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Old 12-27-2011, 06:44 PM   #16
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Boiler replacement, oil vs LP


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Yes, for sure, with propane the price depends on the annual amount you buy. Lorden Oil and Propane quoted me the current $2.92 price, based on at least 1200 gal/yr. Eastern Propane was something like $3.30 for the same quantity! If I buy somewhat less than that (like 1000-1200 gallons... Not sure what thelower threshold is), the price jumps to $3.02 with Lorden.

I wish e could pay what they do in Kansas... Something like $1.88! But that's a steep price for having to live on the prairie...
Twelve HUNDRED GALLONS!? What are you heating, an arena??

Even years ago before I got heavy into using the woodstove, I'd use maybe 500 gallons of oil on a crappy steam system.

-- Joe

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Old 12-27-2011, 07:12 PM   #17
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Twelve HUNDRED GALLONS!? What are you heating, an arena??

Even years ago before I got heavy into using the woodstove, I'd use maybe 500 gallons of oil on a crappy steam system.

-- Joe
Well, I admit that I hope to burn a lot less than 1200 if and when we put in a modcon. Right now we burn some propane for cooking...Can't recall how much. We burn an average of 830 gal of oil a calendar year (includes an indirect water heater) using a 25 year old conventional vanilla Burnham boiler, so at $3.59/gal that works out to $2,980.

The big decision for the upgrade is whether to go propane + modcon or stick with oil and go with something like Buderus w/ outdoor reset. Our house s a 2100 sf cape with copper fintube, so it's not optimized for the modcon, but many experts on this and other forums seem to think that we could still do well with a modcon.

By the way, I burn our Jotul wood stove every day from 4 pm on. House was built in '84 with 2x4 construction, but I blew in extra attic insulation, plus replaced two doors and several good windows.
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:38 PM   #18
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Boiler replacement, oil vs LP


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Well, I admit that I hope to burn a lot less than 1200 if and when we put in a modcon. Right now we burn some propane for cooking...Can't recall how much. We burn an average of 830 gal of oil a calendar year (includes an indirect water heater) using a 25 year old conventional vanilla Burnham boiler, so at $3.59/gal that works out to $2,980.

The big decision for the upgrade is whether to go propane + modcon or stick with oil and go with something like Buderus w/ outdoor reset. Our house s a 2100 sf cape with copper fintube, so it's not optimized for the modcon, but many experts on this and other forums seem to think that we could still do well with a modcon.

By the way, I burn our Jotul wood stove every day from 4 pm on. House was built in '84 with 2x4 construction, but I blew in extra attic insulation, plus replaced two doors and several good windows.
A mod/con does fine on cooper fin baseboard.
At $3.59 a gallon, and $2,980.00 for heat. That comes out to 830 gallons of oil. Which is equivalent to 1263 gallons of propane for gross input.
A mod/con should greatly reduce the amount of propane you would have to use.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:42 PM   #19
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Boiler replacement, oil vs LP


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A mod/con does fine on cooper fin baseboard.
At $3.59 a gallon, and $2,980.00 for heat. That comes out to 830 gallons of oil. Which is equivalent to 1263 gallons of propane for gross input.
A mod/con should greatly reduce the amount of propane you would have to use.
Whats the cost of the boiler/furnace ?

I have a 7 year old peerless boiler with a becket burner. I like the idea of propane for a number of reasons, noise, venting, size of the furnace itself, etc. However, the cost is a factor. I'm not convinced it's at all possible to go from my current system to a propane boiler and save on fuel costs, and even if there was a minor savings, how many years would it take to pay for the boiler?

Right now I'm in the process of deciding what to do for next heating season. I added 700+ square feet to the house, and I have a faulty steam system (most of the pipes are wrong size and pitch). At minimal, I'm planning fin board forced hot water with a couple of zones. Question is, do I convert my boiler over from steam to hot water, or just buy another one...

