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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Question about chimneys

    Hi,
    I am doing a renovation that requires removing the chimney. Was told to get a direct vent boiler. I want a gas boiler that isn't going to break in the dead of winter, or in 10 years, so I was avoiding condensing. ( plumber uses Bosch for condensing). Plumber is now scaring me saying traditional cast iron w direct vent will have problems bc power vent always breaks eventually and the best thing is to keep the chimney (which I can't do per architect). the unit will be on the side of the house, ie will have same issues as condensing without the benefits; is there some kind of metal chimney they can install on side of house so I can get a boiler with less moving parts? I'm redoing siding so maybe they can box out and side it? Is there a conventional boiler that can get its intake air from outside without power? Also, is outdoor reset reliable on a conventional boiler? Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Beatrice, NE
    Posts
    10,734
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    You can run a flue up the side of the house to a proper height above roof line then build an insulated chase around it to protect it and keep it warm. There is no guarantee that with this set up you will not have an issue with down drafts on the flue in the right conditions.

    As I see it anything mechanical can and will break. From what I have seen properly installed high efficiency equipment does not break down at a much greater rate than standard equipment. With that being the case why not spend the money on equipment that will save yo some money rather than putting money in a tube that will suck heat out of your house.

    One other thing, how are you heating your hot water. A standard water heater needs a flue, an indirect water heater can use the boiler.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    16
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    Thread Starter
    I plan to use indirect hot water heater. I don't know, I don't know anyone who has ever had to replace their conventional gas boilers, but these condensing units seem to have much shorter life spans, plus parts that break, even the heat exchangers break etc. I was looking at Burnham ESC series conventional bc its cast iron and has outdoor reset, but I was told the power vent is what breaks most often in any unit, followed by computer, so there's no point in using this unit? Condensing units have computers, also have power vents too, don't they? If you save money but have to do a lot of repairs and replace the unit every 10 years there doesn't seem to be any savings. I don't think heat should have to be played with, I feel like its something you install once and maintain once a year and should not live in fear of all winter?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Beatrice, NE
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    I really don't do a lot with boilers but have installed a lot of high end furnaces and heat pumps. I really don't have many problems with them, not anymore than the basic units. Yes they are more complicated, but if properly installed work just fine with just as long of life span as the basic model. Maybe boilers are different but properly designed sized and installed they should be just as reliable as anything.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Broomall, PA
    Posts
    3,017
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    You can find a balanced flue boiler that's not condensing that will have the usual 2 pipes thru the sidewall.
    Here's a beauty that will do you hot water too, with or without an indirect. Excellent customer service
    https://energykinetics.com/productoverview/
    If I do a job in 30 minutes it's because I spent 30 years learning how to do that in 30 minutes. You owe me for the years, not the minutes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    16
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    Thread Starter
    Does balanced flue mean it is 2 pipes out the side with no chimney and no power vent? Which model of the energy kinetics does that? I actually asked about these, they said they don't sell them because they're too much money. 90 resolute?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Broomall, PA
    Posts
    3,017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeowner25 View Post
    Does balanced flue mean it is 2 pipes out the side with no chimney and no power vent? Which model of the energy kinetics does that? I actually asked about these, they said they don't sell them because they're too much money. 90 resolute?
    Yes no power venter.
    They probably are more money then the cheapest boiler on the market, but well worth it. Plus they won't just sell it to anyone. And usually the sales rep comes out when it's commissioned (they'll even come out during the install if you have issues). Excellent customer support.
    If I do a job in 30 minutes it's because I spent 30 years learning how to do that in 30 minutes. You owe me for the years, not the minutes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Atlanta GA area
    Posts
    44,189
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    Question from us guys that live in the South and do not have much experience with boilers...

    Is this 'power vent' the OP is referring to... the draft inducer motor... or is it something unique to boilers???

    Curious...
    GA-HVAC-Tech

    Your comfort, Your way, Everyday!

