Well, everytime I get interested in something, I head for the forums to research the "in's & out's" of the real world. My search for the real world of coal brought me here........great information and advice from the posts I've read to date.
Anyway, I built my house by myself in 1994-95, and installed the fuel oil boiler (Utica Boiler) hot water baseboard system at that time. My house is a single story ranch of 1700 sq. ft, and is (or was) built to code of 6" walls and 10" ceilings regarding insulation, so it's pretty well insulated for the most part.
Replacing the boiler is pretty straightforward, but I guess my quest is in searching for the (my) best option as far as model/brand of stoker. I've read over the pages here and see where the EFM, Keystoker, and Harman, are some of the most popular stoker boilers in the forum. Right now, I've narrowed my choices down to the Harman VF3000, and the Keystoker KA6. I plan on using the hot water coil during the winter/fall & early spring months, and I see where the Keystoker has the coil included, and that it's available as an option in the Harmon. Any pro's or con's to each design ?
My other concerns are build and/or stoker durability, as well as oil backup. I have a newer Beckett burner that I plan on installing as a backup system, and I wondered how the Keystoker "add on" setup compares, as I already know how the add on system that Harman offers works. Their system replaces the side door with the oil burner door with the hole in it, as well as the electronics (manual operation) to switch the systems back & forth.
I live over on the west side of New York state, west of the finger lakes, and any info on dealers of either brand would be greatly appreciated. Right now, Harmon's local dealers offer the VF3000 at $4450-$4500 (which appears to be a common price range), give or take the cost of shipping & (naturally) taxes. The only glitch I see (or read) with Harman is that their policy can be a hurdle when you buy from one distant dealer (for the best price) and then have to deal locally for parts. When it comes to the initial purchase, being the amount of money involved, I don't have a specific dealer loyalty issue, sorry......I'm not sure, but it appears that Harman, in connection with it's dealer policy and network of dealers, is trying to force the customers into their way of doing business, and/or forcing them to stick to a set dealer geography.....regardless of a better deal from one dealer to another. In other words, if you buy your boiler from a given dealer, even though it's an hour or two away, your pretty much stuck with them regarding warranty service issues. Maintenence I can do myself, and I think that you can get parts at any one of them as long as they have no issues because they didn't sell you the boiler in the first place.
Based on what I've read so far, this is the sour spot for me with Harman.......and pushes me toward the Keystoker.....even for the higher cost of the KA6. Aside from that, I've read that Keystoker's feed system isn't quite as durable as the Harman's, and that the KA6's blower runs 24/7 using more electricity...............
Sorry for the long ramble, but please educate me here............