Our old boiler is 30 years old and has served us well with no problems whatsoever. Can we expect a new boiler to last as long?
Provided the boiler is installed properly and maintained well, it should last you a long time. Most boilers generally get changed before they encounter failures due to the escalating prices of fuels and the continuing advances in technology in building more efficient boilers.
We have an older home with an unlined brick chimney and want to know if can be used with a new high efficiency gas boiler.
Today's boilers are more efficient and have lower flue gas temperatures than ever before. It is strongly advisable to have an insulated liner installed in your chimney if you intend to use it to vent the new boiler. Gas boilers with AFUE Efficiencies at or above 85% must utilize a certified vent system such as AL29-4C Stainless Steel or Polypropylene that usually terminate through the sidewall of the building. Many can also terminate through the roof as well. These boilers utilize induced draft fans and sealed vent systems that can operate with the much lower flue gas temperatures and flue gas condensation these boilers produce. They cannot be vented into an existing chimney, lined or unlined.
Our contractor says he will be installing a Power Vent gas boiler in our new home. We have read about Direct Vent gas boilers and are curious if that is what we will be getting. Are they both the same thing?
A Power Vented gas boiler and Direct Vented gas boiler are actually similar in design but also much different. They both terminate through the sidewall or roof via Stainless Steel sealed pipe or other approved vent systems and have induced draft fans to vent the flue gasses. The difference is where they get the air the burners need for proper gas combustion. Power Vented boilers get their air from the space or room where the boiler is installed. Direct Vented boilers have sealed combustion chambers and a pipe that draws combustion air from outside the building directly to the combustion chamber. A Power Vented boiler will usually require that additional combustion air be introduced into the room where it is installed if it is a confined space. A Direct Vent boiler takes care of that by design.
My husband has to go downstairs occasionally and relight the pilot on our old gas boiler to get the boiler to work. Will our new high efficiency gas boiler have a pilot that we will have to light?
With the exception of one or two models, most of today&rsquos gas boilers come equipped with Electronic Spark Ignition. What that means is that there will not be a pilot lit until a call for heat is encountered by the boiler. At that time a pilot is lit by a spark igniter, a flame sensor will prove the presence of that pilot and then the main burners will be ignited. This process is completely automatic and the operation is very dependable. If the system fails to make a pilot, you will need to call a service technician, as the pilot cannot be relit by manual means.
What parts of the new heating system are covered by the new boiler warranty?
The boiler warranty covers the boiler vessel and all components that were shipped with the boiler when it left the factory for a period of one year. Any component found to be defective will be replaced free of charge for those components only. These components would usually be the burner(s), electrical controls, circulator, temperature gauge, vent damper and relief valve. There are certainly other components were installed in your system at the time of installation such as additional circulators, zone valves, relays, expansion tanks, control valves and thermostats and these components usually also carry a one year parts warranty. Most installers cover their installation and labor for the first year.
We have both Gas and Oil in our home. The present boiler is fired with oil and we use gas for hot water and cooking. With escalating costs of home heating oil and gas we are considering replacing our older boiler. Can we use either gas or oil in any of the boilers that are available today if fuel prices change abruptly or shortages occur?
The residential gas boilers we manufacture are only able to burn either natural or propane gas depending on what they were configured and tested for. Oil-fired residential boilers are tested and certified for use only with heating oil burners. There are utilities and companies that are trained and will install power gas burners on oil-fired boilers. We have neither tests nor certifications for using gas burners on these boilers. We cannot provide setup specifications for the burners so the installer of such a device is will have to bear complete responsibility for his actions.
Our oil-fired boiler has in internal coil that makes our hot water for showers and washing dishes. We find that it manages to provide enough hot water for a shower or dishes but does not keep up when we want to take a bath. Is there anything that can be done to improve this?
What you are referring to is an internal tankless heater in your boiler. It is an immersion finned copper coil that conducts temperature from your boiler water to cold water flowing through the coil on its way to the shower or bath. These coils are instantaneous meaning that there is no storage of hot water and that the cold water flowing through the coil is raised approximately 100°F as it flows through the coil. That function, however, is directly related to boiler sizing and there are limits of how many gallons per minute of flow the coil and boiler can handle. Bathtubs and whirlpools require a bigger draw due to the flow through the larger ports of the bath valve. Installing a flow restrictor on the piping will regulate the amount of water flowing through the coil but will require a longer time to fill the bathtub. There are other ways of dealing with this . One way is to have a storage tank installed to store a quantity of hot water that has been heated by the coil in the boiler. This called an Aqua Booster tank and is equipped with a temperature device and circulator to always maintain a quantity of water for big draws such as a bath. The other is an Indirect Water Heater which still stores a quantity of water but produces it in a more efficient way by circulating boiler water through its own internal coil to heat a tank of water surrounding that coil. These can provide for very large hot water usages as their recovery rates are very good and there are a variety of tank sizes. Ask you contractor about an Indirect Water Heater for your hot water needs.
We have a service contract with our local service company to clean and service our boiler every year. In talking to our friends, they say it isn’t necessary to have a boiler cleaned and serviced every year. Are we getting our money’s worth out of these cleanings?
Today&rsquos boilers are more efficient by design than ever before and it would in your best interest to ensure that they remain that way. With fuel prices escalating every season you would want to be sure that you are getting every bit of heating value out of that fuel. The annual cleaning and service contract you have with your service company is your best method of achieving that goal. Your friends who say you are wasting your money may not have a boiler as efficient as yours but you can rest assured they are not getting as much value out of their fuel dollars as you are. I would liken this also to folks who drive a car until the check engine light comes on as compared to those who take it in for regular maintenance. In the long run, those who keep it serviced will get more life and value out of that vehicle.