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Oil Boiler ROI

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H2OSKI
H2OSKI Member Posts: 11

Hello,

I am in the market for a new oil boiler and so far I have not found a way to accurately compare the various options and brands being offered to me. Here are the details. I live in CT. 3,500 Sq Ft house. Hot water base board heat, 4 zones. 34 year old Burnham oil boiler, 30 Gal electric hot water heater. 330 Gal Oil Tank. 2023 spend on oil $2,500.00.

What would be my estimated savings on oil be per year if I go with Steel, Energy Efficient, cold start versus Iron Triple Pass with outside temp gauge?

Trying to calculate my return on investment. Below are some prices I received for the boiler, water tank, and installation.

Viessman $

Biazzi $

Energy Kinetics $

Burnam EMP $

Buderus $

Pure Pro $

All are from very high rated installers. The way I see it Viessman is $ over Burnham so I would have to save $ per year on oil for 20 years to break even.

I see efficiency ratings but this only seems to be part of the puzzle. Are there any other calculators or charts that can guide me with making a decision? If this was your home and budget what would you do?

Thanks!

«1

Comments

  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,333
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    @H2OSKI, welcome to Heating Help. Please take a moment to review our site rules. We can't discuss pricing here because no two jobs are the same and prices can vary based on the job, location, etc. Discussing prices in an open forum could also lead to illegal price fixing, so we do not allow it. Thanks.

    President
    HeatingHelp.com

    H2OSKI
  • LRCCBJ
    LRCCBJ Member Posts: 169
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    You're burning 714 gallons PER YEAR in a 3500 square foot house………..in CT…………..and you want to spend upwards of $12K………….with a new boiler………….to achieve exactly what? If you reduced that fuel consumption to 614 gallons I'd be positively amazed………….unless you keep the 'stats at 60F!!!

    Is the boiler leaking?

    Mad Dog_2
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,746
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    @H2OSKI

    Not to be sarcastic but your doing pretty good with what you have. You will probably burn more energy doing the calculations than the new boiler will save.

    EK has a good reputation and requires there dealers to be trained on there equipment. They are not foolproof but over more than some of the other choices.

    Mad Dog_2LRCCBJjringel
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,543
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    If you managed to save even 10% it would be astonishing. That's not going to make up for the cost of a fancier boiler.

    What you do need to do, though, is make sure that the person or persons installing the boiler have studied the house to make sure you have the right size boiler (house heat loss, amount of attached radiation) and that they are well versed in the boiler they are putting in and that they are top craftsmen or women.

    The installation makes or breaks the job.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    SuperTechMad Dog_2LS123EBEBRATT-Ed
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,201
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    The EK boilers are great and are known for reducing oil consumption. I do like the 3 pass boilers that you mentioned as well. They are all great options, but proper sizing and the quality of the installation is everything. Like Jamie said, the installing contractor makes or breaks the job. All things being equal I'd prefer the EK myself. But in your situation not enough is known about the installers to say that one estimate is better than another.

    Mad Dog_2EBEBRATT-Edjringel
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,401
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    Leave the boiler, replace the electric water heater with a HPWH, profit.

  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,401
    edited June 10
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    Or if you want to spend that money anyways get an a2w heat pump for shoulder season and use your current boiler for aux heat for when its too cold.

  • H2OSKI
    H2OSKI Member Posts: 11
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    All,

    Love the feedback! I have been going crazy trying to sort this out. My old Burnham has one side cover glued closed, issues within the burner area and other minor issues with the system. It's time… I like the Burnham triple pass, cast Iron with an outside thermometer so it heats to a lower Temp when its above 70 outside. I like the EK for cold start and efficiency just not sure I can justify it for my case.

  • DCContrarian
    DCContrarian Member Posts: 200
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    "What you do need to do, though, is make sure that the person or persons installing the boiler have studied the house to make sure you have the right size boiler ."

    As an initial sanity check, follow the process outlined in this article:

    https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/article/replacing-a-furnace-or-boiler

    to estimate your heat loss using your past fuel usage history.

    Just back-of-the-envelope. You don't say where in CT you are, but Hartford has a design temperature of 8F and had 5072 heating degree-days in 2023. If you used 714 gallons, that's 138,500 BTU per gallon, so 99 million BTU. Figure burner efficiency of 85% and you get 85 million BTU/year.

