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Thread: Boiler replacement questions

  1. #1

    Default Boiler replacement questions

    Apologies if these have been answered previously... I'm looking to replace my old Weil McLain (probably 20+ years) primarily to cut down on heating bills, and have been talking to several contractors and getting several conflilcting messages. Hoping someone here can help clarify these points. Current setup is a 3-zone, gas-fired, hot water boiler, and a relatively new 75 gallon water heater, both vented through a masonry chimney. Questions:

    - Are Utica boilers better quality than Crown?
    - If I install a chimney-vented boiler, do I need to line the chimney?
    - If I install a direct-vent boiler and keep my existing water heater, do I need to line the chimney?
    - If the chimney liner answer is yes, then would it make sense to replace the water heater with a direct vent model as well and not have to pay for the liner?
    - Should I go with a 3-pump system rather than using a single pump and 3 zone valves?
    - If I go with zone valves, should I replace the existing ones (old, but working)?
    - What other options are important? I've been quoted things like back flow prevention, air elimination, low water cut-off, automatic air damper...

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by levinale
    Apologies if these have been answered previously... I'm looking to replace my old Weil McLain (probably 20+ years) primarily to cut down on heating bills, and have been talking to several contractors and getting several conflilcting messages. Hoping someone here can help clarify these points. Current setup is a 3-zone, gas-fired, hot water boiler, and a relatively new 75 gallon water heater, both vented through a masonry chimney. Questions:

    - Are Utica boilers better quality than Crown?
    - If I install a chimney-vented boiler, do I need to line the chimney?
    - If I install a direct-vent boiler and keep my existing water heater, do I need to line the chimney?
    - If the chimney liner answer is yes, then would it make sense to replace the water heater with a direct vent model as well and not have to pay for the liner?
    - Should I go with a 3-pump system rather than using a single pump and 3 zone valves?
    - If I go with zone valves, should I replace the existing ones (old, but working)?
    - What other options are important? I've been quoted things like back flow prevention, air elimination, low water cut-off, automatic air damper...
    Thanks in advance.
    - Are Utica boilers better quality than Crown?
    You can research each online and make your own judgement OR call a plumbing supplier and ask the ins & outs on each - go to the source (Burnham, Weil McClain are good "production line" mainstream boilers, but not familiar with those two...likely not easily shipped in my area)
    - If I install a chimney-vented boiler, do I need to line the chimney?
    Not in my state, but local code trumps all else.
    - If I install a direct-vent boiler and keep my existing water heater, do I need to line the chimney?
    YES, OR it will have to vent through the houses exterior...CANNOT vent in the same place as a draft (natural) vented water heater, you'll also need a place for the air intake to breach the sill (foundation)
    - If the chimney liner answer is yes, then would it make sense to replace the water heater with a direct vent model as well and not have to pay for the liner?
    You'd be better off getting an indirect that runs off the boiler as a seperate zone IF you're willing to switch heaters. You'd have to vent each seperate, when one kicks on it would backdraft into the other
    - Should I go with a 3-pump system rather than using a single pump and 3 zone valves?
    I suggest that...imagine all three zones kick on at once with only one circulator...slower flow, OR say the circulator fails...you lose only one zone, or you lose all three till the plumber gets there.
    - If I go with zone valves, should I replace the existing ones (old, but working)?
    Yes, but read above...the price shouldn't differ too much on Zone valves vs circulators.
    - What other options are important? I've been quoted things like back flow prevention, air elimination, low water cut-off, automatic air damper...
    ALL those things you just mentioned are standard for boilers, necessary "dressing" for the boiler.
    MAKE absolutely sure they get permits pulled...this way you know it's done right and don't have to worry about a million things you don't understand.
    Also, the gas co may offer rebates on high efficient boilers...also on indirect water heaters...they offer substantial rebates in my area.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  3. #3
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by levinale
    Current setup is a 3-zone, gas-fired, hot water boiler, and a relatively new 75 gallon water heater, both vented through a masonry chimney.

    The same chimney? As grumpy pointed out, they should be vented separately.

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