View Full Version : ARUBA 3 OR Weil-McLain CGI-5 Gas Boiler
05-17-2012, 03:42 PM
Which is best?
I have 3 good contractors bidding on one or the other:
Crown Aruba III gas boiler, Model AWI095ENST1PSU
I have a big closet in my rec room with the oil burner in it. I may install just the gas boiler and leave a T to add tankless water later. Venting is a problem for us and our electric water heater is ok. Our house is a 2 story Roman Brick house built in 1959.
05-17-2012, 08:21 PM
. Venting is a problem for us
Please explain in what way venting is a problem. Also, it's about a 98% chance that you'll have to line your existing chimney for the new boiler. Is that included in the bids?
The CGI 5 can be chimney or direct vented because it's fan assisted. The Aruba is natural draft and requires a chimney.
Has a heat loss calculation been done to determine the sizing of thew new boiler or are they basing their selections on the size of the old boiler? The old one is probably well over-sized.
How many square feet is your house. What type of emitters do you have? What's your locale?
Did any of the bids include outdoor reset?
The installer is by far the most important factor in the equation, much more so than the make of boiler. Both boilers are of about equal quality, but the CGI is a step up from the basic and a tad more efficient than the Aruba. Are they offering the Aruba with standing pilot or electronic ignition? The Crown Bali would be the equivalent of the CGI.
I would recommend getting references on the installers including pics of their work and confirming their credentials.
Also, are they including a new expansion tank, fill valve, backflow preventer, air separator, circulator with isolation flanges?
05-17-2012, 08:37 PM
I am in Steilacoom Washington on Puget Sound near Tacoma. If you are in this area, let's get together.
I have 3 vendors referred from the Gas company and have checked them out on Angie's List. One has 300 positive referrals. They have all provided pics and references I can call.
My house is 2,200 sf on 2 floors. They calculated the size of the burner based on sf. My old oil burner is huge and was installed in 1959.
I believe they including a new expansion tank, fill valve, backflow preventer, air separator, circulator with isolation flanges?
Venting is a problem when if I want a tankless water. The boiler closet is beside the fireplace with a chimney for boiler. It is 9x13 inches.
I think I want the CGI 5 and the leading vendor is proposing a price or around 10k.
05-17-2012, 10:08 PM
You could install an indirect water heater that's heated from the boiler. If you have aggressive water with high chloride content, then use a glass-lined one instead of stainless steel.
What type of emitters do you have? If they are C.I. rads, then it would be wise to have a thermostatic bypaas valve installed on the boiler to protect it and the venting from the consequences of low return water temps. It wouldn't be a bad idea if you have baseboard either.
And your chimney definitely needs to lined. Make sure that's included in the bid.
I'm in central VA, Shenandoah Valley. It's been 15 years since I was in Puget Sound.
05-21-2012, 07:02 PM
You can assume I have checked out all of these companies and they have good reps. I am just going to put in a boiler and keep electric water. My choice are (price includes all except tax):
$$$$ Crown Aruba III gas boiler, Model AWI095ENST1PSU
$$$$ Weil-McLain CGI-5
$$$$ Burnham 85% efficent cast iron natural gas boiler Model ES25
The vendor with the $$ bid has 300 positive reviews on Angies list and are the biggest company. Is the Burnham boiler a "lesser" machine than the other 2? I saw one in a customer house and it seemed fine.
Thank you for you input!
Pricing isn't permitted
05-21-2012, 11:11 PM
Burnham and Crown are both owned by American Boiler Co. so the quality is the same.
I believe you're missing the most important element:the installer. Angie's List and other such places are not much aid in determining the competency and skills of a hydronics contractor. The things that get positive reviews there are the "men-pleasing" things: good presentation, pleasant attitude, good communication, promptness, cleaning up, etc. All good things, but a person can do all that and not know a thing about hydronics. And the larger a company is does not mean the better it is. In fact, the opposite is often true. I've owned a large company and now have a small one by design. The quality of the service that I'm able to offer with a small one means far more than having a higher gross revenue. I'm not knocking larger ones, but I know the inner workings of both.
Another thing that sends up a red flag is that one contractor would be 30% less than the others. He's either cutting corners or doesn't know how to price his work. Either way you'll be on the short end when he doesn't do what he should have or goes under because he's loosing $$$. A competent general contractor would throw out a bid that's substantially less than the others from subs quoting the same work for the reasons I gave above. I recommend that you do likewise.
There is no substitute for checking references and viewing the contractor's work yourself. I would not trust Angie or anyone else to do that in my place.
Have you checked the contractor locator on this site as a starting place?
05-22-2012, 02:30 AM
Yes, I went to a site where the exact Burnham boiler the guy wants to sell me is being installed. The customer was very happy. I am not believing the sales people and I am asking for referrals.
I will check this site, thanks.
05-23-2012, 12:33 PM
Bob is right. We have a similar situation here in Minneapolis. Contractors don't have to pay Angie, but you can't find them if they don't.
Have them send a picture of a recent installation and a reference for one more than 5 years old.
05-23-2012, 09:57 PM
Originally, I was sold on the Triangle products, but got scared off after searching the Internet. I found love and hate; but as you all say, it all depends on getting someone who knows what they are doing, and can support it.
It really meets my needs for space savings and quietness.
Let's assume I have proven with external verification that the guys doing this know what they are doing, and that I have talked to someone they installed 5 years ago.
What do you think?
Again, you guys are great! :)
05-23-2012, 10:26 PM
The T.T. is one the best mod/con's around and has what I believe to be the best heat exchanger of any condensing boiler. The Lochinvar Knight wall hung uses the same heat ex. made by a different co. that first made it for T.T.
