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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...
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.
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.
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 â€” 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.
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.