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Boiler upgrade worth it?

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Posted by Bob Ionta on November 01, 2004 at 13:05:12:

I am having a completely new heating system installed in an old house with 3000 square feet of living space.

Part of the house was built around 1989 and is well insulated. Another part is about 250 years old but has been extensively renovated and has R13 insulation in walls and approximately R25 in the attic floor. There are good vapor barriers. The windows are tight with excellent storm windows. I have decided on a 3-zone hydro-air system with high velocity air handlers and a 53 gallon indirect domestic water heater.

The heating contractor has suggested a Peerless VB03 boiler. He has also given me information about an upgrade to a Viessmann VT200 boiler. The supposed benefits of the Viessmann include temperature modulation based upon outdoor temperature and much better boiler insulation resulting in greater efficiency (as measure in terms of actual heat into the house vs. flue gas measurements).

I am looking for an opinion on the validity of the efficiency claims. If the difference is not a matter of how much heat goes up the chimney, what is it? Does modulation of boiler temperature truly save money?

The prices differ by $1800. How likely is it that it'll pay me back in this lifetime? (I'm a middle aged guy, after all.)

Thank you for your opinions.

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