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    Really Confused (42 Posts)

  • Chris Chris @ 8:15 PM
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    Really Confused

    I use to come to this website on a daily basis quite a few years ago before 3-pass boilers were not as popular as they are today. Since I've come back I have noticed alot of mis-information on german boilers being priced much higher then there american counterparts. This is just not true. I deal on a daily basis with Peerless, Burnham, Crown, Munchkin, Triangle and just about any other boiler line you can come up with. I don not sell Buderus but I do sell Viessmann and have been dealing with Viessmann since the late 1980's. The Vitrond 100 which I will use for my comparison is Viessmanns introductory 3-pass boiler that is the direct competition to the everyday american 3-pass. That boiler with a Beckett NX is just as or less than any american 3-pass boiler. Can I make it more money by adding controls and accessories? Of course I can but I don't use nor try to. This is a basic 3-pass that comes with the same honeywell aquastat that the american boilers do. I use the same zone control whether as everyone else whether it's Taco, Argo or whatever brand tickles your fancy. If I want out-door reset I add Taco's PC700 as I am a Taco user. Actually I can sell a VR1-22 with a beckett nx for less money then a standard Peerless WBV03, Crown TWZ100 or Burnham PV83 (now VH83) and give the customer a better boiler. What most contractors miss out in the field on replacements is actually two things: a) Doing a heat loss and b) Measuring heat emmitters. They still stick those 3 and 4 fingers in the front yard and pick the boiler or just read the lable on the old clunker in the basement. So they call there local supply house, get some in-experienced (in hydronics) counter guy and tell them they need a 3 or 4 section boiler. Now the counter guy throws out the price on that standard american pin-style boiler and since he just came back from a counter day or class he asks the contractor, "hey we stock _______(fill in the blank, Viessmann, Buderus) how many btus do you need?" (there is no 3 or 4 section in 3-pass world) The contractor tells him I need 150,00 btus because that's what the label on the clunker said. So opens up the book and finds a 3-pass that matches the btu's and boom low and behold it's twice as much. Since Johnny the counter guy has no clue about hydronics he never asked if the guy did a heat loss or atleast asked him how much baseboard he had on the job or radiator sizes. My point here is that the German guys are no more pricey then the American guys. Can they be? Sure they can. I'm a firm beliver in putting the right equipment in for the job and giving the consumer the best bang for his buck. I just wanted to share my thoughts.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Robert O'Brien Robert O'Brien @ 7:27 PM
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    Absolutely true,Frank

    but the context was boiler sizing.
  • maddogg maddogg @ 4:15 PM
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    load calcs

    wher aren all you people doing these heat load calcs?youre not here in ney york where i live/operate. it would be nice to meet some fellow tradesman who dont have their heads up their a#$es....The customer who gets the better job is the one who does their homework. I believe that the energy kinetics system 2k out preforms all other equipment... American made...for america,by america.....keep your outdoor reset,your mod/con wallhung crap.... these lil yella fellas run circles around everythingw/a beckett afg.....nice n simple...lean fire and an honest85%real eff,not the A.F.U.E. garbageand i can load calc by your past usage...oversized? its ok they have a purge control to eliminate waste....NO ENERGY WASTED!!!! every time it fires...all yr long saving $...o.d.r.was invented to compensate for the ridiculous mass associated w/ the typical cast iron boilers.3passbuderus,vieesmas, biasi, burnham mpo....gimme a break......average heat load in your average home is 60-80k on the coldest day..somebody post back
  • Chris Chris @ 5:45 PM
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    I live in NY

    An the average heat loss on a basic ranch upto 2000 sqft house is really between 40 and 50k. You may install what you are comfortable with and I will never say otherwise. It fits your business and you make a respectable living with it. God Bless. System 2000 has done a great marketing job hands down but I can do the same thing with a 83% Peerless WBV03 that a System 2000 does with a Honeywell aquatrol at less the cost
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • David107 David107 @ 4:22 PM
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    example

