Options to replace oil boiler

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Ctreefer

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Located in southern CT. currently have 30+ yo burnham oil boiler with indirect water heater. Looking to get away from oil for some time. No gas at street. 2 60 gal propane tanks for pool heater that hardly gets used because propane is also freakin expensive).
Heater tank just sprung a pinhole leak so money needs to be spent.

Had one company come out this morning and another tomorrow to provide options. Curious what everyone thinks of the suggestion by todays estimator.

Replace 180K boiler (3 zone) with properly sized modulating propane boiler and install new indirect water tank.

Replace outdoor AC unit (single zone) with modulating heat pump. Note that current ductwork for AC located in unconditioned attic doesn’t cover the full footprint of the house. No vents in basement or ground level room as these usually stay pretty cool in summer anyways. She suggests the heat pump could serve as single zone heating and cooling for most of the house and when temps drop too low, the propane boiler could provide the necessary heat to warm the three zones based on thermostat demand. We also burn wood in our Avalon Olympic stove and typically burn through about 1.5 cords per season to help reduce oil consumption and that would continue to reduce propane demand.

So far only got a quote from her for the replacement of the tank (burnham AL 50 gallon indirect) at $4,660 which seems a bit high to me.

A couple other points of interest. She didn’t recommend replacing current tank style with heat pump water heater. Said due to CT high electric rates and high cost of units it would take some time to recover the cost.
We go through about 800 gallons of oil per year plus 1.5 cords of wood. Ceiling has been insulated to 30” or more and as many openings as I have been able to find from living space to attic have been sealed. Rim joists are also sealed but only about 30% of exterior walls are insulated (brick house with plaster walls has kept me from tackling that). 2,300sqft split level ranch.

Look forward to any input.
 

Fitter30

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Call your electric company ask if they offer a energy audit with a blower door test. There are fed tax break and maybe state.
 

Ctreefer

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Good question. So two years ago I did use that service to come in and do the negative pressure test along with reviewing improvements I can do to the house. I’ll have to dig for that document but if I recall the number from the fan test showed my house was about average for the age and size of the house for incoming drafts which surprised me as I had done a lot to try and resolve this. Can only wonder how bad it was before I made my attempts at sealing.
 

Fitter30

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When a electric company does a blower door test under a energy audit also adds some rebates. Their not trying to sell u a product. Windows and doors make a big difference if u haven't upgraded. First thing noticed " noise" the lack of. Ups truck pulls up can't here them. My thought about upgrading just like insulation pay for me now or pay forever if you are going to live in the house for more than a few years.
 

Ctreefer

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Good question. So two years ago I did use that service to come in and do the negative pressure test along with reviewing improvements I can do to the house. I’ll have to dig for that document but if I recall the number from the fan test showed my house was about average for the age and size of the house for incoming drafts which surprised me as I had done a lot to try and resolve this. Can only wonder how bad it was before I made my attemptsb by
When a electric company does a blower door test under a energy audit also adds some rebates. They’re not trying to sell u a product. Windows and doors make a big difference if u haven't upgraded. First thing noticed " noise" the lack of. Ups truck pulls up can't hear them. My thought about upgrading just like insulation pay for me now or pay forever if you are going to live in the house for more than a few years.
yes, windows are cheap replacement windows probably 20-30 years old. Double pane, but lots of the weatherstripping is rotting and hardware is garbage. They’re on my list. I’ve replaced the worst offenders but still have 18 more to go. I replaced all the exterior doors after we moved in 15 years ago with fiberglass insulated doors that have good seals.

After the test I tried to think of other areas that I haven’t addressed. My guess is most of the air leakage is coming from the basement and windows. I didn’t get to all the rim joists and we have a couple holes in the concrete floor. One is for sump pump and other is access to footing drain line where I have an open 4” drain that leads out to storm drain at front of house. While I did install a sewer check valve on the inside start of the line, there is water flowing through it pretty much year round so the flap is partially open year round allowing a decent amount of flow through it. I opted to leave the hole open so I can monitor flow rate but have been thinking about covering it with a clear piece of plexiglass to stop the airflow
 

John Gayewski

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I like the idea of getting a modulating boiler with the heat pump. It's currently the standard plan for replacing heating systems. The heat pump can do a lot of work on the heating, but for those times when it can't, your boiler fires up. I would be prepared for your boiler to get fired up a lot though. Without ducts to your spaces the heat pump isn't going to make a bunch of extra heat that will make it to those spaces. The layout of everything will make a difference with this, just don't be surprised if your boiler works more than your thinking at the moment.

If you do the new boiler be sure it can be easily changed out (which in sure any boiler they use will have the ability) to change to natural gas if the opportunity arises to have it run to your home. I think all of them can change between gasses with different a orafice and programming, and it may be possible to convert your oil burning boiler to propane although we don't use oil in my area and I don't know all the ins and outs of this.
 

PeterDux

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I wrestled with exactly this problem a few years ago, including not having natural gas on my street. I considered switching to propane to get a modulating boiler, but that would include buying (and locating) a much larger tank so I could spot buy the propane to control its high cost.

I did Dana's BTU calculations and ended up buying the smallest oil fired boiler I could find, which was less than half the size of the original boiler in the house. My oil consumption dropped dramatically, and the house is much more comfortable because the baseboards are warm more often (outside temperature reset controls the water temp to the baseboards). Despite my oil dealer insisting the boiler was too small, It's performed beautifully. Right now it's 15F out and the house is warm and comfortable.

You can see my thread here: https://terrylove.com/forums/index....iler-sizing-in-se-ma.81532/page-2#post-663825

I would have loved to get away from oil heat, but other options seemed they would be more expensive, not less, and the house would be less comfortable.
 

John Gayewski

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I wrestled with exactly this problem a few years ago, including not having natural gas on my street. I considered switching to propane to get a modulating boiler, but that would include buying (and locating) a much larger tank so I could spot buy the propane to control its high cost.

I did Dana's BTU calculations and ended up buying the smallest oil fired boiler I could find, which was less than half the size of the original boiler in the house. My oil consumption dropped dramatically, and the house is much more comfortable because the baseboards are warm more often (outside temperature reset controls the water temp to the baseboards). Despite my oil dealer insisting the boiler was too small, It's performed beautifully. Right now it's 15F out and the house is warm and comfortable.

You can see my thread here: https://terrylove.com/forums/index....iler-sizing-in-se-ma.81532/page-2#post-663825

I would have loved to get away from oil heat, but other options seemed they would be more expensive, not less, and the house would be less comfortable.
Good point on the sizing. Probably 90 percent of heating systems are oversized. People do this because they don't know how to actually figure out the correct sizing and just replace what was already there and then go a little larger "just in case".
 

PeterDux

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The original boiler was 151K BTUs, and the replacement is 77K BTUs. And I've added a 730 square foot suite over the garage since the house was built. I would like to have gone smaller, but there really isn't much available. The original boiler would frequently very short cycle. This one doesn't do that.
 

Fitter30

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Nozzles are sized at 100 psi most are run up to 160 psi. Someone could check pressure and adjust burner - 10% and not worry about it.
 
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