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This is a photo of the recent boiler Combi unit I installed.

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This boiler makes both heat for two zones of baseboard and 0ne zone of radiant heat for the house. And makes the domestic hot water for two and one half baths. Cost? $8 grand. Took two days to remove old cast iron boiler and hot water heater, mount on wall, pipe and bleed out the air. Client loves it. Cannot hear it run, is 98% efficient and is warranted for 10 years. Only draw back is they must install a water softener system as the hard water will calcify to quick in the heater area and lower its ability to heat the water in an efficient manner.

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  • Cooper S
    Cooper S Ashland City, TN
    on May 11, 2012

    WoW!!! pretty costly. Is this the no water tank system??? should one always consider the addition of a water softner system or is it automatically a part of the systems instillation? If the system is adequately maintained, how long will it last and what does it cost to replace such a unit? I would like to have one in my new construction someday.

  • Home Repair Tutor
    Home Repair Tutor Pittsburgh, PA
    on May 11, 2012

    Woodbridge, That looks awesome, great job. If you lived closer and I had to replace my system I'd give you a call. Do you recommend a certain brand of on demand hot water heaters?

  • Jeff C
    Jeff C Broadview Heights, OH
    on May 11, 2012

    For a moment, I thought this was going to be a picture of a bad installation or someone cutting corners but it looks like this is actually the way it's supposed to be installed. That's a lot of pipes.

  • The cost varies with what your looking to achieve with the unit. They make heating only, or hot water units only and in this case Combi units where they heat both the water for the house heat and for the domestic hot water use. They come with warranties from 10 to 15 years depending upon manufacture and what your doing with it. This model is 10 years. It comes with outside reset control which limits how hot it gets when delivering the hot water to the baseboard system. Warmer out, cooler water. This helps the system keep the costs down even more. We charge around $8,000 for this, but with local rebates, manufactures rebates and energy star rebates, they end up paying only about half that amount. We also foamed the house attic and basement sill areas which qualified them for 0% finance charge for 10 years and the combined savings with the loan they ended up still paying less for all of it then they did when they just paid for the heat and hot water bill alone with the old system. As far as brands, I do not recommend one over the other. It is dependent upon local supplies. The system we installed is common in our area so local suppliers stock parts for this. You would need to check your local supply houses for what they would suggest that you purchase. And Jeff your right. Lots of pipes. In fact less the PEX to the heat radiators and domestic water there is over 70 of copper in this photo from sizes from one and half inches to half inch combined. Some of the larger copper fittings were close to $10 each! Talk about sticker shock at the register. There are some draw backs to this system. Your water supply needs to be properly maintained. Meaning if you have hard water, you need to control this. As hard water will scale up inside the heat exchanger in no time lowering the ability of the system to work as it should. Part of the plumbing is lots of shut off valves with boiler drains so the system can be acid washed every few years to remove this hardness. Also the domestic hot water that comes out of the faucet, does not come out quite the same as it does with a free standing hot water heater. What happens with a standard hot water heater is that it is already hot so when it comes out of the faucet after it gets there, its the temp you set the heater at. With on demand, although it does get hot quickly, it does take a few seconds to warm up to temp at the faucet. So if you use the hot water a lot, you need to wait for it to come up to temp before you get your desired output. External storage tanks can be used to prevent this but that adds another $1800 to the cost.

  • Home Repair Tutor
    Home Repair Tutor Pittsburgh, PA
    on May 12, 2012

    Thanks Woodbridge for the great explanation. Especially the tip about hard water issues with on demand hot water systems. We have hard water and if our existing hot water tank goes I'd like to explore the on demand systems. Thus if we go that direction we'd have to budget for adding a water softener, too. The system you installed boggles my mind because there was so much planning involved before the actual installation. Makes me sweat just thinking about it.

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