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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    34

    Confused Help, please! Husband too cheap to buy better boiler

    Hey, guys:
    I really appreciate you all being here.
    We're still obsessing about our boiler purchase. 1700 sq.foot single-level home in upstate New York. Heat load=50,000. BTU. Currently heating with old cast iron oil-fired boiler. Want to convert to natural gas. We have cast iron baseboard.
    We have narrowed down the choice between a Buderus atmostpheric cast iron boiler vs. Buderus wall hung mod/con boiler. Both will be paired with an indirect water heater.
    Difference in installation costs between the two is $3K.
    Is the cost difference worth buying the wall hung? Will there be a huge difference in fuel usage and savings? I would appreciate all you guys familiar with the newer high efficiency boilers to respond. I want the wall hung, husband wants the cheaper, chimney-draft version. Help!! Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    The Twilight Zone
    Posts
    2,964
    Usually, the person that calls another "cheap" is the person NOT spending the money.

    That said, there will be a difference in usage or cost savings only if one unit is more fuel efficient than the other (95% versus 80% for example).

    Good luck to your husband.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    34
    Hi, Gary: As a matter of fact, it is with MY hard-earned dollars that we will be purchasing a new boiler. I am looking for advice on how best to spend my, or should I say OUR money. As a stay-at-home dad, my husband has just as much say in the decision as I do.
    I'm hoping there are some professionals out there with knowledge of the Buderus line who can offer helpful facts without the criticism! There is more to analyzing a boiler purchase than AFUE, especially when comparing modulating condensing boilers to cast iron ones. Any thoughts appreciated!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,516
    with natural gas rates climbing on a regular basis it would be to you radvantage to go with the most efficient boiler you can find

    the wal hung unit even tho i am not fimilar with it sounds to be a good choice in the long run.

    i know the wielmclan ulta is also a good choice 90plus modulating also but again pricey and pay back will take a few years.

    An 80plus cast iron isnt going to save you much more then what you are paying for oil since gas is also climbing

    this is just my opinion only

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    34

    Re: Help with decision about which gas boiler to get

    Thanks, Tinknocker. Advice taken! Any other folks out there able to offer assistance with info regarding which boiler to choose? Gas mod/con or gas atmospheric? What has been the experience of you all out there as to installation and repair of the modulating condensing boilers? Thanks so much.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    1,398
    Go with the mod/con. In addition to the higher AFUE it uses outdoor air for combustion. This equates to an additional savings in fuel since you will not be relying on cold outside air infiltration to supply the burner with combustion air. Tighten the windows and doors, seal the cracks and never worry about a lack of air for the burner.

    Another feature is savings in the summer. It will modulate as needed to make DHW instead of running full fire all the time.
    Climate Control Solutions for your Home or Office

    Serving Northeast Philadelphia and Surrounding Areas

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,841
    Definitely the mod/con boiler. Here's why. The savings are multi-fold and will, over the life of the boiler, dwarf the purchase price.

    1. The boiler is just plain more energy efficient, which is why it is vented with PVC plastic pipe. The reason is that so much heat is taken during the burning process that there isn't enough heat content in the exhaust to create a good draft up a chimney. Also, the water vapor created during the combustion process will condense during venting and it would be harmful to a masonry chimney. So clearly, you're getting the benefit of the heat that would be wasted otherwise to the outdoors via the chimney.
    2. The mod/con boiler can be run at lower water temperatures. If you were to turn on your stove with a quart of water in a pan and a thermometer in the water, log the amount of time it takes to raise the water temperature to 130, then every 10 degrees above that. Observe the fact that the burner is ON during the whole process. Now imagine that you could heat your home at 130 or less degrees for 2/3 of the winter. Can you see the gas you would NOT be using? Figuratively speaking, of course. Gas is invisible.
    3. You state that you've got cast iron baseboard. In fact, cast iron radiators and baseboard are in fact, radiant heat panels and will heat your home at much lower temperatures than the standard, atmospheric boiler can deliver. If a boiler can't handle the acidic condensate (water) formed during the combustion process at low temperatures, then the boiler must be operated (except for start-up) at a minimum of 145-degrees F to prevent corrosion and rotting out the boiler. A mod/con boiler is built with materials that can handle the condensate, hence the modulating/condensing moniker. So using the mod/con with an outdoor temperature reset control, properly programmed, you'll be able to heat your home at much lower water temperatures until the very coldest weather. That can amount to a huge savings.
    4. Because the combustion air is pulled directly from the outdoors through a dedicated pipe, you're not sucking indoor air into the combustion process. That helps to lower the infiltration of cold air into the home when the boiler is operating.
    5. If you want to wave the "green" flag in front of your home, the mod/con will be burning less gas and therefore lessening your greehouse emissions.

    That should be enough reasons. The final one is because your a good American who wants to do something good this contry and the world.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    71
    weil-mclain ultra boiler

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Toledo, Ohio, United States
    Posts
    12,921
    Twilli wants to know who wears the pants in the family?
    No Heat No Cool You need Action Fast

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Beautiful, Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love!
    Posts
    1,120
    I would stick with a stainless steel mod con boiler, my favorite is the Lockinvar Knight, my second choice is Munchkin (cheaper). I know some on this site don't like Munchkin, I am not one of them(could you guess?).

    Water quality can mess up the Weil Mclain Ultra, due to its alumium block. Weil Mclain recommends a corrosition inhibitor in the system water to be installed before startup.

    The real question is "How long are you going to live in this home?" If you move in 5-10 years you will not get a payback. If that is the case install a gas conversion gun in the boiler. The powered gas burner will have a higher efficiecey than a standard atmospheric burner in the Buderus cast iron boiler.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    1,996
    There are other great wall hung mod/con's: Triangle Tube Prestige, Burnham Freedom, etc. Might not cost that much more then the Buderus nat draft.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Beautiful, Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love!
    Posts
    1,120

    What does wearing pants have to do with it?

    :
    Quote Originally Posted by twilli3967 View Post
    Twilli wants to know who wears the pants in the family?
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    294
    I will take exception to the above opinions.
    Figure the difference between the two as 10% efficiency, so the heat cost savings per year would be about 10% of your annual heating bill. My guess is that your heating bill at todays oil prices would be the equivalent of 900 gal oil. @ $3.00/ gal that is $2700 ( I know you have gas and it is cheaper so my arguments are even stronger); so the annual savings is roughly $300. If you do a present value calculation, at 6% rate, my estimate is that it would take 16 years to recover the $3000.
    Accordingly, the miniscule increase in comfort notwithstanding, I vote for the cheaper one.

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