    HO here; 47Kbtu heatloss done LI house. old boiler 150Kbtu. Installed Buderus G115/21 80Kbtu--smallest available--with st-150 indirect HWH. Emitters 100Kbtu. Yes we have outdoor reset, but even without it we would have saved lots of money. In fact boiler is still oversized by 30%. Gross output is 74Kbtu on the 47k loss. contractors don't do heat losses because they don't trust or know the science and they're afraid of the callback from the crazy homeowner who calls when it's -10deg in high winds and his inside temp is 71 instead of 72. also because so many HOs never heard of a heat loss and resent paying for that valuable service. David
  • maddogg maddogg @ 4:27 PM
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    hey dave,buderus makes nice equipment no doubt..and most people dont want to pay for anything.i am sure you are saving w/ the buderusyou cut your firing rate in 1/2 w/ the new system what is your R.O.I
  • David107 David107 @ 4:45 PM
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    ROI

    well I'd say 7 years for burner/boiler. David
  • scott markle scott markle @ 4:24 PM
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    lots of variables go into an accurate heat loss, many of which are not even calculable by simply measuring areas of the various exterior envelope components. Air infiltration is a very big factor, is the heating contractor going to bring a blower door? Or do infrared scans to look for gaps in insulation? The truth is that most systems are oversized. And quite often even the smallest available boiler is much larger than it needs to be. Why go to all the trouble of doing a room by room heatloss in a situation where multiplying out a worst case loss of say 35 btus/sq. foot on say 1500 sq ft. tells us we need 28k less than the smallest (80k) oil boiler will provide? As far as reset curves, again it's very difficult to set a tight reset curve (for nearly constant circulation) armed only with estimates on your loads. Although I have hit this on the mark, I feel it is best to accept that a well adjusted curve will often require some trial and error. Most guys just set these curves higher than they need to be so they won't have to come back to bump it up. Sometimes a smart client can even be invited to be a part of this calibration. There is nothing like real world design conditions to inform this process. What I like about the Vitotronic control is the nice simple analog reset curve dial. This is something you could actualy explain to a home owner. Unlike the adjust menu of a Tekmar, which is best kept locked up from the user. What I'm trying to say is that in many instances an installer can properly size a boiler without full blown heat-loss assessment. And should not be judged as a hack automatically for doing so.
  • Chris Chris @ 5:55 PM
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    I totally agree

    Can't say much else. There comes a time where your experience out weighs the book and in this case that's exactly what I mean. I can see for new construction when you are on the ground floor desgining a system but on a replacement experience is what counts.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Jean-David Beyer Jean-David Beyer @ 8:10 AM
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    "The truth is that most systems are oversized. And quite often even the smallest available boiler is much larger than it needs to be. Why go to all the trouble of doing a room by room heatloss in a situation where multiplying out a worst case loss of say 35 btus/sq. foot on say 1500 sq ft. tells us we need 28k less than the smallest (80k) oil boiler will provide?" If you have been in the business a while, perhaps you would already know what Scott has said here. Since as a customer, I had only a book knowledge of these issues, so I did a heat loss two different ways, and also looked at the name plate on the Beckett burner in my old oil boiler (70K/hr, 1/2 gallon of oil per hour if it fired continuously, which it could not since it was so oversized; it cycled quite rapidly due to the settings of the upper limit and the lower limit of that boiler even though I moved them 10 degrees apart). My house is between 1100 and 1200 square feet total; a little over 700 square feet downstairs and a little over 400 square feet upstairs. And, when I was done, I found out that I needed, say, 40K less than the smallest gas burner in the product line I was interested in. In fact, if I believe the Slant/Fin calculator, I need 50K less than the smallest gas burner in that product line. So I am glad the boiler I selected has 5:1 turndown. But I would get more benefit from that turndown if I could have gotten a 40K BTU/hr boiler. It seems to me that pacing around the outside of the house would not have left the salesman in doubt and suggesting the 105K unit. Considering the cost of the job (removing old oil tank, installing the gas line in the garage, replacing old undersized heating elements upstairs, replacing old electric hot water heater with indirectly heated one, converting to three zones (one for the DHW), and neatening up everything), the difference in my initial cost for the larger boiler was in the order of $700 which is not all that much compared with the entire job. I could have paid that. But I did not like the idea of paying the continuing operating cost of an oversize boiler.
  • Paul Pollets Paul Pollets @ 5:26 PM
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    I'd Agree...

    If you have the knowledge, sizing doesn't require a heat loss calc. I'd be asking the question to the homeowner,"does each room stay warm enough on the coldest day?" If not, I'd calc the room. If a home was properly sized for heat emitters the first time (rarely) and hasn't had significant energy upgrades, ie., insulation upgrades, Low E windows, etc., then certain rules of thumb would be apparent. Proper sizing means proper sizing. I could care less what type of boiler is used or fuel source. We try and teach the customers how to lower the heat curve and maximize savings without compromising comfort. Some (but not all) jump in and fine tune the settings. I do care that if condensing loads can be met, I'll recommend a condensing boiler be installed. Why run a boiler at 170 when a 90 degree water temp will heat the home? Oil fired boilers are a different story and there are different rules. To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Chris Chris @ 5:51 PM
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    Jean