Forget about the Internet reviews of a boiler. Everything gets blamed on the appliance by the consumer when in fact it's the installer's fault 99% of the time.
I haven't installed or serviced the Challenger, but I'm not impressed with the sandwich heat exchanger it employs. It also may not produce enough hot water for you. It's designed for small homes, apt's. etc. Get the Solo with an indirect and you'll not be sorry.
With a mod/con, the installer is even more important than with a cast iron boiler. Make sure you get references and that he knows how to properly pipe it in primary/secondary. Also, make sure he does a combustion analysis with a digital analyzer and gives you a copy of the printout. Post the results with a pic or two of the install showing the near boiler piping. Also, make sure he sets the outdoor reset curve to match your radiation and load. I'd make him put it in writing that he'll include these items, as well as the ones I previously posted, in the install.
05-23-2012, 10:32 PM
I am not getting gas water; leaving it electric. There are two of us and what we have is good. Plus, the water creates a lot of venting problems in my 60 year old brick house. The big benefit to me is to save money on oil (I spend about 4k a year). My house is 2,200 sf 2 stories. There is not a basement and the boiler is in a closet in my rec room.
I have had 3 proposals; each saying a Solo would be perfect for my house for what it is worth. But, if I get the references and conditions you suggest, I should be safe?
05-23-2012, 10:48 PM
The Challenger that you suggest is a "combi" unit that provides both domestic and space heating hot water. That's why I suggested an indirect. It connects to the boiler and gets its heat from that. It does not have any gas or vent connection and could set in place of the current electric tank. The indirect would cost less to operate than the electric heater and would give you virtually endless hot water.
Yes, to answer your last question.
05-24-2012, 11:37 AM
and the contractor agrees with you. But it appears you do not object to using that boiler in a 2,200 sf 2 story home. Thanks.
05-24-2012, 12:54 PM
Please note my previous post regarding the quality of the heat exchanger used in the Challenger vs. the one used in the Solo. It's like comparing a Yugo to a Mercedes.
05-24-2012, 09:01 PM
The ES-2 is a decent piece of economical equipment.
The Triangle Tube Excellence is good too.
I just think the Viessmann Vitodens 100 is best.
They offer a combi unit for DHW for the Viessmann, but I have not tried it yet.
The ES-2 is vented via a lined chimney.
The Excellence in the photo is vented through the chimney with PVC.
The Viessmann is vented through the wall with CPVC.
There are venting options with different equipment.
05-29-2012, 12:28 PM
How to choose a boiler.
No one should specify any boiler before doing a thorough heat load analysis; this is something I do after I win a contract or receive a consulting fee. Your prospective contractor should produce a sample of his heat load calculations. There is little difference in cost between the various boilers available, but an oversized boiler (modulation notwithstanding) can affect over-all system efficiency by as much as 50% and can lead to comfort and reliability issues.
All modern high efficiency gas-fired boilers condense AND modulate flame. Condensing boilers recover the latent heat found in the water vapor (smoke up the chimney) to usable hot water used to drive radiant floors, radiators and even fin-tube baseboard. This act of recovering latent heat typically reducing stack temperature by several hundred degrees and allows for a Class IV vent (PVC).
It would seem a boiler that modulates flame (output) would not require such careful sizing. However, just the opposite is true. It is at low fire that much of the fuel savings occur, and in most ModCon boilers that low-fire is determined by the high-fire output, i.e. the "bigger" the boiler the bigger the minimum output. This condition can lead to short cycling (death to system AND thermal efficiency).
As I am a consultant, AND a contractor, people all over North America often ask me; which boiler is best? Most contractors are married to one supplier and advocate one boiler brand (usually a non-condensing, low efficiency cast iron model). As you can see from my website, I have personally installed nearly all ModCons currently available in the USA. The reason for this admittedly odd practice is twofold; first I like to compare ease of installation, maintenance, performance and factory support. Second, no, one, boiler, fits every application and many of the boiler companies have short lines. This is particularly true of the European boiler manufacturers' N. American offerings.
I would also like to determine the type and size of indirect water heater you will need. Since you are considering one of the most efficient and lowest polluting fossil fuel appliances on the planet, it makes sense to put it to good use satisfying what is most likely your second highest fuel bill, domestic hot water.
With a Mod/Con and indirect or "companion water heater" you will be able to permanently close the old fashioned chimney and the open combustion air pipe, saving even more fuel!
If you have an off-the-shelf programmable thermostat it will lend nothing to comfort and little to efficiency when applied to the typical hydronic heating system. They are made for forced air furnaces. You, on the other hand, will benefit both in comfort and efficiency by use of the onboard microprocessor that resets boiler water temperature to outdoor temperature (at least one ModCon has an onboard setback feature with boost mode to catch-up after a cold night). Some ModCons even feature water temperature setback for more fuel saving.
Properly applied, sized, installed and programmed; all of the Mod/Cons will condense and operate at their full potential efficiency (95%+ A.F.U.E). Warranties are very similar and the last thing I consider; as labor will double or triple any replacement part you may need. Certain models have factory extended parts and labor warranties. Extended warranties are available for all models but are a form of insurance. Unfortunately warranties are not reflective of quality, reliability, serviceability or efficient system design.
Annual maintenance by a factory certified technician (such as me) is key to the safe, reliable and efficient performance of any Mod/Con driven heating system. This is not just a matter of knowledge and experience but requires a combustion analyzer among other expensive tools. So ask your contractor about factory training on the model he advocates.
A final word on "Big Box" boilers. Your local hardware/department store or "Web" supplier may "sell" boilers, but they are seldom qualified to design, install or service any of them, much less a modern ModCon. If your local gas supplier sells boilers keep in mind installation may be done by sub-contractors who are - by definition - the low bidder.
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