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Boiler Replacement...or not

Paul C._2
Paul C._2 Member Posts: 18
Good Morning. I have a 1950's vintage A/S Arcoliner steamer and oil burner with domestic coil with window rattlers for A/C.. With the volatility, no pun intended, of fuel prices, should I replace the steamer with something more efficient and possibly a hybrid water heater, OR go with a multi-room mini split which hopefully provides supplemental heat as well as A/C. I do not have gas in the dwelling.

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    Where are you located? That makes a difference, as does how the house is laid out.

    If you are far enough south that a mini-split can carry the full load, then it would be worth looking at how one could be installed to do just that. It might be worth looking at anyway, but the simplest thing to do would be to replace that Arcoliner with a modern, properly sized, steam boiler That would be your best bet in terms of fuel use. You could then add a smaller mini-split to carry the shoulder seasons and provide air conditioning if you wanted.

    At least that's my take on it.

    As to hot water, a hybrid water heater is a possibility - but that depends very much on how much hot water you use. They need to be sized rather carefully -- and bigger than you think you need -- or they switch to resistance heating, which is no better than straight electric. Another possibility would be an oil-fired hot water heater, if you have a flue for it.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    In_New_England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,516
    If the steamer is in good shape and the efficiency is at least 80% keep running it and install ductless mini splits for AC & back up and spring and fall heating.

    After that check your boiler rating against the connected load (radiator EDR, do a heat loss of the house using the Slant Fin ap. Tighten up the building envelope...insulation and storm windows.
  • Jon_blaney
    Jon_blaney Member Posts: 316
    These are very complicated decisions with both long and short term implications. The best solution energy wise will be very expensive to install but cost way less to run. You need to consider how long you will be in the house and what is your budget. Also what are the available programs available to reduce you cost, tax credit or rebates.

    Personally, I have been through this process my self. I use oil like you and cringe at the price but have decided on the following plan. Run my current equipment until it fails. Replace my water heating system with a hybrid when there is a rebate. When I compare the cost of new oil heat equipment with new heat pump equipment, oil wins every time. It is a pay me now or pay me later. I would never break even on a switch to heat pump technology. It would be cool but I am trying not to drink the kool aid. YMMV.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,842
    edited May 2022
    Paul C._2 said:

    Good Morning. I have a 1950's vintage A/S Arcoliner steamer and oil burner with domestic coil with window rattlers for A/C.. With the volatility, no pun intended, of fuel prices, should I replace the steamer with something more efficient and possibly a hybrid water heater, OR go with a multi-room mini split which hopefully provides supplemental heat as well as A/C. I do not have gas in the dwelling.

    A delivered BTU is a BTU wheather its steam or Hot Water. Your emiters are rated for 215° steam not 180° water.

    If you want to save on your energy costs Tighten the envelope.

    GGross
  • Paul C._2
    Paul C._2 Member Posts: 18
    Thanks everyone. I am located in central NJ, so we seldom get brutally cold weather. Last seasonal service put the efficiency at 75% and that boiler is reliable as a locomotive.
  • EzzyT
    EzzyT Member Posts: 1,295
    If the steam system itself is in good shape and heat the home we’ll there’s  no need to swap out the system with a overall different system. Check and see if you can get natural gas to your home there might be a gas line already in the street and the utility company just needs to bring a service to your property. 
    E-Travis Mechanical LLC
    Etravismechanical@gmail.com
    201-887-8856