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Need help choosing a new replacement boiler.

RonnieR
RonnieR Member Posts: 8
I have a 31 year old Peerless boiler that slowly has been producing less and less domestic hot water. I only have time to take a quick shower at this point and am pretty sure the coil is failing but given the condition and age rather then put money into it I'm going to replace it. I had a bid from my heating contractor for 3 systems.

Another tank less coil Peerless as the low cost option.

A Buderus G115WS with a Heat_FLO 40 indirect tank

Energy Kinetics Ascent EK1T

I feel fortunate that this didn't just die straight out because it gave me the time to research these 3 systems. Had I not had the time I probably would have went with the
Peerless. The Buderus would have seemed to me as expensive and overkill and the EK1T would have seemed too different/ new fangled to take a chance on. With that said the last thing I want is a tankless coil pin type boiler although they do work albeit with less efficiency.

I have a 3 bedroom ranch style house with 1350 sq feet. I have newer Anderson replacement windows and the house is well insulated. I am the only occupant.

The consensus opinions I've seen here are either one is an excellent choice, and the heating contractor is most important.

I've been with my heating contractor/oil supplier and they are top notch and they are also an EK Premier dealer.

So I'm going back and forth between the EK Ascent and the Buderus for different reasons.

I like the EK and the fact that I don't have to have an indirect tank. My basement space is limited and although it can easily fit I would like the extra space.

My girlfriends a realtor and she stated that when they list a house if it has a Buderus no matter the age that info goes in the listing. People are familiar with that brand.

I had another quote from another EK dealer for a Frontier. When I asked him why not the Ascent he stated it was newer model and they don't fully trust it yet. Also on Consumer Reports it was 2nd from the bottom on reliability although for customer satisfaction it was near the top.

Comments

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,993
    Why replace a whole boiler due to a hot water coil? Have you considered separating your DHW from your heating system? You could even turn off the boiler in the summer. 🤯
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • RonnieR
    RonnieR Member Posts: 8
    edited March 8
    Again age and inefficiency. The coil was replaced 8 years ago by the previous owner. I just assume put that cost towards a new boiler. I also used to shut off the boiler when I went on vacation in the warmer months. If I do that I come back to a huge puddle in the basement.
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 3,918
    IMO, another pinner with a tankless coil shouldn't even be on the table. 
    The G115 is an excellent boiler. Did they say which burner?
    The Ascent is nice but was made to kind of compete against a boiler with a tankless coil. It will be better and more efficient for sure. But for more efficiency and hot water, the EK-1 Frontier would be my first choice. If space is limited, they do offer an option for a pedestal with the water heater underneath the boiler. 
    SuperTechRoger
  • RonnieR
    RonnieR Member Posts: 8
    Thanks HVACNUT, I agree not getting a pinner was the first conclusion I came to after spending some time here. The burner for the Buderus is a Riello. The Ascent had the Carlin. I did have a quote from another contractor for the Frontier but the extra $$$ was getting out of my budget.
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 179
    Your existing tankless coil might just need a thorough cleaning, or perhaps the aquastat is not sensing the change in boiler water temperature quickly enough to keep it stable.

    Bburd
    bitcohen
  • Alan Welch
    Alan Welch Member Posts: 254
    Your hot water problem could be as simple as a mixing valve element replacement.   Open an hot water faucet and check the temperature of the water coming out of the coil vs. the temperature of the water from the mixing valve.  That being said , the Ek will probably knock your oil consumption down by 30 percent or more.
    SuperTechRoger
  • Lance
    Lance Member Posts: 149
    Temperature and flow and pressure measurements are a must to diagnose this problem. Incoming water temps in winter may require raising the low limit. My last client had been using his steam boiler less by using his fireplace more, instead of steaming it was sitting at the low temp setting. Solution: raise low temp limit 15F. Problem solved. But hold on, also found a restricted water service when flow increased with more than one spigot on. Not a temp problem but a GPM flow problem. Heat system was perfect. Know the specs, measure the effects, adjust to the specs.
  • RonnieR
    RonnieR Member Posts: 8
    edited March 9
    Thanks, At this point given it's age, condition, and with more efficient options out there and the fact I'm looking at possibly selling, I am going to get it replaced. I rather do this on my terms with some good current quotes rather then deal with this and having to make a split decision in the dead of next winter.

