this is my first post to this forum.
i live in the philly area. i have a 1994 peerless WB-04 oil boiler with a becket burner and cast iron radiators (water). (peerless informed me that the WB is the same as the WBV). the domestic water is from a summer/winter hookup.
my oil tank is on the way out, and rather than replace it, since the cost of oil is so high, i am planning on using that money instead to convert to natural gas.
i am getting conflicting opinions from different contractors. here is a summary of the two competing approaches:
* new gas boiler (crown natural draft)
* indirect water tank.
* keep the WB-04 boiler
* replace the burner with a gas power burner (midco EC200)
* indirect water tank
* outdoor reset temperature compensator
* about $3000 dollars cheaper
on the face of it, approach (2) seems better for these reasons:
* a lot cheaper
* possibly a little more efficient
* doesn't junk a perfectly good boiler
* leaves open the option to go back to oil if that looks better in a bunch of years
I have a lot of questions.
(a) the gas boiler guys claim that the retrofit won't be efficient while the power burner guys say it will be just about 1% worse than the oil burner (which is 85% AFUE). if this is true it would still be more efficient than the gas boiler (82% AFUE). (plus the temp. compensator should improve things even more). anybody have insights on the efficiency of a gas power burner in a WB-04?
(b) the power burner guys say i will need a "barometric vent damper." I already have an "atmospheric damper" in a T in the vent that swings in on a strong draft. apparently a barometric damper swings both in and out. Why do i need it to swing out?? isn't that going to put exhaust in my house?
(c) i understand that the temperature compensator regulates the system's water temperature based on outdoor conditions. but, to me, this will only smooth out the system not actually save BTUs. The only way i can see it saving BTUs is by not losing as much heat out the vent (loss radiated from the boiler is not loss as the basement is a living space). are temperature compensators intended to save energy by reducing vent loss?
(d) if a temperature compensator works, why doesn't everybody have one?
(e) the gas boiler will have a mechanical vent damper to close the flue when not burning. that seems like a much better way to save energy from escaping out the vent. can i use a mechanical vent damper instead of the temperature compensator on my WB-04?
(f) the oil burner is loud. will the gas power burner be quiter?
thanks so much,