New furnace or just burner?

I have an old furnace (hot water base board radiators), maybe about 30 years old. It is working properly, but oil consumption is high. We live in an older home that is likely not all that well insulated. We live in norther NY. I am going through about 50 gallons of oil a week. Our house is 1000 sq feet. I have had a number of heating guys come through and try to sell me a new furnace. The last guy was the only one who looked at the whole house and how it was zoned/heated.
He thought it would be a good idea to zone off the upstairs, go with a new hot water heater (electric or oil fired on a separate zone). He said my burner was old an inefficient and to replace it. He said I could keep the furnace itself if it was in good repair (which it is). He also proposed a number of insulating ideas I could complete myself. He said the one circulator pump I have on a monifold(flow?) system is not really getting the heat upstairs. Also uninsulated hot water tank in the basement and external heating coil are wasting a lot of energy.
My question is whether it makes sense to just replace the burner. He seems to think it would be the most bang for buck and I could always replace the furnace later. The zoning stuff and hot water heater all make sense to me.
Any thoughts? Thanks for the help
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I have an old furnace (hot water base board radiators), maybe about 30 years old. It is working properly, but oil consumption is high. We live in an older home that is likely not all that well insulated. We live in norther NY. I am going through about 50 gallons of oil a week. Our house is 1000 sq feet. I have had a number of heating guys come through and try to sell me a new furnace. The last guy was the only one who looked at the whole house and how it was zoned/heated.
He thought it would be a good idea to zone off the upstairs, go with a new hot water heater (electric or oil fired on a separate zone). He said my burner was old an inefficient and to replace it. He said I could keep the furnace itself if it was in good repair (which it is). He also proposed a number of insulating ideas I could complete myself. He said the one circulator pump I have on a monifold(flow?) system is not really getting the heat upstairs. Also uninsulated hot water tank in the basement and external heating coil are wasting a lot of energy.
My question is whether it makes sense to just replace the burner. He seems to think it would be the most bang for buck and I could always replace the furnace later. The zoning stuff and hot water heater all make sense to me.
Any thoughts? Thanks for the help
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I have an old furnace (hot water base board radiators), maybe about 30 years old. It is working properly, but oil consumption is high. We live in an older home that is likely not all that well insulated. We live in norther NY. I am going through about 50 gallons of oil a week. Our house is 1000 sq feet. I have had a number of heating guys come through and try to sell me a new furnace. The last guy was the only one who looked at the whole house and how it was zoned/heated.
He thought it would be a good idea to zone off the upstairs, go with a new hot water heater (electric or oil fired on a separate zone). He said my burner was old an inefficient and to replace it. He said I could keep the furnace itself if it was in good repair (which it is). He also proposed a number of insulating ideas I could complete myself. He said the one circulator pump I have on a monifold(flow?) system is not really getting the heat upstairs. Also uninsulated hot water tank in the basement and external heating coil are wasting a lot of energy.
My question is whether it makes sense to just replace the burner. He seems to think it would be the most bang for buck and I could always replace the furnace later. The zoning stuff and hot water heater all make sense to me.
Any thoughts? Thanks for the help
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I have an old furnace (hot water base board radiators), maybe about 30 years old. It is working properly, but oil consumption is high. We live in an older home that is likely not all that well insulated. We live in norther NY. I am going through about 50 gallons of oil a week. Our house is 1000 sq feet. I have had a number of heating guys come through and try to sell me a new furnace. The last guy was the only one who looked at the whole house and how it was zoned/heated.
He thought it would be a good idea to zone off the upstairs, go with a new hot water heater (electric or oil fired on a separate zone). He said my burner was old an inefficient and to replace it. He said I could keep the furnace itself if it was in good repair (which it is). He also proposed a number of insulating ideas I could complete myself. He said the one circulator pump I have on a monifold(flow?) system is not really getting the heat upstairs. Also uninsulated hot water tank in the basement and external heating coil are wasting a lot of energy.
My question is whether it makes sense to just replace the burner. He seems to think it would be the most bang for buck and I could always replace the furnace later. The zoning stuff and hot water heater all make sense to me.
Any thoughts? Thanks for the help
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First, furnaces heat air, boilers heat water. Call someone who is not in the business of selling new boilers and have them do an efficiency test on the boiler, then compare the efficiency rating against that of a new unit

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Boiler?

