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Thread: Need advice on Boiler selection

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member jlajewski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Hooksett NH

    Default Need advice on Boiler selection

    Home heating system replacement--any advice on selection would be appreciated

    I am looking for advice on replacing a failing heating system in residential home in Southern NH. Here are the details:
    30 year old oil fired boiler with tankless coil for DHW.
    115,000 btu
    appx 3000 sqft--and tight
    consumes only about 600 gallons of oil a year
    The distribution system is forced hot water base board (about 210 linear feet of finned), 4 zones that will not be replaced.

    I am trying to decide:
    1 Does it make sense to switch to propane
    --cost effective due to the added cost of need for chimney liner?
    --lower maintenance costs
    --Higher efficiencies (offset by lower btu output
    2 direct vent condensing boiler--there is no low temp demand such as radient flooring
    3 which brand would be best suited/best bang for the buck
    --Buderus and Viessman have good reputation and higher claimed AFEU, but are they worth the premium price
    I would also like to add outdoor reset controls and an indirect HW tank.

    Looking for a cost effective solution, mainly between oil and Propane, and between brands/models. which ones have better realized efficiencies, less service issues, cost effectiveness, etc.
    I welcome all advice from experienced professionals

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    The first thing is, without a good manual-j heat load analysis, you're shooting in the dark. Going by the info you gave is not enough to get a WAG. Now, you can get a WAG, or better than that, by using the oil used/verses heating degree-day info, but it is only an approximation (usually, upper bound). A condensing boiler may or may not be a good choice. You have a misconception about the low temps...with an outdoor reset and a properly sized and installed condensing boiler, you only need higher temps on a really cold day, and the thing is likely to be able to condense a good portion of the time. The hassle is with four zones, if only one is calling for heat, your heat load is likely to be below the minimum of even a modulating boiler which affects any boiler's efficiency. Adding an indirect WH as a zone does NOT constitute a good reason to make a boiler larger. Size it properly, too for the anticipated load, and you should never run out of hot water or notice any degradation of comfort in the house.
    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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