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View Poll Results: What would be YOUR top pick?

Voters
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  • Weil-McLain's UG-230

    1 11.11%
  • Peerless PUREFIRE PF-210

    0 0%
  • Prestige Solo 250

    1 11.11%
  • Other (please, follow-up with details)

    6 66.67%
  • Buderus

    4 44.44%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Most popular boiler brands?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member mi's Avatar
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    Question Most popular boiler brands?

    Hello!

    I'm sure, most of this is a matter of personal taste -- much like with cars. But still, some brands are superior to others... I need to pick a boiler, that will be in charge of both keeping the house warm (about 120K BTUH worth of cast iron fixtures throughout the 5000+ square feet and the domestic hot water (via an indirect tanks).

    I'm currently choosing between:
    1. Weil-McLain UG-230
    2. Peerless Purefire PF-210
    3. Prestige Solo-250


    The Weil-McLain has the advantage of five year parts and labor warranty -- the other makers only warranty their products for one year. But Weil-McLain's boiler is 5-to-1 modulating, whereas the other two are fully modulating and thus a little more efficient.

    Is there something else I should be considering? What would you pick (vote) and why (follow-up)? Thanks a lot for any advice.

  2. #2
    DIY Junior Member Salesdog's Avatar
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    I chose the prestige from the list, I have installed a few of them, they were very easy to install, worked flawlessly with a snow melt system, indirect hot water, and infloor radiant heating system. As fas as waranty it has a 10 year limited waranty, I would be skeptical that the 5 year isnt actually limited as well...
    I dont have any experience with the other two...

  3. #3
    Pipefitter/Plumber Jon-J's Avatar
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    You should also check out either the Buderus and Viessmann line of boilers. They both use the triple pass design to boost efficiency up to 86% for oil fired burners.

    Have installed over 10 of each of these in the past 8 months and though both are excellent choices, the Buderus is my choice since there is also an indirect water maker that the boiler sits on for space savings and a clean installation. The VR series Viessmann does not have the indirect water maker mounted below. The higher end Vitola 200 does but it is more suited toward a full radiant heating system and is quite pricey compared to the VR1.

    The Buderus also has its own controller (Logamatic $1200) but you would be money ahead to install a Tekmar 260 outdoor reset ($375) controller instead. The 260 basically uses an outdoor sensor to modulate the temperature of the boiler water based on outside air temp. No need to heat your boiler to 180F when 130F may be enough to do the job saving you money in the long haul.

    http://www.buderus.net
    http://www.viessmann.us/
    http://www.tekmarcontrols.com/litera...robat/p447.pdf

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member mi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon-J View Post
    They both use the triple pass design to boost efficiency up to 86% for oil fired burners.
    Our source of energy is gas. Would you vouch as much for gas-burning Buderus and Viessmann boilers? We are shooting for above 95%-efficiency... Thanks!

  5. #5
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    2 votes Buderus. They don't come any better

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member mi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Griffin View Post
    2 votes Buderus. They don't come any better
    That's a strong endorsement, Peter. Thanks! I notice, Buderus is German-made (they are a brand owned by Bosch). Are any of the boilers on my list made in the US, or are they all China-made anyway?

    Also, which of Buderus models should I be considering for my application (high efficiency gas-burning boiler for both heating and domestic hot-water -- via an indirect-heating tank)? The GB142/60, or something else?
    Last edited by mi; 10-26-2009 at 08:25 AM. Reason: rephrase for clarity

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member MAoilTech's Avatar
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    Buderus hands down

  8. #8

    Default boilers

    You should also check out the "RAY" boiler by Mestek. It is a scaled down version of thier commercial units. These are condensing gas boilers.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member jham123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mi View Post
    Are any of the boilers on my list made in the US, or are they all China-made anyway??
    Not sure about your boiler list, however, I invite you to come to Santa Ana, Ca. and watch an Ajax boiler be produced right here in the USA.

  10. #10
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Viessmann but if you are just looking at those 3 the Prestige isn't a bad unit...

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member Unclesalty's Avatar
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    I am at the same crossroads, 4000 sq foot 3 zone home, just purchased in may 20011, never had oil before and never want it again, 35 year oil oil boiler with coil for hot water,I have my choices narrowed down to ultra 230, TT solo 250, or the one I am leaning towards after a lot of reading, Buderus GB 142 60, all w/ IDWH,the only thing that has me hung up is the aluminum heat exchanger, I think from what I've been reading the SS is better, very confused.

  12. #12
    Master Hot Water Mpls,MN BadgerBoilerMN's Avatar
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    Size matters.
    Does it make sense to get 5 bids for a new boiler and get 5 different sizes quoted, two of which are the same model and manufacturer? Don't you wonder why? The answer is 4 of heating contractors don't know what they are doing...but which four?

    Choosing a new boilers is not about the boiler brand, warranty or popularity, it is about the man that specifies, installs and services the boiler. As it pertains to high efficiency condensing boilers, choosing the proper boiler based on size and features, outweighs all but the installer, whom can often best recognized by his attention to the details that matter.

    For instance, the contractor with the smallest boiler is not necessarily taking advantage of you any more than the contractor offering the biggest boiler might be doing you a favor. Much of my work is consulting with people who simply bought the wrong man and are stuck with the boiler de jour. I will say that for residential boiler work the low bidder has almost always made a mistake, either in his job cost or the what the job requires. I would be hard pressed to award any residential work to the low bidder.

