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Thread: Budgeting the installation of a high efficiency gas boiler in Boston

  1. #1

    Default Budgeting the installation of a high efficiency gas boiler in Boston

    I want to know if I should proceed here, or if I'm just wasting HVAC contractor's time in getting this re-quoted:

    Last weekend, I started thinking about having a modulating/condensing boiler installed in Boston. I have forced hot water heating. I conservatively calculated my heat loss at 50k BTU, and read up on boilers. I was optimistic at first, seeing how boilers like the Viessman Vitodens 100 or a Triangle Tube Prestige 110 can be ordered for $3k over the Internet. (Of course, that is not what I want to do -- I want this installed by someone who has done one before.)

    I was surprised to have a HVAC contractor quote the job at $12k for a fairly straight-forward direct venting setup - no indirect DHW tank, one zone. I'm not "cheap" but I just can't afford that right now. I was figuring about half this given the material cost and my expectation of labor costs (10 hours, 2 guys, guesstimating $150/hour per person = $300/hr total).

    Should I bother getting additional quotes? Have other people in the Northeast been able to get this type of boiler installed for around $6k, or is my budget way off?

    (If folks like jadnashua want to chime in, I've read through the old posts and see that you've gone through this in the past -- experience and thoughts are welcome!)
    Last edited by milesjamie; 03-04-2008 at 01:37 PM. Reason: (clarified labor cost guess per jimbo's comment)

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    San Diego


    Not from Boston ( not for the last 40 years, anyway ) but I would more likely estimate the labor at 2 days, $250 per hour total.

    As for the equipment, a contractor has to apply a significant markup on the stuff he sells you, for the simple reason that ....unlike something you buy online.....he has to provide labor for the warranty service. That thing you buy online, if something goes wrong, you PAY someone to come and fix it.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member therinnaiguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Times are tight

    Look into a Munchkin boiler made right outside of Boston by Heat Transfer Products. www.htproducts.com. I have put a number of them in with and without the indirect water heater and my customers love them. They have much of the same engineering as the over priced Viessmann but a typical service technician can troubleshoot any problem. Here in Northern Vermont the average cost of installation (with out the indirect) is a little over 5K. Now that things are slowing down, negotiate a better labor rate.

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    I spent just under $10K for a Buderus and large superstor ultra indirect. A Taco zone controller, and two zones fed (one radiant floor manifold with already installed zone valves and one hydro-air zone). Gas company rebate was $1100. The quote for a Viessman, with more frills, bells and whistles was nearly twice that. I called the guy back to see about removing some of the maybe nice to have, but not absolutely necessary frills, and he never called back. My buget gas payment has gone down by 20%, even though the price of fuel has risen over the last couple of years, and, I'm filling the big air tub more often. The old boiler was no slouch, at a stated 87% AFUE, but since the new one rarely runs at full output, it ends up being more efficient by a fair amount.

    Permit costs and labor rates in Boston would be higher than where I live.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5


    I also priced both the viesmann and the buderus and found the buderus to be a much better deal. I have only heard good things about buderus quality and absolutly love the $125 gas bills for heating, hot water and cooking. My old system was the original massively oversized 1947 crane sunnydays boiler. It was a well built unit but by my calculations it was only about 40% over all efficient in my application


  6. #6


    Thanks for everyone's input. I have decided to get another quote on the job. For any Massachusetts readers, I should also point to www.masssave.com, which has rebate and heating loan information for MA, which makes this more doable.

    At this time, I have a little to add that may explain the Buderus vs Viessman price difference that you guys saw : In terms of the manufacturer cost comparison, I am looking at the Vitodens 100, which is new to the USA last year, and is about 1/2 the cost of the fancier 200. (I know jadnashua didn't have the 100 as an option when he installed based on his date.) I asked a dealer what the difference was, and he suggested it basically boiled down to the controls (the 200 has onboard DHW, multi-zone smarts and the 100 is much more basic -- and appropriate -- for my 1-zone no-DHW job). That all said, there are some further differences not-clearly-listed at the Viessman website (100 has no variable speed pump? Different technology level gas burner?) but they both have SS heat exchangers and SS burner.


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