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Should we choose this boiler? CC125 125,000 BTU In/put 96,000 BTU Output Challenger Combo Boiler -

HomeOwner1 Member Posts: 134
We have a 3350 sq foot home that is pretty well insulated near Philadelphia in New Jersey. A Heat Loss analysis estimates our house to be roughly 80,000 BTU's. This will be confirmed shortly by a professional energy audit as well. Currently we have an oil fired 150,000 BTU boiler providing hot water and services roughly 230 linear feet of baseboard. This boiler was sufficient for the house in its previous state, but the house is a much different house now. It is fully insulated, has triple glass R5.5 windows and is pretty well sealed up compared to years past. There are six loops controlled by four thermostats. Our unit currently appears way over the needed size for the home since it only runs in brief and short intervals to heat even on the coldest days in peak demand. We came across the CC-125 Combo boiler from Triangle Tube and it appears that it may suffice for us. The price is right too. As we are new to all of this, would this just be a direct replacement for what we have and only the heater, expansion tank, temperature mixing valve and piping needed? No chimney liner nor indirect water heater needed at all? We are a family of four and want to be able to fill a single person whirlpool tub on occasion. Else run two showers at the same time during peak hot water demand. In my head I am thinking that we could get away with this unit for $2900, plus roughly $500 in installation materials, a $200 expansion tank and a qualified installer for about $1000 (2 guys at $60 an hour for a day). And reuse the existing zone control valves and recirculating pumps. Does this sound right? Opinions?

Otherwise, we were getting quoted around $5,000 to do 83% boiler replacements in the 130,000 BTU range with the chimney liner and $50 gallon hot water heater. This seams too good to be true. Do you think we could utilize the 96% efficient option instead from Triangle Tube?


  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,256

    don't talk pricing.... The Challenger is OK, just OK. I would Opt for the TT Prestige solo and a indirect water heater.. Much better boiler. The combi part of the Challenger is not great and it will not meet your hot water needs..
  • heatpro02920
    heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    Mod Con...

    I personally would go with a TT Prestige solo 110 and a Rinnai RU98i, but a lot of guys here like the indirect units, and they are very nice too. But IMO them would be the 2 options

    either the solo 110 and the ru98 tankless or a solo 110 and a 50 ga smart indirect...

    I install a lot of Rinnai units, and only just started with the TT boilers, but I installed 3 so far {one in my own home, a solo 175 we have almost 4000 sq ft and the 175 is oversized} and they seem to work very well. I also like buderus gb142's they are very nice boilers also and I have installed them since they came to the US market with great results, only switching to the TT because customers like the SS.... But the TT is an expensive install, I spent over $450 building the primary loop!!! The gb comes with it and a low loss header...

    But anyway, for your heat loss mod con makes a lot of sense, the only thing I don't like is the quantity of zones, Sometimes mod/cons don't like smaller loads so when just one small zone of baseboard calls the unit will be modding to the basement... I would use Delta T circulators which will help...

    Next option is a good conventional chimney vented boiler, I would look into a Buderus with around 80K btu output, not 130, also I would want to see at least 85% efficiency...

    With either a tankless rinnai or a smart indirect...

    Now for price, {we are not supposed to talk about pricing on here} but If you want to spend 5k or under, then none of my above options are going to be in reach, you can easily double that....
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    DHW Demand

    It will never keep up with your domestic hot water demand. Also adding a tankless with an already 90% plus boiler is a bad investment. I'd do a Viessmann Vitodens 100 and an indirect. Better price point then the PT110 and carries a lifetime warranty on the HX.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • HomeOwner1
    HomeOwner1 Member Posts: 134
    Current combo boiler does meet my needs though

    One thing I was questioned about was that my current Boiler also has domestic hot water serviced from the same boiler and has never run out of hot water yet. It has always more than satisfied our hot water demands. They specifically discussed exactly what our demands looked like with measurements from the house as well (meaning two showers at the same time or filling a single person whirlpool tub with hot water when the heat is on).

    I took the good feedback and posed the questions to some installers that have done a number of these units specifically. The feedback is that this particular newer unit is much better and more forgiving on installations with loops than past combo units.

    They assured us that domestic hot water would be fully satisfied with this unit. The only drawback is that the unit would run at peak capacity during those demand times. But that is no different than my current cast iron boiler today. Heck at this efficiency, install simplification and up front savings, this looks very attractive even with that caveat.

    They also confirmed that part list to install is minimal and confirmed my budget was realistic.

