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Need boiler suggestions/old building

Al Letellier
Al Letellier Member Posts: 781
It's tough to say, Matt without seeing it first hand, but from your description, a total rehab sounds like the best solution. Do an accurate heat loss, size your boiler and install a totally new system. It will give you the best of all worlds.....efficiency, ease of future upgrade and added zones, better control and easier maintenance. Saving old systems and making them work correctly is an art. Knowing when it's too late to save it is a science. the numbers never add up. Take a good long look at the possibilities and make your best presentation.

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  • Matt Gilbert_2
    Matt Gilbert_2 Member Posts: 3
    Need Boiler suggestions/ old building

    This is a good one. Need some options for a boiler repalcement in an old building. Store under/ living up stairs. We'll start with the piping. Its a mess covered in asbestos. Not sure what is the supply and what is the return. They removed the old boiler and whats left is a 3" line on one end of the boiler room and 2- 1 1/2 lines on the other. I don't have the old tag in front of me but they did save it off of the old boiler. It was a Bryant I believe it had an input btu of 340,000. I'll check on the size tonight. Not sure what direction to head here. There is talk of splitting the upstairs and main floor heating systems into two seperate, but not this year. Looking for any suggestions. There are is some fin tube along the store front windows, but the rest is cast iron radiators. I thought at first it might be an old converted steam system because of the age, but there is no way. Not sure how they can get water to flow through this mess. Any thoughts. Like I said not sure on the btu number. I had a few beers after looking at this nightmare and left the tag there. Thanks for any help. I'm sure I'm sure I'll have to fill in more detail as the conversation progresses.

  • Brad White_5
    Brad White_5 Member Posts: 12
    Al is absolutely right.

    The one point I would echo and expand upon is doing the heat loss caclulation, not just replacing a boiler "BTU for BTU".

    Too often the opportunity to capture thermal envelope improvements (insulation, new windows, Tyvek, etc.) is lost. Size the boiler "tight" to the heat loss for best efficiency. An oversized boiler gets less efficient as the weather warms.
  • Matt Gilbert_2
    Matt Gilbert_2 Member Posts: 3

    Yes, I agree. An accurate heat loss calculation would be ideal. Not going to happen. There is no way I could begin a heat loss. They are going to remodel this building and are just starting to rip it apart. What I need is suggestions on boiler applications. I'm thinking two condensing boilers with reset would be a great way to go. I'm not going to be able to get perfect with the sizing, but with two boilers I could split the floors and rework the piping in the future. See where I going with this. They aren't ready to do everything at this point, but they need heat right now. I wish they would have left the old boiler in place. My guess is I could have made it work for this winter while they rip this palce apart. Too late for that.

  • Al Letellier
    Al Letellier Member Posts: 781
    boiler selection

    I see your point, Matt, but don't put the cart before the horse. Installing boilers first and then building the system is the wrong way to go. The professional and only safe way is to do that heat loss first,design the system and THEN select the boilers. One of my favorite sayings is: "The boilers don't heat the building, the system does. The boilers are just the "pots" we heat the water in",and it's true. Make the effort to find out what's going to be done to the building with respect to structure, insulation, windows and doors, and insist on getting this info before you start. I walked away from 100K heating and plumbing job for this very reason. The contractor simply insisted on installing two boilers long before any planning was done on the structure. I don't need work that bad. If I'm doing the heat, I'm the expert on the job, not the owner or his "nail pounder". Flex some of your muscle. You're the "heat guy", as Dan would say!!!

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