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Boiler questions

cenobite07 Member Posts: 2
Well, it finally got warm enough in upstate NY that I know I won't need to turn the heat on again....

I did a search with no luck since everyone is talking about A/C this time of year.

We are going to replace the ancient oil-converted-to-gas monster with something smaller and more efficient.

We have an 1800 sq foot cobblestone in upstate ny with baseboard radiators.

We are planning to split the single zone into at least 2, maybe three zones. Luckily the piping is already split that way so there is no major plumbing to be done.

The contractor worked with my father for many years and so far has treated us well with adice, repairs, and installations on other items in our house including the water heater and no-vent space heaters so I expect good advice from him going forward as well.

He is advocating copper bottom boilers from Teledyne and/or Lochinvar rather than a cast iron boiler from Crown.

Does anyone have any experience with the copper boilers as far as longevity and reliability? Are these sound manufacturers?

He rough quoted a price of $1500 to $1600 for the boiler installed depending on the unit needed. I will be removing the dinosaur.

Any thoughts on these units?



  • Joe_13
    Joe_13 Member Posts: 201
    which laars model?

    I assume you're going gas?
  • John Abbott
    John Abbott Member Posts: 356
    Boiler replacement

    1500 or 1600 dollars is not enough for a boiler replacement.I would advise you to get refernces and check them and get other quotes .If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

  • Larry_7
    Larry_7 Member Posts: 86
    Candidate For High Efficiency

    But then again, all replacements are candidates. Even more so considering the not-so-subtle speculations of substantially higher fuel prices to come. I am not familiar with the the brands you describe and any new boiler is more efficient than your present one. I can say from experience that after we replaced a beast such as you describe with a 92%+ condensing boiler (standing radiators), the homeowner enjoys a minimum 30% reduction in fuel consumption based on hourly degree days. Other high-eff units would likely perform equally as well but we went with the Munchkin and are quite happy with the results.

    Pricing is sort of taboo here but I think it would be reasonable to say your quote is quite low. Your contractor is either a very caring friend or he must owe your Dad a tremendous debt of gratitude which he intends to repay to you. Impossible for me to know what he plans to do but I would be a little skeptical and definitely get other opinions/estimates.

    If you had a warm air system I could recommend a very reasonable sheet metal man. I've even attached some of his handiwork for all to admire and envy.

  • Don_4
    Don_4 Member Posts: 36

    You asked for an opinion and this reply is only that, an opinion. I have done a fair amount of work with both kinds of systems. My preference leans to cast iron for space heating (houses) and fin tube (eg: laars) for heating pools and occasionally domestic hot water (with storage tank).
  • Duncan_2
    Duncan_2 Member Posts: 174
    Another opinion.

    I agree with Don (I've also installed T/L, Lochinvar, and cast iron). Fin tube boilers were originally designed as pool heaters and batch water heaters. I suppose fin tube manufacturers decided they wanted to get a piece of the residential market.

    Your contractor may be quoting you a copper fin tube boiler to keep your costs down - they typically cost less than cast iron. You'd be surprised how often this is the main design consideration.

    I've installed fin tube boilers in residential for cost reasons, but don't recommend it, especially in homes with small loads like an 1800 sq.ft. home with two or more baseboard zones. The boiler turns on and off too often, creating condensation and corrosion problems in the vent pipe and sometimes in the boiler heat exchanger. Let's see, I installed a slightly oversized fin tube boiler in my home ten years ago, and so far, only the galvanized vent is corroding. This short cycling problem can be worked around with a little designing and maybe some controls.

    In my opinion, cast iron is the best choice for your application, ASSUMING you want reasonable install costs, simplicity, and reliability. It will be far more efficient than the converted coal burner. If you want high efficiency, that's another story.

    Teledyne Laars and Lochinvar are both decent manufacturers, I just think the application is wrong in this case. They are not Cadillacs, either. You have a choice.

    Summer project: Start by sizing the boiler properly. Do an accurate heat loss calculation on your home.

    My opinion.
  • Steve Eayrs
    Steve Eayrs Member Posts: 424
    The prices of boilers alone........

    start around the $1600 and up. You will most likely have some misc. other material needed too.
    I would think your communication with your contractor needs some work, and maybe he is talking about the labor only?......or he has no idea what it costs to do this.

    He could be a great plumber, and still not have any idea what is involved in heating.

    Ask for references, or if you can talk to a customer he has done a boiler system for. If hes a good contractor he will be glad to give you this information.

  • Tony_8
    Tony_8 Member Posts: 608

    Has a very reliable product line, IMO. Endurance models are modulating burners @ 86 % and concentric direct vent. Use them all the time (as well as JV series for low-budget jobs). If the boiler is oversized it will short-cycle and condense in the vent. Bypass piping,P/S pumping, proper sizing will prevent problems like these. Typically, my customers tell me they save fuel as compared to their cast iron boiler. (yes, even 10-12yr old models w/comparable ratings of AFUE)

    Your quote sounds WAY too low. I can't imagine doing one for free!

    BTW, copper boilers cost as much as cast iron Crowns after you adjust for the "package". They cost less to operate yearly, making them the better value of the two. My opinion, based on my experiences.

    Larry, nice tin work! I know that guy ! He does roofs, awnings, gutters, well drilling, auto repairs, AND has time to sell firewood !!! True Talent.
  • cenobite07
    cenobite07 Member Posts: 2

    Thanks for the response so far guys.

    I have been hammered at work and just got a chance to check my email and the responses so far.

    The installer has gotten good reviews from a couple customers I know. I'm not sure why he lowballed the pricing but I'll find out.

    I owe him some more info before we can do a final quote anyway. We are tring to size the new boiler correctly to avoid some of the problems mentioned here. I believe the copper boliers are even more sensitive to proper sizing than cast iron.

    Thanks for the feedback so far.
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