Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: Zinj On: Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:02 pm

Hello all. I am new to NEPA and full time solid fuel burning this year. My wife and I just bought this house in November and were 20 mins outside Harrisburg, PA. My primary heat is oil fire boiler (old as dirt, no name plate, size of a volkswagon) with forced water baseboards. We also have an MKIII that a warped grate (burnt mostly wood this year) and some bad vent piping...The longer I'm here the more i realize the previous owner wasn't really good with proper maintenance. Anyway if i am looking into spending money on repairs or potential replacements why don't I replace the boiler with a multi fuel unit. Some of my many questions are what are good brands and why? IE customer service, low maintenance costs, etc. What are some companies that are good with these types of heating systems? Any other advise, recommended coal yards, are multi fuel boilers efficient or even worth it? Sorry to ask so much but i have a lot to learn and greatly appreciate any help. Thanks all.
Zinj
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: KA-6
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark III
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman MKIII, Keystoker KA-6

Re: Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: SMITTY On: Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:11 pm

My advice would be to keep the Mark III for emergencies, and get yourself a stoker boiler for the house. You may have to keep the VW sized boiler in order to keep the insurance company happy, but that doesn't mean your required to use it. Just it's presence is enough.
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

Re: Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: dcrane On: Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:14 pm

Welcome to the forum, always great to hear from new folks.

a lot of people are going to lead you here http://efmheating.com/efm-coal-stoker-boiler-df250 with good reason (I will let the owners of these units speak about their performance). I have not seen many whole house boilers or add-on's but I have seen a couple of these functioning in homes and I was impressed both times :dancing:
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404


Re: Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: Berlin On: Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:57 am

I would keep the "old as dirt" oil boiler and install a coal boiler next to it. There is a LOT you can do to make those old oil boilers just about as efficient as a brand new one for pennies compared to a new boiler installation. A retention head oil burner set to fire at the lowest possible GPH, a ceramic fiber combustion chamber, a thorough cleaning and wire brushing of the boiler interior, and draft set as low as possible 0 to -.01 @ breach -.02 @ baro (and a good, new, baro) will make your boiler vastly more efficient.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: blrman07 On: Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:22 am

SMITTY wrote:My advice would be to keep the Mark III for emergencies, and get yourself a stoker boiler for the house. You may have to keep the VW sized boiler in order to keep the insurance company happy, but that doesn't mean your required to use it. Just it's presence is enough.


Ditto with Smitty. I would recommend replacing the warped grates in the MarkIII and start using that to heat the house. Then install a coal fired stoker boiler next to the oil guzzler. Keep the OG (oil guzzler) as a backup and plumb in the coal stoker boiler as the primary. You will without a doubt cut your heating bill by more than 1/2 the first year. You will cut a chunk just by replacing the warped grates and burning coal in the Mark III.

You will have some up front costs but in the long run you will save a ton of money. :)
blrman07
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bucket a Day
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Leisure Line Econo 1 stove
Coal Size/Type: Rice in the LL and anything that will fit in the Bucket a Day. It's not fussy.

Re: Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: waldo lemieux On: Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:53 am

Greetings from tiny town.... Last fall I installed a refurbished efm 520 , based on some research and the reports I found here. These machines are the bomb, so simple its easy to understand how they work." Keep it simple stupid" is how this thing is designed. If something does go wrong its easy to spot ,parts are available....
Dont be afraid of buying a refurb as most all moving parts will be new. Im sure that there are other good units out there and pretty much anything you buy the collective mind on this site will keep you out of the ditch. As far as the combination unit dont bother. you cant build a heat exchanger to be efficient with two different fuel sources. I prefer to hook the boilers in parallel and use one switch(dpdt) and two valves to switch from one to the other . No matter the unit you choose youll never look back, coal is awsome.

Best, Waldo
waldo lemieux
 
Stove/Furnace Make: efm
Stove/Furnace Model: s-20

Re: Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: Pacowy On: Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:03 am

Zinj -

Please check your private messages (envelope icon at top of page).

Thanks.