    Divide that by 5072 heating degree-days and you get 16,759 BTU per degree-day, or 698 BTU/degree-hour. With a design temperature of 8F that's 62 degrees, which gives 43,293 BTU/hr at the design temperature.

    I bet you have a pretty tight house, that's pretty good for 3500 square feet.

    JakeCKLS123Hot_water_fan
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,401
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  • RascalOrnery
    RascalOrnery Member Posts: 33
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    Yikes! Maybe consider cutting wood for a new hobby! You're not TOO far from coal country to go that route! It could be half the cost or better!

  • H2OSKI
    H2OSKI Member Posts: 11
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    All, after your comments I double checked and my 2023 oil spend was about $3,500.00 not $2,500.00 as I originally posted.

    Sorry!

  • DCContrarian
    DCContrarian Member Posts: 200
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  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,942
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    @H2OSKI , what make and model boiler do you have now? What burner is on it?

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Roger
    Roger Member Posts: 343
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    @H20SKI , it sounds like you have an electric water heater – do you want to convert that to a tank heated by the boiler?

    Here are some calculations to consider (if you use less hot water per day, the answers will be proportional):

    In Connecticut, residential electric rates are average $0.30/kWh, which means it’s difficult to compete on cost to operate (that’s about $12.50 per gallon of oil on a per unit of energy basis). If we do a quick calculation at 64 gallons/day with a 64° temperature rise (58° to 125°F for hot water), that’s 35,800 BTU/day. For a 30-day month, that would be $100 (94 EF electric tank), $41 (75% eff indirect at $4/gal oil), or $47 (Heat pump water heater COP 2.0, although it will add heating load to the home in the winter so the net cost is higher than $47).

    Although you do not have a direct match because it looks like you have a heat only boiler, you could take a look at AFUE and Real Boiler Efficiency page and our boiler selector page. You may also wish to review the NORA Report on Equipment Upgrade Incentive Project; this report shows the average savings of 25% when upgrading from older equipment to low mass with thermal purge heat and hot water boilers (Energy Kinetics design).

    Best,

    Roger

    President
    Energy Kinetics, Inc.
  • H2OSKI
    H2OSKI Member Posts: 11
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    Burnham W-15A-T, D.O.E. HTG CAP MBH 160, Water MBH 139.1, LT Oil G.P.H 1.35

    Becket AFG

    Phase III TR 30

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,942
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    @H2OSKI , check the label again- you sure the boiler isn't a V-15A-T?

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    H2OSKI
  • JayMcCay
    JayMcCay Member Posts: 39
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    @H20SKI , it sounds like you have an electric water heater – do you want to convert that to a tank heated by the boiler?

    Although you do not have a direct match because it looks like you have a heat only boiler, you could take a look at AFUE and Real Boiler Efficiency page and our boiler selector on this page. You may also wish to review the NORA Report on Equipment Upgrade Incentive Project; this shows the average savings of 25% when from older equipment to Energy Kinetics low mass with thermal purge.

    Please review the links below

    AFUE:  https://energykinetics.com/afue/
    Boiler selector:  https://energykinetics.com/high-efficiency-boilers/
    NORA:  https://noraweb.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/NORA-Rebate-Report-Nov-2021-1.pdf

    Please reach out to me I would be happy to help

    Jay McCay

    Jay McCay
    National Sales Manager
    Energy Kinetics
    908 328-7154 cell
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,942
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    @JayMcCay , assuming that's what the OP has, the Burnham V-15A-T was made with a tankless coil. The V-1 series without the coil did not have the "T" suffix.

    The Phase III is Triangle Tube's line of indirect water heater tanks. So the tankless coil is probably no longer in use. Assuming that's the case, it remains to be seen if the boiler's controls were properly modified so the boiler would not stay at full temperature all the time, which is wasteful without the coil.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • H2OSKI
    H2OSKI Member Posts: 11
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    Here is a picture:

  • H2OSKI
    H2OSKI Member Posts: 11
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    @JayMcCay: Thanks for the feedback.

    "Savings of 25% from older equipment going to EK low mass system." What is the estimated savings going to EK low mass system compared to a new triple pass system?

  • DCContrarian
    DCContrarian Member Posts: 200
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    The picture looks to me like you have an indirect water heater tank powered by the boiler.

