I have been struggling with this decision. I have a converted coal burner with a hot water coil which to replace needs either a chimney liner or direct/power vent. I supplement with a wood stove and last year, which was warm in Maine, used about 700 gallons of oil after turning the setback down to 135, which made hot water scarce. I am leaning towards a Buderus with an indirect, but in looking at my fuel use does it make sense to spend the dollars? If I got a propane tankless water heater and set up the furnace with a Tekmar control I am thinking this would be faily efficient, and save a bunch of money. Also with condensing boiler technology becoming more available wouldn't it make sense to wait a few years to see what becomes the standard?
Thank you for any input.
What part of Maine? I'm in Bath. Anyway, have you thought about a tankless oil fired water heater? I have put a few of these in and people seem to love them. They are limited to 3-4 gallons per minute as far as flow goes so if you are a high volume water user then this may not be the option for you. Of course this is the case with any tankless water heater unless you want to spend some serious $$$$ to buy a larger commercial sized unit.
Rivermede, look at it this way:
1)Oil prices in my area (MA) went from $2/gal to $2.50/gal (2005 to 2006) - that's a 25% increase. Do you think oil prices will go up or down in the future? BTW - Propane is almost always more costly per therm (it is here).
2)That old coal-to-oil boiler - is it's combustion efficiency going to increase or decrease in the future (or start leaking or simply fail)?
3)The new Buderus ( or whatever) boiler with an indirect - is that cost to buy and install going to increase or decrease in the future? BTW - Buderus Logamatic does the same thing as Tekmar.
Supplementing with a wood stove is probably a $ saver, but if the old boiler is on its way out - then don't wait for the cold before you replace it.
FYI - Condensing boilers have been used in Europe for many years. Be aware that this technology is only available for gas and propane equipment (our oil has too high a sulfur content)- and the type of heating system and distribution in your home also plays a part in choosing this technology.
Now's a good time to see if you want to convert to propane
for heating and hot water. Stick with one fuel. Get a new oil boiler with indirect and get the chimeny lined.
For LP, I would get an indirect and mod/con boiler. Just run intake and exhaust PVC uo the chimney as a chase. Get it away from the snow line.