    A heat loss is important and I'm not diminishing that point. I think that sometimes people get so involved in the book way they forget what real world educational experiences bring to every contractor. If you truly want to take a "system approach" not a boiler approach you would do both the heat loss and measure the heat emitters (baseboard, radiators, etc.). The other question I would pose to those that state a heat loss is the anwser. What if I have hydro-air (Air Handler in the Attice to provided cooling and heating from a zone off the boiler). Do I use the heat loss or the btu out-put of that air handler. See, hydro air tends to oversize a heating system
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Jean-David Beyer Jean-David Beyer @ 8:12 PM
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    'If you truly want to take a "system approach" not a boiler approach you would do both the heat loss and measure the heat emitters (baseboard, radiators, etc.).' I would like to take a system approach rather than a boiler approach. However this house is already built. Downstairs is radiant heat in a slab on grade. The tubing is 1/2" copper of unknown spacing and unknown depth below the surface. I do not even know if there is insulation under the slab or around its edges. I suspect there may be some, because the snow around my house melts only about a foot from the house, and that only on warmer days. About the only thing I know about it is with the old 70K BTU/hr boiler, it heated enough. In fact, it got too hot, so I set down the boiler temperature some (from 160F to about 140F and there was a bypass valve (just a ball valve) to mix some of the return water with the fresh boiler water. But no thermometers. So that gives me a clue, but not what I would call good engineering data. I did not think about condensing in those days, so it probably did a fair bit of it. The pipe to the chimney rusted out one time. But when they removed the old GE boiler, it seemed in fairly good shape. And measuring the upstairs was not much help. Each of the two rooms had three feet of fin-tube in a radiator looking box, and they did not heat enough at the temperature the boiler provided. Since I wanted to operate the boiler in condensing mode as much as possible, I decided to put 14 feet of Slant/Fin in each of the two rooms (the width of the rooms) and calculate the required water temperature to get the BTU/hr required and came up with 140F on the coldest day. So now I have much more radiation (convection, actually) from the radiators, and they are getting hotter water than before. And if I goofed, it is trivial to increase the water temperature all the way to 190F if need be (and I cannot imagine I am that far off for these 200 square foot rooms). I would hate to do that because it would run in condensing mode only on the warmest of days, if at all. But for my house, anyway, I did not really need accurate heat loss, just a good ballpark figure. Would the smallest boiler in the W-M Ultra 3 line be enough, or did I need a larger one. I.e., 80K BTU/hr (input) vs. 105 BTU/hr (input). Since neither of my calculations came up to even 40K BTU/hr, I figured out that the smaller boiler would do the job. The contractor wanted to go up to the 105K BTU/hr to be sure. His view was that with 5:1 turndown, the boiler could handle the smaller load. Seemed pretty weak reasoning to me. Too bad I did not do this last fall so I could try it out. The W-M control circuits tell me which circulators are running, what the boiler temperature objective is, what it actually is (both input to the heat exchanger and output from the heat exchanger, and the return from the house and the supply to the house), the boiler firing rate, the outdoor temperature, and so on. All the stuff I might have preferred to know before selecting it. The only change I would make to their controller is a connector to my computer so I could read all this stuff from inside the house instead of having to go out to the garage to look at it. ;-)
  • Bob Bona Bob Bona @ 7:20 PM
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    that is not Matt

    Mike. The Mad Dog we all know and love is open minded.
  • KevinCorr KevinCorr @ 8:36 PM
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    EK

    Mike Bader- Sorry to have to call Bull Slit. I was the very first EK dealer in the West and introduced it to Alaska. My house was the very 1st one and it is still running great after 25 yrs! I sold many and after I quit they got a half dozen local dealers to replace me and they are still installing them by the thousands. The best heating shop in town just became a dealer after servicing many of my old jobs and those of other subsequent dealers. He has been installing everything else including Burnham, Viessmann and Buderus and is now our best local EK dealer among a half dozen. I have personally seen the fuel records on replacement of other boilers and there is simply no debate that it uses less fuel than all the old style boilers. I can testify that what you read on their website is 100% true. We have all seen many brands of boilers ruined by bad installations! The only problem I ever had is that those who are not dealers resent it and talk it down. Not sure why, perhaps jealosy or they simply don't know. I quit being a dealer years ago so I am always searching for something that can come close. I used to use a Laars Max 75 as a substitute cold start system but they quit making oil boilers. Now the only low mass oil boiler I can find here is the Burnham LE. Some of the heating people here think that Buderus is equally effecient to the EK but Buderus does cost more. I started reading these forums to see what was said about Viessmann, Burnham MPO and LE, and Buderus. Probably the only oil burners available in Alaska that can compete. I am sure that there are other brands not being sold here. There is a distributer for the Slant Fin Eutetcic modulating boiler which I have not heard much about yet. I believe it is designed to never shut down below 140F even during long periods of inactivity but I am not sure about it. I am not going to do that all over again to introduce a new product. I am now very interested in the Viessmann Vitola 200 which is both cold start and modulating. It may be the one to tie EK for effeciency.
  • Chris Chris @ 8:52 PM
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    You Want a Low Mass