    H2OSKIJakeCKSuperTech
  • H2OSKI
    H2OSKI Member Posts: 11
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    @Steamhead,

    You are correct, V-15A-T

  • JayMcCay
    JayMcCay Member Posts: 39
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    @H20SKI From the NORA rebate report comparing an upgrade from a boiler with an indirect, 1 ½” of insulation or greater, and no large metal burner door to an 86 AFUE or greater with 1 ½” insulation (3-pass type description) had an average savings of 12%; upgrading to 87 AFUE with thermal purge for heat and hot water (Energy Kinetics design) had an average of 20% field savings.

    Jay

    Jay McCay
    National Sales Manager
    Energy Kinetics
    908 328-7154 cell
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,942
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    Am I good or what? 😁 I have a V-14 in my house, so these are familiar to me.

    The V-1 series was an American-Standard design that Burnham acquired around 1970 when they bought the A-S boiler division. When properly maintained, they run efficiently and last a long time.

    The Energy Kinetics boilers that @JayMcCay talks about are excellent units, from what I've seen, though we only have one in our customer base. As with any unit, it has to be set up correctly, and oil dealers may or may not pay close enough attention to this. @Roger was a big help to me when I serviced one for the first time- and yes, it had the wrong nozzle and was making some soot as a result. We're going back to service it again later this year, I expect it will be in much better shape.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    H2OSKI
  • H2OSKI
    H2OSKI Member Posts: 11
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    @JayMcCay,

    Thank you again, If I understand your response correctly the EK system had an average of 8% savings over a new 3 pass type system. If this is correct I'll use 10% for my ROI calculation.

  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,588
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    Any new boiler can be run as a cold start. Your existing one might start leaking if you let it go cold. I would wager that your indirect will fail before the boiler.

    My recommendation would be another cast iron boiler and a new indirect. Any new boiler should have the ability to run a slight outdoor reset curve, warm weather shutdown, and cold start.

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • JayMcCay
    JayMcCay Member Posts: 39
    edited June 12
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    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/profile/5553746/H2OSKI

    Yes, 20% energy savings should offer a very attractive tax free return on your upgrade. The additional savings over other systems should offer an exceptional payback compared to any price difference. Also, you should consider System 2000 offers near silent operation, near endless hot water and has no gaskets, sections or pins to foul, clean or leak.

    I would be happy to speak with you

    908 328-7154m

    Regards

    Jay

    Jay McCay
    National Sales Manager
    Energy Kinetics
    908 328-7154 cell
  • H2OSKI
    H2OSKI Member Posts: 11
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    @JayMcCay,

    You are doing a great job promoting your system and have many supporters in the field.

    With a 10% energy savings EK versus a new 3 pass system it would take 17 years to break even on the price differences. Silent operation is not a benefit to me based on the location. The other items you have listed are compelling. Drawbacks for EK are dedicated dealers for parts & service.

  • H2OSKI
    H2OSKI Member Posts: 11
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    I appreciate everyone's feedback @heatinghelp.com!

    I will make a decision within the next 2 weeks.

    Still open to additional feedback.

    If this was your home what system would you buy?

  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,387
    edited June 13
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    @H2OSKI asked: If this was your home what system would you buy?

    New Heat Pump and AC system.

    Heat Pump Water Heater or Electric Resistance Water Heater (depending on my HW usage)

    New Oil Tank

    Run 34 year old Burnham until it leaks.

    When it leaks, I would replace it with a Three Pass cast iron boiler.

    I would not use a $$,$$$.00 winter space heating appliance to make domestic hot water in the summer. A $500 big box store electric water heater can do that. It's like using an off shore cigarette boat to tow a water skier.

    I DIY.
    H2OSKI
  • JayMcCay
    JayMcCay Member Posts: 39
    edited June 13
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    @H2OSKI, I ran a quick calculation and a 10% savings on $3,500 per year is $350, so if you divide your $350 by your price difference, you will calculate the tax free return on your investment. For reference, a common view is that a 7% tax free return on investment (hard to get anywhere) is exceptional. For example here, a $1,000 price difference is a 35% tax free return on investment – it even would make sense to get a loan to pay for the difference at a rate below that if that is out of your price range. Also, any contractor can service EK equipment, buy parts locally or directly from us, receive tech support and training as needed. For the past 45 years we have found working with dedicated dealers continues to be a huge advantage for the "consumer" and dealer as EK dealers are vetted, attend training and supported by factory territory managers in all of our market areas. Again, happy to speak with you any time at 908 328-7154m

    Regards

    Jay

    Jay McCay
    National Sales Manager
    Energy Kinetics
    908 328-7154 cell
  • JayMcCay
    JayMcCay Member Posts: 39
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    @H2OSKI , it's good to keep in mind that your application in Connecticut at $0.30/kWh, that's equivalent to oil over $12.50/gallon. Based on heat pump field performance COPs, it makes them more expensive to run below 35°F or 40°F outside with oil at $4.00 per gallon.