    It was also mentioned there are larger combo boilers available if the heat loss needs demand something a bit bigger. Naiven was mentioned but was indicated to be a bit more picky with inputs to loops and flows but certainly a good option as well. They fall in the same budget area as well.

    The biggest take away from them was that since these units are newer, many of the folks out there stick with what they know. These require a bit of training and it is best to pay for an installer that knows the ropes on how to do one of these correctly.

    So far that is the feedback I got back.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    edited February 2013
    Do the Math

    gpm required x (Temp Rise x 500) = Btu/hr needed

    Temp Rise is the difference between incoming cold water temp and dhw setpoint.

    Two Showers with 2.5gpm heads

    5 x (70 x 500) = 175,000 btu/hr

    50 Incoming Cold Water Temp

    120 DHW Setpoint

    Now we know there is a small blend of cold water so I'll take a gallon away

    4 x (70 x 500) = 140,000 btu/hr

    The CC125

    125,000 btu/hr/ (70 x500) = 3.57gpm

    You sure about those DHW loads? I didn't even do the Whirlpool spout which is about 7gpm or more depending on the brand and style..

    How long in minutes does it take you now to fill that whirlpool? How many gallon whirlpool is it?

    By the way the Challenger is only 93.5% AFUE
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • HomeOwner1
    HomeOwner1 Member Posts: 134
    Really appreciate the analysis- This is helpful

    They mentioned a larger unit may be necessary based on the official heat loss.

    The house is well water, so those flow rates are not possible in my home, but see your point.

    I saw some of the 220,000 BTU units have a 5 to 7 GPH capacity. The cost surprisingly is only a small amount more.

    Does it make sense just to size up the unit then to compensate? Is it that simple?

  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    edited February 2013

    Incoming ground water is easily 50 in your climate, I'm in it. Do you have a shallow well pump or submersible pump? If submersible where is the static water line in the well? What pressure switch on the well tank? Whose pump is in the well? Happy to give a lesson in well pumps. A pump that is 1/2 HP 5GPM moves more then 5GPM of water dependent on pressure switch and pumping depth. Depth is not where the pump is in the well but rather where you reach water in the well.

    Strongly suggest you find a 5 gallon bucket, turn on a shower head and time it. One gallon of water weighs 8.33lbs...Do the same for the Whirlpool.

    You size a piece of equipment based on the load is needs to carry, Period. You cannot change the Math and the math never lies..

    220,000 btu/hr/7/500 = 62.8 degree rise. Since the incoming cold water temp is 50 you would only make 112.8 degree hot water. You ok with that?

    Point is, stop thinking the literature tells the truth. It doesn't. The math does...

    The heat loss is not going to dictate the size, it just establishes what you need for heating. With a combi boiler it's the domestic load that will establish size.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • HomeOwner1
    HomeOwner1 Member Posts: 134
    Not sure of all the details

    Not sure of the exact depth or model. We have two bladder tanks. Pressure is pretty good but is not the same as city water pressure. That is all I know at this point.

    Good idea on the 5 gallon bucket. I happen to have a hose bib pressure gauge at home when installing my sprinkler system on the last home.

    Would a bigger combo unit solve this?
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    Don't Know

    Because we don't know your hot water demand. We can only make assumptions based on past installations and experience knowing what gpm fixtures deliver. Simple thing to do is to turn on a shower, time one minute and weigh the water. Don't forget to weigh the empty bucket first..Do the same for the whirlpool. Then you'll know what the required gpm draw is when two fixtures are running and then DO THE MATH...

    Based on your post, your getting guys comparing what the existing equipment did instead of what you need..
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • HomeOwner1
    HomeOwner1 Member Posts: 134
    You are right

    Yes, that is exactly what the people coming are doing. They are looking at a standard rip and replace. This situation is not that.

    I will get the exact measurements.

    But even so, once I get the numbers, will this just provide the size unit needed?

    My intent is really if this is a feasible plan based on experience? Would this be a good solution? My current unit has the water heater in the boiler too but that is the old cast iron boiler days. So wondering if the experience will be consistent with these combo units, assuming it is sized right of course?

    Thanks again for taking the time to answer! This is helpful.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    If It's Sized

    Correctly then it will provide the btu/hr. Now with that said, it needs to be installed correctly.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • heatpro02920
    heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    Keep getting companies until you are comfortable with one..

    If I were coming out to price the job, I would of course look at your old equipment and ask how often it runs, how much fuel you use, any problems with it, and if it keeps up with your needs? This is NOT the only thing that I make my equipment recommendations by, but its where I start...

