I’ve read many of the posts in this forum and managed to learn a lot, but I feel like I’m still comparing apples and oranges. Here’s the scoop: I have a ~1500 sq ft house (built in 1928) with an oil-fired steam boiler (probably installed in the 1960s). I’d like to switch to gas. I’m finding it very hard to get reliable information about the various boilers, and I’m getting conflicting information from the various contractors that I’ve had come give estimates. So here are my questions:
1) Are there particular brands of boilers that I should consider? Or avoid? I’ve read in this forum that I should avoid Weil-McLain (because of neoprene gaskets) and I’ve heard from one contractor that I should also avoid Crown since they changed their design (recently?). I’ve had Weil-McLain, Crown, Utica, and New Yorker (made by Burnham) recommended to me. Are there others that are conspicuously absent? If a company recommends a bad boiler should I avoid using that company or should I ask them to install a different model?
2) Does it matter whether copper or cast iron pipes are used? I only have ~10-15 feet to plumb, so I’m not terribly worried about cost–juts repair. I’ve had one contractor say he won’t use copper (because it corrodes) and all the others use cast iron to attach to the boiler then switch to copper. What’s important?
3) Of the five contractors that have come out thus far (I’m looking for the right company, not the lowest price), three have measured the radiators (albeit differently each time). One told me that my radiators were 279 (of what, he didn’t say, but I’m guessing that it’s a measure of the sq footage that the steam “covers”). All five companies have recommended boilers at 112 btu or 150 btu. Is the difference critical? How do I decide? Should I measure myself?
4) I have an unfinished attic that I plan on finishing in a couple of years. It currently has no heat/pipes and would require the equivalent of two average-sized radiators. Can I heat this space with the new boiler? If so, is it best to T off of an existing steam radiator or better to circulate the hot water from the boiler through baseboard heaters? Or something else entirely? And do I need to consider this when I choose the btu for my new boiler?
Many thanks in advance for whatever help or advice you can offer. This site has the best responses of any I’ve found!