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Most economic heating system to replace an oil forced hot water system

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DebraAnnII
DebraAnnII Member Posts: 1

1986, HB Smith series 8, Carlin burner, forced hot water 3 heat zones a 4th for hot water tank. Leaked mid section; 4 sections. Patched with furnace cement. Currently not leaking. 5 gal of polyglycol last July, was put in at cleaning. Now being told that’s why section is leaking because of acidity attacking seams and glycol will go where water can’t hence seeping; did put in 15 gals of glycol in 2015. 1. Do i immediately need to replace this boiler/ furnace? Mixed information from plumbers vs heating companies as to how long patch will last. 2. What is best economic heating system for my setup of pipes. 3. No natural gas with out huge financial expense to bring pipes down .25 mile. 4. Heat pump installed in 2022, very costly to heat house to level oil furnace does. And no hot water if I go exclusively to heat pump.
5. solar is a consideration, but which is lesser evil, natural gas or solar? I’d prefer to not rent solar panels and it would need to be ground mount; stress skin panel and post and beam construction on house. Stick construction on garage.
thank you in advance for your time and knowledge.

Debra

Comments

  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,917
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    An air to water heat pump would let you reuse the existing pipes, but you’d likely need a supplemental source.

    What is your current $/kwh rate? Compared to oil, electricity is often cheaper so using your existing heat pump more could be the best path. An electric resistance tank for DHW if you don’t use much or a HPWH if you.


    Solar is a fine option, not sure what you mean.

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 17,003
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    That boiler uses gaskets rather than push nipples to seal the water side. The chemicals probably caused them to leak. Why was the glycol put in to begin with?

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,635
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    As @Hot_water_fan said, there are some advantages to heat pumps. As you have discovered, they can't do the job in colder climates without auxiliary heat.

    Further, if you are anywhere in New England or New York, a heat pump on a cold day is going to be more expensive to run than a newer oil burner — even if it could do the job.

    Solar for space heating is not an option, unless you have the area to install a truly impressive array of panels and are happy with also installing the batteries and inverters to handle the load at night or on those three days of cloudy skies. Or unless this is a new build, and someone was intelligent enough to design it for passive solar heating.

    Therefore…

    Your best bet is going to be a new hot water boiler. The lowest running cost — and the most environmentally friendly — option, would be a condensing boiler, but so far as i know those are only available for gas (and don't let anyone sell you on LP — that's even more expensive in the northeast than electricity). So… a good quality oil burning hot water boiler, properly sized to the heating load of the house.

    The installation and commissioning of the system is at least as important as the actual make of the boiler. So — you need a really good heating person. Regrettably, most plumber and most HVAC (they do hot air primarily) may not have the knowledge. Where are you located? We may know someone we could recommend.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,833
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    Furnace cement will not stop a water leak under any circumstances. The series #8 Smith is a good boiler.

    Was the boiler leaking water or combustion fumes?

    Before you toss the boiler I would have someone investigate exactly where the leak is coming from. It could be a pipe nipple behind the boiler jacket.

    If the boiler is leaking I would use a boiler with CI push nipples instead of rubber gaskets.

    An oil fired HW boiler like you have is your best bet.

    SuperTech
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,472
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    I'd look in to the cost difference between oil and gas.

    Is gas available without paying for a line extension?

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,635
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    The OP said it would be a quarter mile — very likely a non-starter.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,952
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    Begin with a blower door test on the structure. Find and fix the leaks, tightening the envelope has your greatest return on investment.

    Heat pumps are good but I don’t see the reliability yet. Add too that few techs actually know what there doing so repairs can be frequent.

    Why glycol?

    Tightening the envelop allows a smaller boiler. Smaller boiler, less fuel used.

    Win, Win

    TeemokSuperTech
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,917
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    @Jamie Hall, it’s incredibly unhelpful to tell grid connected people they need a massive battery installation to use solar. We know your thoughts on net metering, we don’t need to rehash that here. The OP can install solar without battery backup just fine.