Mike
Pacowy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite

Re: Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: Dennis On: Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:29 am

Welcome.First before anything,what size house,original boiler size,insulation,how drafty,and possible heat loss calculations.You need to know what size boiler is needed first.I'd go with a stoker boiler and keep the harmon for electric outages.
I'd tear out the old boiler and replace it with a multi fuel stoker boiler(coal with oil back up)
Most likely you old boiler has ASBESTOS wraped around it, if it's the size of a VW.Big money for asbostos removal,but you can remove it yourself.Just water the boiler down with water so no absotos is disturbed and flying around,then put in trash bags and toss in regular garbage(do you really thing the pros dispose the "toxic waste" in a special place,it go's to the same landfill as your trash) and save $5000.00 and buy your coal boiler with the savings. :shh: :stfu: :shh:
Depending on boiler size needed:
EFM 520 with oil back up
LL 110 with oil back up
The oil back up is not as effecient,but it's a back up and not going to be used except for when you go on vacation or unexpected long term trips.
Dennis
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: AHS/WOC55-multi-fuel/wood,oil,coal
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/stove size

Re: Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: Zinj On: Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:05 pm

Thanks for the advise and the warm welcomes. And to answer your questions Dennis, our house is a little under 2800 sq ft, the existing boiler is rated at 198 MBH and 2 GPH (rest of the boiler plate is tough to read), insulation is better then the usual especially from 1945, the are 2 single pane windows on the first floor that need replaced and 4 in the basement, also 2 wood doors which i plan on replacing as well, everything else is double pane, 2nd floor and attic (same level) have 4" foil faced fiber glass batts for insulation which i plan on upgrading and some access panels which i plan on sealing. I found an online calc that estimated my heat loss at 43000 BTU/HR. Also i don't fear asbestos after 14 years of construction and maintenance. Double bagged and duct taped and out with the weekly trash. And if you can't pulverize it by hand, it's not friable. As for plumbing a separate boiler in parallel with the oil can they use the same flue?
Zinj
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: KA-6
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark III
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman MKIII, Keystoker KA-6

Re: Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: Rob R. On: Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:15 pm

Zinj wrote: and some access panels which i plan on sealing.


Start there. Air leaks into the attic often account for 40% (or more) of a home's heat loss.

As for the two boilers and one flue, yes it can be done...the building code foolishly treats a coal fired boiler the same way as a wood-fired appliance, and we all know they are two different animals. It is perfectly acceptable to hook two boiler boilers into a properly sized flue, and you can do the same thing with a coal unit and an oil unit...but it won't meet code. :gee:

You will save 2/3rds on your oil bill with a stoker boiler...it is the first step that stops most people, don't wait until next fall.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Rice/buck
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: Flaz On: Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:35 am

Bought a Keystoker K-6 combo unit Sept 2011 to replace a oil boiler that was failing. We fired the oil part for two weeks that year and have been on coal ever since. The initial investment was 8k installed but I will pay for that in oil savings next heating season. I used 3.5 ton last season and have approx. 1.25 ton of coal from the 5 ton I started with in Sept. 2012, with old oil boiler I was using over 900 gal. yearly. Coal heat is so much warmer than oil ever was and very little work to keep running, (fill hopper once a week, change ash pan 2 x wk) clean boiler in summer. You cannot go wrong!!!
Flaz
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker K-6 combination
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker combination
Stove/Furnace Model: K-6

Re: Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: Zinj On: Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:06 am

Everyone please welcome my new baby...I did have to think for a second that if I knew it would've been this much hassle getting it installed I may have opted not to buy it. A moment of weakness I promise to never have again. Guy I hired to do the install lost his helper, a bad fuel tank shut off valve that had to be replaced live, a then clogged fuel line that we replaced, and last but not least a return trip to fix a leaking coupling in the fuel line....and it's done. Now I just have to reinforce the existing coal/wood shed earlier next month and get 4 tons delivered. :D
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Zinj
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: KA-6
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark III
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman MKIII, Keystoker KA-6

Re: Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: Zinj On: Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:09 am

Also I forgot to mention that the oil/coal selector switch was wired wrong from the factory. They had voltage going to the oil burner directly from the switch...OOPS! Easy fix even with the kind of generic wiring diagram in the install manual.
Zinj
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: KA-6
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark III
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman MKIII, Keystoker KA-6

Re: Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: waldo lemieux On: Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:16 am

Before you spend any time lamenting your purchase, wait one heating season and see how much money you dont spend buying oil and how much warmer your can be. Those things with the oil line would have showed up sooner or later...... :)
waldo lemieux
 
Stove/Furnace Make: efm
Stove/Furnace Model: s-20

Re: Looking to replace my oil boiler and any other advise

PostBy: Zinj On: Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:53 am

True story. I did have some moments of frustration due to the added work on the oil side but am very happy with the unit now that its done.
Zinj
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: KA-6
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark III
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman MKIII, Keystoker KA-6