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Hi Efficiency Boiler Question

Old 05-19-2011, 05:48 AM
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To the heating/mech engineer guys here, am considering replacing my 15 year old gas-fired Peerless boiler with a new Hi Eff unit as my heating bils are thru the roof and there seem to be some financial incentives at this point to take some of the sting out of the cost.
As an architect my projects have a lot of Weismann and Bodurus units these days so am considering those. Is there any real-life differences between the two assuming purchase price is similar? I am thinking in terms of durability and maintenance. The current Peerless has been flawless but with gas prices the way they are it seems time... House is +- 2,200 s.f with a combination of cast iron radiators and radiant floor heat fwiw.
thanks
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:21 AM
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What is the efficiency rating on your boiler? 15 YO is not that old. Even if you put in something that is 10% more efficiant, is it worth saving $200/year by spending 5 to 10 thousand?

There may be other culprits at work here. I ran through about 850 gallons last year heating 3500 sq ft that is well insulated, but does have 2 problem areas (attic access and an upstairs bedroom with a 4 foot skylight and double doors to a deck).
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:45 AM
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Thanks BTSea - I need to check the unit at home - a wild guess at this point pegs it at 80% efficient-not bad but with some of these units @ 94% aand the rebates involved payback may be pretty quick. Ours is an older home (1941) with some modern additions including a 2006 family room with cathedral ceiling and radiant heat slab on grade of about 18x24'. Since that room was added our bills have increased about a 1/3rd. We had bills of between $550-$600 during the worst months of this winter. I hate those bills........
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Old 05-19-2011, 07:19 AM
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"We had bills of between $550-$600 during the worst months of this winter." Do you mean a month? Something is WAY wrong! I'm guessing that you have bigger problems than the efficiency of your boiler. I'd invest in an energy audit.

When you say "gas", do you mean Natural or LP?

As far as which Mfg to go with, what does your heating guy recommend? He's the one that's going to have to stand behind the warranty and do the service.
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Old 05-19-2011, 07:27 AM
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BTW, that 18 X 24 radiant addition should have increased your fuel consumption by 10 to 15% if properly built/installed. Radiant will suck the BTU's out of the system if it didn't have proper under slab insulation.

There really is something wrong with a 2200 sq ft house costing that much to heat.
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Old 05-19-2011, 07:57 AM
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This was a brutal winter in the North East. I burned thru 4 cords of wood and still needed my boiler to keep my house warm.

I am looking at High Effic boilers as well.
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:04 AM
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Your fuel usage was about the same as mine and I am heeting an additional 1,300 square feet. I also know that there are some not so efficient aspects of my home which will be addressed during a major remodel.

If your house was built in the 40's, then I suspect it may not be well insulated and more importantly may not be well sealed.

I would first identify and address the problem areas before a new heating system IMO.

And the past winter up here was brutal. We had many mornings between -10 and 10, depending where you live.
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:12 AM
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Keep in mind the word efficiency is very widely defined. You can look at the burner end and then at the whole system. 80% on the burner end isn't bad. But remembe rthese efficiencies basically are measuring how well you burned the fuel. You could have an effciency of 90% (I am talking oil here I assume standards for gaseous fuels are higher) but if you have a stack temperature of 1000 - you are letting a tremendous amount of heat up your stack.

With oil, Where I am going with this is maybe you can go with a smaller nozzle. With gas I don't know if there is anyhting to be gained by changing the firing rate.

For gas I woudl want to know where they get the icreased efficiencies - I mean your heat transfer (flame/tubes/water) is the same in almost any unit. So anyway I would seriously htink twice about the increased efficiency claims

Let us know! Also, I agree 15 years is not old and payback of initial investment needs to be considered.
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:32 AM
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Last year, I upgraded my 25 year old boiler to a high efficiency weil mcclain system. When I had an energy audit, it was determed that my old boiler was only operating at about 60% efficiency. The main reason for my upgrade was that New Jersey at the time had a 50% rebate up to $10,000 plus the $1,500 federal tax credit. As part of the program, I also had my house insulated better.

If I had a working 80% efficiency boiler, I would invest the money in insulation and sealing drafts before spending $10k on a new boiler.
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:45 AM
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What kind of boiler cost $10K?
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by davedowneast View Post
"We had bills of between $550-$600 during the worst months of this winter." Do you mean a month? Something is WAY wrong! I'm guessing that you have bigger problems than the efficiency of your boiler. I'd invest in an energy audit.

When you say "gas", do you mean Natural or LP?

