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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    7

    OIL to GAS burner on boiler

    My house is 3 bedroom 1.5 story built in appoximately 1948. It has an original ARCO Ideal Cast Iron Water Boiler supplying hydronic radiator heat. The current Mectron 5M oil burner was installed prior to 1995 and has been operating without problems, with regular maintenance since that time.
    Last year work was completed to update the venting which included the installation of a stainless steel chimney liner with appropriate flashing and capping.

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    What a lovely Beast!

    This year I have been informed that my oil tank had to be inspected before any further deliveries would be made. On inspection the tank was found to be weeping with 'No Immediate Hazzard' and I have 90 days in which to correct the situation before fuel delivery will continue.
    So far the options given to me by my current fuel oil supplier are:
    Replace the oil tank ($)
    Replace the oil boiler ($)
    Replace the oil boiler with a gas boiler ($)
    One option that they failed to mention was replacing the oil burner with a gas burner. Gas is already being supplied to the house for cooking, and the chimney liner was installed last year.
    Technical personnel in the engineering department of Riello have confirmed that replacing the Riello Mectron 5M oil burner with a current Riello 40 Series Gas Burner is possible. As the boiler has previously been updated to burn oil, a simple replacement fuel option seems possible.

    Where do I find a licensed contractor to do this work. I've talked to a couple. One said it is not something that their company would do. Another said it couldn't be done because their isn't a gas burner that would work. He also said he's never heard of a Mectron 5M. Puzzling!

    Comments would be appreciated.
    Last edited by beenthere; 08-27-2012 at 01:42 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    3,505
    You're talking about finding a contractor who'll install a new gas burner into a boiler originally installed in 1948? I can't imagine what the efficiency would be on that old of a boiler, but I'd be surprised if it was 60%. Why would you not just go ahead and install a new high efficiency boiler which would be much more efficient?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,109
    1948? Sure looks way older than that. I wouldn't put a penny in it. 60% efficient is likely being generous!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,935
    Better off getting a high efficiency gas boiler

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    3,505
    The problem that I can see is that this older boiler will not contain a lot of the safety controls needed to eliminate the liability involved with putting a new burner in it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Broomall, PA
    Posts
    391
    It's got all you need, a high limit, and you can climb in and clean it. Not to pile on, but ya need a new boiler, although you won't get 75 years out of the new one

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    7

    Boiler

    Thanks for all your comments.
    My plan is keep this until I have to get new one.


    STEVEusaPA
    It's got all you need, a high limit, and you can climb in and clean it. Not to pile on, but ya need a new boiler, although you won't get 75 years out of the new one*

    It still works with oil. When will I see a return on my investment on a new boiler, Oil or Gas?


    Today, 02:13 PMwahoo
    The problem that I can see is that this older boiler will not contain a lot of the safety controls needed to eliminate the liability involved with putting a new burner in it.
    What Liability is that?

    Today, 01:44 PMbeenthere
    Better off getting a high efficiency gas boiler
    High-Efficiency Gas is NOT a good choice for Hydronic Radiant Heating apparently.

    Today, 01:44 PMBaldLoonie
    1948? Sure looks way older than that. I wouldn't put a penny in it. 60% efficient is likely being generous!

    Would that be 60% efficient with Gas or Oil or Both? If I'm getting 60% efficiency with oil now, what have I got to loose?

    Today, 01:42 PMwahoo
    You're talking about finding a contractor who'll install a new gas burner into a boiler originally installed in 1948? I can't imagine what the efficiency would be on that old of a boiler, but I'd be surprised if it was 60%. Why would you not just go ahead and install a new high efficiency boiler which would be much more efficient?

    I am paying about $3500 annually on oil.
    In how many years will I see a return on my investment on a new boiler, Oil ($5,000) or Gas ($7,000)?


    More Comments Welcome.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Broomall, PA
    Posts
    391
    I think you got all the comments you need, don't you? You can do some basic math and see it makes sense. If you need to be more convinced that replacing a 60% efficient boiler wont give you a return for your investment, more comments aren't gonna help. Get a competent professional in there, do a complete heat loss, with primary/secondary piping, outdoor reset, and a modern boiler (gas or oil), and he/she will tell you how fast your payback will be.
    Dont know how you came to this conclusion-"High-Efficiency Gas is NOT a good choice for Hydronic Radiant Heating apparently".

