need more boiler help please

I am in the process of choosing a new fboiler for my 1000 foot home, built 1930. Current boiler is 39 yrs old and consumes a lot of oil. There are insulation improvements that need to be done too.
After reading up some more, I found that you need to insulate first in order to size your furnace properly. My problem is that while I definately plan to do that, I wanted to replace the furnace as soon as possible because of the amount of oil it is consuming and the possibility of it having problems getting through the winter. I have a number of projects including replacing back door, insulating floor joists in basement and putting on storm windows upstairs. It is unlikely that I will have the time or money to do all the insulating and improvements before I put the furnace in.
My question is whether it would be possible to properly size the furnace before all these are done, especially if my contractor is aware of the improvements I will be making. Also, not one of the 4 contractors that have given bids have crunched my info through a heat loss equation (that I'm aware of), although the last one crawled all through the house and looked at everything. I just want to replace the stupid thing before it quits and hopefully have oil bills lower than my mortgage payments. What should I do?
Thanks again.
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Do you have a 'summer/winter' boiler that heats your domestic hot water also? If so, are you planning on installing the same type?

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Numbers can be run for future improvements , although oversizing was common for boilers, and you did say boiler as boilers heat water meaning you have radiator heat. Radiators dont suffer the same issues oversizing does with forced air AC. AC oversized cools to fast leaving the humidity, air heat oversized can heat to fast and uneven , although gas flame output can be adjusted few contractors or homeowners do this. Boilers are a slower more even heat to start with. A smaller boiler is cheaper. I think "system 2000" I dont know who makes it , is one of the most efficient boilers made. You dont have storm windows yet! I suggest you look into replacement windows, new glass technology, less air infiltration, and better overall insulating compared to storms make them worth it.
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System 2000 boilers are efficient, but expensive. They just aren't worth the additional money for the amount of oil you save. Technicians also should have special training to work on them.

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if you dont have the bucks right now better to size the boiler for the home today, then insulate in the future. with boilers slightly oversize isnt a big problem and will lerave some capacity for a possible future room addition!
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Right Bob, saving money on efficient equipment isnt worth it you say, its that kind of ignorance that keeps people spending all their money on utilities forever. You forget a few things, one, house value goes right up with improvements that can be proven to save , two, and old unit will need repairing and till be old an inneficient. 3, your house can sell much quicker if its afordable to run, 4, you can afford to operate it. I forgot there are Condensing boilers that achieve 95% efficiency. Ive done these things and in 04 season spent 465 for a years gas on 1800 sq ft Zone 5. down from 2000$. And you Assume gas prices will remane stable for 10-20 years, thats a big joke to Assume. He can cut his utilities 50% with the right improvements and proper research and planning, but he has to do it, few salesmen sells whats best.
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Where did I say that?

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Thanks for the suggestion.

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They do conduct training. Depending on how many you service, it may be worth it to send at least one guy. http://www.energykinetics.com/seminar_schedule.shtml

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Bob you said " System 2000 are efficient, but expensive. They just arn`t worth the additional money for what you save" That train of thought is why people have high utility bills in the first place.
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I just got a $7K price for a System 2000 EK2, installed. Their web site says the AFUE efficiency is 87.4%. Around here, a Buderus G215/4 in a box costs $1610.34, with an 86.2% efficiency. Add a modest amount ($2K?) for an indirect-fired water heater and installation labor and a $1K/year oil bill, and the System 2000 might save 0.012x1000 = $12/year, for a simple payback of (7K-2610)/12 = 366 years :-)
Nick
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LOL You forgot to factor in the added repairs.

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I don't discuss prices on here because different areas have different charges. Plus all jobs are different depending on the location of the unit and what all is involved changing them out.
I will say that if it was a standard job (no big headaches involved), we could install a Weil McLain cast iron boiler that gets 85% for about half that price. Haven't priced a EK2000 in a while, but as I said before, we don't install them
Don't get me wrong! I LIKE them. Easy as hell to work on and they are nice and quiet too.....
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you get a loan and do both. insulate now for year round comfort, or else you lose money every day of heating season. get a boiler now too. modern boilers will save money and you can later adjust the new boiler's water temperatures to match your radiatior heat demands even after you insulate. if it's winter where you live now like buffalo ny there's a waiting list for insulation installed.
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It's not the boiler that's using the oil- it's the burner, in whatever state of adjustment (spray-tip-size, etc.) and tune it's in.
The boiler likely would benefit from changes in heat-exchanger design that have occurred in ~40 years, and cleaning on firesides and water-sides. Not to mention automatic stack damper, reduced aquastat setting, and installation of separate domestic water-heater.
You don't mention the burner, and what it's up to. I'd get expert evaluation, locally.
Yes, yes, yes, seal and insulate everything. Especially at lowest and highest elevations of house. Chimney effect.
Install programmable t-stat, and go for max setback & lowest settings possible.
Automatic stack damper can yield huge reduction of energy waste, especially if you're in, say, Minnesota. Or are you in Montgomery?
Existing burner and furnace, if in decent health now, can survive much longer once you take serious conservation measures, and reduce the run-time. Then you can plan/budget replacement at a better time- mid-summer.
HTH, J
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You have some chicken-egg issues here. Unless you know the numbers, it is not possible to make a good decision.
What is the efficiency of the existing boiler? If it is 83% to 87%, a new one will not save much. If it is 60% or 70%, change it and save 15%+ or so.
That said, the boiler puts out a given amount of heat to satisfy the room condition and the set point of the thermostat. Assuming you plan to make changes to save 30% of your heat loss, and put in a boiler with 30% less capacity, you will freeze your ass off this winter and every winter until the improvements are made.
Let's make a couple of assumptions. In a day that is 20 degrees outside, your boiler burner runs 8 hours and burns 1 gallon an hour or 8 gallons per day at 85% efficiency. You know in the future you will need less capacity so you put in a smaller unit that burns .6 gallons per hour. In order to produce the amount of heat you need today, that burner must run about 13.3 hours to make the same amount of heat and it will burn the same 8 gallons per day. You need to burn a given amount of oil to keep the heat the same.
You mention insulating the floor joists. Why? Is the boiler in the basement? If so, any heat it generates will go up and help heat hte upstairs. I'm not so sure there will be much savings. Storm window? Yes, very important. At least put up the plastic this years.
When was the boiler service last? Was it in good condition? If so, let it run for the year (or two or three) and put that money into things what will prevent heat loss. This is why it is important to know the efficiency. It may be right on the service report. Mine are hanging right on the boiler and I can see the ones from the past five years. Better to have the old boiler running less because you are saving heat from escaping than have a smaller boiler cranking away trying to keep you comfy.
Oversizing a boiler is not a very big deal (unlike AC) . It will cycle more often and run shorter times. Overall, it will not burn much oil different than a smaller one. Worry about that after sealing up the house. That will save you money to eventually buy the new boiler.
Insulate. NOW!
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