How to convert oil boiler to electric (house water heating system)

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Hi,
My house is heated by an oil boiler (furnace). The boiler heats water and then a circulator pump circulates the water all over the house to the baseboards.
Is there a way to / Do you know anyone who did something similar to this before: -Make a hole in the boiler -Insert an electric element -Connect the element to an aquastat -The boiler would now be electricity heated!!!
Another way to do this I thought of: -Buy a small (tank) water heater -Put it next to the existing oil boiler -Take the input and output pipes of the oil boiler and connect it to the input and output of the water heater.
This system would work like that: -The water heater would keep the water hot -The circulator would start when the thermostat says so -The circulator would bring the hot water all over the house until the heat goes up in the rooms and the thermostat shuts off the circulator.
Any ideas? NeilSanner
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I've never seen it done, but I suppose if the boiler has a plate where a domestic coil would go, an element could be fitted into it. It would have to be pretty high KW to equal the oil burner BTU output, and of course controlled by a contactor attached to the aquastat, but it could work. You could also do it with a heat exchanger as you describe, but it's a bit more complicated.

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Yeah. Don't do it.
There is no way you will get the recovery rate of oil-fired with an electrical element.
A lot of people are getting ideas like that because the price of oil is so high. If you want to go electric, you'd be better off putting electric basboard heaters in all of your rooms (providing you have enough amperage in your panel, which you probably do not). That would be cheaper than trying to heat the water in the boiler fast enough to make a hot water baseboard system keep up with the demand.
If you want to save a little on your oil bill, try a more efficient boiler OR have a plumber install an electric water heater and tie the lines into the boiler's domestic lines (isolated with gate or ball valves) . Then in the summertime (or non-heating season) you can get your domestic hot water from the electric unit and turn your oil-fired boiler off completely.
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Just loosely calculating what I'd need for the equivalent electric BTU output of my 156500 BTU boiler and it comes to 191 amps @ 240 volt. I don't know if you'd actually need the full BTU capacity though

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RBM wrote:

Your 156500 BTU/hr furnace is probably only delivering only 80% in terms of indoor heat so 150 amps may be a better limit. Do it and watch the pole transformer smoke.
It's getting close to the point where electric heat will make sense. Here, at 15 cents per kw-hr its only 58% more than #2 oil. And, I get almost 100 sq ft back into my shop if I take out the oil tank.
Boden
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yeah BUT much electricity is generated by oil and natural gas, so electricity will continue to go up in price. you will find they are kinda lockstepped together.
better move is likely insulation
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Help me out here. What does that make the price of oil in your area?

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RBM wrote:

3.17/gal
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A 15 kW ( 51,000 BTU) electric boiler would draw roughly 65 amps, a comfortable number for most 200 amp services and even many 150s. In terms of heating capacity, 15 kW x 24 hrs/day = 360 kWh/day -- the same amount of heat as 41 litres or 10.9 U.S. gallons of fuel oil at 82% AFUE.
For a conventional size home that's reasonably well insulated and air sealed, 180 kWh/day when combined with other internal loads (i.e., lighting and appliances) should be more than adequate. If someone requires more than twice this amount, they likely have bigger problems to address. Even at a constant -20C/-4F, my 2,500 sq. ft. home tops out at 150 kWh/day and, again, part of this would be met by those other internal loads.
In my case, I pay $0.1067 per kWh for electricity, which works out to be the equivalent of heating oil at about $0.94 a litre/$3.50 per U.S. gallon (82% AFUE) -- that's pretty much a wash at today's prices. However, for an older boiler with an AFUE of 70%, the equivalent cost is a little less than $0.80 a litre or $3.00 per U.S. gallon. If I had to replace my oil-fired boiler and I had sufficient panel capacity, I'd go electric in a heart beat.
Cheers, Paul
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On Sun, 27 Jan 2008 08:43:54 -0800 (PST), neilsanner

