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This homeowner called us to look at the possibility of converting an old oil-fired steam boiler to gas. It was located in a small apartment building that already had gas in the building.  The old boiler heated the building's one pipe steam system as well as a tankless coil to make hot water for the entire building which was then stored in an 80 gallon storage tank. This system was particularly inefficient as it required running the very large boiler year round, even throughout summer to maintain a water temperature inside the boiler that is sufficient to heat the tankless coil. After analyzing the entire heat and hot water system and measuring all the radiators in the building, we decided that a dedicated system for domestic hot water production would be the most efficient approach. After inspection, we found the existing 80 gallon stainless steel storage tank was in good shape so we were able to reuse it.

The most challenging aspect of this job would be to maintain hot water for the residents while we were working on the upgrade. To mitigate any issues for the tenants, we chose to install everything before we removed any of the old equipment. We installed a wall hung high efficiency condensing Lochinvar Armor 200,000 btu water heater with a pump that circulates water from the tank through the water heater, ran all of the water piping, flue pipe and intake to the outside, coordinated with the gas company to install the new meter, and ran the new gas line from the meter to the new water heater. Hot water service was interrupted for less than a day and we scheduled it so that most of the residents were at work during this time.

The next step was to replace the heating boiler, upgrading to a Burnham independence KIN11 steam boiler which was sized based upon our calculations for heating needs for the entire building. We removed the old boiler, assembled the new boiler, installed new steam header, equalizer, Hartford loop, returns, main vents, and gas piping.  We also made some corrections to the way the old system was piped including re-piping a 2 1/2" and 2" return that were tied in above the boiler water line.  We then brought in a chimney company to install a liner in the chimney for exhaust venting, and a licensed electrician to install all the wiring. As this was a phased job it required that we coordinate a second visit from the inspector. The new system provided the building with quiet and efficient steam heat and has lowered their fuel usage substantially.


US boiler/Burnham • Lochinvar • Uponor • Watts Radiant • Bradford White • Rinnai • A.O Smith • State • Ruud • Rheem • Symmons • Kohler • Runtal

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