    3-pass boiler. Take a look at Biasi www.qhtiinc.com It's an italian 3-pass sold a few of them. It's actually a nice little boiler. Look at the B10 Series that's their introductory 3-pass then you step up to the SG Series.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • KevinCorr KevinCorr @ 3:39 AM
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    Biasi

    Chris- the Biasi looks good and has a good rep. Unfortunately there is no distribution up here. I don't want to go through that again, being the one to bring in a new brand myself. It was a good experience but I am 75% retired and am not going back to the full time gig. I pick and choose a few jobs and take a few call out of the Fitters/plumbers local. I don't know why no one sells Biasi. We have wholesalers of Slant Fin, Triangle tube, Weil Mclain, Monitor, Toyo, Quietside and the ones we discussed already: Burnham, Viessmann, Buderus and EK.
  • Chris Chris @ 8:45 PM
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    I really

    can't give you an honest answer to your question concerning boiler size without seeing the job. The 2 rooms you speak about that are 200 sqft require based on my estimation 5,000 btus or 8.47 (9') of baseboard. If you give me then actual room dimensons with outside walls, windows, ceiling height, what's above, what's below and wall R-Value I could give you an honest answer based on your information only concerning those 2 rooms. Can you tell me how many sqft your basement is? What are the heat emitters in the rest of the house. Can you take a picture of one of them and post?
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Jean-David Beyer Jean-David Beyer @ 10:57 PM
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    I do not wish you to bother calculating this stuff. However, one room is 20 feet by 14 feet, and the other is 12 feet by 14 feet. Roughly; one is L-shaped and has no windows. The other is rectangular and has 2 Marvin opti-coated argon-filled windows. There is over 6" of fibreglass over the ceilings; the walls have over 6" of fibreglass. It is a CapeCod house, so there is some of the ceiling at a 45 degree angle, where it is filled with fibreglass, but only the thickness of a 2x4. The Slant/Fin calculator, when I gave it all the inputs it requests, came up with 3467 BTU/hr for one and 3006 BTU/hr for the other. Ceiling height is 7 feet 8 inches at the center part, and slopes down to the wall about 4 feet high when it hits the walls. The walls are solid plaster on rocklath (looks exactly like drywall). What is below is the downstairs of the house. There, the ceilings are 8 feet. There is no basement; the house is on a concrete slab containing 1/2 inch copper tubing. Upstairs used to have "radiators" that had a 3-foot long piece of finned copper tubing in them. I cannot take a picture of the upstairs radiators because they have already been recycled. But you can imagine what 3 feet of copper tubing with fins looks like. The new Slant/Fin is two 7-foot pieces of BL-75 soldered together; one of those in each room. They would put out 570 BTU/hr per foot if I fed them 180F water, but I do not need that much heat, so I will try 140F water in them, giving about 300 BTU/hr per foot. I would like the return water to promote condensing. These two rooms have their baseboard heaters in series, and there will be about 10F drop through them, so it would make more sense to assume they are getting 130F or so on the coldest day. But the initial supply temperature is easily adjusted on the boiler. I cannot photograph the copper tubing in the slab because I cannot photograph through concrete.
  • Chris Chris @ 2:55 PM
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    Ok - Lets try this

    You get a phone call for an estimate on a boiler. You get there and there is this old 1950's Amercian Standard Oil Boiler. You walk around the house getting your room, window, outside walls etc and do the heat loss. You get a heat loss of 45,000. That is the average heat loss here in my area. Now I come to that same job. I measure the baseboard and come up with 150'. That boards total max out-put is 88,500 btus'. What American Pin-Style Oil boiler are you going to use that won't be oversized? Your best bet is probably a MPO84 or Vitorond 100 VR1-22 or Buderus G11528. You have no choice but to use a 3-pass boiler in this case if you don't want to be oversized. Now we get back to my point. A heat loss is useless in this case unless you are doing both the loss and measuring the heat emitters if you want to overcome an over-sized boiler. In my case atleast I can come closer to matching the system load then you can. So, just as measuring my emitters may have a glitch so does your heat loss. If we want to have an absolutely non-oversized system then we have to take a system approach not a boiler approach. I don't want to come across that I'm into bad boiler sizing because I'm not. If anything I'm a firm believer in a system approach but not every homeowner has the cash to do it. If I had it my way every American pin-style boiler and those with tankless coils (coming sooner then you think) would be abolished.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Jim Erhardt Jim Erhardt @ 3:15 PM
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    It's the heat loss....