    Both the EK1T and Buderus will be much more efficient then what I currently have. It maybe comparing apples to oranges but is either one more efficient then the other as we are comparing a system with an indirect tank vs no tank?
    HVACNUT
  • heathead
    heathead Member Posts: 149
    Please make sure they do a heat loss calculation on the house. This will save you more money if you can go with a smaller boiler. In operating cost and up front cost. I like the Buderus but that is just because haven't dealt with the system 2000. The president of the system 2000 comes on here from time to time which tells you something about their top notch customer service.
  • Roger
    Roger Member Posts: 181
    Thank you for your posts, @RonnieR , and for everyone's comments.
    Upgrading from a "pinner" to either the Ascent Combi or System 2000 will pay for itself, give you much more hot water, and with the silent burner cover, they will give your home a new and much more quiet feel. System 2000 will save up to 40% and the Ascent Combi will save up to 20%. The more fuel you currently use, the faster the payback will be.
    The Ascent Combi uses all industry standard components and the boiler is a proven 30 year pressure vessel. The newest tech used is a plate heat exchanger for hot water, which has been around for over 40 years. This is the most common way to make hot water with residential boilers in the world. All that said, I feel the reliability reference in your original post is greatly misplaced. Further, we stand behind all of our products so you nor anyone else should ever have concerns.
    If you'd like, PM me with details and we can coordinate with your heating professional to review your specific application.
    Best,
    Roger
    President
    Energy Kinetics, Inc.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 1,989
    Roger said:

    Thank you for your posts, @RonnieR , and for everyone's comments.
    Upgrading from a "pinner" to either the Ascent Combi or System 2000 will pay for itself, give you much more hot water, and with the silent burner cover, they will give your home a new and much more quiet feel. System 2000 will save up to 40% and the Ascent Combi will save up to 20%. The more fuel you currently use, the faster the payback will be.
    The Ascent Combi uses all industry standard components and the boiler is a proven 30 year pressure vessel. The newest tech used is a plate heat exchanger for hot water, which has been around for over 40 years. This is the most common way to make hot water with residential boilers in the world. All that said, I feel the reliability reference in your original post is greatly misplaced. Further, we stand behind all of our products so you nor anyone else should ever have concerns.
    If you'd like, PM me with details and we can coordinate with your heating professional to review your specific application.
    Best,
    Roger

    Where do you come up with these savings? 20%, 40% "Pay for itself"

    Not going to happen. If the OP sees 15% I'd be surprised.

    The only savings in fuel is tightening the envelope and downsizing the equipment.
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • Roger
    Roger Member Posts: 181
    edited March 10
    Thank you for you post @pecmsg - we hear your comment from time to time.

    My data and conclusions are drawn from 40+ years of installations and the report “Performance of Integrated Hydronic Heating Systems” , Energy Resources Division, Department of Energy Sciences and Technology, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Under Contract No. DE-ACO2-98CH10886 with the United States Department of Energy. We have more digestible information on our website.
    The report also demonstrates that Energy Kinetics low mass and thermal purge design has virtually no oversizing penalty, so it operates at near steady state efficiency from a very small load through design day. The integration of hot water with thermal purge and a plate heat exchanger is also a key factor as it recovers heat left in the boiler - boilers with coils and indirect tanks with coils can't do this. AFUE is confusing as it is more like peak efficiency than real annual efficiency, and it does not apply to boilers that make hot water.

    Savings are even greater as residential boiler oversizing factor is typically 3 to 4 based on analysis of the March 2014 Department of Energy Notice of Data Available documents.

    Roger
    President
    Energy Kinetics, Inc.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 1,989
    Ill respectfully disagree.

    the Energy Kinetics is a fine unit but 40% the old one must be seriously overfired and in the 60% efficiency range!
    Robert O'Brien
  • Roger
    Roger Member Posts: 181
    Thank you, @pecmsg - I know you are a thoughtful and helpful commentor and I appreciate all your contributions.

    You are spot on, the efficiency of many heat and hot water boilers is not close to the AFUE. In fact, in the report, an 84 AFUE tankless coil boiler has an annual efficiency of 60.4%, and an 83.9 AFUE tankless coil has an annual efficiency of 52.9%. Another example is, "Unit 2" in the report, which an 84 AFUE cast iron boiler (84.6% combustion efficiency), with an indirect tank. At 3x oversized, the reported annual efficiency is 65.1%. The tankless coil boilers have worse annual efficiency in many cases, and summer domestic hot water efficiency ranges from 31.0% to 40.6%. There are additional draft regulator and chimney related losses and distribution system losses not identified in the report as well, and oversizing is frequently 4x or more. Many systems are dominated by hot water production vs design day heating now, especially with combi boilers.