    I ask a few questions,How old is the house? Insulation? check the windows, count up the windows, check the attic {if the customer doesn't know what insulation is up there}, run the showers, and tubs, look at fixtures, heat emitters, ect...

    Then I make a judgement call of what size unit I will install {I have been doing this long enough to know if I am in 3 section or 5 section territory} and believe it or not the price difference isn't HUGE between sizes... {until you get big}...

    Now by the time I leave, I know what the customer wants... Gas, oil, ect... Efficiency, life span, comfort, BUDGET, ect.... So I can give them a quote before I leave... If they want to go ahead with it, I will then normally schedule to return and perform a heat loss and if there is a question on how much DHW they need, I will test their needs {I have only had to do that a few times, most of them time with older fixtures that I can not look up the gpm of...

    Then I will make my final decision on equipment and write up a proposal...

    I don't normally perform a heat loss until the customer tells me they want to go ahead with the job {some jobs I do, but its rare}...

    So don't just write off anyone who doesn't perform a heat loss on their first visit...

    It sounds like you have a nice big house, I wouldn't skimp on the heating system...

    Like I said earlier the Solo 110 and either a rinnai tankless or smart indirect would work, although it will be oversized by about 30KBTU, you can find other companies that come closer, like Buderus GB142-24 or 30 {one is under one is over}, or the Dunkirk DKVLT-75 or 100 {you are also rite in the middle of them two}, or Weil McLain ultras {again you are inbetween the 80 and 105}.....

    Are you interested in the combi units just for the cost?
  • HomeOwner1
    HomeOwner1 Member Posts: 134
    Old Cast Iron Combo versus new Condensing on-demand combo comparison

    Yes, looking at the combo units mostly based on cost considerations. Was originally talked out of converting the old unit to gas because a full replacement was only 25% more for another 83% new unit. Then we stumbled upon the combo unit option that would land in the same budget area but is in the 90-95% range. Also, it looks attractive from having less things in the house to break and maintain. The indirect and boiler configuration runs quite a few bucks more.

    Right now the cast iron boiler has a little tank for domestic hot water built into the unit. This meets our needs now. Would the combo units have the identical type of performance and experience based on correct sizing? Right now, we wait a little bit to get hot water to the tap or showers at times, but that is certainly acceptable for us. Wondering since that they are different technologies whether the end result would be similar. These combo units don't appear to have a little tank built into the boiler like the old cast iron one does. Curious if that makes a difference or not since it is only a few gallons in there.

    I wish there was someone out there that had a combo unit in a larger home to understand what their experience was. At the end of the day, I don't want to be penny wise and pound foolish, but if this thing is going to work just fine, then why not?
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    edited February 2013
    Cold Water Slug

    No matter the domestic hot water system unless you have a hot water re circulation line your going to have the cold water slug. In the end it all comes down to the unit being properly sized. If sized properly it will do the job. Have you done the bucket test I suggested to get your shower head and whirlpool gpm need? The only experience your going get from someone is whether or not it does the job. If it doesn't it was because it was not sized properly.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • HomeOwner1
    HomeOwner1 Member Posts: 134
    So why doesn't everyone just go with combo boilers?

    So if the combo boilers do the job, why do people go with the indirect tanks? Is it just that they are new to catch on in the US just yet?

    I saw that other manufacturers make larger units if needed as well. Naiven was one of the brands I saw. Are they any good?

    Yes, I was told that they run a bronze pump and a loop for that as well. Thought that was for water pressure, but I guess it is for the cold slug you mentioned?

    It is still on my TODO list to do the 5 gallon bucket measurement and get the real flow rates. Step one will be getting a 5 gallon bucket, he he.
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,833
    I'm a big

    Triangle Tube fan but stay away from the challanger unless you live in a one bedroom apartment.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    edited February 2013
    Why everyone doesn't just go with combi boilers

    A heating boiler needs to be sized for design day heat loss.  This allows for maximum turndown on a mod/con (or longer cycles on a conventional boiler.) These maximize comfort while increasing both efficiency and longevity.

    An instantaneous water heater needs to be sized for peak domestic hot water demand.

    An indirect water heater is sized based a combination of on first hour and continuous DHW demand.

