Finding qualified help, boiler-radiator system

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    • #276216

      This project has been killing us. It’s winter, we’re in Utah and we’ve basically had no heat in this house since Nov. (this isn’t yet critical as we’re living elsewhere until we have this addressed, but it’s expensive) We’ve tried getting bids, all agree the boiler needs to be replaced (cracked cast, no working gauges etc), but not all agree even as to what type of system we have. Bids have ranged from $3000 – $22,000. The cheapest was just replace the boiler (steam gravity system)to water, to forced air, to Unico. Each offered what their favorite. We couldn’t compare or evaluate the bids. We’ve gone to an independent HVAC engineer who drew up designs from scratch – I’d like to use Pex, or PAP. As in the previous message, I’m not sure what to do with the old radiators vs new heating methods. I have no problem doing much of the leg work of installing this system, running the pex etc but want to work in conjuntion with a qualified expert and have them do the boiler and offer consultation I’d pay for. I just don’t know how to get this. My last bidding experience left me frustrated and unhappy and I fear the same for this round. How do I know they’re really qualified? That they know about the system I’d like installed? I know, the answer is just ask, but I feel like most of them are lying. I have enough experience with that too. “Oh sure, I know how to do that” turns out to mean they assisted on one system back in 1964… How do I evalutate different boilers separately from, “Fred likes brand, Joe likes brand Y” often from distributor relationships?

      Heidi Preuss

    • #293653
      Harold Kestenholz

      Evaluate the boilers by calling the suppliers in the area and find what brands they have been selling for the longest time. Suppliers are conservative and do not take the ‘latest’, but choose the most dependable for their confidence, as installers will buy more units if they have less trouble. Major boiler companies will help lay out systems in cooperation with the supplier. That way you will get a heat loss estimate to get the right size system as well as a good design.

      Use pex for radiant floor heat. Utah is a great place for concrete floors with warm tubing inside. Otherwise connect the hot water radiator and system with copper. Insulate the tubes. Floppy plastic tubing eventually gets tired looking unless encased in flooring. Ducted systems are nice for upstairs rooms when air conditioning is needed.

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