As far as which Mfg to go with, what does your heating guy recommend? He's the one that's going to have to stand behind the warranty and do the service.
Yes Dave - Jan and Feb this year ran at those rates each month. March was better but still almost $300. The new family room did get under slab insulation - 2" rigid. My regret with that room was not to blow in closed cell in the cathedral ceiling and walls. Room has 6 large windows and a pair of french doors so lots of heat loss there. The rest of the house I am sure is pretty leaky given its age. An energy audit is a good idea - will check it out. I believe the local utility will do one for little or no cost so will do that first.
It has been a rough winter here and we live a block off the water so it s been really windy too but the bills I get compare my usage with 'neighboring' residence averages and we are way higher so something is up-was not always this way from what I remember of earlier years.
Maybe if the kids would only close the doors when they leave the house........
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by davedowneast View Post
What kind of boiler cost $10K?

I dont know I paid $900 for my Peerless 7 years ago I installed it myself
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by strikerthree View Post
I dont know I paid $900 for my Peerless 7 years ago I installed it myself
Some of the prices I have seen for high efficiency (condensing) units have ranged from $4 to 6k. I think you are thinking about water heaters. Just my simple oil furnace with no plumbing cost me $2,500 installed.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:47 AM
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I'd be honored to trade my heating bills for that 600/month this winter.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by BACKTOTHESEA View Post
Some of the prices I have seen for high efficiency (condensing) units have ranged from $4 to 6k. I think you are thinking about water heaters. Just my simple oil furnace with no plumbing cost me $2,500 installed.

I have an MI series cast iron boiler http://www.e-comfortusa.com/products...n=pricegrabber got it through a friend who works for Blackman plumbing just looked at receipt paid 1100 for it, a condensing boiler is not worth the extra money to only gain 10-12% more efficiency would take over 15 years to recoup the extra money spent on the boiler in you monthly bill, my average bill this winter for 58 day billing cycle was $110

Last edited by strikerthree; 05-19-2011 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by strikerthree View Post
I have an MI series cast iron boiler http://www.e-comfortusa.com/products...n=pricegrabber got it through a friend who works for Blackman plumbing just looked at receipt paid 1100 for it
The OP asked about a high efficiency gas boiler and I presume your friend is not setting him up at nearly 1/2 off retail. Assuming you are buying local and not through a discounted internet sale your looking at 5k+ installed.
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by davedowneast View Post
What kind of boiler cost $10K?
This was for the complete boiler and hot water holding tank with 3 heating zones. In my system, the boiler is also used for hot water, which essentially gives continuous hot water (plus a 45 gallon holding tank).

The actual cost of these systems is probably $5k - $6k plus a few grand for the install. It took 2 guys a day and a half to remove the old, replumb the piping, etc.
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by BACKTOTHESEA View Post
The OP asked about a high efficiency gas boiler and I presume your friend is not setting him up at nearly 1/2 off retail. Assuming you are buying local and not through a discounted internet sale your looking at 5k+ installed.

it regularly goes for 1800 and to spend an extra 6-7k just on the boiler to gain 10-12% more efficiency is a waste of money you will never get that money back. A regular cast iron boiler with a eff rating of 80-85% you will not see a difference in your monthly Utility bill to justify the extra thousands of dollars. I work for a utility and when people convert the company explains this all to them before hand some people take the companies advice others dont those people are usually the ones that have to have the best of everything, condensing units are allot more problematic than conventional boilers and are 2x as expensive to fix if something goes wrong, in 7 years I have had not 1 problem with my unit I leave the unit on during the summer to keep condensation and bugs from entering the unit
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by strikerthree View Post
it regularly goes for 1800 and to spend an extra 6-7k just on the boiler to gain 10-12% more efficiency is a waste of money you will never get that money back. A regular cast iron boiler with a eff rating of 80-85% you will not see a difference in your monthly Utility bill to justify the extra thousands of dollars. I work for a utility and when people convert the company explains this all to them before hand some people take the companies advice others dont those people are usually the ones that have to have the best of everything
Not arguing whether it is worth it, in fact I discouraged it based on the fact that it costs north of 5k to save maybe a few hundred bucks best case. Money better spent on sealing up the house and maybe insulating the attic.
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by BACKTOTHESEA View Post
Not arguing whether it is worth it, in fact I discouraged it based on the fact that it costs north of 5k to save maybe a few hundred bucks best case. Money better spent on sealing up the house and maybe insulating the attic.

agree taking small measures to "tighten" up the house can save on heating bills each month and cost a fraction of upgrading the entire heating system
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