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Gas Steam: Power burner vs atmospheric

Maine04103
Maine04103 Member Posts: 6
I've searched the forum but haven't found a recent post on this. I am in process of getting ready to replace a gas steam boiler. My current setup is a 30 yo converted peerless boiler (oil to gas). Am trying to decide pro's and con's between going w/ a gas steam atmospheric boiler vs a new converted boiler w/ gas power burner. I understand the power burner option is more efficient but the gas atmospheric option is a lot quieter....which in a 100 year old house does make a difference. Wondering if the efficiency difference is substantial enough to go w/ the converted option over atmospheric and if there are other reasons to go one way over the other.

One installer recommended Peerless EC w/ Carlin EZ-gas burner, another recommended a Burnham Independence gas boiler....the installer of the peerless w/ez-burner is also open to doing atmospheric but recommends above combo due to future flexibility w/ option to convert back to oil....although I don't suspect I'd go that route. Also am wondering if these recommendations are the best for each option.

Thanks!

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,429
    I'd go with the Peerless/EZ-Gas. The difference in thermal efficiency can be as much as 6%, depending on what you're comparing. And the EC boiler is built like a tank.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    bburd
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,510
    The main drawback with the conversation burners, is that there are not very many techs who know how to work on them. Fwiw, I wouldn't put a Burnham Independence in my home, if you gave it to me for free. 
    ethicalpaul
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,510
    Also, check gas pressure. Conversation burners are sensitive to pressure drops. An atmospheric will handle lower gas pressure, better. I can't say that I am certain about this. Very open to comments b
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 208
    i can't help much except for that if you do go with a conversion burner, make sure the boiler manufacturer has approved it on there boiler. if they haven't tested it and approved it for use on their boiler good luck getting any tech support. not all gas burners are equal. i have done them but are limited.
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,510
    Tech support would come from Carlin. Might void manufacturer warranty, but most warranties are useless (at least in my travels). 
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,145
    I would go with the power burner as mentioned above. Better efficiency, the ability to go back to oil Most important is piping to the mfg. specs, the correct size boiler, skimming upon completion and a contractor who knows what he is doing.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,310
    In 2013 I had a smith boiler and the EZ Gas installed to replace a failing Burnham v75. The system has run fine since, no service issues.

    Be aware the gas guns sound about like an oil burner, the atmospherics are quieter but a bit less efficient. The Burnham Independence has a long history of rotting out a lot sooner than they should, if you do atmospheric go with Peerless and make sure the installer knows steam and will install the boiler piping correctly.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    STEAM DOCTOR
  • Maine04103
    Maine04103 Member Posts: 6
    edited June 17
    Thanks for the replies, and info about the Burnham Independence. The installer who gave the price of the conversion one is seemingly one of the few people in Maine who know steam.

    I currently have an antique midco economite conversion burner that was installed by the gas company and grew up w/ an oil boiler so am used to the noise...I do hope the ez-gas is a little quieter than the midco since the current one does cause a hum through our old house when it runs. My sig other likes the idea of a quiet boiler, I like the efficiency of the wet based setup given natural gas prices are likely to keep going up.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,145
    Some insulation in the basement ceiling especially in the boiler area will probably absorb some sound and quiet things down.

    If you have a contractor that really knows steam ...hang on to him and don't go elsewhere. They are few and far between
    BobC
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 457
    What about a Burnham Megasteam with the EZ gas conversion? I've heard nothing but great things about that boiler, is it better or at least equivalent to a Peerless EC? Food for thought.

    I'm in a similar boat as you....135 year old home and I'm not looking for more noise. Rockwool makes stone wool insulation that is similar to fiberglass batts for exterior walls. They also make "Safe'n'Sound" which is an interior noise insulation that is typically used in between rooms for sound deadening. Usually available at the big box stores.

    Owens Corning makes a similar product. I haven't used either but I've heard good things.
    PC7060
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 986
    I have noticed the Carlin burners are consistently quieter than others we've seen. To reduce noise probably in half, building a box lined with sound deadening board around the burner is quite effective. You need to make sure the burner is getting proper airflow for operation.... so this should be done by the installing contractor. Roxul is a brand we used, IIRC. Even ductliner insulation works too.

    Stay away from the Burnham Independence.....we've seen the same early rot out issues.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Maine04103
    Maine04103 Member Posts: 6
    What about a Burnham Megasteam with the EZ gas conversion? I've heard nothing but great things about that boiler, is it better or at least equivalent to a Peerless EC? Food for thought. I'm in a similar boat as you....135 year old home and I'm not looking for more noise. Rockwool makes stone wool insulation that is similar to fiberglass batts for exterior walls. They also make "Safe'n'Sound" which is an interior noise insulation that is typically used in between rooms for sound deadening. Usually available at the big box stores. Owens Corning makes a similar product. I haven't used either but I've heard good things.
    Problem w/ megasteam is it's not been certified for gas by the manufacturer so a conversion voids the warranty...the peerless boiler is supposedly the next best option that has the certification for conversion...at least from what I've read on here and confirmed by the contractor as still the case.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,751
    edited June 20
    As a homeowner, I would not choose a power burner. The noise, the additional complexity, and the cost of the electricity of the blower motor would not nearly be worth any theoretical increase in efficiency for me.

    Edit: Oh yes and I can run my atmospheric with a lithium battery "generator" for a long time

    As far as the option of being able to go back to oil, that is not a plus for me
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 1,866

    As a homeowner, I would not choose a power burner. The noise, the additional complexity, and the cost of the electricity of the blower motor would not nearly be worth any theoretical increase in efficiency for me.

    Edit: Oh yes and I can run my atmospheric with a lithium battery "generator" for a long time

    As far as the option of being able to go back to oil, that is not a plus for me

    Agree.