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Thread: Questions; gas/oil, chimney, hot water.. ??

  1. #1

    Default Questions; gas/oil, chimney, hot water.. ??

    Hi all,
    I'm in the process of buying a fixer house.

    I am up for some major outlays; want to try and make sure I do the most cost effective thing possible. I apologize for my rookie questions here but I'm not sure where to start.. I would appreciate your suggestions/opinions on what you would do if you had to start over with new systems.

    Here's what I have now:

    - Weil Oil furnace 55+ years old. Still works but I'm sure the efficiency is terrible, and it's probably on its last legs.
    - Hot water coil runs off the furnace
    - Oil tank (basement) is probably same age as the furnace; not leaking yet but it's not in good shape and probably needs replacing very soon.
    - Combination of HW baseboards and radiators
    - brick Chimney that supports furnace + fireplace in living room.. Unlined.
    - I live in the northeast (CT)
    - 1600 sf Cape

    So.. I'm thinking about:
    - New furnace (hopefully something efficient with current energy prices).. Should I switch to Gas? stay with Oil? (Gas is available here)
    - Hot Water -- Coil? Tank? Electric tank?

    Considerations -
    - if I stay with Oil, I need to replace the oil tank ($$)
    - If I go with Gas, do I need to line the chimney? ($$) Do I need to line it anyway for a new oil furnace? (ignore the fireplace issue for now, I'm not intending to use it unless I get the chimney done)


    Many thanks!

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I'd go with a mod-con gas boiler. These can be purchased with mid-90% efficiency. The nice thing is that they can adjust their output to match the load. Having the heat on constantly, but at a low level is the most comfortable, and when the boiler runs at a low level, it is more efficient than it is when at full output. Then, get an indirect WH, which uses the same, high-efficient boiler for the heat, but gives you fast recovery and no flow restrictions if you want to fill a tub, or have multiple taps running at the same time as you'd get with the in-boiler coil.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    From some horror stories I have read, the very first thing you need to do when you start this project is REMOVE the oil fill from the side of the house. The oil companies deliver without notice, and there have been cases where they delivered 250 gallons of oil onto the basement floor!


    You will probably have to deal with the tank, one way or another. Water tends to collect right at the bottom of the tank and rust through, so you may be in jeopardy of that.

  4. #4
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I second Jimbo's words of advice. This exact thing happened to a friend of mine several years ago. I don't think the oil smell will ever completely disappear.

  5. #5

    Default oh my

    The advice on the boiler is much appreciated... I will look into it further..

    does anyone know about the chimney situation? Do I still have to line the chimney for a gas boiler?

    and OMG re the oil fill - I would not have thought about that, so I REALLY appreciate your mentioning it.. what a nightmare that would be!!

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you go with a high efficiency boiler, it uses pvc plastic pipe and normally, you exit the sidewall of the house rather than using a chimney. It takes so much heat out of the exhaust, that the plastic is safe, and the condensate runs back down to a drain or a pump rather than going up the flue as vapor. So, you'd not need the chimney at all.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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