Oil fired Old coal burning boiler replacement options?

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bigealta

Minister of Fire
May 22, 2010
1,820
Utah & NJ
I've got a 1940's i believe coal burning boiler that was converted to an oil burner (becket burner now). The oil tank is next to it in the basement. The tank is getting old and i'm not trusting it much at this point.

Looking for the replacement options for my situation.

I use the wood stove upstairs for 98% of my heating.
The basement uses an electric oil filled radiator to keep minimal temp. to protect water pipes.
There is 1 section of hot water radiator feed pipes that is in an unheated space between the ceiling and roof in a small kitchen addition that is an add on walk out structure, so it's not within the basement of the main structure. This is really what i worry about freezing. If not for this 10ft of pipes in this area i would not be worried about any pipes freezing unless there is extreme cold weather.

The boiler runs a total of 2-3 weeks max each year. It's mostly switched off until temps get to the mid 20's or below. Or if i'm away which amounts to maybe 2-3 weeks in winter.

So my goal is to protect pipes from freezing & getting rid of the existing oil tank.
I have a capped gas line right in the boiler room.
The old boiler uses a 10 or 12" flue piped into clay lined chimney 9x12 i believe.
I also have electric hot water heater and would prefer a gas one.

My thoughts are replacing everything with a small gas fired boiler and also a gas water heater. I am hesitant to disturb the area though as there is asbestos pipe wrap on the pipes around the boiler.

Looking for advise and maybe options i'm not thinking of.

I guess i could replace the oil tank and maybe put antifreeze in the system and that would solve my problem but insurance is charging me $150 or so every year for having an oil tank on the property., so it would be good to get rid of it altogether.

Thanks for any ideas.
 
If you have gas available, its a better fit for your use. With respect to freezing pipe in one area, there are timers that circulate the water in the pipes on a timed basis that usually solve freezing in specific cold areas in heating system.

Keep in mind the federal government handed a lot of money to every state to be distributed for home heating and cooling efficiency including free or reduced cost energy audits. The problem is every state has to set up a program to distribute these funds and get a plan approved so that the money does not get ripped off. This may not happen in many states until 2025 and the program is not retroactive (Florida's governor has refused to set up a program but that may change now that he has dropped out of the race) . Depending on your income you may be able to get a big subsidy to install heat pumps either air to air or air to water (fairly new tech). IMO I would consider postponing your decision until those programs are in place as it may change the economics but consider one of the circulation timers in the short term to keep the pipes from freezing. I would not be surprised if some states may fund some or all of the cost to take out oil tanks as an incentive to get people to switch but until the programs are in place its a guess.
 
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Ok i checked NJ state and it looks like not much available as the income cut offs exclude me. So i'll probably wait till to see if the Fed money program is picked up by NJ down the road. In the mean time Here are some pics of what i've got going on here.

4C6FE66C-E2A7-4CA8-A740-42FA0C6778AE.jpeg BB0C4C27-F638-4E84-BD10-6EF0B859F828.jpeg 6E70C3F0-3400-47D5-A3BE-2DFE98881083.jpeg 9DF9BC8D-C6CC-4FFF-9915-92A4794822C3.jpeg 37A6869F-30D1-45C3-BDDC-0C76F45C19F3.jpeg
 
And here is the space and pipes i'm most concerned about. The white addition. Pipes are between the ceiling and roof.

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The simplest solution to address the pipe freezing issue would be to turn off the 2 shut off valves that feed that loop and drain the radiator with the bleed valve, but the previous occupant cut the internal valve parts off the valve stems to try to increase water flow to the radiator at the end of the kitchen addition. Don't know if i'd be able to find a replacement valve stem for that old galvanized valve body.
 
Don't know if i'd be able to find a replacement valve stem for that old galvanized valve body.
Just replace the whole valve...cut the pipe between the valve and the 90* elbow, replace the valve and install a couple pipe nipples of the correct length, and a union to put it all back together...
 
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Just replace the whole valve...cut the pipe between the valve and the 90* elbow, replace the valve and install a couple pipe nipples of the correct length, and a union to put it all back together...
Duhh, why didn't i think of that? and i worked for a plumber many years ago. Thanks, i knew i missed something simple.
And can add a drain on the loop side to avoid using the bleeder to drain the loop.
 
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All new systems will have a long payback time and even longer since you heat with wood. The tax credits for energy efficiency upgrades some have a max annual that you can get. I’m unaware if you can cary those over if you did 3 big projects or if you need to spread the work out over multiple years.

I’m a big fan of the heatpump water heaters. Tax credits are good. It’s hard to yes I want spend xxxx thousand dollars on a new heating system that only runs a few weeks a year. At some point you might bite the bullet but this year just isn’t a good year.

If you have gas that’s a good option and my be the cheapest install and operating costs.
 
All new systems will have a long payback time and even longer since you heat with wood. The tax credits for energy efficiency upgrades some have a max annual that you can get. I’m unaware if you can cary those over if you did 3 big projects or if you need to spread the work out over multiple years.

I’m a big fan of the heatpump water heaters. Tax credits are good. It’s hard to yes I want spend xxxx thousand dollars on a new heating system that only runs a few weeks a year. At some point you might bite the bullet but this year just isn’t a good year.

If you have gas that’s a good option and my be the cheapest install and operating costs.
Yes i had the gas line plumbed in sized for a boiler and a water heater many years ago. It's waiting right there in the ceiling of that boiler room.
I'm pretty sure i can install a boiler myself. My hesitation is removing the existing boiler and the asbestos that's bound to be disturbed on the pipes above it, and maybe running a new chimney pipe in the clay flue tile.