    No, it won’t cover 100% of heating needs, we all know that. Yes, that’s okay. It’s not black and white.

    ethicalpaulTeemok
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,635
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    My concern, @Hot_water_fan , with suggestions of solar PV to provide space heating is that people who don't do the arithmetic, or don't have the technical and financial background to do the arithmetic, who are in the vast majority, are simply not aware of the amount of electricity and thus the size of the PV array, particularly in areas with less favourable climates, to make a sufficient dent in their grid electricity usage to make the economics add up.

    It's an easy sell to the less sophisticated, and I simply try to counteract that.

    So long as the expectations are reasonable, and the deals with the installer and the grid company are thoroughly vetted and understood by all concerned, solar PV is fine. I wouldn't have a large solar PV array myself if that weren't the case. Nor would several of my neighbours. But for space heating? The numbers, either size or economic, just simply don't add up at the present time, and no amount of wishful thinking will make them do so. This is true even for the grid connected applications with favourable net metering rates — never mind off-grid.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,917
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    Jamie, I think you’re being overly literal and greatly overcomplicating things. The average customer, and there are millions of arrays, understands that solar doesn’t cover 100% of their needs at all times. People are staying grid connected.

    Solar reduces kWh purchases from the utility and this can lead to savings for some people. I think that’s sufficient enough for the millions of Americans who already have these systems and those considering them.

  • Teemok
    Teemok Member, Email Confirmation Posts: 566
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    The requirement of "the most economic" is unclear. I assume it means to operate. Seeking efficiency as the primary priority creates some draw backs. Oil fired backup with a heat pump gathering low hanging fruit and PV solar countering the HP's energy needs would be great. That is, if the site makes solar sense. It would have a lower operating cost and could still heat in deep cold but it's a lot to buy and get installed correctly and then to maintain. I think Jamie is just wisely warning it's not always as easy or as comfortable as it is sold. And maybe there's some HP hate mixed in.😊 There are cases where a HP can reliably meet a structures loads and PV can cover that 100% annually. Truth is there aren't that many capable techs around to fix problems. If you can find one they are expensive. The less capable ones just waste money or condemn instead of repairing. Then there's the do it right or the system dies early installation tasks that many installers can't seem to manage. Those two facts alone are rational reasons for some amount of HP hate. My anecdotal HP experience has been very good but I'm in an ideal location for them and can fix them.

    pecmsg
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,635
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    Well, seems I can't PM @Teemok … so the rest of y'all, sorry! No heat pump hate here, though — I have one (works fine (but not below zero), good installer) and am planning another one (same installer). Also enough PV to power them and a bunch of other stuff. But… for space heating, Cedric (a WM 580, if you haven't met him yet) does the heavy lifting.

    The trick, seems to me, is to come up with the best solution for the individual situation… acknowledging that "best" is an extraordinarily slippery concept…

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Teemok
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,833
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    This shouldn't be a HP versus boiler versus solar.

    Any job in the NE is going to be hard pressed to replace a boiler or furnace with HP & solar and expect them to do the whole load.

    Same issue with electric vehicles. Go hybrid if need be.

    We are in a transition phase, it shouldn.t be black versus white or old versus new.

    We need every kind of renewable energy as it becomes reasonably priced reliable and effective.

    We are not at that point yet

    CLamb
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,345
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    Please remember to be respectful in your replies and avoid ad hominem attacks. You can share your opinion on the topic without criticizing others or talking down to them. Thank you.

    President
    HeatingHelp.com

  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 2,083
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    @DebraAnnII many options are available and become confusing.

    To narrow things down for choices, a simple direct replacement with a cast iron boiler replacement might be your best option.

    Finding the right contractor to install the replacement should be integral to your choice.

    The contractor should properly size your replacement boiler and not just read the size of the current boiler and simply go by that. They should do a heat loss calculation that measures the size of your rooms, the type of windows, and doors, and what type they are, and the type of insulation, how much insulation etc. This helps to give you a proper fit for your system. It helps to properly size it so you won't overpay or over or undersize the thing. Comfort on the coldest day along with the day-to-day living in your home is key here. And it can give you the peace of mind that the job was done right.

    Also. Since the house was built a few decades ago. I'm guessing pre 1986 or that same year, adding insulation to the home can do a world of good.

    Adding insulated doors in windows will of course help too.

    Other options are out there. With what Im reading from your post, this is a good way to go.

    EBEBRATT-EdTeemok