    "You get a phone call for an estimate on a boiler. You get there and there is this old 1950's Amercian Standard Oil Boiler. You walk around the house getting your room, window, outside walls etc and do the heat loss. You get a heat loss of 45,000. That is the average heat loss here in my area. Now I come to that same job. I measure the baseboard and come up with 150'. That boards total max out-put is 88,500 btus'." THE CORRECT ANSWER IS 45,000. THE RADIATION DOES NOT MATTER!!!!!! "What American Pin-Style Oil boiler are you going to use that won't be oversized? Your best bet is probably a MPO84 or Vitorond 100 VR1-22 or Buderus G11528. You have no choice but to use a 3-pass boiler in this case if you don't want to be oversized. Now we get back to my point." GET THE BOILER THAT MOST CLOSELY MATCHES THE HEAT LOSS - NOT THE RADIATION! "A heat loss is useless in this case unless you are doing both the loss and measuring the heat emitters if you want to overcome an over-sized boiler. In my case atleast I can come closer to matching the system load then you can." SYSTEM LOAD = HEAT LOSS. SYSTEM LOAD = HEAT LOSS. SYSTEM LOAD = HEAT LOSS. SYSTEM LOAD = HEAT LOSS. DID I MENTION THAT SYSTEM LOAD = HEAT LOSS IN A HOT WATER SYSTEM? "If we want to have an absolutely non-oversized system then we have to take a system approach not a boiler approach." YOU CAN TRIPLE THE AMOUNT OF RADIATION NEEDED AND SIZE THE BOILER TO THE HEAT LOSS. THIS WILL ALLOW YOU TO SATISFY THE HEAT LOSS WITH LOWER SUPPLY TEMPS. OLD HOMES WITH UPDATED WINDOWS AND INSULATION WILL MOST LIKELY FALL INTO THIS CATEGORY. I used all caps, not so much because I'm yelling (even though I feel like it) but just to make my responses more evident. I'm signing off on this one. Size those hot water boilers any way you like.
  • maddogg maddogg @ 4:57 PM
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    not bad i am curiuos as to what you paid/where youlive
  • Mike Mike @ 7:11 PM
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    MD

    Mad Dog, I cannot believe you;'ve partaken of the EK Kool -Aid. Whatever happened to your critical thinking skills? The S-2000 is the poster boy for: "Great marketing overcomes inferior engineering every time." No doubt you saw or heard about the unit at BNL? Wake up and smell the coffee MD.
  • Chris Chris @ 8:14 AM
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    Great Input

    From each of you. I'd like to comment on some of the issue that each of you brought to the table. Mostly Tankless Coils in my area - While I am also in NY I have to agree that that market still strongly exists. I'd like to know what your plan will be when tankless coils start being phased out in 2012 and why not start phaseing them out youself now. Instead of using that tankless coil boiler why not a MPO, Vitrond, Buderus with a flat plate heat exchanger on those replacements where you cannot fit an indirect. Adding Controls to the Vitorond 100. I will agree it can get pricey when you start adding their controls. If we are talking about a basic change out on a basboard system and we are using an indirect why add viessmann controls? Why not just a Taco PC700 to the existing or added on Zone Control (I use TACO but for Argo users they have the same). Why am I measuring heat emmitters? There are 2 reasons, 1. You couldn't get a contractor in my area to do or even get you the info to do a heat loss if your life depended on it. By measuring the heat emitters atleast we can get a better idea of matching the load vs taking info from the plate on the clunker in the basement. I personally would reather do a loss but can't get it through these guys head. My last topic is something that really kills me. Back when I started in the plbg & htg wholesale industry back in the late 80's you had in the supply houses alot of really good, experienced in-side sales and counter staff. Ownership was someone you new, shook your hand, asked how about the family and was there for you, Cared about growing his business and yours. With the swallowing up of those types of supply houses by the corporate world it seems that we are destorying what was once a partnership between the contractor and the supply house. Supply houses have shrunk their staff, the old timers went or were sent on their merry way and with that went the hand shake from the owners, how's the family and that sense of a partnership. Most of you know that I manage a supply house. We have already started to plan for this up-coming heat season (hope it gets cold this year). I have made it a priority to my staff that this yrs focus will be 3-pass boilers (we stock MPO and Viessmann) and condesing wall hungs (We stock, Peerless, Burnham, Crown, Triangle, Munchkin and Viessmann). Our main focus will be Viessmann. We have no competition in our market for the line and I feel that it will get my contractors to finally sell a boiler vs just quoting a boiler. I have a slide show for the Vitrond 100, Vitodens 100 and 200 that gives them a tool to sit down with the homeowner and go over the boiler. We are also going to stop giving 1 boiler quotes. Every contractor will get a 3 boiler quote option. I;ve babbled enough. Thanks again for you comments and you all have a great week
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Jim Erhardt Jim Erhardt @ 8:39 AM
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    Worthless Info

