Hi Everyone, and thanks in advance for any advice or opinions you can offer, and sorry for the length
I live in Northern Illinois (Wheaton) in a 1500 sqft ranch with a basement. We have cast iron raditors throughout the house and newer double pane windows. Our currently boiler is a "ACK-O-MATIC" rated at 160,000 BTU input with a 128,000 BTU output. I've tried to attach pictures of the current unit for reference. We just moved into the house a year ago and had it serviced before winter. The technician noticed that the boiler casting was breaking up (leaving a rusty dust pile which is referenced in a picture below). I imagine the unti wont last much longer, but who knows, it looks to have lasted a long time allready.
I had a installer out to give me a couple of quotes. He quoted 3 products.
1) A Dunkirk MDL PWXL-5ENG2 140,000 BTU (Base Price)
2) Burnham Series 2 130,000 BTU ($458 over Dunkirk price)
3) Triangle Tube Solo 110 ($3253 over Dunkirk)
When he was here, he took measurments, counted the number of baseboards and number of windows. Based on that information he said he calculated the load based off a Manual J. I know from reading the forum that the Manual J is the best method, but I dont know how to go about doing the calculation. Did the installer look at the appropriate areas to make a good calculation? He said he used a -10 degrees for the chicago metro area.
Without giving specific of the pricing, the Triangle Tube is more expensive than the Dunkirk by a good margin. However i can use rebates to bring the price off the Triangle Tube to $853 over the Dunkirk. So it makes the Triangle Tube a more interesting option. I've heard that the condensing units dont work as well with Baseboard heating because of the high temps needed, is this true?
Also, if we went with the Triangle Tube, I might consider adding a zone for our hot water needs. Can this be done at a later time, post install? Do i need to install a larger unit?
Based on the above information and the below pictures, would the smart choice be to upgrade, or will the below boiler last another 10 years. I dont expect exact numbers, but on average how much savings would i gain by switching to the Triangle Tube. THe wife likes the house kept around 72 in the winter.
Lastly, is there things i need to consider that i might be overlooking.