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Need help picking a boiler

ctsarahm Member Posts: 1
Hello! We are renovating and are replacing our homes original (50+ year old!) system. We have been presented with lots of options and have no idea who to go with. We are also replacing the water heating system and need to be mindful of our towns high mineral content in the water which is known for damaging water heaters. 
Here’s our options:
burnham MPO-IQ147B-TL
PurePro Trio P3 (says on my quote that it’s not with a water heater so not sure if they can add to it)
EK system 2000 frontier ek1f 

thank you!


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,438
    This is hot water? Did anyone do a heat loss calculation on the house to pick the correct size for the boiler? If not... forget them. That's the first step. The boiler must match the heat loss. (f it's steam, the comment is similar, but then the project is to add up the EDR ratings of all the radiators and match that).

    Now -- if the boilers quoted match the heat loss, you're part way there. I know of both the Burnham and the EK systems, both are good. However, it as important as it is to get a good boiler, it is even more important that the person or firm installing the boiler be familiar with it and likes to work with it, and will be there down the road to maintain it. Unlike your 50 year old boiler, many of the modern boilers take a good deal of highly skilled maintenance -- and just won't give you the results you want (if they work at all) without that.

    Then on the hot water -- there are a number of options, and the choice of option doesn't seem to be considered in your list. In general, you can have stand alone water heaters or you can have what are called indirects, where the water in the tank is heated by a zone off the boiler. Do not consider in-boiler "tankless" coils. You can also have stand alone tankless hot water heaters -- if you have the gas or electric connections to supply them.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
    EK1-with or without storage tank, then MPO, properly sized with indirect.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,343
    edited January 2021
    You mentioned you have high mineral content water.

    Your new boiler isn't going to last 50 years. New boilers do not last as long as the old boilers did. It may not even last 10 years if it is filled with high mineral content water. The technology and materials in today's boilers cause them to be more prone to problems from scale and corrosion. Filling your new boiler with demineralized (not softened) water is the most important part of your project.

    If you use large amounts of domestic hot water, an indirect tank heated by the boiler may have the lowest total costs of ownership (TCO). This is because it costs more up front, but will have lower energy costs.

    If you do not use large amounts of domestic hot water, a standalone electric tank water heater may have the lowest TCO. Less up front, less to replace if it dies an early death, higher energy costs.

    There are other water heater options. The two I mentioned are at the extreme ends of pay now (install costs), or pay later (energy costs).

    I DIY.
  • Roger
    Roger Member Posts: 333
    Thank you for your question and for placing your confidence in Energy Kinetics in your consideration to heat your home for the next several decades, @ctsarahm ! We're known for great energy savings, near endless hot water, and reliable and super quiet operation with a proven 30 year boiler.

    As your home has hard water, I'll mention that System 2000 boilers are now shipped with a non-stick silicon dioxide coating on the plate heat exchangers. This coating has been proven to prevent scale build up.

    Since lime and hardness are "inversely soluble", the minerals plate out and build up wherever the water is heated (as compared to sugar or salt that dissolve more where water is heated). That means the electric elements in a tank, the location of the fire in a direct fired water heater (usually the bottom), the coil in an indirect tank (or plate heat exchanger on System 2000), the hot water side of a tankless coil, or even in your coffee pot build up minerals. Hard water fouling can reduce hot water production over time and even damage water heaters as you noted, so keeping the heated area of your hot water system clean is important.

    The silicon dioxide coating provides a new and much improved way to fight hardness. The addition of a full water treatment system or our affordable scale stopper has historically been advised if hardness is over 10 grains - we still recommend the scale stopper even with the silicon dioxide coated heat exchangers as a powerful one-two punch against hard water.

    On the boiler side, we ship 8-way boiler treatment with each boiler to help prevent mineral build up. The biggest hard water sources in hydronic systems are a lifetime of lime remaining in the piping and radiation, and leaks in the system which continuously bring in fresh hard water (and oxygen which can corrode the system from the inside out). If our boilers do have mineral build up, they are often easily cleaned.

    Please post or PM us if you have additional questions.

    Warm regards,
    Energy Kinetics, Inc.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,094
    I would go with EK. You are sure the contractor is going to do it right the first time. Burnham boilers can be purchased by anyone with an account at the local supply house. No training needed. EK, on the other hand, sells directly to its dealers. The dealers must be trained in order to become dealers. A company that makes that commitment to training is more likely to do it right the first time... and to stand behind both the product warranty and their own workmenship.

    Which is the better boiler? questions always go in the direction of who is the best installer? A so-so product installed by a craftsman will always outshine a good product installed by a hacker. The problem is finding the craftsman. EK makes finding craftsmen easier.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?