    "Why am I measuring heat emmitters? There are 2 reasons, 1. You couldn't get a contractor in my area to do or even get you the info to do a heat loss if your life depended on it. By measuring the heat emitters atleast we can get a better idea of matching the load vs taking info from the plate on the clunker in the basement. I personally would reather do a loss but can't get it through these guys head." With rare exception, the "connected radiation" has NOTHING to do with the load on the boiler or boiler sizing. Nothing. Nada. Zip. By asking them to measure the radiation, all we are doing is perpetuating confusion and misinformation. The only time we need to consider radiation - and the system piping - is with old gravity or 2-pipe systems that hold a swimming pool worth of water. In those cases, we may need to make some adjustment for pick up load depending on how we pipe and control the system. The ONLY way to properly size a hot water boiler is via heat loss calculation. The smart contractors do one. Anything else is a WAG.
  • Chris Chris @ 10:13 AM
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    I disagree

    to a point. As I stated in my above post. I prefer to do a loss. While you say heat emitters have no bearing I disagree. They are the better posion then the lable off the boiler. Let's talk about what happens in the real world, everyday. Sometimes we tend to shove our heads so far into the book we forget about being street smart. Every situation has to be taken into consideration. While you may do a heat loss on every job you comes across in the real world it does not happen. Let's me ask you...Which of these 2 poisions is the best solution when you can't get heat loss information out of the contractor. Size off the lable on the boiler or measure the heat emitters? I would say measure the heat emitters. Why? Because they worked for the 20 yrs they have been installed to heat the space at 180 degree wtr temp. The boiler could have been over sized though. How many btu's are in a foot of fin tubed baseboard at 180 degrees? 590, 600? So let's say for every 100' that's 60,000 btus. How many feet of board is in the average 1,500 sqft home? 150 ft maybe that equates to 90,000 btu's. How many 90,00 btu oil boilers are out there? Ok so 200' of board that's 120,00 btus. Both situtations above call for a basic 3 section oil boiler but maybe your a 3-pass guy so I could use 2 different boilers. You say a heat loss is the only way to properly size a boiler in a replacement application and I disagree. Are you telling me that on every job you do a heat loss that you can size the boiler better then I can by measuring heat emitters? The examples above blow that theory out of the water. Now if you want to use the argument that you do a heat loss, you measure all the heat emitters and set a heating curve then I will buy the argument that a heat loss is 100 percent necessary on every job for that type of application. Out of your last 10 jobs how many do you have on a heating curve? How many boilers did you have to down fire? Please give me an example using my heat emitter theory where it wouldn't have worked on any of those last 10 jobs. Heck, give me the total amount of footage of board or edr of your last job and I will give you back a boiler size and I bet it's the same size boiler you put in. What firing rate did you leave that boiler in? I'll even make it harded for me. Give me the room sizes in sqft, no outside wall, windows or doors and I'll even do it that way. I'll even give you the heat loss but be honest with me and tell me how close or off I was. My point here is that a heat loss is not the only anwser and that while it is preferred it's only benifit on an existing job is if you want to set a heating curve.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Tony Tony @ 10:27 PM
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    Exactly

    We have been listening to all these ridiculous reasons for the pricing on modcons when the truth is that the Germans can assemble and ship a much heavier boiler with all the UL and CGA ratings and the voltage conversions and all the other reasons that were explained here and then actually sell the thing for less than our own companies.
  • Jim Erhardt Jim Erhardt @ 10:37 AM
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    Heat Loss