    A heat pump water heater is even more challenging to run as it cools your home in the winter, with a new heating system, you will not have waste heat in your boiler room. As @Roger noted earlier in this thread, for a 30-day month, hot water would cost $100 (94 UEF electric tank), $41 (75% eff indirect at $4/gal oil), or $47 (Heat pump water heater COP 2.0, although it will add heating load to the home in the winter, so the net cost is much higher than $47).

    Jay

    Jay McCay
    National Sales Manager
    Energy Kinetics
    908 328-7154 cell
    SuperTech
  • LRCCBJ
    LRCCBJ Member Posts: 169
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    The problem with the above calculation is that an indirect will never get anywhere near 75% SYSTEM EFFICIENCY in the off season. All the losses to heat the boiler prior to the actual delivery of hot water are neglected (and they are significant). Furthermore, the losses from the indirect itself and the piping to and from the indirect are neglected.

    The EK system to extract some of the waste energy is valuable to a point but once the boiler temperature drops to the indirect temperature, that savings is over and the boiler gives up its remaining energy to the environment.

    If I had to hazard a guess, the system efficiency of any oil fired boiler with an indirect is not better than 60% in the off season.

    A direct fired HWH is the better solution. Now you can manage a 75% SYSTEM EFFICIENCY!

  • DCContrarian
    DCContrarian Member Posts: 200
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    HPWH has a COP of around 3.5. But 2.5 of that is coming from the environment, unless your boiler is throwing off significant waste heat that's heat you're paying for to heat the house.

    In the summer, the HPWH provides free cooling and dehumidification.

  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,201
    edited June 13
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    @LRCCBJ I think you are greatly under rating the efficacy of the EK System 2000. Between the low mass of the boiler, thermal purge feature and almost zero stand by loss of the hot water tank I consider that boiler a highly efficient way to produce domestic hot water all year long. My customers can vouch for the fact that they use very little oil outside of heating season for domestic hot water. The System 2000 with a brazed plate heat exchanger and storage tank is a different animal than a cast iron boiler with an indirect.

    Roger
  • JayMcCay
    JayMcCay Member Posts: 39
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    Thank you for pointing that out, @LRCCBJ .

    In the Brookhaven National Lab’s study, the oilheat EK1 Frontier achieved 74.9% summer hot water efficiency, even well ahead of modulating condensing boilers. Thermal purge makes all the difference when the tank and boiler are designed as system to work together. The link to the report is on the bottom of this page:

    https://energykinetics.com/afue/

    Jay McCay
    National Sales Manager
    Energy Kinetics
    908 328-7154 cell
    Robert O'Brien
  • LRCCBJ
    LRCCBJ Member Posts: 169
    edited June 13
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    The thermal purge feature cannot work effectively when you are trying to purge a boiler at 180F to an indirect at 140F. You can only get a maximum of 40 degrees and that would effectively take forever. It's quite different than purging the boiler to a CH zone.

    If the EK1 truly achieved 74% it would be doing extraordinarily well.

  • H2OSKI
    H2OSKI Member Posts: 11
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    Here is another picture for feedback.

    The inside of my 34 year old boiler looks like it is caving in. Is this reason to replace it sooner than later?

  • LRCCBJ
    LRCCBJ Member Posts: 169
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    I have one of those digital gauges that measures the fuel in the tank to a fraction of a gallon and transmits it to the phone. I can watch the usage daily. The usage with the direct fired 50g Bock is between 1.1 and 1.6 gallons per day depending on how many people are in the house at the time.

    Let's see the customer's data to see if the System 2000 beats that. Unfortunately, you cannot get that data and must rely on anecdotal statements of "very little oil". Everybody uses "very little oil" in the summer months!!

    Additionally, you can easily go from "very little oil" to quite a bit of oil if the average shower is 30 minutes and you have 4 people taking one of them per day!!

    The difference between "very little oil" and a bit more than "very little oil" is probably 1/2 gallon or so. Meaningless unless you are quite careful with the comparisons.

    DCContrarian