    It's unusual for these numbers to be close to each other.  A house with a 48k heat loss that needs 6 GPM of hot water at an 80F rise suffers from a 5:1 sizing discrepancy.  An indirect water heater can be sized to deliver what the occupants need while keeping the heating boiler at the proper size.  The overwhelming majority of tank water heaters deliver less than 30k BTU.  Even a 60k mod/con boiler will outperform that roughly 2:1 while saving at least 30% on fuel use for DHW.
  • shangk13
    shangk13 Member Posts: 1
    Navien ncb-240

    I am a plumbing and heating contractor in Stamford CT.   I just installed a Navien NCB-240 in my own house last week.  Hot water has been plentiful.   I have a small house and use water saving shower heads.   You will get more then enough hot water

    as long and you don't start running to many fixtures at the same time.   I have had customers who don't understand or accept this limitation.   They would be better suited for a boiler with and indirect type heater.  

    But from my personal experience in my own house in what has been one of the most consistently cold winters in the north east,  I have been very happy and had no trouble.
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,394

    Navien is a good choice , may I ask where in nj do you live ?

    I'm in central.

    I have a takagi tankless and I do a 90 degree rise at 4 gpm rate

    Water is at 50 and going out at 140, it's doing a 2,100 sq foot snow melt system.

    I also work on naviens, when I get done with them they work great.

    Best thing is I really don't have to worry at heat lost that much, it can only run 100,000 btu but you install o.d.r and a delta t pump and your saving money like crazy .
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    edited March 2014

    2100 Sqft of Snowmelt would require roughly 300,000 btu/hr

    4 x (90 x 500) = 180,000 btu/hr

    How is this 2100 sqft of snowmelt working properly and effectively? Snowmelt in order for you at 4gpm to deliver 300,000 btu/hr you'd be running a 150 degree system delta-t.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • heatpro02920
    heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    edited March 2014
    Gonna have to agree with Chris here...

    Last year I did a driveway, walkway, and ramp for a handicapped gentleman, if I remember correctly it was a 20x30 and the walkway was 4x30 and I used 80K BTU's... That is no where near 2100 sq ft, and I know I am not way over sized, I wouldn't add much more to it..

    I actually just spoke with him about a month ago, he was complaining about the fuel usage, he said he was going to look into a minute mount for his wheel chair, I thought it was pretty funny...
  • heatpro02920
    heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    the problem with navian

    is not going to happen the first year, let me know how you feel about them 5 years.. Hopefully you have better luck than the customers I have dealt with that had them installed a few years back..
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 930
    CC125 TT Boiler

    Get a quote on a TT PS110 with a Smart 40 or Smart 50 and then a bid on a CC125s Challenger Solo heat only boiler with a Smart 40 or Smart 50.

    You will spend a little more for the Prestige Solo PS110 boiler but that SS fire tube heat exchanger is a great design. The cost of the Smart SS indirect is going to be the same with either boiler. If you are switching from oil to nat gas there should be a big savings in the cost to heat your house so buy the boiler with the better heat exchanger. You will be glad you did!
  • mvonbek
    mvonbek Member Posts: 1
    I would choose another system I have a CC125 installed in my house and it has become the single worst decision of my life. The unit was install in Sept of 2013 and within 2 months the pressure switch went flashing LOP on front panel. Flash forward late 2015 unit started acting funny sometimes it wouldn’t provide heat or hot water. The unit finally failed in 2016; unit started flashing E08 and E18 hard lockout codes. Called Dorsey Plumbing from Taunton, MA and they came and called ACV (Triangle Tube) Tech support and within a minute without testing anything they recommended a new blower. Part cost about $500.00 plus the 100% mark up from the plumber. Unit still didn’t function so now they want me to replace the controller board. I called ACV and the plumber to get a rep out to look or reimburse some of the cost nothing. I sent pictures and email to Terry B at ACV and her final response was parts break. I replaced the controller myself and then the real code showed up flue back pressure switch. Total cost of repair was $1,600.00 of waste components for a switch that cost 56 dollars. My unit is currently flashing a LOP warning again and I have no Heat going to trouble shoot switch. ACV tech support gives no troubleshooting steps and they know less than I do about the system. The challenger was created I believe from the cheapest parts available the controller is made by Siemens for European Boilers so ACV has no idea **** is going on with their own system. I originally wanted a Viessman Vitodens but my father In-law talked me into this system. Yes he is a plumber hence the worst decision of my life angry wife and I can’t throw her father under the bus.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,166
    So, all that was ever wrong with the boiler was a bad pressure switch, but you come and make an angry post on here because neither you, nor your installer, nor someone at tech support whose only getting the info that you feed them could diagnose the problem?

    Please explain how that makes the Challenger a bad boiler?

    Please also explain how this helps anyone reading your post?

    I can understand your frustration, but this is "Heating Help", not "heating gripes and complaints". Why complain to folks that have nothing to do with this?
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.