    I have installed all of the boilers mentioned in this thread with great success, but have also repaired, re-piped, re-programmed and even replaced each of these boilers, depending on the quality of the installation. All condensing boiler are available with extended warranties, so they are of little value, as many problems associated with high efficiency boiler systems do not manifest themselves for 5-10 years, at which point a new boiler or expensive repairs are the only viable options.

    It would be great if the average homeowner could pick and choose his own boiler the way he might buy a new car. Unfortunately the experience one gains by owning and riding in many cars is not available to him. By contrast the average heating contractors (dedicated to hydronic heating) has the invaluable resource of a local distributor who works with many contractors, manufacturers and boilers. With a few phone calls your local heating contractor can get current, candid information about any boiler from someone who sells truck loads of boilers every year. For instance one can find out if a lifetime warranty is worth the paper/.pdf it is printed on.

    It may also be that a certain brand is well supported in one area by manufacturer's rep, distributor or local contractor but just across the state line no such support/service exists. When I manufactured the first condensing boilers, this was my greatest challenge.

    So, to answer your question. Find a contractor that can produce a sample of a proper heat load analysis and perhaps a factory certification from ANY condensing boiler manufacturer. This simple achievement is a good sign that your boiler man is committed to his craft, high efficiency boiler technology and ultimately your safety and comfort.

    The aluminum vs stainless steel controversy is silly. Both are serviceable, well proven and well accepted boiler manufacturing technologies, here in and Europe, much like steel and aluminum car engines. Again, the contractor is the key ingredient in any successful high efficiency boiler system installation. Whereas it may be true, that a condensing boiler featuring a stainless steel heat exchanger (there are several common varieties of SS used) is more idiot-proof than the equivalent boiler featuring an aluminum alloy heat exchanger; is this really the standard you seek i.e. can any idiot can install this thing. I assure you they cannot.

    http://www.badgerboilerservice.com/boilerchoice.html

  13. #13
    Master Hot Water Mpls,MN BadgerBoilerMN's Avatar
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    Install a lot of "RAY" boilers HistoryGuy?

  14. #14
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unclesalty View Post
    I am at the same crossroads, 4000 sq foot 3 zone home, just purchased in may 20011, never had oil before and never want it again, 35 year oil oil boiler with coil for hot water,I have my choices narrowed down to ultra 230, TT solo 250, or the one I am leaning towards after a lot of reading, Buderus GB 142 60, all w/ IDWH,the only thing that has me hung up is the aluminum heat exchanger, I think from what I've been reading the SS is better, very confused.
    Seriously, all of these boilers seem oversized for a "typical" 4000' house in NE PA.

    What BadgerBoilerMN says is true- size really matters, and smaller is almost always better (for efficiency comfort and cost.)

    With any reasonable history on oil use, and a more exact location (NE PA is different if you're on a mountaintop vs. a low-lying valley nearer the coast) it's possible to put an upper bound on the output requirements based on fuel use per heating-degree-day data. If your oil supplier stamps a "k-factor" the billing that's effectively the same information (only it's heating degree-days per gallon.) From fuel use during an all heating-season period between fillups the whole-house heat load at design temp can be determined with higher precision than a Manual-J type heat loss calc, and even a single annual fuel use number can get you pretty close. Unless this is a sprawling uninsulated leaky barn on windswept ridgetop I'd be stunned if your design condition heat load was anywhere near the 198KBTU/hr output of the Buderus GB 142 60, or the 183K output of the Ultra 230, or the 194K Solo 250. In fact, it's probably less than half that.

    And the more zones you have it cut up into, the more problems you will likely encounter from being way-oversized. It wouldn't surprise me if the current boiler was 3-5x oversized for the design condition load and running at 65-70% efficiency when it could be running at 80-85% if perfectly right-sized. The high mass of the boiler may mask some of the oversizing issues, but the oversizing will still show up on the oil bill.

    Get legitimate contractors to run a real room-by-room heat loss calculation for you (and expect to pay for it). An example of what ISN'T a heat loss calc (not worth the money, even if it's free) would be the oft heard, "Lessee, ya got 4000', times 35BTU a foot, comes ta 140K- bump it up 40-50K just to be sure." , since that would reliably oversize it by at least 2x every time. In a reasonably tight house with decent insulation and storm windows (or double-pane) it would be surprising if your heat load at +7F (the 99th percentile heating design temp for Scranton) was much more than 75-85K, in which case with the Buderus you'd be good down to about -120F (which may have actually occurred during the coldest night of the last ice age, but maybe not. ;-) )

    Apples to pears- I live in an ~89 year old house in central MA with ~2200' of fully conditioned space (3600' if you count the insulated basement that stays in the mid-60s all winter) and my measured heat load at +7F is between 30-35KBTU/hr. Before I started tightening up the place it was closer to 45K, but at that time it had literally NO wall insulation, and major air leaks & thermal bypasses (and still has some work to be done.) With the heating system as currently configured it's radiation constrained, and can't put out more than ~43K, but it cruised through -10F weather last year without losing ground. The boiler that I scrapped a few years back had an output of about 130K, so I was good for the next ice-age too, eh? :-)

    Dig up the phone numbers of the distributors for these boilers in your area and call THEM for recommendations on heating contractors. They know more than anyone who is installing them in any quantity, and who spends hours on end wasting the time of the tech-support people. Then work your way through the list of installers- those who talk about doing a heat-loss calculation without being prompted move to the head of the line, but get more than one proposal.

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