-- Joe
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:44 PM   #20
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Boiler replacement, oil vs LP


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A mod/con does fine on cooper fin baseboard.
At $3.59 a gallon, and $2,980.00 for heat. That comes out to 830 gallons of oil. Which is equivalent to 1263 gallons of propane for gross input.
A mod/con should greatly reduce the amount of propane you would have to use.
I sure hope a modcon would cut that number or my heat bill will soar to $3,688... Another $700 beyond what my outdated boiler eats up.

The catch is that I might have to add some fin tube. We have 96 feet of it in a 2150 sf cape with 2x4 insulated walls, r40 attic insulation and a design temp of -5 degrees. Our radiation capacity at 180* is about 55,680... Some of my heat loss calc have been at the 62,000 level.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:10 PM   #21
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I sure hope a modcon would cut that number or my heat bill will soar to $3,688... Another $700 beyond what my outdated boiler eats up.

The catch is that I might have to add some fin tube. We have 96 feet of it in a 2150 sf cape with 2x4 insulated walls, r40 attic insulation and a design temp of -5 degrees. Our radiation capacity at 180* is about 55,680... Some of my heat loss calc have been at the 62,000 level.
You can convert your steam boiler to hot water. But converting it to gas, won't save you much over leaving it as an oil fired boiler. Since a power gas burner won't be more then 80% efficient.

A good mod/con with outdoor reset should save a lot. but can't say for sue how much, as your domestic water needs will vary that some. A ball park would be 30% plus.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:24 PM   #22
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You can convert your steam boiler to hot water. But converting it to gas, won't save you much over leaving it as an oil fired boiler. Since a power gas burner won't be more then 80% efficient.

A good mod/con with outdoor reset should save a lot. but can't say for sue how much, as your domestic water needs will vary that some. A ball park would be 30% plus.
WHOOPS... I think you confused me with the other fellow Joe, who uses steam. We have just a hot water oil boiler with 2 zones of fin.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:28 PM   #23
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WHOOPS... I think you confused me with the other fellow Joe, who uses steam. We have just a hot water oil boiler with 2 zones of fin.
I's still say 30% plus. unless you have a high domestic water demand.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:33 PM   #24
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I will be the devils advocate and bring up one important issue which Beenthere and some old school techs understand. How well and reliable are these mod con boilers and which is a good brand? If you are in a rural area or even in a city it is NOT easy to find highly skilled techs who truly understand circuit boards/logic and how these boilers should work/be setup and be able to troubleshoot them later. They are no good if you cannot find a qualified tech or parts are very expensive or hard to get in rural areas. I lived in one and know that. This is a very common problem and issue with the high end mod furnaces. Less than 10% of the techs out there truly understand them and most are parts changers in my experience. Having said that a simpler boiler may be better in the long run as the repair costs won't eat up your savings. Case in point the very expensive high end tankless water heaters. some ARE 95% efficient but have as many expensive circuit boards and components as a high end furnace.
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:01 AM   #25
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I will be the devils advocate and bring up one important issue which Beenthere and some old school techs understand. How well and reliable are these mod con boilers and which is a good brand? If you are in a rural area or even in a city it is NOT easy to find highly skilled techs who truly understand circuit boards/logic
Yuri, you make a valid point, and one that Ive tried to address in my search. I have found 3 local vendors that have experience with modcons. We are not is a particularly rural area, located as we are just one hour noprth of Boston. But, although these guys have installed modcons, your point about how well versed they are in setting up the programming is an open question.

I plan to get the names of customers with modcons and ask about their experiences. I've pretty much narrowed the brands to Triangle Tube, Veissmann and Lochnivar... but who knows... in the end I might stay with oil and install an efficient boiler with ODR and perhaps a buffer tank.
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:39 AM   #26
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Yuri, you make a valid point, and one that Ive tried to address in my search. I have found 3 local vendors that have experience with modcons. We are not is a particularly rural area, located as we are just one hour noprth of Boston. But, although these guys have installed modcons, your point about how well versed they are in setting up the programming is an open question.

I plan to get the names of customers with modcons and ask about their experiences. I've pretty much narrowed the brands to Triangle Tube, Veissmann and Lochnivar... but who knows... in the end I might stay with oil and install an efficient boiler with ODR and perhaps a buffer tank.
What is your current boiler and burner? Just curious.

