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Boiler Selection (Burnham, WeilMcLain, Utica)

Cmdanek Member Posts: 1
edited March 19 in Gas Heating
Good morning!

I am a HeatingHelp geek and greatly appreciate all the information this forum provides.

Thought I would throw my question to all of you experts.

I have a 35 year old 130k input/108k DOE Burnham Series 2 working away in the basement. Trouble free for the 20 years we have been here and from prior service records looks like it was relatively so in its first 15 years of service with just the replacement of the ignition controller and an expansion tank.

House is 108 year old, 2,300sf two-story wood frame. Blown in cellulose in walls (assuming R-12); 2/3 of the attic floor has 10" of cellulose (R-35) to which I added an additional layer of R-30 fiberglass; balance of attic is finished (though unheated) with R-35 in the floor, R-20 in the ceiling/roof and R-12 in the sidewalls. Windows are all original, in good condition, with quality storm windows. Masonry chimney dedicated to boiler, clay tile (condition unknown at this time), no stainless steel liner.

Full hot water cast iron radiator system with 103k BTUh of output.

Manual J gives me a heat loss of 65k. This has been confirmed by an HVAC engineer. I went conservative with 2ACH. I did a room by room and a full house version, came within 10% of eachother.

At an average daily temp of 30 degrees my system runs 20% of the time. The closest I have gotten to design temp was a 15.5 hour stretch where the temps ranged from 7-10 deg F. During that period the boiler ran 50% of the time. (It's nice that upstate New York is resembling NC these days. Thank you global warming.)

So I am comfortable with what the Manual J is telling me.

Now my dilemma is what boiler to choose.

Under consideration:
Burnham Series 204E @ 103k input. Easy swap-out. Been happy with the existing Burnham, why rock the boat? Issues: 84% efficiency and probably will need to line the chimney (added cost).

Weil-McLain GV90+4 @ 105k input. Interesting approach to gain higher efficiency with a cast iron heart. I like the "simplicity" of it and have seen positive comments on the forums. Gains me efficiency to about 92% and can avoid the cost of the liner with direct vent. Upfront unit cost is more so may be a wash or a little savings over the Burnham with the liner, and still a gain in efficiency.

Utica MGB-K @ 92.5k Thrown in by a contractor I know. I like that it gets me a little closer to my true demand @ 84% eff. Minor cost increase from the Burnham and would still need a liner.

What is the overall feeling on outdoor resets these days?

Note: I'm not including any HE products with stainless steel exchangers. With the push to "clean" energy heating, NYS and National Grid have eliminated rebates for gas appliances, even if they come with higher efficiency. So not worth the upfront cost, increased potential maintenance costs and shorter life span to me. I'm getting old and won't be happy replacing a boiler when I'm 73.

I know this is a long one, but wanted to get as much detail out as possible. I appreciate any feedback you can provide to help this OCD, decision avoiding , old house owner some assistance in getting his **** in gear.



  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,324
    They're all good. Go with an installer in whom you have great confidence -- they make all the difference.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England