3 pass vs conventional boilers

I posted awhile back about boilers. I'm still trying to make up my mind. I am hearing a lot about 3 pass boilers. They are slightly more efficient and are said to stay that way b/c they are easier to clean. Are they really a lot better than conventional cast iron boilers? How long have US manufacturers been making them? Is it really that hard to keep a conventional boiler clean if you service it regularly or is this a marketing thing? System 2000 also goes on about how hard conventional boilers are to keep efficient.
Any thoughts? Thanks.
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Three and four pass boilers have been the most efficient in industrial boilers for at least 50 years. It is not really a "new" technology, just being applied to residential.
Regular boilers need cleaning about every 1000 gallons of oil. Gas can go for years with minimal maintenance.
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System 2000 can be difficult to work on without special training, and has a higher frequency of repair than many other boilers. They're not worth the extra money or aggravation. IMO, there's no better system on the market today than the New Yorker FR-HGS boiler http://www.newyorkerboiler.com/frhgs.cfm combined with an indirect water heater like the Amtrol BoilerMate http://www.amtrol.com/boilermate.htm The FR-HGS is a 3 pass, horizontal tube boiler that's easy to clean and simple to work on. The basic design has been around since the 1960s. New Yorker Steel Boiler Co. is owned by Burnham Corp.

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Thank-you. But are they really that much better? I know the 3 pass are easier to clean, but do conventional boilers really lose that much efficiency if maintained yearly? I can't really get excited about a boiler that is 2% more efficient. Why are HVAC guys so excited about these? Also, is it possible for a homeowner to clean a boiler? Where can I find info on this?
Thanks.
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Which boiler are you asking is better? Which boiler are you calling "conventional"? Which boilers are they getting excited about? It's possible for the average home owner to clean his own boiler. It's not possible for him to adjust it without proper training. New boilers don't require as much cleaning, but the adjustments should be checked every year.

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When I say conventional, I mean a pin type boiler. Maybe this is the wrong term. Better refers to 3 pass boilers. the only advantages I see is that they are slightly more efficient and easier to clean. I assume they are fairly new for residential use. I am just trying to determine if they are significantly better than the pin type and why. Thanks.
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Cast iron boilers with the "pins" on them are a pain to clean. The 'steady state efficiency' of any vertical pass boiler is about the same as a horizontal pass boiler, but the 'seasonal efficiency' is not.

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You mean that the pin type boiler becomes less efficient as the heating season passes, but returns to its normal efficiency after cleaning. The 3 pass keeps a more consistent state of efficiency between cleanings if I understand you correctly.
This doesn't seem like such a big deal if you service your boiler regularly.
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A horizontal pass boiler is usually more efficient while running, because it extracts more heat from the flame. They are usually retain more heat when not running, because there is less natural draft to cool it down.

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Thanks. I noticed that the listed efficiency difference is about 2% between something like the Burnham V8 and 3 pass like the Burnham MPO. Is that the only difference in terms of efficiency, or does that figure not tell the whole story. Sorry to beat a dead horse, I'm just trying to determine how significant a difference there is between a pin type and 3 pass boiler. It doesn't really seem like that much. Sorry to beat a dead horse.
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On 25 Jan 2006 12:51:20 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net"

It depends. A closed system burning fual gas will require next to no cleaning.

They each have grown into their own use by popular demand.

Marketing speak like that is always suspect. I don't know the "System 2000" however, that _is_ marketing speak.

Unless you need a boiler for a multiunit dwelling (8-10 + units) cast iron is most likely your best choice. Others hear are very qualified to speak of the better residential brands to look into. Talk to a contractor that does residential and commercial boilers as well if you're on the bubble.
-zero
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