Security Seal Facebook Twitter GooglePlus Pinterest Newsletter Sign-up
The Wall


Joined on August 20, 2013

Last Post on August 27, 2013

Contact User

Recent Posts

That makes sense JStar

@ August 27, 2013 12:24 PM in NG Combi Boiler versus indirect tank and boiler setup

I just had a contractor tell me he can install either - the difference would be about $4000, but I still have a separate water heater which needs a flue liner, so standard boiler does not make sense.
Maintenance, is just another service call each fall and costs as much as any other service call, so they seem to be even except for the big name contractor who sell "maintenance plans" for $30/mo which seems ridiculous.
Thanks for the feedback and expertise.

No offense taken

@ August 25, 2013 11:42 AM in NG Combi Boiler versus indirect tank and boiler setup

Rich - thanks.  I found a few more locals willing to give estimates for new system.

Still waiting for combustion analysis to determine how badly I need a new system.  The tech said "as long as the CO is in the flue, it doesn't matter much - that's where it belongs.  I was not comfortable with that.

Thanks for all the thoughts on this topic.  This forum has helped me to think through the whole issue of needing a new system and what to do about the old.

45 miles away

@ August 23, 2013 7:33 PM in NG Combi Boiler versus indirect tank and boiler setup

Thanks SWEI, but Bob Gagnon is a fair distance away. Would you travel 45 miles one way to a residential jobsite?  I was doing whole house audio/video/tech for a few years but I wouldn't travel 45 miles for a job. So I don't expect Gagnon is a good choice for me.But thanks for pointing him out.  

reliability of HE Combi vs tradidional boilers

@ August 23, 2013 7:00 AM in NG Combi Boiler versus indirect tank and boiler setup

I've been doing some research to replace my 31 yr old copper finned tube boiler. The Teledyne Laars JN-125 has performed flawlessly for 31 years and I was planning to replace it with a high efficiency unit.

In my research, I've gotten the sense that the new High Efficiency combi's are less reliable given the multitude of electronics, sensors, etc., and the need to pay attention to condensate.  Also the requirement for annual maintenance (one vendor wants $360/yr) seems to negate the fuel savings.  My current gas bill is between $1500 and $1800 per year so I don't expect to save a lot of money. The HE units seem to have higher installation costs and depending on size, the boiler seems to command premium pricing.

So what's been the experience out there for service visits on the new equipment vs the old boilers? Higher? Much higher? About the same?


No heat loss eval

@ August 22, 2013 4:01 PM in NG Combi Boiler versus indirect tank and boiler setup

Right SWEI.  No heat loss calcs or system eval.  I'm guessing he was just a cleaning tech. 

Does anyone know if he's right - that there are no adjustments to this JN125 system?  If he says it looks good should I relax?

Thx to all.

Winter tune-up results

@ August 22, 2013 1:49 PM in NG Combi Boiler versus indirect tank and boiler setup

You were right SWEI - I had a contractor come in for an evaluation and tuneup. The tech opened the top and cleaned out the coils but said they weren't very dirty.  He put it all back together and fired it up. When I asked him to check for CO levels, he used a small meter to measure by the draft hood of both the hot water heater and heating boiler. He did not see any CO. I asked him if he was going to check flue gases and adjust, he said he doesn't normally do that because there is nothing to adjust on these burners (Teledyne Laars JN125). He checked the flame, and said it looked fine.  I asked if he would measure the flue gases but since he does not do that very often, he didn't have that meter with him. 

This is a pretty big contractor in the Worcester, MA area (the link you provided only had eastern MA contractors).  He said that the boiler looked great, was drafting properly and to expect several more years of service. (I do keep the surrounding area pretty clean) . Since it is a copper tube fin model, he said failure would be in the form of a leak where copper meets cast iron fittings, but that there are no gas-air adjustments on it even if he found high CO levels in the flue.   So I'm at a loss what to do next. Why would I want to replace it even with $4,000 in rebates available..?

Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

Agreed SWEI

@ August 21, 2013 8:10 PM in NG Combi Boiler versus indirect tank and boiler setup

So I think I'll first get a cleaning and adjustment of the current boiler and see what the outcome is. It's probably an economical way to approach the current performance and then determine what should be installed in its place if it can't be brought within expectations.
Any disagreement out there?

I think I see your point, but...

@ August 21, 2013 6:47 PM in NG Combi Boiler versus indirect tank and boiler setup

Hi Chris,
I don't have a favorite car dealer - I haven't been in one in 12 years and none were favorites(lol). But to your point, I never expected that with a $4,000 rebate, I would face out of pocket costs of $9,000-12,000 to replace a boiler. I know talking price is not allowed on this forum, but from other forums, I see prices from $7K to 10K for similar sized condensing units and I feel that the rebate program may be causing hungry installers to take advantage of that fact (no offense, but people will be people).

On top of that, from the comments here and on other forums, the complexity of the condensing boilers seem to lead to higher service calls and annual maintenance fees. I'm simply trying to figure out the best way to improve efficiency without breaking the bank.

Rebate Programs worth the cost?

@ August 21, 2013 6:58 AM in NG Combi Boiler versus indirect tank and boiler setup

Thanks Chris.

Even if I save 1000/year in fuel costs, the annual maintenance drops that to $640. That still means 15 years before I break even.  Wouldn't it be more economical to either replace my current boiler with another modutherm cast iron boiler or possibly get this one tuned up? I don't know if there is such a thing as a tune up for a gas boiler, but if there is, that makes more sense to me. 16 years payback is no incentive at all.

I get the sense that there is a long period payback even with the rebates. How do people justify going high tech?

I look at the warranties and see a range of 1 year up to 5 years on parts, up to 12 years on heat exchangers. The much higher complexity of multiple electronic components makes then inherently less reliable meaning more service calls.  Add to that the condensate needing special treatment before going into the drain, or the call for water softeners to extend the life of the unit, plus the annual service visits seems like I trade gas savings for increased cost of ownership.

Add to that the need to make a decision in the next few weeks seems like I should forgo the rebate program and go with a standard boiler.

Rebate Programs worth the cost?

@ August 20, 2013 7:33 PM in NG Combi Boiler versus indirect tank and boiler setup

Hi everyone.
I'm going through the same thing.  The rebate program in MA is upto $3500 plus $450 for the water heater too if the new units are 90% or more efficient and installed by Oct 1.

When Mass Save  Program's analysis was done, it found that my 30 year old Teledyne Laars Series J boiler is not that efficient any longer. Probably running 70%.  It's a natural gas system.

The problem that I'm running into, is that even with a $4,000 rebate, the cost to me is over $10,000 to put in a high efficiency on-demand system like the Bosch GreenStar Combi 151.  If I save 30% of my annual $2000 fuel costs, I save approx $600 per year. So I figure 16 years+ to return my $10,000 investment. But in order to keep the warranty requirements met, I need an annual maintenance that costs about $360 per year. Now my return on $10,000 will take 33 years to pay for itself. I'll probably move or be dead by then.  So my question is:

How does a home owner justify these purchases? My old boiler is 31 years old, but I'm thinking maybe I just want t replace it with a standard boiler and separate water heater. I don't know how much that costs yet, but

Water heaters last about 6 years here and a 40 gallon unit is about $500 to replace (last one was anyway). The current one is only 2 years old.

 I've read the posts here and find them impressive with all the straight talk and info, but I'll have less than 6 weeks to get one installed to take advantage of the rebate program. I'm now thinking it isn't worth the rebate fuss.

Any and all comments are appreciated.