    The System 2000 model tested has an AFUE of 87.5 and achieved an 85.3% annual efficiency with a 3x oversizing factor - no draft regulator and thermal purge also contribute to additional savings not identified in this report. Even in much greater oversizing conditions, System 2000's annual efficiency is very close to the AFUE where other boilers fall off very significantly. So spring, summer, and fall operation are very efficient, and you can weatherize before or after installation without negatively impacting annual efficiency.

    The field results we have support these savings, and the newer Ascent Combi field studies are demonstrating savings in the neighborhood of 20%.

    Thank you for the opportunity to reply to your well considered points!

    Best,
    Roger
    President
    Energy Kinetics, Inc.
    SuperTech
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,858
    May I say first -- Energy Kinetics is a fine boiler. Indeed, a very fine boiler. It's merits stand on their own, and it will match up well many other boilers.

    But.

    Don't oversell your product.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Roger
    Roger Member Posts: 181
    Thank you, @Jamie Hall - point well taken. I apologize if some of my frustration with the AFUE rating system comes through in my posts as well and I may get over enthusiastic at sharing the results of the DOE report that highlights those deficiencies and the advantages of our design.
    President
    Energy Kinetics, Inc.
    Robert O'Brien
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,640
    For what its worth,  the system 2000 is the only boiler that I have ever had homeowners rave to me about fuel oil savings.  I honestly believe that going from a tankless single pass cast iron or steel boiler to an EK-1 Frontier will show significant fuel savings.  
    RogerRobert O'BrienHVACNUTSTEVEusaPA
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,326
    pecmsg said:

    Ill respectfully disagree.

    the Energy Kinetics is a fine unit but 40% the old one must be seriously overfired and in the 60% efficiency range!

    Unfortunately most tankless coil boilers can only dream of 60%. Idle loss is an absolute efficiency killer.

    https://www.aceee.org/sites/default/files/pdf/conferences/hwf/2018/7b-butcher.pdf
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    Roger
  • Roger
    Roger Member Posts: 181
    Thank you, @Robert O'Brien - that's an excellent report!
    Roger
    President
    Energy Kinetics, Inc.
    Robert O'Brien
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 3,918
    RonnieR said:
    Thanks, At this point given it's age, condition, and with more efficient options out there and the fact I'm looking at possibly selling, I am going to get it replaced. I rather do this on my terms with some good current quotes rather then deal with this and having to make a split decision in the dead of next winter. Both the EK1T and Buderus will be much more efficient then what I currently have. It maybe comparing apples to oranges but is either one more efficient then the other as we are comparing a system with an indirect tank vs no tank?
    I applaud you for reasoning in looking to upgrade. Sure you can tweak something here, change a part there, and maybe you'll get a seven minute shower. At the end of the day you still have a tankless coil maintaining temperature all year, every year. 
    You say you're the only occupant. What if that changes? Or you mentioned selling. IMO, and your realtor girlfriend might agree, the Ascent might not cut it for a home with multiple people, multiple showers, laundry, dishwasher, etc. With that in mind, if it were me, I'd go with the Buderus. ONLY because you said the EK-1 Frontier is off the table, budget wise.
    What size Buderus was offered? At 1350 sq ft, the G115-3 is more than enough boiler for heat and a 40 gallon indirect. That's almost 55 BTU per square  foot, and that's ludicrous. (Pssst, the EK-1 Frontier has ways of dealing with that). If they offered a 4 or 5 section, tell them no way.
    The indirect is a good tank but I'm not crazy about the 24v powered little smart temperature controller thingy. The relays tend to fail and after discussing with the client, I usually wind up installing a simple high limit aquastat.
    Make sure your getting a thermostatic mixing valve with the indirect and a domestic extrol if one is not already there.
    Do you know which operating control was offered with the Buderus? The 2107 Logamatic, Hydrostat 3250 Plus, Beckett Aquasmart? All offer outdoor reset and condensate protection and suggest they be used. 
    And I don't know if I'm the bearer of bad news, but if you have an exterior chimney, if it doesn't already have one, it will need a stainless steel chimney liner. No matter which system you choose. 

