We have a 10-year-old Buderus GB142 wall-hung gas boiler that is suffering from myriad corrosion issues. The HVAC service folks recommend either dumping in $3,300+ for a “major renovation”, including replacement of the manifold and everything connecting to the boiler, or spending $15,500 (minus $2,750 in rebates under the poor-renters-should-subsidize-rich-homeowners political theory that prevails in Massachusetts) on a new 150,000(ish) BTU high efficiency system.
Does anyone have experience with these beasts? Are they worth fixing? Are we going to pay $3,300 now and then $15,500 a year from now when something else blows up?
Also, if we do decide to replace, Lochinvar or Bosch? (presumably we don’t want to go back into the Buderus money sinkhole, though on the other hand Bosch liked them well enough to buy them!)
Note that my glorious plan to replace this with an old-style standard efficiency boiler ($2,000 part every 20 years) seems to be impractical. It has to go into a small closet (no basement in this house due to architectural genius back in the 1960s) and the latest code would require fan-driven make-up air. So it wouldn’t be any cheaper than having a high-efficiency unit, according to the HVAC guys (and, for some reason, everyone who comes out to fix boilers on Christmas Day or crawl around in attics in July seems to identify as male; where is Hillary to address this injustice?).
[Separately, this is a great illustration of why official CPI is grossly understated for homeowners. The cost of maintaining a house has skyrocketed (very labor-intensive in a country where a worker can cost $30,000/year in health insurance premium before the first dollar of wages has been paid). The cost of paying real estate taxes has gone up dramatically (and about to go up 30% more in our town due to the approval of a $110 million school project (to renovate a school building occupied by 440 town-resident K-8 students!)). None of this is reflected in CPI (background) because they look at what we would pay to rent our house if we could find a landlord sufficiently passionate about losing money to want to buy it, maintain it, and rent it out.]
Update: Readers commented about what a rip-off the above quote was, for the Lockinvar 155,000 BTU boiler and associated fittings. So I got a competitive quote from a regular plumbing contractor who is excellent: $20.750. And I got a second quote from a friend’s heating guy: $15,000 plus or minus. Apparently this is the price in the Boston suburbs. We decided to go with the HVAC company’s $15,500 plan. Typical Americans can’t afford to live in America, is my conclusion. It just looks like we can because we’re using legacy infrastructure that hasn’t worn out or fallen down yet.Full post, including comments