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  • best boiler for the buck

    we have in floor heating already but are switching from outdoor wood boiler to possibly propane or oil, which is better propane or oil?? what about brands, which is the best for the buck-everyone here thinks Weill-McClain and stick w/oil. We live in the UP of Michigan and its very cold, loved the wood heat but it's getting too much for us to keep up with. (too old) Any feedback is appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: best boiler for the buck

    propane is cleaner then oil and you can get a higher efficiency out of propane
    are you also heating your domestic water with it
    if you are propane is better you can have a HWH and not heat it off the boiler
    as fare as boilers i just put in a couple of these and they are nice
    http://www.peerlessboilers.com/Produ...4/Default.aspx
    Charlie

    My seek the peek fundraiser page
    http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


    http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

    new work pictures 12/09
    http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: best boiler for the buck

      Oil burns hotter but also more dirtier than propane.

      But if you went the Oil burner route, you could use #1 fuel (kero) which burns extremely clean but also more expensive to buy.

      If I had my choice, I'm taking Gas over Oil...but Oil over Propane. I'm just not a Propane fan at all.

      As far as Weil-McLain goes...you couldn't give me one for free.

      Just my opinion.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: best boiler for the buck

        Originally posted by Flux View Post

        As far as Weil-McLain goes...you couldn't give me one for free.

        Just my opinion.
        but your from PA and you dont like them ,there made in your state lol
        Charlie

        My seek the peek fundraiser page
        http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


        http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

        new work pictures 12/09
        http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: best boiler for the buck

          Originally posted by HVAC HAWK View Post
          but your from PA and you dont like them ,there made in your state lol
          You forgot... Peerless -Columbia - New Yorker - Crown - Burnham - Thermo dynamics - are also made here as well...just to name a few.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: best boiler for the buck

            what do you know about Utica? Are they any good, it was 95% efficiency, but pretty pricey or is that the going rate for all makes. (4800$$)

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: best boiler for the buck

              Originally posted by dawnarb View Post
              what do you know about Utica? Are they any good, it was 95% efficiency, but pretty pricey or is that the going rate for all makes. (4800$$)
              Columbia gets their Cast iron boilers from Utica and slaps their own name on it. But Columbia makes their own steel boilers.

              There are only so many cast iron foundries in the country that make these boiler sections.

              If you stick with one of the name brands, you can't go wrong.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: best boiler for the buck

                Not all cast iron boilers are created equal and you have to complete your due diligence especially in this situation. If you perform a google search keying in on "boiler reviews" you will find not everyone is a huge fan of any of the domestically made boilers. I for example have lived in my 3 story brick attached row house for almost 35 years and have had my boiler replaced twice. First time to get rid of the original converted coal fired steam boiler in the interest of cost savings and efficiency. I went with a Peerless oil fired steam boiler to heat all the 10 steam radiators spread thru the 3-story house. Peerless served me well for over 25 years until my below ground fuel line ruptured during winter when I was flat on my back after hernia surgery. Wife got fed up with the huge annual clean-ups, tune-ups, smell, and convinced me to convert to gas during a Keyspan/Nat'l Grid promotion. Spent a little over $4500.00 6 years ago to complete the conversion over to a new Burnham gas fired steam boiler (Independence series IN5), removal of the 275gal tank, along with 50gal 12-yr warranteed hot water tank. Last 6 years has been a real joy not having to personally vacuum out the passageways of the old Peerless, changing both oil filter and nozzle however Burnham boiler takes twice as long to get heat upstairs. While I don't mind this and would do this again but I would think twice purchasing a Burnham. When you purchase prioritize on the casting thickness of the boiler for longevity sake. All heating appliances eventually require service calls each of which can be resolved painlessly. I am in continuous fear the Burnham will crap out due to the thinness of the casting in which case I have to shop for another boiler replacement. My next boiler will definitely be Weil McLain with standing pilot light (versus electronic ignition) due to the way it is cast in the foundry...thickest boiler presently made when compared to Peerless, Burnham, etc. Thoughts anyone?......


                Last edited by swong; 10-05-2010, 07:30 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: best boiler for the buck

                  Weil Mclain makes a good oil boiler. Get it with a carlin burner and it will burn super clean. I wouldnt use propane if it was free.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: best boiler for the buck

                    Originally posted by swong View Post
                    Not all cast iron boilers are created equal and you have to complete your due diligence especially in this situation. If you perform a google search keying in on "boiler reviews" you will find not everyone is a huge fan of any of the domestically made boilers. I for example have lived in my 3 story brick attached row house for almost 35 years and have had my boiler replaced twice. First time to get rid of the original converted coal fired steam boiler in the interest of costs savings and efficiency. I went with a Peerless oil fired steam boiler to heat all the 10 steam radiators spread thru the 3-story house. Peerless served me well for over 25 years until my below ground fuel line ruptured during winter when I was flat on my back after hernia surgery. Wife got fed up with the huge annual clean-ups, tune-ups, smell, and convined me to convert to gas during a Keyspan/Nat'l Grid promotion. Spent a little over $4500.00 6 years ago to complete the conversion over to a new Burnham gas fired steam boiler (Independence series IN5), removal of the 275gal tank, along with 50gal 12-yr warranteed hot water tank. Last 6 years has been a real joy not having to personally vacuum out the passageways of the old Peerless, changing both oil filter and nozzle however it takes twice as long to get hear upstairs. I don't mind this and would do this again but I would think twice purchasing a Burnham. When you purchase prioritize on the casting thickness of the boiler for longevity sake. All heating appliances eventually require service calls each of which can be resolved painlessly. I am in continuous fear the Burnham will crap out due to the thinness of the casting in which case I have to shop for another boiler replacement. My next boiler will definitely be Weil McLain with standing pilot light (versus electronic ignition) due to the way it is cast in the foundry...thickest boiler presently made when compared to Peerless, Burnham, etc. Thoughts anyone?......


