...sent early by accident
I had a home energy audit done by RISE engineering. They recommend
installing a Burnham gas steam boiler with an AFUE rating of 82%-86%. The
price is $4900. They didn't mention a specific model number. Does anyone
have any experience with this brand? I have the option of adding a 41 gallon
indirect hot water heater (lifetime warranty, super insulated stainless
tank, unlimited supply...) for an additional $1800. An additional option is
a Tekmar outdoor heating system control for $800. I checked out the website
but I'm not sure exactly how this device is supposed to save me money. I
don't think I'm, going to go with the the two options just the new boiler,
but I'm interested in any advice or opinions.
Is that an installed price? What is being replaced? How old is the existing
system and what is it's AFUE?
The Tekmar control might make the house more comfortable but might not save
much money. Basically the idea is to set the boiler output temperature low
until it is really cold outside and you need maximum performance from the
radiators. As I understand it, a modulating boiler is needed for the Tekmar
control to be effective and even then it is marginal for a home in terms of
cost savings. Commercial applications are the target market for the Tekmar
On the negative side: Burnham boilers may have a problem with heat
exchanger leaks on some models. I owned a house with a Burnham boiler that
had obviously dumped a lot of water before I bought the house. Other folks
have reported problems with some Burnham units.
On the positive side: I've had two different houses with indirect water
heaters. They are a very nice way to produce hot water. The only concern is
boiler maintenance and a little extra heat loss from the boiler to hot
water tank piping. Insulation on the pipes takes care of the heat loss and
annual maintenance is required for the high efficiency boilers.
I just replaced my 40+ year old Triad boiler with a Munchkin. Next heating
season will tell the tale of whether or not it was worth the extra expense
to go with a high efficiency boiler. I could have put in a Raypack for
several hundred less...
Yes, that is the installed price. The boiler being replaced is the original
1933 boiler from when the house was built. It used to burn coal and I think
it could power a medium size cruise ship. I have no idea what the AFUE is,
probably around 2%-3% :)
The water heater on the other hand is a regular GE stand alone unit. It is
less than a year old.
The boiler price looks nice from my perspective. I had a bid of 5,000 for a
"better" efficiency boiler installation a couple years ago. I dug up
cheaper installs but they were lacking on the business side (insurance,
bonding, permitting...). I ended up just cleaning the heat exchanger and
waiting until my financial situation improved. My prices were for a natural
gas fired boiler in the western US.
I'd agree that replacing a new water heater would be tough. An indirect can
usually be added later if it is desired.
Don't know if you're looking at oil fired or natural gas. There are many
options for some very high efficiency natural gas fired boilers and they
might be worth your time to check out. Natual gas should be cheaper than
oil for many years to come.
Any way you choose to go, your fuel costs should drop substantially from
improved heat exchanger and burner design. The new Munchkin is about 8%
more efficient in terms of combustion and its flue gases are almost 100
degrees cooler than the old Triad. The local HVAC folks say that my fuel
use should drop about 20%. We'll see.
About the only thing I can add at this point is to determine if the boiler
replacement includes circulator(s), zone valves, and thermostats. I had a
zone valve controller crap out last year so I changed out everything along
with the boiler. You'll also want each zone flushed and pressure tested.
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