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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    12
    Hi
    I am considering converting from an oil boiler to a hi-efficiency gas boiler that can be side vented. Are these boilers reliable in the long run? Since I have an old 1800 sq. ft. centre-town house in the Ottawa area (Ontario) that uses cast iron radiator system (130 °F), my second question is how common is the Trinity boiler in older cast-iron heated homes. Is there an alternative that I should also consider?

    thanks in advance,
    John K

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Central Kansas
    Posts
    1,145
    With a supply temp of 130, you should see a Trinity or other condensing boler operate at optimum efficiencies. Lower temps such as these are better for this type of equipment. We have installed Trinity boilers with successful results. Your primary concern must be that the installation instructions are followed to the letter - no matter which condensing boiler is chosen. Primary/ secondary piping is the key to success with a condensing boiler. Well detailed instructions accompany these fine machines. The Trinity comes with outdoor reset which is so important to savings and is usually an option with most other boilers. As for long-term, not many condensing boilers have been around very long. Therefore, it is really up to a quality install and proper maintenance to make any condensing boiler last. Greg

    [Edited by greg swob on 03-22-2005 at 07:53 PM]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    150
    Greg's advice was on the money. Most major boiler manufacturers (Buderus, Weil McLain, Munchkin (Peerless), Burnham, etc) make condensing boilers (look for modulating feature, also). Reset controls help maximize efficiency.

    Again. most important is to have quality installer who is experienced with these high-efficiency units, and can provide future service on your specific boiler. These are not your grandfather's standard Cast Iron boilers!

    Be sure to have an accurate heat load calculation done to ensure proper sizing, and be sure to discuss with contractors your heating priorities (efficiency, comfort, zoning, DHW, etc).

    BTW - Why is it you are supplying only 130F to CI radiators? Is your home over radiated (too many emitters)or is that how the boiler aquastat is setup? That temperature will create condensation in your boiler (very bad) - and may be the reason you need to replace it in the first place.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Central Kansas
    Posts
    1,145
    ps- I was wondering the same? In over-radiated homes like those with new windows, insulation, etc. we have lowered supply temps, but not that low. I've gotten some costomers through with say 155 or a little less, but 130 seems low without seeing load calcs. But, at 130 the Trinity Ti will shine! I'm doing some proposals for Ti's as water heating sources for a laundry facility and apartment complexes, adding Superstors. Alternate is high eff. commercial water heaters. They're about the same price once you add in circulators, Xpansion tanks, etc. The Ti-200 is ASME rated, so that should help keep inspectors happy. Greg

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    12
    Thanks again for all your advice on the Trinity boiler. I have some further questions. My house is an old two story house with 10 radiators with basically 5 on each floor.

    I have talked to three HVAC contracors with experience with these new boilers. One insists that the secondary loop grundfos pump(for the cast iron radiator system) be on all the time during the heating season. Another stated that secondary loop pump should be controlled by the furnace and only run when there is demand for heat. And the third said that it does not matter in that either way is OK. What is the preferred method? Does continuous circulation during the heating system have a negative impact on the longevity of these pumps, lets say 10 years down the road?

    I am also considering getting the Trinity combo that has a heat exchanger for domestic hot water. All three contractors recommend using a small holding tank (resevoir) so that the hot water will be immediately available. Is this combo unit worth the added expense? Since the Trinity furnace must now run all year does it require "extra" servicing?

    Last question (for now). Is it acceptable to put a grill on the side venting to prevent birds (etc.) from blocking these pipes?

    Thanks again

    PS. My radiator temp varies from 130-140°F. My old cast iron boiler is about 45 years old. I just need to get off oil.








  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Central Kansas
    Posts
    1,145
    To answer your first question: I have to admit I havn't studied constant circulation enough to understand what all the advantages are. My opinion- I wire the secondary circ to operate only during heat demand, but I would have to lean toward your 3rd contractor's opinion for now. Now to contradict myself, starting and stopping any mechanical device wears them out more than just long run times (city driving vs. highway- which gives your car better fuel economy and which wears components out quicker?). If your radiation is designed properly there should be little chance of short cycling causing undue wear and tear.

    Next, I have no personal experience with the combi model. We have always installed an indirect water heater when DHW was part of the system. Due to the limited hot water production volume, it seems to me that most families will gain far more from a properly sized indirect. Without a buffer tank, there could be a long wait for hot water at the fixtures needing it. Without a water softener, I would advise against the combi if your water has much mineral content. The heat exchanger can build up with minerals after time and either not transfer much heat or eventually block off. My manuals are not here, but you will want to have the combi's hot water production compared with your home's hot water needs. If you have garden tubs, do lots and lots of laundry and have multiple teenagers showering at once, the combi might not produce enough hot water for your needs.

    Servicing- if your fuel is LPG, NYThermal says to have the heat exchanger cleaned annually. If NG, clean it 2-3 yr intervals. NYT is going to or maybe already has come out with a cleaning device that sounds like it will make quick work of much of your maintenance. Annual or at least bi-annual service is such a good idea anyway, no matter what brand of HVAC equipment you have. A trained eye can very often spot trouble before it starts. But just like a check up at your doctor, there is no guarantee you won't get hit by a bus or have 'the big one' just after you leave the clinic.

    The Trinity is a well outfitted small mass boiler in my opinion. No need to buy optional outdoor resets and special controllers except in certain situations. It seems to be a lot of boiler for the money. We have only been installing them for a short while so our long term performance is still to be seen. I like how they recently reconfigured the layout of components for service and installation. They listen to contractors and are a good firm to do business with. We are also blessed with a hard working manufacturer rep in our area. Whatever they pay him, Joe earns every bit of it - I enjoy working with a guy like that.

