Buderus vs. Weil-McLain boiler, and expansion tank question

I have a 50 year old, 1100 sq foot ranch house, with about 70 feet of baseboard hot water radiators. Our boiler has failed and needs to be replaced. Glad that I can deal with this in the summer and not have an emergency situation in winter. I live in SE Wisconsin.
I have several quotes, and they all focus around two brands of boilers: Weil-McLain and Buderus.
I am getting the impression that the Buderus is better made than the W- M, though maybe I'm being led to that impression (i.e. maybe the Buderus dealers are better sales people than the Weil-McLain dealers). My best quote for a Buderus is about $1000(US) higher than the best quote for a W-M, for a comparable (cast iron with similar AFUE) boiler.
Is it worth it to spend the extra money for the Buderus, or is the W-M a better value for the money?
Also, we currently have an expansion tank with no bladder. I have been told that tanks with bladders tend to have bladder failure after ten or twelve years and then need to be replaced, whereas tanks with no bladders last for decades. Am I likely going to be OK staying with the tank that I have, which probably was installed when the house was built?
Thanks for your interest and I look forward to learning more about these two brands of boilers.
Mapleman
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mapleman wrote:

From what I've seen the Buderus units are higher end than the Weil-McLain. In general I'd say the better WM units should be more than adequate for your application.
As for the expansion tank, the bladder type may fail and need to be replaced every decade or so, where the non bladder type need to be drained at least every year since the air charge gradually gets absorbed.
If you have the boiler serviced annually and they remember to drain the expansion tank each time it should be fine. Since any new installation generally gets a bladder type tank I expect you'd likely have times where you get the new guy for service who doesn't know about servicing the non bladder tank and resulting issues that winter.
Pete C.
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"In general I'd say the better WM units should be more than adequate for your application"
Is there a way to tell the better WM units from those that are "less than" better? The units we are considering are natural venting. The WM is a model CGa-3. The higher efficiency forced venting cost a couple grand more, and we only spend about $700/year on heat. Savings would amount to $70 to $80 per year at current gas prices so a high efficiency unit would only be worthwhile if gas prices increased by a HUGE amount.
Regarding water heating, either the Buderus or WM can accomodate it heating DHW. We currently have a ten year old Sears hot water heater, naturally vented up the same chimney as the boiler. I figure when it starts to give us problems I will consider at that point whether to buy a new water heater, or put in a tank that is heated by the boiler.
Thanks for the feedback, guys. My instinct was that the WM was the better way to go unless there was a compelling reason to go with the Buderus. Though I guess I could always approach the Buderus dealer and see if he could come down on his price.
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If you plan to live and die in the house either boiler will do. Save the money and go with the WM. ALso while your at it, take a look at how you make hot water. If you have an indirect stay with it. Tkae the extra savings by going with the WM and put this into a good indirect hot water tank. If you currently have a tankless setup, then I would seriously look into a boiler with an indirect setup.
As for the issue with the expansion tank, take the one with the bladder. If they fail, which I have never seen, they are very inexpesnsive and a DIYer can change it. To determine if the bladder has failed, feel the bottom of the tank. It should be cool when working and HOT when failed. To change it out, take the pressure out of the system and unscrew. Then screw in the new one. The tanks come precharged so you don't have to screw around with them.
-paul
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Paul Flansburg wrote:

I wouldn't consider the extra expense and floor space of an indirect fired HW setup vs. tankless, unless I actually had a problem with insufficient HW from a current tankless setup. If you're running out of hot water during showers, look at an indirect, otherwise save the money and put to more productive use.
Pete C.

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wrote:

When we had a new boiler put in, which came with a bladder expansion tank, I asked the plumber to leave the old expansion tank and install the new one as well. Don't see what the down side is to this.
--
Peace,
BobJ



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I have a 22 year old weil mclain steam boiler that worlks well

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The Buderus is new in the U.S. so it's hard to guess how long it will last. Personally, I'm not to keen on their placement of the controls in relation to the burner. It makes wiring them more difficult than necessary. I think they're making plumbing outfits great deals, so they can push a lot of product

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