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Steam Boiler Replacement

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Posted by John on March 09, 2008 at 11:25:34:

I'm in the process of choosing a new residential gas-fired steam boiler to replace an old 1920's era oil-fired (coal-fired conversion)cast-iron steam boiler. Is there a general consensus as to who makes the best units? I know there are a lot of variables, but it seems like most units (Weil-Mclain, Burnham, Peerless, Lennox) only achieve around 83% efficiency for their steam boilers. I'm also wondering if I should go with a domestic hot water coil in the boiler, or an indirect tank adjoining, or even a separate gas-fired tankless unit. The house is an old Queen Ann style, up and down, two-family home with (2) full bathrooms, (2) kitchens, (1) dishwasher, and (1) washing machine. The heating system is a two-pipe gravity steam system with one-zone thermostat control and the old large-style cast-iron radiators most with automatic thermostatic air vents. Unfortunately, it appears that the 2nd floor risers are undersized as well. I was planning on using the existing masonry chimney for venting the flue gases and I was wondering if I might need to install a chimney liner to accomodate the new gas exhaust. The chimney is in great shape, but rather a large flue pipe contained within (from the old coal days, I guess), and I feel like the existing heating unit is pushing most of the heat right up the chimney. My current oil usage is about 1400 gallons a year or about $4,200.00. I know the home has no insulation in the walls and some old cellulose blown into the attic but which has been moved to the side. All of the 25 or so windows w/ storms are original and drafty and need replacement as well. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read my story!

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