  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,300
    edited March 10
    so let's tag this thread,
    and make a case study of it,
    home owner and EK,
    meet back here in what?
    a month? 2?
    this time next year?
  • Roger
    Roger Member Posts: 181
    Good idea. We like to look at two years fuel use prior and at least one year after to capture all the seasons. We normalize with local weather station data from a NASA database.  
    President
    Energy Kinetics, Inc.
    Robert O'Brien
  • Alan Welch
    Alan Welch Member Posts: 254
    Maybe the creator of this website could post his average annual gallonage from before and after he replaced his system. I remember when we first started installing system 2000 almost 40 years ago, the company owner commented that for every 2 or 3 we installed, we had to pick up another new account just to keep our oil gallonage for the company from dropping.   
    RogerSuperTech
  • RonnieR
    RonnieR Member Posts: 8
    edited March 11
    HVACNUT said:


    RonnieR said:

    Thanks, At this point given it's age, condition, and with more efficient options out there and the fact I'm looking at possibly selling, I am going to get it replaced. I rather do this on my terms with some good current quotes rather then deal with this and having to make a split decision in the dead of next winter.

    Both the EK1T and Buderus will be much more efficient then what I currently have. It maybe comparing apples to oranges but is either one more efficient then the other as we are comparing a system with an indirect tank vs no tank?

    I applaud you for reasoning in looking to upgrade. Sure you can tweak something here, change a part there, and maybe you'll get a seven minute shower. At the end of the day you still have a tankless coil maintaining temperature all year, every year. 
    You say you're the only occupant. What if that changes? Or you mentioned selling. IMO, and your realtor girlfriend might agree, the Ascent might not cut it for a home with multiple people, multiple showers, laundry, dishwasher, etc. With that in mind, if it were me, I'd go with the Buderus. ONLY because you said the EK-1 Frontier is off the table, budget wise.
    What size Buderus was offered? At 1350 sq ft, the G115-3 is more than enough boiler for heat and a 40 gallon indirect. That's almost 55 BTU per square  foot, and that's ludicrous. (Pssst, the EK-1 Frontier has ways of dealing with that). If they offered a 4 or 5 section, tell them no way.
    The indirect is a good tank but I'm not crazy about the 24v powered little smart temperature controller thingy. The relays tend to fail and after discussing with the client, I usually wind up installing a simple high limit aquastat.
    Make sure your getting a thermostatic mixing valve with the indirect and a domestic extrol if one is not already there.
    Do you know which operating control was offered with the Buderus? The 2107 Logamatic, Hydrostat 3250 Plus, Beckett Aquasmart? All offer outdoor reset and condensate protection and suggest they be used. 
    And I don't know if I'm the bearer of bad news, but if you have an exterior chimney, if it doesn't already have one, it will need a stainless steel chimney liner. No matter which system you choose. 



    I've cut and pasted this from the quote.

    ⦁ One (1) BUDERUS oil fired forced hot water boiler, model G115-3, rated at 85,000 BTU's, complete with a RIELLO burner and controls. This boiler is Energy Star rated and has an A.F.U.E. rating of 87%.⦁ One (1) HEAT-FLO indirect fired water heater, model HF-40, rated at 40 gallon capacity. This unit consists of a stainless steel vessel and a stainless steel heat exchanger. This boiler has a limited lifetime warranty.⦁ Blocks under the boiler to promote air flow and minimize the opportunity for condensation from forming on the boiler and related components.⦁ New smoke pipe from the boiler to the chimney.⦁ New water feeder, backflow preventer, expansion tank, and SpiroVent air purger.⦁ Two (2) TACO 007 circulators, complete with isolation valves for ease of repair and maintenance.⦁ Taco SR502 switching relay.⦁ All necessary pipe and fittings to connect the boiler to the heat piping system for the home.⦁ All necessary pipe and fittings to connect the boiler to the indirect fired water heater.⦁ All necessary pipe and fittings to connect the indirect water heater to the domestic water lines for the home, including an expansion tank.⦁ All other materials as needed.⦁ We will remove and dispose of the old boiler and all materials not needed for the installation of the new boiler and related equipment.⦁ All work is to be done by qualified technicians at or above industry standard.

    Nothing was mentioned about getting the Chimney relined.