    "Are you telling me that on every job you do a heat loss that you can size the boiler better then I can by measuring heat emitters?" On a hot water system, ABSOLUTELY!!! The only load the boiler actually "sees" is heat loss and pick-up loss. Pick-up loss includes the BTUs lost through the distribution piping. The I=B=R net ratings include a "rule of thumb" pick-up loss of 15%. It actually varies and can be larger or smaller, depending on the system. To better wrap your mind around the heat loss load, consider the following scenario: You install a 50,000 BTU modcon boiler in an existing system. The system has 500 feet of baseboard, rated at 600 BTUs/foot at 180 degree supply water temp and 65 degree air temp entering the enclosure. At those temepratures, the baseboard is producing 600 BTUs/ft and is "loading" the boiler with 300,000 BTUs. Alot of heat loss, alot of cold air to heat. But, let's say the boiler is set to 100 degree supply temp and the air temp entering the baseboard is also 100 degrees. How much load is on the boiler now? If you guessed zero, you hit the nail. THE ONLY PRACTICAL EFFECT OF EXCESSIVE RADIATION (OTHER THAN PIPING AND DELTA-T CONSIDERATIONS) IS SATISFACTION OF HEAT LOSS AT LOWER SUPPLY TEMPS. In STEAM systems, boilers are sized to the radiation. However, boilers should NEVER be sized to radiation in a hot water system, other than considering unusual pick-up loads. We truly have to get away from bad practices on sizing heating equipment. Having a contractor size a hot water boiler to the radiation is just that.
  • Chris Chris @ 11:02 AM
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    Again

    I will say I PREFER a heat loss but in the real world it doesn't happen. You can lead the horse to the water but you can't make him drink it. I will put the same question to you. What's the worse poison? Measure the radiation or take the label rating off the boiler? Your example above is exactly 100 percent correct when a mod/con boiler and/or outdoor reset is used and I stated that in my above post. I don't believe it is a poor practice in the aspect that I've had contractors go to another supply house and buy a boiler because I wanted them to go back and do a loss. They just don't care. They want to get paid and unfortunatly in the real world that is what's out there. You have to do the best you can with what you can and what information is available to you. Do you ask all your wholesalers for a heat loss/radiant design before you sell them the material? I doubt it. Would you not sell the material or would you give your best advice and make the sale?
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Jean-David Beyer Jean-David Beyer @ 1:29 PM
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    I am not a contractor, but a customer.

    So I do not know the problems real contractors must face. When I hired a contractor to put in a new gas boiler to replace an old oil burner, he paced around my house to get the square footage. I had already read up on this and figured out the heat loss three different ways. I said I thought the 80K BTU/hr unit would be enough, but he thought I better consider a 105K BTU/hr unit. My three ways were: 1.) My existing boiler, 55 years old, had a 1/2 gallon per hour nozzle in it, so it was probably eating 70K BTU/hr, and if it was 70% efficient, I would be surprised. My guess is that even that one was oversized; it sure cycled A LOT. It was probably the smallest residential boiler General Electric made in the early 1950s. (I do not think they make any residential ones these days.) I always got enough heat from it. So something like a 50K BTU/hr boiler would be an upper bound on what I really need, right? 2.) The boiler manufacturer has a calculation worksheet that I used, and it came out with a heat loss of 36250 BTU/hr. It asked for the floor areas of the rooms, but not the height. It wanted to know if the windows were single or double. But it did not want to know how many or their sizes. And if there was insulation. 3.) I used the Slant/Fin calculator, which wanted the most input data of all, and it came up with 29234 BTU/hr. And all that is for a 0F coldest day, where the figures for around here say that 14F is a more reasonable figure. So I insisted on the smallest Mod|Con boiler in the product line I was interested in. It is rated at 80K max and will turn down to 16K. I guess if they made a 50K BTU/hr, I would have gotten that one. Now the person I talked with at the contractor's was a salesman with some experience in the past of installing these things, but he probably has not installed one in quite a while. Later, he spoke with the "install manager" and said that my numbers were better than his estimate, and agreed that the 80K unit would do the job. I can understand the salesman, I guess, in the old days when the cost of an oversize unit was not so bad, but with a modulating condensing boiler, you sure do not want to oversize them by very much. How hard is it to do a heat loss calculation? Surely less than an hour or two for a house as small as mine. Is the problem that the customer does not want a heat loss calculation done? Or is it that some contractors do not wish to take the trouble? With a program like Slant/Fin's, it is not all that much trouble. I hope there is enough profit in the provision and installation of a new (or replacement) boiler to justify the cost of a heat loss calculation. If not, put in a separate line item in the quote to cover the cost.
  • Paul Pollets Paul Pollets @ 3:13 PM
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    And...

    ...The customer is always right!! It's very important to size a modulating condensing boiler to the correct load. Oversizing wastes energy and adds cost. We always calc the load before specifying equipment, and have a small fee for doing so. Many contractors are reluctant to charge for doing the calcs, hence many oversized appliances. To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Jim Erhardt Jim Erhardt @ 11:22 AM
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    The best advice...

