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Oil to Gas Boiler Conversion

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camiarrobino
camiarrobino Member Posts: 49
Hi everyone -

Recently bought a house which is currently heated via FHW via an oil-fired boiler. Hot water is also provided by the boiler (via a tankless coil inside boiler). There are gas lines at the street, and the gas co is willing to bring gas into my house & install a meter for a $1000 refundable deposit (refunded if I hook up my heating system within certain amount of time, I think 6 months).

I would really prefer to get this house on gas, but the boiler itself is relatively young and good-quality and I've concluded it does not make sense to walk away from it anytime soon. I've gotten quotes on a whole new gas-fired boiler and it's just too much to replace something that's working fine and has plenty of life left

One option I've been proposed by a plumbing / heating co, is for them to install a gas-fired burner gun on the boiler, replacing the oil-fired boiler and keeping everything else as-is. The price for this project would be worth it to me based on the fuel savings, less maintenance / cleaning, the options / value that it adds for having gas in the house (stove, dryer, etc), and also saving on insurance from not having to insure the risk of oil spill / leak from the tank

Does anyone have experience with these conversion kits? I've heard from some that it can cause a maintenance headache and long-term issues for the boiler. The plumbing / heating co seems decent & they've done this project to an extensive number of boilers they say.

Comments

  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 924
    edited April 2022
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    A gas conversion done correctly is a fine thing. It may even be slightly more efficient than a new atmospheric gas boiler. The work must be done to code, and the combustion tested and adjusted with proper instruments. You may need a new chimney liner.

    You might want to check with the manufacturer of your boiler as to whether there are gas conversion burners specifically approved for that model. 

    Bburd
    In_New_England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,904
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    @camiarrobino , we do this frequently with good results.

    However, not all gas guns are created equal. We use the Carlin EZ-Gas and Midco EC series, depending on the job. Also, you'll need to change the draft regulator to a gas-type and install a blocked-flue switch.

    What make and model is your boiler? Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • camiarrobino
    camiarrobino Member Posts: 49
    edited April 2022
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    Steamhead said:
    @camiarrobino , we do this frequently with good results. However, not all gas guns are created equal. We use the Carlin EZ-Gas and Midco EC series, depending on the job. Also, you'll need to change the draft regulator to a gas-type and install a blocked-flue switch. What make and model is your boiler? Where are you located?
    Noted, in the proposal they referenced using Carlin. My boiler is a Weil Mclein (not sure specifics so I attached picture) and located in suburbs of Boston 
  • Labenaqui
    Labenaqui Member Posts: 72
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    Quantifying the value of changing from oil to gas, do not overlook purchasing fuel oil through a Fuel Co-Op. We offer this option to our customers here in NH along with up-to-date oil appliances. The service charge burdened NatGas Bill will typically not fare well vs. Co-Op participation.
    New England NatGas is pipeline-limited with no resolution in sight, thanks to NY State.
    If you're not on the pipeline, the economics are poor indeed.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,904
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    Those run great with the Carlin EZ-Gas. The Carlin OEM Spec Guide includes a spec for this model.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    MikeAmann
  • In_New_England
    In_New_England Member Posts: 130
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    I'm also planning to go from oil to gas (I'm a few miles north of Boston) and I went through a similar assessment.

    I have a fairly new (10 year old) oil boiler from the same co (WM WTGO-4) but I decided to do a complete upgrade and go with a new gas boiler rather than a conversion.

    In my case I decided not to go for the conversion gun because it seemed the contractors were not too enthusiastic about standing by their work.

    Since you have found one eager to do it, I think it will be ok. Some things to think about
    1. Does WM say the chosen gun will work on that boiler?
    2. Does your chimney have a proper liner? Gas exhaust needs a SS liner
    3. What kind of efficiency will you get? Will it be high enough to justify the conversion (if cost is what is motivating, rather than say a desire to get rid of the oil tank)
    Best wishes for your project.
  • camiarrobino
    camiarrobino Member Posts: 49
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    I'm also planning to go from oil to gas (I'm a few miles north of Boston) and I went through a similar assessment.

    I have a fairly new (10 year old) oil boiler from the same co (WM WTGO-4) but I decided to do a complete upgrade and go with a new gas boiler rather than a conversion.

    In my case I decided not to go for the conversion gun because it seemed the contractors were not too enthusiastic about standing by their work.

