Boilers for gravity heat

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peterm
Posts: 6207
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Boilers for gravity heat

Post by peterm »

Our local plumber in Oskaloosa has recommended the Weil McLaine as a replacement for our aging and wheezing boiler at Lamberson.

http://www.e-comfortusa.com/products/we ... 0-btu/1697

Does anyone here have experience with this boiler or know of another brand which might be superior? We are looking for the most efficient unit available...

outside in
Posts: 1261
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 9:02 pm
Location: chicago

Post by outside in »

Weil McClain is a reputable manufacturer of boilers - everyone is looking for efficiency, but 90% is good if you want the boiler to last. If you want the equivalent of a Mercedes, we have used Viessmann Boilers on two projects, and the owners are extremely pleased. Burnham is another good American Standard.

Beware of the chimney flue, however. High-efficiency boilers emit exhaust which is really not that hot, which sometimes results in condensation build up in the chimney flue. In time, the condensation can deteriorate the masonry. Many opt for a stainless steel liner to alleviate the problem.

DRN
Posts: 3982
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

Welcome back peterm.
The Sweeton house has a Buderus G215:

http://www.buderus.us/products/oilheati ... og215.html

that was installed 9 years ago. It was originally fueled with oil, but when we switched to natural gas, I consulted a mechanical engineer and the boiler manufacturer, who both agreed the boiler was in good condition and was suitable for use with natural gas following thorough cleaning, replacement of the burner unit, and lining the refractory clay chimney with a metal flue. The efficiency of Buderus boilers is good, not great, ours was rated at 86% when new in 2002 and was tested last week when we fired up for the season at 83-84%.

I concur Weil-McLain is a reputable manufacturer. My father's house had baseboard hydronic and used W-M boilers. The first lasted 25 years, the second was still in good order at 18 years when I sold the house last year.

peterm
Posts: 6207
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

Thanks...

Could you elaborate a bit on the venting, especially in relationship to the chimney flue?

sjnorris
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:04 pm

Post by sjnorris »

Info from

http://www.e-comfortusa.com/PDF_files/W ... lement.pdf

If used, a masonry chimney can ONLY be used as a PIPE CHASE for vent and air pipes — The vent and air piping must be installed as instructed in this manual and all joints must be sealed. The chimney must be used only for Ultra boilers. NO OTHER appliance or fire- place can be connected to the chimney.
The chimney must be straight, with no offsets, and the vent and air piping ma- terials must comply with this instruction manual. The chimney must be fitted with a sealed access opening, through which the interior of the chimney can be inspected. The chimney (and liner, if installed) must be inspected at least once annually to verify condition.
Failure to comply could result in severe personal injury, death or substantial property damage.

peterm
Posts: 6207
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

Thanks, Stafford. So you would know... Where is our boiler venting now?

Jjen
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:35 am

Post by Jjen »

Hello Peterm, I live outside of Muscatine, IA. I built a radiant slab concrete floor heated house, around 2000 sq. ft. I have the weil-mclain propane fired boiler. It vents with pvc through the roof. Built in 2006,I have had no problems with this system.

sjnorris
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:04 pm

Post by sjnorris »

A 6" metal flue from the boiler vents into a 12" x 12" masonry flue in the far right side of the boiler room . The 6" metal flue might run up through the masonry flue.

pharding
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Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: River Forest, Illinois
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Post by pharding »

+1 for Viessmann for combined hot water heat and domestic hot water in one unit.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

peterm
Posts: 6207
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

The utility room is quite large and can easily accommodate both the boiler and a separate hot water heater. Is there any advantage to combining the two? I think our hot water heater is relatively new.

DRN
Posts: 3982
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

The Sweeton house was originally designed for the domestic water to be heated by the radiant heat boiler (my father's house operated similarly). At some point in the '70's, the system was altered to have a separate water heater (also oil fired). The benefit of this was the burner for the separate water heater used significantly less fuel than the main boiler, which was in effect heating water on an on demand basis, and the separate holding tank allowed heated water to be stored, preventing the inevitable situations where one needed to "allow the boiler to catch up" with the domestic water demand.

When we switched fuels, it was suggested that we consider reconfiguring the piping to allow combined domestic and radiant heating to one burner, but we declined given the cost and the need to drain the radiant system to alter the piping (there are few isolation valves in our system).

We considered a separate tankless on demand water heater, but it would have required a new separate flue vent direct to the exterior which was all but impossible to run out of the essentially central subterranean room without disfiguring the house, as it could not be run in the existing boiler flue adjacent to the proposed boiler flue liner. In the end, we decided on a new standard gas fired water heater that the engineer and code official would allow to share the metal flue liner with the boiler. Apparently, the lower BTU standard water heater was permitted to share a flue if there was an interlock which would prevent the boiler and water heater from operating simultaneously (the water heater takes precedence), and some form of back draft preventor.

With this set up, we can totally shut down the boiler in the late Spring and fire it back up in the Fall. This provides an energy cost savings as the boiler, when turned on, fires once every couple of hours or so for a few minutes even though there may not be a call for heat. The house does not heat when the boiler fires in this way because the circulator pumps are not activated as they would if heat had been called for by the room thermostats.

With the new equipment and controls of today there may be long term efficiencies and cost savings with the combined system, but in our case, with the configuration we inherited, and our available cash, it did not make sense for us.

peterm
Posts: 6207
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

I've forgotten what an amazing resource you Wright chatters are. It seems like we will probably stick with our separate water heater system.


Cheers!

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