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Which boiler & tubing?

ed wallace
ed wallace Member Posts: 1,613
going to gas is going to cost more in the long run at least with oil you can shop around do you really think the gas company is giving you a free boiler?they get you on the other end check your gas bill for the added charges

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  • J.M.
    J.M. Member Posts: 25
    Which boiler and tubing?

    We need to replace the boiler in our 2000 sq ft home outside Boston. We had a gravity system and now have estimates for forced hot water boilers from reputable contractors. Based on what they're each advising, we have some questions:
    (1) How do Burnham, Viessmann, and Weil McClain stack up against each other?
    (2) One of the contractors (highly recommended) has suggested replacing the old piping with PEX tubing.
    (3) The hot water heater has a few years left under warranty, and since we need to replace the boiler, we're also considering replacing the hot water heater with an indirect firing one. Is this something we should do?
  • Ted_9
    Ted_9 Member Posts: 1,718

    Some more information would be helpful.. What kind of heat emitters do you have? Are you going with oil or gas? Is the chimney lined?

    A boiler with outdoor reset technology would work well with your system, especially if you still have the cast iron radiators.

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  • J.M.
    J.M. Member Posts: 25

    Thanks Ted. Yes, we have cast iron radiators and are going with gas. The chimney needs to be relined (and direct vent may be a problem because of tight clearance from adjacent windows (and neighbors). Any guidance would be great.
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796

    I'm a mere homeowner myself, but I live in the same area and I have considered some of the same questions that you are asking yourself.

    Given your emitters, you could be running some pretty low temperatures. Thus, I would consider a low-mass, condensing and modulating boiler given that you want to heat with natural gas. Whether the pipes need to be replaced or not is impossible for me to tell. However, PEX tubing with an oxygen-barrier will make a fine, trouble-free material to pipe your hot water around the house.

    I would also recommend heating the DHW with an indirect water heater... normal gas water heaters consume a lot more energy to heat the same amount of water and represent another appliance that has to be maintained.

    As to which brand to choose, well, that's a more difficult question. In part, it depends on which boiler brands your installer is familiar and happy with. After all, the life expectancy, economy, etc. of your boiler install will depend largely on the quality of the installation and maintenance. I have a preference for stainless heat exchangers, though with the right kind of supervision boilers with cast Aluminum blocks (WM Ultra, Buderus GB142) will work great as well.

    Of the three choices you have listed, I would consider the Viessmann to be the most bullet-proof. Plus, their headquarters is but an hour or two away, so parts are nearby. In addition to the brands you have listed, I would also consider the HTP Munchkin series, the Triangle-Tube Prestige, and the NTI Trinity Series.
  • J.M.
    J.M. Member Posts: 25

    Thanks. This is incredibly helpful, especially since estimates vary dramatically between plumbing-heating companies, on the one hand, and heating engineering companies (which recommend many of the things you did), on the other.
  • lots of options for you


    A good option would be to listen to all of the options and choose appropriatly. I'm biased. The Vitodens seems a perfect fit for what you describe. I'm doing a couple more of them right now (one in Cambridge) and I haven't found any warts since I've began selling the Viessmann lineup.

    Estimates will vary and sometimes are not a good representation of the task at hand. Some miss the point of efficency alltogeather and are sales oriented only. You can usually expect to get what you pay for but,,,

    As far as PEX tubing goes, use anything but PEX B.

    Buyer be ware;-)


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