The mod/con stuff sounds interesting. Kind of like when we started switching our race cars to fuel injection 10 years ago from carbs. With wideband 02 sensors and baro sensors we can adjust fuel. What's the price like though? I mean, I can get a burnham independence boiler (propane/nat) for $800 delivered. (or just keep what I have)


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Old 12-28-2011, 09:37 AM   #27
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Boiler replacement, oil vs LP


Here are a few Weil Mclain modcons available at PexSupply for reference. I don't know if these are good or even typical prices but they are a lot more then $800. My friends have decided to have their ancient boiler repaired and at least ride out the winter... then decide what to do.

http://www.pexsupply.com/Weil-McLain-Ultra-Boilers-823000

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What's the price like though? I mean, I can get a burnham independence boiler (propane/nat) for $800 delivered. (or just keep what I have) -- Joe
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:40 AM   #28
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What is your current boiler and burner? Just curious.
-- Joe
Right now I have a 25 year old Burnham oil boiler rated at 124,000 BTU/hr... very generic with no control other than a Honeywell aquastat with HI-LOW settings. I added an indirect water heater when we moved into this house 10 years ago.

I believe the cost for removing my old equipment, installing an underground propane tank, a modcon boiler, and the parts and labor for installing it and the plumbing will run about $9K, but I haven't gotten my quotes yet.

A modcon requires its own unique plumbing... but I think even if I were to replace my oil boiler, the plumbing would have to be re-done to avoid short cycling... perhaps a buffer tank would be required.
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:17 AM   #29
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Right now I have a 25 year old Burnham oil boiler rated at 124,000 BTU/hr... very generic with no control other than a Honeywell aquastat with HI-LOW settings. I added an indirect water heater when we moved into this house 10 years ago.

I believe the cost for removing my old equipment, installing an underground propane tank, a modcon boiler, and the parts and labor for installing it and the plumbing will run about $9K, but I haven't gotten my quotes yet.

A modcon requires its own unique plumbing... but I think even if I were to replace my oil boiler, the plumbing would have to be re-done to avoid short cycling... perhaps a buffer tank would be required.
I have a cement pad out back for propane tank. When I bought the house a number of years ago, they had propane stove and water heater, but oil boiler. I opted to discard the propane stove and water heater in favor of electric. So if I did go back to propane for a heating source (or all three even) I'd probably just use the cement pad and above ground tank.

I figure, to convert my boiler over, including adding pump, 3 zone valves, expansion tank, etc would be about $500. Then figure in all the pex, fittings, and finboard I'd need.

Or I could pick up a propane unit for around $800 (boiler only), outfit it and run that. Most propane units don't require a chimney so that is a plus for me. I'd love to move the boiler to the new section of the house, and demo the old brick chimney.

So I'm really torn.

-- Joe
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:29 AM   #30
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I have a cement pad out back for propane tank. When I bought the house a number of years ago, they had propane stove and water heater, but oil boiler. I opted to discard the propane stove and water heater in favor of electric. So if I did go back to propane for a heating source (or all three even) I'd probably just use the cement pad and above ground tank.

I figure, to convert my boiler over, including adding pump, 3 zone valves, expansion tank, etc would be about $500. Then figure in all the pex, fittings, and finboard I'd need.

Or I could pick up a propane unit for around $800 (boiler only), outfit it and run that. Most propane units don't require a chimney so that is a plus for me. I'd love to move the boiler to the new section of the house, and demo the old brick chimney.

So I'm really torn.

-- Joe
Well, I'm not the one to ask, but my sense is that-- given the relatively high cost of propane per btu-- that if you don't plan to deploy a modcon boiler, you'd be better off sticking with oil. Oil is 20% cheaper per btu... and I know that some of the new oil boilers can be side-vented, since their stack temps are much cooler than the previous generation. But probably those boilers would be more expensive than the prices you're mentioning.

Still, you wouldn't have to spring for a chimney!

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