    From 8 years ago to 4 years ago my 2 sons lived with me and we never had a problem with getting enough hot water for showers. Never had a need to run the dishwasher, washing machine at the same time someone was showering. Based on the literature the EK1T can produce more hot water then a tankless coil so I'm not concerned about having enough hot water.
  • BrassFinger
    BrassFinger Member Posts: 0
    RonnieR said:


    From 8 years ago to 4 years ago my 2 sons lived with me and we never had a problem with getting enough hot water for showers. Never had a need to run the dishwasher, washing machine at the same time someone was showering. Based on the literature the EK1T can produce more hot water then a tankless coil so I'm not concerned about having enough hot water.

    If your hot water supply used to be OK (and you mentioned that the previous owner replaced the coil 8 years ago) and now it is not, that sounds like mineral buildup inside the coil, which is a completely separate issue. What is your water source? Well or city? How hard is your water? Do you have a softening system?

    This isn't relevant to your boiler replacement project directly, but if you have really hard water that isn't being softened you will fill up the new system with minerals as well, sooner or later. For example, I have 30+ grain per gallon well water with plenty of iron as well. If you use 10,000 gallons: 10,000 x 30 divided by 7,000 grains per pound = 43.85 POUNDS of minerals. Not all of the minerals will come out of solution at typical hot water temps, but it illustrates the issue. If I didn't treat my water every fixture and appliance in my home would be a ruined, crusty rusty mess in very short time.

    Chris
    bucksnort
  • RonnieR
    RonnieR Member Posts: 8
    I have city water. Not sure the hardness level but none of my other appliances or fixtures have had a problem. My last house had that issue. Could easily tell by the water spots on the shower walls.
  • bucksnort
    bucksnort Member Posts: 110
    RonnieR said:

    I have city water. Not sure the hardness level but none of my other appliances or fixtures have had a problem. My last house had that issue. Could easily tell by the water spots on the shower walls.

    Your city water website might list it. Or you could call them. My city water comes from limestone formations and tests out at above 35 PPM hardness.
  • RonnieR
    RonnieR Member Posts: 8
    UPDATE:: So after giving it a lot of thought I ended up going with the Energy Kinetics Ascent EK1T. I would have been happy with the Buderus too but I decided to buy American and also I like to support family run business when I can.

    Now that I've had it for 2 weeks I have a couple of questions.

    I'm under the impression that the low limit is the temperature the burner turns off when it's reached. Mine is set at factory default which is 170. It doesn't shut off until it reaches the high limit even though I have the thermostat turned down and there is no call for heat.

    The other issue is I did change one of the settings in that I set it to OP2 instead of OP1. In this mode the boiler acts as a cold start and doesn't maintain hot water. I've been noticing the boiler turning on when I don't have the heat on nor am I using the washing machine or dishwasher. I even went so far as to turn the heat down to 50 when it's 70 in the house and turn off the thermostat itself and I find it on occasion will fire up the boiler to the high limit and maintain it. Other times it will get down to ambient temperature. Not going to get the saving I want if this happens.
  • Roger
    Roger Member Posts: 181
    Thank you, @RonnieR - we appreciate your decision to go with Energy Kinetics and your buy American and family run business support, very nice!

    OP2 is a cold start mode, so the burner should not maintain temperature. Sometimes power stealing thermostats can give brief false heating calls that might cause the symptoms you describe. We'll want to find out more, so please PM me with how to best get in touch with you.

    In OP2, the control is designed to not maintain temperature as you noted. In the Smart Learning modes (OP3 and OP4), it will anticipate your hot water needs based on past usage and warm the boiler to be "ready" at those times. Whenever in OP1, or when "ready" in OP3 or OP4, the boiler temperature can drift down to the lowest temperature where it can respond smoothly and evenly to a substantial hot water call, roughly 145°F, but it could be higher during high flow rates.

    Thank you,
    Roger
    President
    Energy Kinetics, Inc.
    ethicalpaul
  • RonnieR
    RonnieR Member Posts: 8
    Thanks Roger, Spoke with your tech support and they pretty much nailed it by saying there was an issue with the flow sensor. Tech from my local company came out and soon as he removed the sensor there was a piece of debris inside making it look like the water was constantly flowing. Problem solved!!!
    Roger
  • Roger
    Roger Member Posts: 181
    You're welcome, @RonnieR - I'm glad it was so simple and that we could help!

    As so many on HeatingHelp have commented, having the right installer goes a long way to having confidence, peace of mind, and support when you need it, too. Great service to be there so quickly!

    Roger
    President
    Energy Kinetics, Inc.
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