    Since you have found one eager to do it, I think it will be ok. Some things to think about

    1. Does WM say the chosen gun will work on that boiler?
    2. Does your chimney have a proper liner? Gas exhaust needs a SS liner
    3. What kind of efficiency will you get? Will it be high enough to justify the conversion (if cost is what is motivating, rather than say a desire to get rid of the oil tank)
    Best wishes for your project.
    thanks for the info. I asked WM and they said that they have no issue with oil to gas conversion kits, and it won't affect warranty, but don't recommend or advise against any particular one. Mostly leaning on my chosen HVAC contractor & their expertise / experience regarding picking a certain one

    Not sure on liner in chimney, I doubt it, so I'm aware will likely have to add SS liner.

    Going to send you a message as I'm also Boston suburbs
    In_New_England
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,754
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    I think there are a number of excellent contractors on here that are in the Boston area if you don't already have one.
  • genacohenm
    genacohenm Member, Email Confirmation Posts: 4
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    Here in NH I had the same question last year. Mostly I was concerned about the environmental impact of continuing to burn oil. After researching I concluded: 1. oil and gas prices both go up and down and I was not convinced gas would stay lower than oil. 2. NH only sells ultra low sulfur oil which is dramatically less polluting and, in fact, no worse for the environment than the methane from natural gas (heat pumps are by far the most environmentally conscious solution but too hard a conversion for my 120 year old house), 3. There was considerable value in sticking with the company that has supplied and serviced my heating system for 40 years. I kept the oil and just replaced the old boiler. FWIW, gas in the home is starting to be banned, like in NYC, and induction stoves are very good. 
  • Lance
    Lance Member Posts: 271
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    ALL my oil to gas conversion customers have been very pleased and not one complaint. There are so many pluses including the resale value of a home with natural gas. Imagine no electricity. Heat, cooking, hot water not hot. A gas range can cook, a gas fireplace can heat, and a gas only natural vented water heater will work. And we can even have gas lamps for light. All without electricity. Delivery of gas is not weather or vehicle dependent. Soot is never a problem. Odors of oil either. And to get gas service installed for free, it is a bonus. Better than money in the bank, it will pay more in savings than interest in a bank. Everyone has had great experience. Your only risk is choosing wisely your contractor.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,458
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    @Lance -- your comments are all very fine, but the OP would be wise to determine if he or she is in an area which prohibits new installations of gas appliances or which has limited natural gas availability -- which applies to much of the northeast and parts of California -- before he or she decides to jump on the bandwagon.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • In_New_England
    In_New_England Member Posts: 130
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    Lance said:

    ALL my oil to gas conversion customers have been very pleased and not one complaint. There are so many pluses including the resale value of a home with natural gas. Imagine no electricity. Heat, cooking, hot water not hot. A gas range can cook, a gas fireplace can heat, and a gas only natural vented water heater will work. And we can even have gas lamps for light. All without electricity. Delivery of gas is not weather or vehicle dependent. Soot is never a problem. Odors of oil either. And to get gas service installed for free, it is a bonus. Better than money in the bank, it will pay more in savings than interest in a bank. Everyone has had great experience. Your only risk is choosing wisely your contractor.

    One caveat to your statement: most modern boilers have an electric component, be it ignition, fans etc. The water circulators also run off electricity. What can be said, is that a small backup generator, which can also be gas, can be used to support the gas system.

    I believe this is true for my current oil boiler too - I need electricity to fire the boiler and to run the circulators.
    GGrossDave Carpentier
  • Lance
    Lance Member Posts: 271
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    actually if you don't mind 80% afue a millivolt gas control will work, just have to skip all those pesky 120V electronic stuff.
    fixitguy
  • Fizz
    Fizz Member Posts: 547
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    Had a Wayne 250 put in my WM SGO 3 5 yrs ago, best move ever. No problems, I have since moved, but family who bought house haven't had to have it serviced and are very pleased.
  • NetWareHead
    NetWareHead Member Posts: 16
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    You may be able to do this on the cheap. Find out the exact requirements from the gas utility as far as what equipment needs to be connected in order for you to become their customer.

    You have a young boiler in good working order and makes no sense to change something in good working order with much life left to it.

    I bought a home with oil heat and the gas company happened to be trenching in the street to bring service to everybody on the street. I was in your exact shoes but instead of changing a perfectly good boiler, what I did was replace a dingy old electric cooking range. With a gas cooking range. That satisfied the gas utility and instead of changing a boiler, I changed something far easier.

    Far cheaper to have a contractor run a gas line from the new meter to the range location. Gas company was happy and I became their customer. I ran the original oil boiler in the basement until it was time to replace and then converted that to gas too.