I don't have steam heat.
December 7, 2010 12:37 PM   Subscribe

When giving home-buying advice, I regularly point out that there's likely going to be at least one Major Traumatic and Unexpected Expense. And now, I have mine! Specifically: I need a new gas boiler. Current boiler is approaching 3 decades and would cost approx. $2000 to repair, thanks to everything wrong with it. The salesman comes Thursday. Any advice about brands? What burning (no pun intended) questions do I need to ask? I'm in upstate NY, and the house is just under 2200 sq. ft. with three zones.
posted by thomas j wise to Home & Garden (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Efficiency is big factor for boiler purchases, especially when you consider that it will likely be burning fuel for many years to come. Check out Energy Star for efficiency ratings of different models and applicable tax incentives.

It is often worthwhile to comparison shop online for these kinds of purchases. It may be cheaper to buy a boiler online and pay a local contractor to install it or at least use other prices to negotiate the price your local contractor charges downwards.

You may also want to consider, if your home is relatively well insulated and sealed, using a on-demand hot water system as a boiler. They are essentially small boilers, but since they are small, they cost less than regular boilers. If you can provide your domestic hot water and boiler functions in one unit, all the better. A look at your gas bills will let you estimate if this might be feasible (or if you need help, post some details here).

Also, payback time on solar hot water heating using vacuum-tube collectors is getting lower all the time, so you may want to consider that option as well. You can install a system sized to provide all your hot water in the summer and to supplement your needs in the winter.
posted by ssg at 1:00 PM on December 7, 2010

When we got our boiler, we got the same exact kind we had before because the biggest expense was to have the plumber have to move all the pipes around to new locations.
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:20 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

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