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Thread: replace boiler?

  1. #1
    I have forced water baseboard heating and no money but am trying to deal with rising fuel costs. My boiler (1960 American Standard) came with my single story Massachusetts house but is still burning at 78% efficiency. I did have some repair problems within the past year and my oil dealer, with whom I have a maintenance contract, is recommending replacement. I have a separate water heater, 1 zone and used 1100 gallons of oil last year. My downstairs is currently unheated but we'd like to get it finished at some point and that would obviously include heating. What do you think? Replace or no? If yes, what's a ballpark fair price? TIA.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    697
    It would take you 10 years or more to get your money back.

    The AFUE of your boiler is probably around 60-65% because of the stack losses when it is not firing. New 80% AFUE boilers are more efficient mainly because they have automatic flue dampers to stop the heat from going up the stack when the boiler is not firing. An automatic flue damper can be added to an existing boiler, but it may not be legal to do so.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    483
    Don't forget the building envelope, ie insulation and windows, these will have a faster payback. The 78% efficiency is combustion efficiency and not AFUE efficiency. Replacing the boiler with a modern one plus some building upgrades will cut your fuel usage.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    654
    1100 gallons of oil is alot for a typical house.....but if the house is over 3000 sq ft, about on target. Alot depends on your lifestyle and what temp you like it at. That being said, no doubt a new oil boiler will save fuel. How much is very hard to say without really looking into the state of what you have now. Biggest savings come by replacing windows and other sources of air leaks, boiler changeouts come just about last on the list actually. Leak-free windows add comfort, something a new boiler will never do.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Westlake, Ohio
    Posts
    2,470
    You either have a really big house or your boiler isn't running as good as someone is telling your. It is easy to misfire a burner a make it read higher efficiencies when in fact it may be operating half that good. A new burner should be the only thing that you should consider because the old burner just can't perform to todays standards. Do you know what the BTU's your boiler is rated and what size oil nozzle is being used?
    captain CO

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,084
    78% is how efficient the burner is after the unit is fully warmed and at its peak. Annual efficiency is the more meaningful number and yours is likely as low or lower as Panama said. An oversized boiler, which most are, may not run long enough each cycle to get to where it is burning at 78% combustion efficiency. Also considerable off cycle loss hurts old boilers too.

    Best bet is to call another dealer to have a look see. Go over to http://www.heatinghelp.com and go to their find a pro or contractor locator. They have some hot shot oil boiler guys on there who may be able to get you doing better with the current boiler or could help you come up with the best bet in a replacement.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Westlake, Ohio
    Posts
    2,470
    Originally posted by Panama
    It would take you 10 years or more to get your money back.

    The AFUE of your boiler is probably around 60-65% because of the stack losses when it is not firing. New 80% AFUE boilers are more efficient mainly because they have automatic flue dampers to stop the heat from going up the stack when the boiler is not firing. An automatic flue damper can be added to an existing boiler, but it may not be legal to do so.
    Just wondering who makes an oil fired boiler with a flue damper as standard equipment? Haven't seen any! Oil equipment has always had a higher efficiency rating than gas because of the fan on the burner stops at the end of the cycle and restricts the flow of air through the boiler.
    captain CO

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,666
    Most people in our area use 1000 gals. per year.
    But our electric bill in the summer is low because the AC doesn't run much either. Kind of evens things out a bit.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,666
    I'd change the boiler out just because it'll spring a leak in the heat exchanger soon. 45 years old is really pushing it. Plus the repairs on that old beast get to be costly.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,910
    Do improvments to the house, and change out the boiler .

    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    1,996
    It will take years to get the outlay back, but you will save on fuel and avoid the risk of a failure during the middle of winter. Not having any money: don't expect the highest tech boiler.

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