    Finally, there is a bird screen that comes with the Trinity. I have seen these same plastic screens on other brands and over time they get brittle. So, yes, a screen is a good idea- check codes in your area and the install instructions. I suggest the vent should terminate so it can be seen or accessed readily. No screen will prevent wasps for example from building a nest and plugging it off. Greg

  7. #7

    NTI boiler installation in Ottawa, ON Canada

    Looking at this post and I am interested in an NTI boiler but I am having a hard time locating qualified installers of this brand. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

    Thanks

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,601
    If you can't find a dealer listed on their website in your area.
    Its probably a bad idea to have one installed.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

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

  9. #9
    BITAMP - if you want to send me an email I have names of people who install NTI systems in Ottawa (including two who are highly recommended). We are in the process of looking at having a Matrix System installed in a complex house in terms of heating - replacing a 30 year old oil furnace in a late-19th century house which has a 1990s addition heated by electric baseboard!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Buffalo NY
    Posts
    3,144

    Cool

    I just wanted to add my 2 cents on reliability of NTI trinity boilers. I have installed about 25 of these units and they work great if they are piped properly. I have went on several calls where the unit was installed by another contractor and the piping was not installed correctly and causing serious problems. Just make sure your contractor installs the appropriate loops and sizes his pumps correctly, If you get a company recommended by NTI then you should not have this problem.
    Join http://scopeny.org/ Shooter’s Committee on Political Education

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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    4
    Hello Ottawa1880,

    I came across this thread when I was googling for information about the Trinity T1 gas boilers -- wanted to know who sells and installs in the Ottawa area. I was very happy to find your post, and would greatly appreciate it if you could send me the names/contact numbers of the highly recommended people you know in the area. (My email is with my profile.)

    I was also wondering what your advice was on this NTI system versus the Matrix System you mention in your post.

    My situation:
    We have a hot water heating system in a house that is about 70 years old. My ancient oil furnace has a fuel tank which has just been "red-tagged" for change before next season -- and I would like to move to a high efficiency gas furnace (boiler?) with an on-demand hot water system. A few years ago, my neighbour (we are in a semi- and our furnaces were the same type) purchased this tiny-footprint Trinity TI gas furnace -- she likes it, but thought the people who installed it were very expensive and suggested I look around. They had recommended people to remove the old furnace because it was covered with asbestos -- she paid $2,000 for removal -- and was disturbed to see that the workers were not even wearing any protective masks or clothing.

    Any advice you can offer would be much appreciated!

    Many thanks,
    JoanM
    Last edited by JoanM; 07-10-2009 at 08:16 AM.

  12. #12

    Trinity Boiler Install Ottawa

    Hi,

    Just joined cause i have new t150c to install and looking for good tech rep who will work with me, noticed you were looking for good trinity reps/contacts in Ottawa and I would truly appreciate same...

    Cheers,
    sporting111

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by sporting111 View Post
    Hi,

    Just joined cause i have new t150c to install and looking for good tech rep who will work with me, noticed you were looking for good trinity reps/contacts in Ottawa and I would truly appreciate same...

    Cheers,
    sporting111
    Hi Sporting 111,

    I'm partway through getting on-site visits and quotes from 3 Trinity installers in the Ottawa area (and one Viessmann for comparison, who turned out to be pushing Baxi). If you email me I can give you details and impressions so far, as well as some from another homeowner who emailed me with his experiences.

    It is getting quite confusing, however, particularly with what to do about on-demand hot water (combi alone or with additional storage tank?). Do you have experiences with an installed unit? I am getting conflicting advice from the contractors I have been talking to.

    Maximum flow rates should not be an issue for us, even given Ottawa avg inlet water at 43 degrees F in February -- we don't tend to draw a lot of hot water at the same time from appliances, showers, sinks, etc. and would not likely exceed the flow for Trinity's ability to get to max heat.

    I can also live with an initial extra delay for continuous flow as in a shower (right now to clear the pipes to the 2nd floor takes us about 30 seconds anyway; an *initial* doubling or even tripling this time would be fine ... when my toes tell me water is to temperature, I will turn on the shower).

    However, from what I understand, the combi unit, like all tankless hot water heaters, will stop heating when the flow stops or gets below a minimum (about 0.5gpm) -- which will cause delays and a "cold water sandwich" problem in the pipes for intermittent usage (i.e. turning the tap on and off, like in the morning for brushing teeth, shaving, washing face, etc., or hand-washing dishes with on/off rinsing). We do this type of intermittent thing a lot.

    There is a "Storage Feature" I read about in the July 2009 Trinity manual (feature came in sometime after the 2007 manual) which can be set to leave the heat exchanger on when flow stops (for 1 to 24 hours). Don't quite know what this will result in wrt eliminating delays or maintaining temperature ... and the folks who have come to give estimates that I have talked to so far gloss over this (I got the impression they can't really give an opinion, don't really know).

    Given this storage feature, I don't know why a full 40- to 60-gallong tank is being advised to handle intermittent usage. Doesn't having the tank defeat the purpose of an "on-demand" system? I also want to get away from storing all that water and having the added footprint in our small basement -- part of the reason for choosing a small wall-hung boiler in the first place.

    I am told that with the combi unit, hot water from the boiler enters the hot water tank and the amount of energy required to keep that hot water to temperature is minimal, compared to cold water coming directly into the hot water tank and having to be brought up to temperature ... so the additional energy and costs would be minimal. Argh!! What to do?

    Anyway, please email me and I can "name names". I had also emailed NTI and have a list of local wholesalers who I was told could give me recommendations for local contractors. You might want to try this route as well.

    Regards,
    JoanM

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