                    Burnham does have a well respected name in the Industry and very much so in the North East where it matters. I've only installed 2 or 3 of their boilers (customers wanted them) and they do make a very nice product.

                    Buderus (never installed one) would probably be the cream of the crop from across the pond.

                    I've read plenty of boiler reviews over the years on the internet, and find that bad installs are the main reasons for consumer complaints, but they don't know that. It's very easy to blame it on the manufacture and call it junk.

                    Could any of these manufactures turn out a lemon? Absolutely!! If Mercedes or BMW turns out a lemon, should we deem them junk?

                    You do realize that most boilers easily hit the 25-30 year mark...right?

                    There are many reasons why I don't like Weil-McClain with the biggest reason being...going through their warranty is a nightmare. Supply houses in my area (not sure about anywhere else) do NOT stock boiler sections at all for residential boilers. So If I had to strip down one of their boilers to take out a bad section, it could be quite time consuming cause you're dealing with a middle man.

                    Now take Columbia boiler for example...they are 15 minutes from my house, and I can deal directly with them. If I had a bad cast iron section within the first few years..they are shipping me out a new boiler no questions asked that day or the next. They will then take that boiler back to their factory and tear it down to see why it failed. Now maybe they do this for us, because we have been buying from them for almost 40 years now. They also do the same thing for their steel boilers. I can have a factory rep out at my job within the hour if I have any problems with their boilers, plus they do basement delivery.

                    So now you guys see why you couldn't give me a Weil-McClain, and I can offer that type of warranty service to my customers over what you guys can do from Weil-McClain. Even though Weil-McCalin is near me as well..I can't deal directly with them. Plus I would say Weil-McClain is getting ripped out more than any other and being replaced with anything but them.

                    I sort of disagree on your cast iron thickness philosophy. Let me put it to you this way...whatever your dream cast iron boiler is...I could match your longevity easily with the boiler of my choice, and I would pick one with a thin cast.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: best boiler for the buck

                      Very Informative posting Flux.......I must admit if Burnham did put out a garbage product they would not be in the business as long as they have. Having only a limited exposure to boilers being a homeowner I naturally assume casting thickness goes a long way towards longevity. The originally coal fired steam boiler which came with my house which was a huge coal fired converted to oil was a joy to have at the expense of cost. Casting thickness was a minimum 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch thickness and this was measured at the thinness part of the casting which attested to it's longevity. Very inefficient however since it was NOT a "wetbase" design which all boilers are now designed..... to capture every last BTU of heat prior to exiting. My concern is when I see negative postings of the same Burnham which I just so happen to have at home, gives me pause for concern simply because it is a royal PITA to have to go thru boiler replacement...chasing down a licensed and bonded heating contractor, researching what is most current in technology/reliability, scheduling, and pricing, etc.
                      Everything eventually breaks but when you spring a leak, in my opinion, it's not worth replacing a section instead if you are going to go thru all this work it would be better to just swap the boiler out. I might be delusional but even my old Peerless oil fired steam boiler had thicker castings than this Burnham Independence IN5 and I was quite heavy handed wire brushing the Peerless flue ways prior to each heating season. The Burnham casting appears to be no thicker than 1/4 inch in which leads me to believe I cannot use wirebrushes instead have to use softer cleaning brushes for the passageways....am I being overly cautious?

                      Technology constantly changes and it's always for the better. Case in point, the old McDonnell&Miller #76 float type low water cutoff is now being phased out with the McDonnell&Miller #801 probe type low water cutoff. I like it as it's easier to swap out than the float type which was susceptible to pin hole leaks on the float. Piezo-electric ignition eliminates standing pilot increase fuel efficiency anoth 1-2 percent. Finally troubleshooting a no heat condition is a no brainer as every control is wired in series...when in double in a no heat condition just jumper across each sensor. Next boiler would probably be a Buderous but don't appear to be tinkerer friendly...parts availability does not look to be cheap since they do not use McDonnell&Miller and Honeywell parts. Certified Buderous installers in my area refuse to negotiate on pricing is another negative
                      Last edited by swong; 10-05-2010, 09:37 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: best boiler for the buck

                        Wet based boilers have been around for a long time now. The problem is..most homeowners look at the bottom line which is "price" and most decide to go with the standard boiler instead.