Neil: A standard water heater doesn't have the capacity. They can typically heat about 30gals per hour. Your system probably has more water than that in the pipes so within a minute or so of the circulator pump coming on all the hot water is used up.
A tankless water heater can put out about 3gals a minute but is going to use around 100 amps to do it. Still probably not enough to keep up with demand and it is going to cost you more in electric than it would in oil.
Steve
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Since we don't know why you want to change to electric we have to make a few guesses. Some will be wrong and will not apply. It might be helpful if you can provide more information on what you would like to accomplish.
There are many variables, but it is unlikely you will be able to operate on electric as cheaply as oil, even with the increases in oil prices. Keep in mind that electric is likely to also go up as a result of the increase in oil cost. Contacting your local electric and oil providers may be helpful in obtaining cost information. Cost can vary from year to year.
I would chose to not convert your existing system, but simply add an electric system. That will offer you more flexible options. You likely will be able to target heat better so you can reduce electric usage by allowing the bedrooms to go cooler during the day and heating only those areas that you need when you need them. That is not impossible with a hot water system, but more difficult. It also means you can have electric this month and then switch back to oil next month if the cost changes. You also will have a backup if the oil truck can't make it.

...
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Joseph Meehan

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Since you don't know the difference between a boiler and a furnace, I doubt you have the skill to do a major conversion like that. No, you don't drill any hoes in boilers.
Hint: Boilers heat water; furnaces heat air
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Ed,
You'll never educate non-HVAC people of that. They are always going to call a boiler a furnace. Actually, the dictionary does not specify whether a furnace heats the air or water:
furnace [ frn?ss ] (plural furnaces) noun
Definition:
1. enclosure producing great heat: a device in which heat is produced by burning fuel either to warm a building or to undertake an industrial process such as smelting metal.
Another pet peeve: Hot Water Heater.
It's a water heater. Why would you heat hot water?
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The term "boiler", while most commonly use, had some problems too. In a steam system, the water does boil. But it a hot water system, like the OP clearly has, the water only gets heated, not boiled.
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On Jan 28, 9:44am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

..
I think some boilers can be used for HW heat
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The term "boiler", while most commonly use, had some problems too. In a steam system, the water does boil. But it a hot water system, like the OP clearly has, the water only gets heated, not boiled.
Right. But look up the word boiler in the dictionary. It contradicts everything.
I don't care. A hot air unit is a furnace and a unit that heat water for heat is a boiler.
and a donut without a hole, is a danish
nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh..........
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Cost of electric heat will eventually = oil cost to heat a home. Our oil fired HWR system kicked the bucket and we installed an oil / wood burning combo (http://www.kerrheating.com/products/K4C_SS.htm ). It's the cats ass. And with my summer cottage sitting on 21 acres of harwood forest I'm laughing. The cherry / oak and ash deadfall gets me enough to do a year. With an additional woodstove on the main floor I bet I have oil in the tank from last year. If you have a cheap supply of firewood available I would reccommend this set up.
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just for the record.............
with firewood you collect it, cut it, split it, stack it, then carry it in the house burn it, and carry out the ashes. if you must haul by truck add fuel costs for that.
now whats the value of your time? plus any fuel used, like chainsaw gas, oil, and hauling vehicle costs plus depreciation, like extra miles
you might find out a part time job is more effective use of your time, than all that firewood handling........ might be less work too
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Sigh
It's enjoyable excercise. Outdoors in the fresh air, on my own time. Beats sitting in a gym peddling an excercise bike and going nowhere.
if you must haul by

At the cottage every weekend. Truck and trailer goes along whenever I'm up there.

3 people at it. We are able to "process" one cord a weekend. Truck carries 1 cord. Use 5-6 cords a year - you do the math. By May month it's all done.

Nope. If I worked a part time job on weekends? I'd rather be boating and trouting at the cottage from May to October as opposed to slinging coffee or stocking shelves at Wal Mart. What would you rather do? As well I make a tidy sum selling hardwood to the woodturners guild which easily pays for any overhead.

Naw. I enjoy it. I don't have to do it so it's not work. Now - go turn up your thermostat.
- Hide quoted text -

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