Home>Discussions>INSULATION & HVAC>Gas Boilers - any advice and what to get?
6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Gas Boilers - any advice and what to get?

I'm looking at changing out a 30 year old boiler to a more efficient gas boiler. I have baseboard hto water throughout my 100 year old house.

To start I had a home energy assessment done. They advised I up my attic insulation and also recommended a Weil-McClain Ultra 3 boiler. Upping the insulation was a no brainer, but I'm a little stuck on what boiler to go with.

I've met with 3 other HVAC companies who have all said I would never recoup my costs by going with a high efficiency boiler. They say the added upfront costs won't pay for themselves within 10 years. They are all pushing a 82% +/- efficiency simpler model instead of the 93% efficiency Weil-McClain Ultra being pushed by the company that did my energy assesment. I also see some scary reviews on the Weil-McClain Ultra 3's and their very poor quality/customer service. I'm now heading toward decision paralysis. It's a big investment and I don't want to replace my 30 year old reliable inefficient boiler with a new high efficiency expensive system that might break down the first year and every year after.

Can anyone offer some unbiased advice for me?

Re: Gas Boilers - any advice and what to get?

What's the efficiency of the current boiler? IF it's only 30 years old, it might be 80% efficient and not worth replacing until it starts having major problems. The 10+ year payback could be right.

How high are your bills? The attic insulation might cut them by as much as 10% depending on how much insulation your have now.

The biggest savings will be from air leaks. Did they do a blower door test? How leaky was your home and did they identify where you where the biggest leaks were?

You mgiht be able ot retrofit an outdoor temperature reset with your current boiler. IT's a devide that lowers the water temp when it's warmer outside and raises it when it gets colder.

Re: Gas Boilers - any advice and what to get?

I'm with motoguy. You'll get the most bang for the buck by making sure your house is properly sealed and insulated. Since it's a boiler, you shouldn't have to worry about sealing air ducts. Besides that, you'll probably be more comfortable.

Once you've completed weatherization, give it a year or two and see how your energy bills change. Once you know what your bills will be with weatherization, you'll be better able to determine what your energy savings will be by upgrading to a more efficient boiler, and with that you can determine the payback time. If the payback time in energy savings exceeds 1/3 of the expected life of the boiler it's probably not worth replacing at this time unless your utilities provide significant "green" credits on your utility bill for upgrading.

You also have to consider maintenance and repair costs and fluctuations in energy prices. Since these can be hard to predict, your payback time should be significantly less than the lifetime, hence the 1/3 rule.

Re: Gas Boilers - any advice and what to get?

Thanks for the advice. The current boiler is 70% efficient, at least that's what they said on the last check.

There's a government program that pays $4000 and offers a 0%, 10 year loan toward the new boiler and/or insulation as long as I improve efficiency by 25%. I'm told that adding insulation in the attic and changing to a high efficiency boiler will bring me to 25% and qualify me for the program. So it seems that I either pass on the program or change out the boiler.

Do you think it's worth doing that now or waiting for the existing boiler to finally go?

Re: Gas Boilers - any advice and what to get?

Im curious about new boilers also. Neither one of us ever had a boiler and now that we bought this new house we have one. We are converting from oil to gas, they ran the line, now we have to get a new boiler before they will turn on the gas and connect us... with that said, we have no idea what boiler to get. We are also in NJ and have no idea even who to work with. Any suggestions would help. thanks

Re: Gas Boilers - any advice and what to get?

I don't have any experience with boilers and I'm not familiar with any of the manufacturers, but I have a cousin who moved to NJ some 12 years ago, and replaced his oil unit with a gas unit.

This is what he did: he asked around, you know neighbors, friends. When he was determined to make the switch, contacted several installers. Finally contracted the installer with the references and the one he felt most comfortable with. Pricewise he was in the middle range. The installer recommended the unit, came in, and did it in one day. He also recommended a pumper to haul the left over oil away.

BTW, working with the oil supplier wasn't easy. It's the supplier which has tanker trucks with the word "integrity" stamped on them in big letters. My cousin claimed that he was bilked and cheated on quantity and price every time they came around. They blamed the exessive billings on "leaks".

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.