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Replace or repipe this boiler?

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Posted by Dave on October 23, 2005 at 12:55:18:

I know I've posted about my boiler here before, but I did a little more experimenting with it, and now I'm really at a loss.....We have a 5 year old house with a low mass Lochinvar copper tube boiler. It is about 6000 sf and is well-insulated, has plastic vapor barrier and top of the line Pella windows. From the beginning, we have had problems with our gas boiler (never piped right). It is a 300,000 BTU unit and when it runs, it tends to run for about 2 minutes before shutting down. Then it is off for 2 minutes and then restarts all over again. It also is noisy at times, sounding like a low-flying jet. It has a 2-stage gas burner which is basically controlled by whatever operating and high fire temps we set it to on the dials. We have high fire set at 155 and operating temp at 175. Attached to this unit, we have 3 hydroair fan coils, a Phase III indirect water heater, and a small radiant floor loop for the master bath.

I had a heating company come look at repiping, which would probably take a day to do. Originally, the technician recommended just repiping the primary loop. However, the next day he called and said that after discussing it with his boss, we should replace the boiler with a Buderus. When I asked him why, he said that the low mass copper tube boiler will always make noise in our application, and we won't be happy with it. With the price of gas going through the roof, I am not totally against replacing the boiler. We intend to be in the house for at least 20 years. But is it truly worth it to replace it at the cost of mayvbe $8,000-10,000?

I found another contractor who will repipe the primary loop for about $700.
Also, I turned off the high fire burner this weekend, so it is essentially acting as a 150,000 BTU boiler, and the house is comfortable even though the temp was in the 40's yesterday. Would maybe adding a Tekmark controller to use outdoor temp to only allow one stage to come on unless it dips below a certain temp help with our situation and allow us to keep the boiler, or should we ditch it?

Thanks. Dave

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