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New oil boiler
Old 04-26-2009, 05:03 PM   #1
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New oil boiler

I'm looking to replace my 40 yo. oil boiler. The stimulus plan gives a 30% tax credit for oil boilers =>90% efficiency up to $1,500. These are "condensing" type boilers that have some particular installation requirements to them. My question is has anyone on the board recently replaced their boiler and if so with what? If you could give me costs that would be appreciated.
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Old 04-26-2009, 05:22 PM   #2
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Any chance of going with natural gas? At current prices, ongoing fuel price would be cheaper.
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Old 04-26-2009, 05:55 PM   #3
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I second Gumby--if you can switch to natural gas you'll probably save a lot. Plus, if you've got 40+ year old buried oil tanks, you probably have a whole additional set of issues. And, the equipment is less expensive and also requires less maintenance.

Here's a good site for looking at various HVAC equipment and determining the retail cost. They don't have any 90%+ AFUE oil-fired boilers, and neither did the Weil-McLain site (a major manufacturer). They may not be very common yet. The installation varies a lot based on each situation. Since you'll be converting to a high-efficiency unit, the costs will be slightly higher in most cases (not much--the intake/exhaust venting of these high efficiency units is generally easy to accomplish unless there's something very unusual about your house.)
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Old 04-26-2009, 06:51 PM   #4
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I second Gumby--if you can switch to natural gas you'll probably save a lot. Plus, if you've got 40+ year old buried oil tanks, you probably have a whole additional set of issues. And, the equipment is less expensive and also requires less maintenance.

Here's a good site for looking at various HVAC equipment and determining the retail cost. They don't have any 90%+ AFUE oil-fired boilers, and neither did the Weil-McLain site (a major manufacturer). They may not be very common yet. The installation varies a lot based on each situation. Since you'll be converting to a high-efficiency unit, the costs will be slightly higher in most cases (not much--the intake/exhaust venting of these high efficiency units is generally easy to accomplish unless there's something very unusual about your house.)
Thanks for the replies and link. I wish I had the option for gas unfortunately I'm in a rural location that does not have access to NG.

I removed my buried oil tank 5 years ago. Still in like new condition after 35 years.

Only two companies make a 90%+ oil boiler, Buderus and Peerless.

My boiler sits in the front part of my basement so a direct vent would be on the front face of my house. They can vent into a existing chimney but you have to line it with a vent kit. If I move the location to the rear of the house I have to pay plumbing costs to move the zones.

Just looking to see if its worth it to go with the newer unit or just buy a 86% energy star and leave $1,500 on the table.
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Old 04-26-2009, 07:45 PM   #5
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My boiler sits in the front part of my basement so a direct vent would be on the front face of my house. They can vent into a existing chimney but you have to line it with a vent kit. If I move the location to the rear of the house I have to pay plumbing costs to move the zones.
Yes, these fuel oil units high-efficiency (condensing) units have more fussy venting requirements than a natural gas condensing furnace has. With an NG unit you can use separate PVC pipes for the intake and exhaust, which gives a lot of flexibility for runnign the pipes.

Peerless does sell a roof vent kit that does not go through the chimney, if that helps.

Maybe the tax credit will offset the cost of the new venting?

Any chance of installing a geothermal (ground-source heat pump, GSHP) system? A new boiler is probably going to cost a lot, and you'll still have to pay the ever-increasing cost of oil. The tax credits for the for ground-source heat pumps are also 30%. You could get cheap hot water and air conditioning, too. Installation can be expensive, but the switch to a GSHP can make economic sense in a lot of cases.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:10 AM   #6
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I'd go with a non-high efficiency unit. By the time all the special venting, plumbing is taken care of, the tax credit is burned up. Then you are stuck with a high maintenance unit for next however many years you live in that house.
The super high efficiency units are far more complex than standard units.

For example my 10 year old furnace is running at 85 to 86 % burner efficiency. I do not know what the overall efficiency is, or the AFUE. Only change burner nozzles every 2 yrs. And normal cleaning. The controls are relatively simple and robust. I check the flue pipe from furnace to chimney yearly, in four years only a very thin layer of soot, does not amount to a cup's worth in an 8' pipe with 2ea 90 degree elbows, and one 30 degree elbow.

I think an extra 4 or 6 % efficiency increase will not make a huge difference in operating costs. YMMV.
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:46 PM   #7
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Any reason you are not considering propane?
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:55 PM   #8
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I agree, propane would be cheaper and easier to maintain and use........
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Old 04-27-2009, 02:28 PM   #9
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Any reason you are not considering propane?
Retrofit costs and big ugly outside tank come to mind. Don't know anyone who uses it either. Big price fixing controversy last year. Propane dealers lock you in as they own the tank.
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Old 04-27-2009, 04:05 PM   #10
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Just a few propane facts to aid in your decision making. You can buy or rent the tank. If you are rural then perhaps erect a lattice or something to hide the tank. You can contract early before the heating season and lock in a price or take your chances on the market. Almost any forced air model should be easily convertable by changing out the orifices. I generally pay less than NG prices. You can use your existing chiminey without liners. You just need a gas line from the tank to the furnance and a regulator where it enters the house.
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