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I have an original boiler, installed in 1955, and have considered the possibility of converting the system to solar. Any ideas on feasibility, price, etc.?
I would think it would take a pretty large solar collector to heat that volume of water moving through the system. Not to mention that the higest heat demand is generally after the sun goes down.
I would agree with JLMC.
As it stands now, most solar systems are designed to provide domestic hot water needs for a house.
I assume your post is also about the frustration we're all feeling about sharply rising energy costs.
Insulation of the exterior walls (R19) and the attic (R40) would be the first step in making your house fuel-efficient.
All exterior walls and the attic MUST have as much insulation as possible blown in.
If you happen to live in the southwest or similar mild climate for most of the year, there are solar panel/ radiant systems that usually have a propane heater backup that can be used; you can Google "solar boilers" to read about these systems.
Could you advise what part of the country you live & if you have natural gas service, & the total square footage of your house.
The most efficient heating systems for the average house remain gas-fired condensing furnaces or boilers, which are ~95% efficient.
Since your boiler is 50 years old, there have been considerable design improvements in recent years.
It could well be that your present boiler is only 50% efficient, which means that 50% of your heating dollar is going right up the chimney.
If natural gas is not available in your area, propane or #2 fuel oil will allow you to get a low-cost cast iron boiler that is ~85% efficient, which is light years better than what you have now.
If you live in more southerly regions, then a heat pump may be an option, which may cost less.
The first step is to do a heat loss calculation to determine what size boiler you need.
Please post back.