New Oil Burner? Is it Worth It? Please Advice

Hi,
I have a 30 yr. old dry base Utica boiler with a Reillo burner head (fairly new). I have no idea of its effeciency. The unit runs great. I live on Long Island in NY with cold winters and am using 180 gallons to heat my basement (a constant 73) and make hot water (Bock heater and 5 adults). I have a Coal stove that heats my upstairs so the heat rarely comes on for that part of the house.
I was thinking of replacing the oil fired boiler with a Boderus or Well-Mclain Ultra, both have 90% effeciency ratings. I wanted to hear from people who have changed out their old boilers for newer models to find out if there really is a big savings?
Thanks in advance
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I've asked the same question of local (Westchester, NY) fuel oil service techs, and the answer I'm getting is to leave the 85% efficiency boiler alone. I wire boilers with "hi tech" controls like Logamatic and Tekmar, and although they claim ultra high efficiency, I question reliability and who is going to service them. The oil companies pretty much don't want to stock parts for these things and my impression is that they don't want to learn how to program or operate them either. IMHO, I'd wait until this stuff becomes more mainstream before I'd switch

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If it's running OK, has a new burner, and uses 180 gals for a winter?, it would take a very long time for any energy savings to pay for the upfront cost. Most likely, you'd never recover it.
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I guess I should have said that I used 180 gallons from 2-11-07 to 3-11-07. Granted this is was a cold month but the boiler was monstly making heat for the basement and hotwater. I currently have a coal stove upstairs and the heat rarely comes on for the upper floors. My home is about 2000 sq. ft. and has new windows and heavy insulation in the attic. In past winters I usually use about 200 a month to heat my basement and upper living spaces. Granted I never have kept my basement at 73 before either. We have an office down there for the wife and she likes it warm.
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How do you know your boiler is at 85%? The newest boilers are only claiming low 90's.

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When the boiler service company does the annual cleaning and service, they do an efficiency test. I don't know what the test consists of

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RBM: 85% is great. I would keep it. The latest and greates are claiming 90-94% so I don't think it would be worth an upgrade for you. I guess I need to get an efficiency test done.

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Just a small note on this. The service techs could be referring to the boiler's combustion efficiency as opposed to its AFUE, in which case, you would then multiple that number by 0.85 to allow for standby and stack related losses. On that basis, the real number (which you would use to compare with a new boiler) may be closer to 72 per cent.
Cheers, Paul

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