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steam boiler conversion to gas

john t colao
john t colao Member Posts: 6
I HAVE A VERY OLD STEAM BOILER[CIRCA 1905]WHICH WAS CONNVERTED FROM COAL TO OIL MANY YEARS AGO--ASIDE FROM THE POTENTIALLY INEFFICIENCY OF IT--------CAN THE BOILER NOW BE CONVERTED TO BURN NETURAL GAS??
WHAT KIND OF BURNER?
DOES IT REQUIRE THE SAME TYPE OF FIREBOX CHAMBER?
IS GAS VS OIL NOT A GOOD THING??

Comments

  • john t colao
    john t colao Member Posts: 6
    steam boiler conversion to natural gas

    I HAVE A VERY OLD STEAM BOILER[CIRCA 1905]WHICH WAS CONNVERTED FROM COAL TO OIL MANY YEARS AGO--ASIDE FROM THE POTENTIALLY INEFFICIENCY OF IT--------CAN THE BOILER NOW BE CONVERTED TO BURN NETURAL GAS??
    WHAT KIND OF BURNER?
    DOES IT REQUIRE THE SAME TYPE OF FIREBOX CHAMBER?
    IS GAS VS OIL NOT A GOOD THING??
  • ed wallace
    ed wallace Member Posts: 1,613
    conversion from oil to gas

    1st off the old boiler is ineffient as hell you would be better to go all new new boilers are only about 36 inches high vs about 5 ft for your old boiler thats a lot less water to heat up 2nd oil has more btus vs gas with gas you are stuck with 1 supplier with oil you can shop around for a lower price

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  • Christian Egli
    Christian Egli Member Posts: 277
    Historic keeper

    Wow, I am always impressed to hear a 1905 steam system still works good. What a great investment your heating system has been. Anything else, a forced air system would have had to be replaced many times over, a hot water system with pumps would have required a lot of maintenance, it might even have frozen if the building was ever neglected.

    You have a great system, it was deluxe in 1905 and still is today, so much so it has become too expensive to install steam in new homes. But you've already got it, you're lucky, and it's all paid for over and over since 1905.

    So now the time is up for some new work, that's not bad at all.

    As far as converting fuel, the jump form coal to oil was obvious and easy, plus oil burners need a big space to develop the flame just like coal does. Nothing wrong here. However gas can be burnt without the large cavity and also with tighter excess air.

    A gas burner with power fan will require nothing different from the oil burner, and should be just as efficient. An atmospheric gas burner would be the simplest form of conversion, here special care with the excess air is needed.

    All I am saying is that a whole new gas boiler will be more efficient than a converted fuel boiler. I think this is important to consider with the high cost of gas. (I am assuming this is a residential type boiler)

    Would you have enough room in your basement to install a new gas boiler without removing the old one? This way your home would have dual fuel capability.

    Whatever you do, don't get talked into a conversion to hot water. It will be made to sound like a silver bullet, and it could turn into, at worst, a leaky piping nightmare with expensive fixes, at best, an inefficient and hard to control heating scheme because of the wrongly-sized-for-water steam pipes. Water and steam systems have nothing in common beyond the fact that they both use pipes.

    While you're at it, how are your vents and traps doing? A little maintenance here pays huge dividends in comfort and fuel savings. What pressure do you run your boiler at? Have it as low as possible for optimal performance.

    You're smart to think of this job in the summer.
  • Conversion of your boiler

    to gas will require a power gas burner, they do not make atmospheric gas conversion burners anymore, with a power burner you will probably have to build a firebox and do some refurbishing of the boiler. Done properly the installation and refubishing will take 4 or 5 days. Others may dispute what I am telling you here but I want you to know I have put in over 3,500 of these conversions in my career.

    My advice is to replace the present boiler, my background is gas but I am not against an oil install. Bottom line do you have a good oil delivery and service company you are now doing business with? If you do then talk to them about a replacement.

    If you install a gas power burner and it is done properly you can obtain a combustion efficiency of about 80% if the installer knows what they are doing. The overall efficiency depends on the condition of your piping and radiators and other associated controls.
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