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by STEVEusaPA View Post
    I think you got all the comments you need, don't you? You can do some basic math and see it makes sense. If you need to be more convinced that replacing a 60% efficient boiler wont give you a return for your investment, more comments aren't gonna help. Get a competent professional in there, do a complete heat loss, with primary/secondary piping, outdoor reset, and a modern boiler (gas or oil), and he/she will tell you how fast your payback will be.
    Dont know how you came to this conclusion-"High-Efficiency Gas is NOT a good choice for Hydronic Radiant Heating apparently".
    Since you're interested, I got the information from the Natural Resources Canada at http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/equipment/heating/12244

    "A condensing boiler can have an AFUE rating of 90 percent or higher. But in practice, condensing boilers in hydronic (hot water) heating systems can have difficulty achieving this efficiency."



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,935
    Quote Originally Posted by AWill View Post
    Since you're interested, I got the information from the Natural Resources Canada at http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/equipment/heating/12244

    "A condensing boiler can have an AFUE rating of 90 percent or higher. But in practice, condensing boilers in hydronic (hot water) heating systems can have difficulty achieving this efficiency."



    If you have cast iron rads. A gas condensing boiler will save you the most on your heating bill, as far as new boilers go. they like any other boiler must be installed properly.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    God's country - Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Posts
    348
    [QUOTE=AWill;14067881]Since you're interested, I got the information from the Natural Resources Canada at http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/equipment/heating/12244

    [B][I]"[COLOR=#000000][FONT=Verdana]A condensing boiler can have an AFUE rating of 90 percent or higher. But in practice, condensing boilers in hydronic (hot water) heating systems can have difficulty achieving this efficiency."

    If you'll read the quote a little closer, you'll notice that it it doesn't say that a high efficiency boiler is a bad choice for high temp hydronics it says it "can have difficulty achieving" its efficiency rating. The reason for this is simple: the lower the return water temp to a mod/con, the higher its operating efficiency will be. If it's hooked to a high temp system where the return water temp is constantly above 140*, it won't be in its condensing mode and the efficiency will drop to about 88-90%. If the return water temp is below 110*, then its efficiency will be 97%+.

    A mod/con comes with outdoor reset. This feature adjusts water temp to match the load: i.e. the warmer the outdoor temp, the lower the water temp. You only need 180* water when it's 0* outside. The Nation Resources statement doesn't account for this and is in that sense inaccurate about a mod/con. Outdoor reset allows the mod/con to run in condensing mode the majority of the heating season resulting in a boiler that's operating well above 90% most of the time.

    Regarding your current boiler: it's doubtful that its efficiency was at 45% when it came out of the crate. And, that's a 1920's boiler. Someone may have brought it in from a previous house when yours was built. It's a gravity flow that may have been converted to forced flow. So is your system which is actually good news: they operate very efficiently with lower temps that mod/cons like vs. the higher temps required by baseboard.

    Do yourself and your wallet a favor and install a good mod/con. I would not put a dime in what you've got.

    Also, make sure you choose a good hydronics pro: that's far more important than the brand of boiler.
    Bob Boan


    ​You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,675
    I had a 1973 Cutlass with a rocket 350 in it and an Eldorado Bench Black leather seat.
    It had 3 on the tree. But the floorboards were rotted out and I used stop signs to keep the flintstone
    effect from taking place. One day I just decided it was time to put her to rest, There wasn't any sense in putting more money into that car.

    You probably could find someone to install a power burner in that old beast of a boiler.

    If that is what you want to spend your money on.....Hey who are we to tell you different

    You did want our opinions I think

    I would upgrade myself

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    new jersey
    Posts
    246
    The AOP forums/Ask Our Pro's forums, are restricted to only Pro members that have been vetted by the AOPC can post advise, questions or commentary in a thread created by someone else. You need to apply for your vetting/* if you wish to participate in threads in the AOP forums. Please apply to the AOPC today, thank you.

    You can find the rules for posting and qualifications here.
    Last edited by beenthere; 08-27-2012 at 07:04 PM. Reason: Non Pro * Member

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