler?
I've gotten completely discouraged trying to find a contractor I can trust. The only one within a reasonable distance that's listed on this site is not taking new customers. The larger local firms send out guys who aren't techs; their sole job is to quote jobs, based entirely on what's already installed. Not a single one of them has expressed the least curiosity about the size of house, ceiling heights, insulation, windows, etc.; all those things that go into the heat loss calculation. I swear one guy was 18 years old, and he quoted me a price on the spot based solely on the size of the existing boiler. I think all they have in mind is using a sawzall to cut out the existing unit, and replacing it in exactly the same configuration. I don't mind paying good money for competent work, but after seeing horror stories of some professional installations you realize you can't assume that everyone is able to do good work, even if they charge top dollar. (an experienced person can do a far better job in far less time than I could, and I could use my time doing what I do best; it's that whole division of labor thing).