    ...is to do a heat loss. Nothing will change that fact. Why not offer a service to do this for your customers? Why not have one of the boiler reps come in and do some seminars on boiler sizing and installation? Sure, not all of your customers will attend, but some surely will - and everyone wins in that case. Personally, I would rather work on ways to get it right rather than dwelling on work-arounds that often result in grossly mis-sized equipment.
  • Bob Bona Bob Bona @ 8:22 AM
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    Chris

    tell me more about this tankless coil 2012 phase out, if you don't mind. Thanks!
  • KevinCorr KevinCorr @ 3:46 AM
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    That is true in this case: I am installing a Burnham MPO now and it costs exactly the same as the Viessmann Vitorond 100 (and weighs the same) and have the same burner choice. I offered the customer the choice. To keep the total cost the same one would have to use the same aftermarket control such as Teckmar 260. The MPO offers no electronics and the Viessmann control costs WAY MORE than the Teckmar. The 3d choice of a similar boiler for this job was a Buderus which does cost more than the MPO or Viessmann with Teckmar. Maybe close to Buderus price with Viessmann Vitotronic control option.
  • Robert O'Brien Robert O'Brien @ 2:27 PM
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    Chris,I agree

    mostly.But,what does measuring the heat emitters on a hot water system do for you?That's for guys who are slightly beyond the finger method. Where the price difference comes in is the indirect water heater.Those American boilers you list all are tankless coil boilers and unfortunately the majority of oil boilers use tankless coils. I wish you were closer,not many wholesalers with the passion you obviously have for this business.
  • Steamhead (in transit) Steamhead (in transit) @ 3:44 PM
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    Measuring heat emitters

    on a hot-water system does not give an accurate basis for boiler sizing. Only a heat-loss calculation can do that. But, when emitter capacity is compared to the actual heat loss, we can calculate what the maximum water temperature will be. From that we know if boiler return temperature protection is needed, and whether a condensing boiler will actually condense most of the time. To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • KevinCorr KevinCorr @ 3:42 AM
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    Robert: "... unfortunately the majority of oil boilers use tankless coils.." Not true in my area. The most popular boilers here, among them the Burnham MPO, all being sold with indirect tank. No tankless coil for the Burnham LE either. Now the most popular domestic hot water option is the tankless coil. Except with Energy Kinetics which uses an external side arm heat exchanger or an indirect tank.
  • Robert O'Brien Robert O'Brien @ 5:56 AM
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    Location,Location,Location!

    It all depends where you are.I'm on LI NY.NY is the largest oilheat state by far and LI is the largest concentration of oilheat in NY.I've been told that 10 percent of every hydronic system in the country is in NYC/LI.the main reasons triple passes have not taken over here?Ignorance on the part of oil co's/contractors.Cost of the indirect and space issues.
  • JackR JackR @ 12:48 PM
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    VR100

    Chris, I tried a couple of the VR100's last year with the NX and had nothing but problems, I was on the phone with Viessmann and Beckett and had to change drawer assemblies and solenoids in both, that burner is one touchy thing. Truthfully I found the VR100 to be poor in quality compared to the other Viessmann products. I have been using the Burnham MPO's and love them, they are very solid and these days I'm trying to buy American. The VR100 with the VR100 with an NX is a terrible combination, if you just started selling them beware.
  • Robert O'Brien Robert O'Brien @ 2:20 PM
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    My

    experience is the opposite,no problems at all,and I use the NX is Buderus and Biasi as well as Viessmann.
  • scott markle scott markle @ 11:09 AM
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    Chris, I been looking at the Vitrond boiler. One thing I noticed is that if you buy it with the honeywell aqua-stat you cant use the upper return port. The upper return is the one that incorporates a nozzle to disperse the return water, permitting returns down to something like 105f. Since the Honeywell aqua-stat takes this location and you must pipe the return to the bottom the boiler,doesn't this effect the the capacity of the boiler to handle low returns, and the ability to set a wide ranging ODR ? The Viessmann controls add significantly to the bottom line, but I'm wondering if this might not be a good investment.
  • Paul Pollets Paul Pollets @ 11:24 AM
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    Vitotronic

    The Vitotronic controls make the appliance far more responsive. I have not found any control that integrates or programs as easily as the Viessmann products. I always wonder why so many have problems selling the features and benefits that make the boilers work properly. We're so concerned about product cost that we loose focus on the objective, and the end product is compromised. Of all times in our industry to sell systems that can automatically reduce energy costs, wouldn't that be now? I don't buy the argument that the "competition" has it for less, or the economy forces downgrading of the sale. I've found that it's the contractors who tend to shoot themselves in the foot, not the homeowners. To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
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