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New Steam Boiler, but one size bigger than ordered!

Rudy Member Posts: 482
After careful calculation of my steam radiator heating needs (Net
IBR=300 sq ft), three contractors recommended a Weil-McLain Gold
boiler, size SGO-3, rated for up to 354 sq. ft and burning 0.9 GPH.
All said it was critical that it be sized right, esp. that it not be
too big.

Convinced, I signed a contract that specified this model ,
and after installation learned that the company had installed the next
size up, SGO-4, which burns 1.2 GPH, ( =450 sq. ft) because they
didn't have the other in stock. (they didn't mention this during the
8 hours they were installing it!)

Now this company (which also happens to be my oil company) says one
size too big makes no difference (it may even burn less oil by short
cycling), but if I'm concerned about energy efficiency and burning
more fuel they can just put the SGO-3 nozzle on it. (the burner was
installed with the 1.0 nozzle spec'd for the SGO-4, but it also came
with other sizes, including the 0.75 spec'd for the SGO-3).

The burner manuf (reillo) tech people say it doesn't matter what size
nozzle you put on the burner, as long as you adjust oil pump pressure,
turbulator and air accordingly (to minimize smoke, etc), but it will
matter to the boiler.

So can anyone tell me, compared to the performance i'd have gotten from a
properly sized SGO-3, what are the negative effects in terms of energy
efficiency, total fuel consumption, wear on system, etc, of running
this oversized SGO-4 size unit with a SGO-3 size nozzle versus running
it as it was installed (with the proper size nozzle)?

Is downsizing the nozzle a good idea?
or should I insist that they take the SGO-4 out and replace it with the
SGO-3 I contracted for? They say i'm getting a deal because they're
still only charging me their SGO-3 price, which was $3150 installed.
Seems to me like they're just trying to sell me more oil...

--albert donnay


  • J.C.A.
    J.C.A. Member Posts: 349

  • J.C.A.
    J.C.A. Member Posts: 349

    Wrong button. Sorry
  • Mark A. Custis
    Mark A. Custis Member Posts: 247
    A lot can be done

    with a gun burner of any type. Find a good oil service contractor, some one with combustion alalizer and knowledge to use it and pay to have him/her set the burner. Then get the specs to the boiler rep and see if it will fly.

    Good Luck


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  • Jackchips
    Jackchips Member Posts: 344

    why should he have to do that? It appears he did not get what he bought.

  • Mark A. Custis
    Mark A. Custis Member Posts: 247
    You are right

    He did not get what he bought. He asked if the size differance would increase his fuel expence? I don't know with out being there. I just suggested the next best thing, I have seen Oil units burned through the casting not to mention the heatX insert because the installer thought the burner came factory set.

    I felt he was getting stonewalled and glibbly pushed aside by his contractor, and a second oppion would be of help.

    I called for a second oppinon on myself yesterday on a failed 1,000,000 boiler I looked at.

    Must be a long day if I offended.


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  • Rudy
    Rudy Member Posts: 482
    Boiler sizing

    Wanted to bring this thread back up to the top to see if anyone can help Albert out.

    He contacted me about the oversized boiler last week but since I don't have that much experience with steam boilers I suggested he post here.

    What do you guys think?

    By the way, Albert knows more about carbon monoxide effects on the human body than anybody on the planet!! I have learned a tremendous amount from him over the years and he would be a very valuable resource here on the wall.

    It's just a shame that he did his research on sizing the new boiler and the install company put in a larger one than he wanted because "that's what they had at the shop" and didn't check it out with him.

    Anybody have any concerns on oversizing a steam system?
  • Mad Dog
    Mad Dog Member Posts: 2,595
    You are right...they should have given you what they said they

    they were going to put in. That is a cheap price in any part of the country for a steam boiler. I would be more concerned with the header piping and near boiler piping than a boiler that is one size too big. If this was not an emergency job (when practically, any brand and size will do), they should have put in what they spec'd. You'll get into trouble oversizing a steam boiler if you start putting in ones that are 2 sizes too big and more...you'll get low water conditions and spitting vents. How about a nice digital picture of the install so we can see how good or bad it is. Mad Dog

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  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,901
    It may be possible

    to down-fire that SGO-4 to more closely match the radiation. But that still doesn't alter the fact that they didn't put in the specified boiler.

    I'd like to see a pic of the installation too.

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    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
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