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big al
Heating boiler replacement

I currently have a 3 zone tankless hot water oil fired burner system which I am planning to replace. Some current contractor estimates suggest Burnham, Weil-Mclain or even a German Viessmann product( more on the costly side). Any suggestions of which branc is more reliable? Thanks

Re: Heating boiler replacement

Please check the previous post "choosing between gas & oil boiler" for basic info on recommended boilers, adding insulation now to your exterior walls & attic if you need it, and getting 5 estimates from local contractors & oil dealers.

The previous post also has sites where you can do a heat loss calculation to find out the proper boiler size you need.

Burnham is an excellent line & recommended; Viessamann is top of the line, condensing 3-pass boilers, but at cadillac prices.

If you intend to stay in the house for many years I would go with these two top brands, as their efficiency rating is ~95% for gas-fired models, & in the high 80's for oil-fired.

Many Weil-Mclain models have elastomeric seals in the combustion chamber that have been causing leak problems.

There are plenty of tried & true cast iron boilers on the list that cost less than Viessmann & Burnham, yet should last for 2 decades & will also allow you to realize a 25% to 30% drop in fuel usage over an older boiler to be taken out.

These include Crown, Peerless, utica, Biasi, Dunkirk, Triange Tube, Buderis and others; these are all excellent mfgs that have been around for many years.

If you stay with oil you can expect only 85% to 88% efficiency, which is still considered high for a standard cast-iron $1700 boiler; this is because #2 fuel has a lot of sulfur & can't be used to date in most condensing boilers; things are changing, as low-sulfur fuel is starting to come on the U.S. market.

Gas-fired boilers will produce ~95% efficiency & require much less periodic cleaning (natural gas is easy to condense in the combustion chamber & thus burns more efficiently); the trade-off is that condensing gas units are more expensive, & more complicated & tend to need more periodic service calls.

In conjuncion with a new boiler, you should definitely include an indirect hot water heater (for the showers/tap water); this unit is run off the boiler piping & thus doesn't burn any fuel on its own.

Good indirects are made by Triangle Tube, Crown, Burhnam, Buderis; these have a stainless steel interior tank which is more efficient; a lower cost, adequate brand would be Amtrol's Boiler Mate.

Check out the site below for a more complete list of Energy Star boilers that give their btu ratings, fuel used, model numbers, etc; scroll down the page & click onto "boilers" in the yellow 4 box square.


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