    GA's basic rules of home heating and AC upgrades:
    *Installation is more important than the brand of equipment
    *The duct system keeps the house comfortable; the equipment only heats and cools (and dehumidifies)
    *Cheap is not good, good is not cheap; however expensive is not a guarantee of quality!
    Choose your contractor wisely!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    16
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    Thread Starter
    I believe it is a fan that sits on the side of the house exhaust or the intake vent or both of a conventional boiler (like a computer fan) to keep the air moving in and/or out when there's no chimney. I'm not sure if the condensing boilers have them, I was under the impression from this plumber that they do as well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Atlanta GA area
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    THX for the reply...

    Generally... gas furnaces and tankless water heaters (the latter is a variation of a boiler)... have what is called a draft inducer motor inside them... which either induces a draft (or in the case of condensing units literally pumps the burnt gasses) out the flue pipe.
    These DIM's do fail... it is just one of those things... generally one DIM over the life of the unit is normal, sometimes 2 in extreme cases.

    I would not be afraid of parts that fail... I would be more concerned to be SURE the stuff you are paying to have installed in your remodel... is installed properly. I used to be a remodeler... and learned over time that most subs are in a hurry, few are detail oriented.

    So some study of what you are looking at (hot water for consumption, hot water loop heating, hydronic heating)... you will find there is a LOT more to it than the size of the unit and how it is vented...

    And no, the architect does not always know all the details... as neither does the city code inspector.

    GOOD quality work comes from a contractor that is dedicated to doing quality work... it takes more planning up front... it usually takes longer to get all the details right...
    They are usually the middle/road to upper priced person... as there is more involved in doing the work properly.
    Results are it works better, uses less energy, and lasts longer.

    So yes, folks do get what they pay for... grin!
    GA-HVAC-Tech

    Your comfort, Your way, Everyday!

    GA's basic rules of home heating and AC upgrades:
    *Installation is more important than the brand of equipment
    *The duct system keeps the house comfortable; the equipment only heats and cools (and dehumidifies)
    *Cheap is not good, good is not cheap; however expensive is not a guarantee of quality!
    Choose your contractor wisely!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    16
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    The architect knows nothing and I would expect the same from an inspector. That's why I am here. I'm starting to think maybe I should install the condensing boiler the plumber is most familiar with so i don't end up in hot water with no hot water.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Atlanta GA area
    Posts
    44,189
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    "so i don't end up in hot water with no hot water"

    I like that... may adapt it for sales use... grin!

    Seriously... installation is a significant part of the system...
    If you are happy with your plumber guy... and believe he will be around for the long term (service)...
    Then a discussion of different equipment options... and more importantly, WHY... might be a good idea!
    GA-HVAC-Tech

    Your comfort, Your way, Everyday!

    GA's basic rules of home heating and AC upgrades:
    *Installation is more important than the brand of equipment
    *The duct system keeps the house comfortable; the equipment only heats and cools (and dehumidifies)
    *Cheap is not good, good is not cheap; however expensive is not a guarantee of quality!
    Choose your contractor wisely!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Billington Heights, NY
    Posts
    21,625
    Post Likes
    Quote Originally Posted by Homeowner25 View Post
    Hi,
    I am doing a renovation that requires removing the chimney. Was told to get a direct vent boiler. I want a gas boiler that isn't going to break in the dead of winter, or in 10 years, so I was avoiding condensing. ( plumber uses Bosch for condensing). Plumber is now scaring me saying traditional cast iron w direct vent will have problems bc power vent always breaks eventually and the best thing is to keep the chimney (which I can't do per architect). the unit will be on the side of the house, ie will have same issues as condensing without the benefits; is there some kind of metal chimney they can install on side of house so I can get a boiler with less moving parts? I'm redoing siding so maybe they can box out and side it? Is there a conventional boiler that can get its intake air from outside without power? Also, is outdoor reset reliable on a conventional boiler? Thanks for your help.
    Well the Weil-McLain GV series has been very durable. The inducers last decades. The 90+ will get you condensing with a cast iron exchanger and PVC venting.

    https://www.weil-mclain.com/products/gv90-gas-boiler

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