That's a lot of oil for 1,000 square feet..

important as well.

A 30 year old boiler can be inefficient, no doubt. I'd get another person to look at it. Go here to find a real pro. http://www.heatinghelp.com/getlisted.cfm
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A lot depends on the design and efficiency of your existing boiler's shell. If you have a 'wet-base' or 'wet-leg', well insulated, cast iron boiler, with small flue passages, then a new flame retention burner might be a good option. He's right that you can always replace the boiler later, but don't put a lot of money into an inefficient boiler shell.
A separate 2nd floor zone is a good idea, but depending on your piping, it may not be cost effective. If you have a loop system with 2nd floor pipes going all the way back to the boiler, it's not too hard. A separate electric water heater will probably cost you more to run than your existing hot water set up. An oil fired water heater is expensive to install and would be over-kill for your home. Adding more home insulation is always a good idea.

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If it heats evenly zoneing is a waste of alot of money. Electric im sure is alot more per btu than oil for your area. Upgrading insulation should be done first then a load calc done. Insulation is cheap compared to a boiler, boilers heat water, furnaces heat air. Find out how efficient your unit is, call the manufacturer, salesman lie. Price new efficient units, get several bids.
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Thanks, adding the zone won't be too expensive. The upstairs is usually colder. There's actually not I can do with the insulation upstairs. There is where there is supposed to be, though it's definately not the newest.
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If you haven't already done it, get an insulation contractor to look at the home. There are a lot of different ways to install insulation. If you don't have tight windows, look into replacing them. Cold air leaking into a home (and warm air leaking out) is probably the single biggest energy waste.

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Insulate first. That includes new windows and any door seals or drafts. You have to do that first because it affects the size fo the furnace you will need if you replace it.
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Thanks for all your replies and sorry about the multiple posts. I have found that my insulation and windows aren't all that bad. I found a number of big airleaks around window frames which are easy enough to fix and put some foam insulation and plastic around some leaky single pane basement windows. They will have to be replaced. There is also some weather stripping to do and a knee wall door upstairs that I will insulate. I will also be raplacing an old back door. 50 gallons a week still seems fairly high for my size house. I found out my boiler is more like 40 years old. I have decided to go with a new boiler and water tank anyway and zone the upstairs for sleeping comfort. My contractor seems honest enough and the boiler size he chose is in line with what other contractors suggested (second smallest boiler available), which is a lot smaller than my current unit.
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Make sure the "water tank" is an "indirect fired" water heater, like the Amtrol "Boiler Mate". http://www.amtrol.com/boilermate.htm This allows you to set your boiler temperature lower. Do not go with an electric water heater or oil fired water heater.

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Thanks, yes it is. I was going to go with an electric heated because it so cheap, but went with an indirect model. Another reason to replac,my current indirect tank has only one temp, scalding hot. Not good if you have a toddler.
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Another word of caution. If you're getting a cast iron boiler, I'd advise against getting a three section boiler. They tend to have more problems than a four section boiler of the same brand. This is because the rear firing wall is too close to the burner. This results in over-heating of the end cone / nozzle. It can also cause a lot of turbulence inside the chamber when the burner is on, resulting in odors.

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Ok, Thanks
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I fit heats evenly, you probably want zoning. No reason to keep all parts of the house the same temperature all the time. We keep the bedrooms five degrees less than the rest of the house for comfort sleeping. Saves money.
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Given the location and temperatures, that is not all that high righ now. What is the efficiency of the burner? Min is comparable to brand new equipment, but not as good as the high efficienct stuff available. It is not cost effective to change yet.

Ask for efficiency numbers so you can see how much you will save. A 5% increse on 50 gallon a week saves 2.5 gallons, or about $6 a week. Heating for 10 of the coldest weeks saves $60, less heating for another 6 weeks saves another $18. So, if you save $78 a year, how long will it take you to pay for the new burner? Ask if he will give a guarantee about the savings.

That uninsulated heater is giving off heat that is being spreat around the house. In sumer is is wated, in winter it is welcomed. Don't panic about it.

Zoning makes sense in that you can keep on area of the house cooler than the other. I have that and use it just that way. Probably saves me 5% of my heating cost or about $75 to $80 at today's fuel cost.
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