                        I'm not as knowledgeable as my father when it comes to steam, but I know some care needs to be taken. Steam in my area is almost non-existant, and I rarely come across it. But Blowing down steam boilers is a neglected routine that should be done when it comes to steam boilers, as it protects the surfaces from scaling and corrosion problems. You can also crack a section on a steam boiler very easily because of rapid temperature change.

                        But..

                        Both Burnham and Peerless make nice products. To be quite honest with you, the contractors in my area would take Burnham over Peerless if those were the only 2 choices. But by all means I'm not saying Peerless is junk, because it's not.

                        With Buderus out of the equation for a second...I'm not sure who I would put in the number 1 slot as far as Cast iron boilers. Quite a few companies make very good cast iron.

                        Since I'm a Columbia dealer, I would put them right in the thick of the debate, but I definitely "wouldn't" put them #1 cast iron(Utica product). If we are talking steel..I would put them up against anyone in the industry, and they make them right here in Pa.

                        From what I know..Buderus is expensive, but I have no other knowledge about their products. I do find people love what they have to offer, so they are doing something right.

                        Columbia started offering the Solaia boiler which is from Boyertown furnace. It's a European design and a Biasi clone. I installed one already this past summer, and I'm very impressed with it so far. To be quite honest with you..I like it better than Columbia's regular cast iron (Utica) and will start pushing them instead.

                        But imo..you have a very nice boiler, and the installer did a nice job installing it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: best boiler for the buck

                          [QUOTE=Flux;312794]Wet based boilers have been around for a long time now. The problem is..most homeowners look at the bottom line which is "price" and most decide to go with the standard boiler instead.

                          I'm not as knowledgeable as my father when it comes to steam, but I know some care needs to be taken. Steam in my area is almost non-existant, and I rarely come across it. But Blowing down steam boilers is a neglected routine that should be done when it comes to steam boilers, as it protects the surfaces from scaling and corrosion problems. You can also crack a section on a steam boiler very easily because of rapid temperature change.

                          But..

                          Both Burnham and Peerless make nice products. To be quite honest with you, the contractors in my area would take Burnham over Peerless if those were the only 2 choices. But by all means I'm not saying Peerless is junk, because it's not.

                          With Buderus out of the equation for a second...I'm not sure who I would put in the number 1 slot as far as Cast iron boilers. Quite a few companies make very good cast iron.

                          Since I'm a Columbia dealer, I would put them right in the thick of the debate, but I definitely "wouldn't" put them #1 cast iron(Utica product). If we are talking steel..I would put them up against anyone in the industry, and they make them right here in Pa.

                          From what I know..Buderus is expensive, but I have no other knowledge about their products. I do find people love what they have to offer, so they are doing something right.

                          Columbia started offering the Solaia boiler which is from Boyertown furnace. It's a European design and a Biasi clone. I installed one already this past summer, and I'm very impressed with it so far. To be quite honest with you..I like it better than Columbia's regular cast iron (Utica) and will start pushing them instead.

                          But imo..you have a very nice boiler, and the installer did a nice job installing it.[/QUOTE]

                          Not as nice a job as this beauty. Check out this Old World Freakin' Craftsmanship.

                          http://www.ridgidforum.com/forum/sho...802#post312802


                          J.C.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: best boiler for the buck

                            Thanks for the kind words regarding my Burnham install. A work buddy of mine contracted and just completed his Burnham gas fired steam boiler also...see pic's below. While I live in a completely attached one story townhouse he has detached a 3-family and his contractor sized him up for a Independence IN6 and he has gone thru hell with no end in sight. Both our contractors were recommended by Keyspan/National Grid (I reside in Queens, NY while he lives in Brooklyn with his installer coming from Staten Island) and his install took 3 days after encountering 3 bad parts brand new out of the box during his install. While mine is standing pilot he ordered his Burnham with electronic ignition. They troubleshot it for over a day and a half after putting all the pieces together for a no fire condition. Turned out to be the control box for his solid state piezo-electric ignition and this was after swapping out the gas valve. He now is in negotiations with Keyspan on replacing the newly installed IN6 with a IN7 because his 3rd floor radiators are semi warm and no where hot enough for this coming winter. Real ugly scene ocurring as we speak and if you take a look at the quality of his install it leaves much to the imagination...gas pipe going into his boiler is badly bowed...ugh!






                            Kind of amazed his installing contractor did not properly size up the homeowner's heating requirements and this was a Keyspan/National Grid recommended contractor. I suspect someone will have to eat the cost of the first install not to mention the original undersized Burnham cannot be re-sold as new
                            Last edited by swong; 10-05-2010, 06:39 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: best boiler for the buck

                              I forgot to mention I had my Burnham install during the summer months when every Keyspan recommended heating contractor had no scheduled work which leads me to think they would tend to take added time and care on the install. During the day of my install we had as many as 6 guys working especially when they removed the old Peerless oil fired steam boiler. My buddy however only had two guys on his install except during the breakdown/removal of his old boiler and oil tank. On his bid the same installers cut up and hauled away his old 275-gallon oil tank...my tank removal as mentioned earlier required a totally separate contractor. Here's another pic from which you can compare straightness of the gas pipe.

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