New boiler instead of add-on?

Our current oil boiler is 25 years old and probably on it’s last leg.  I had been dreaming of adding on to our house and building a new chimney so we could have a wood burner in our house somewhere.  Well, it would cost us around $7,500 to do that plus $1,000 for a wood stove and that’s if I did all the labor.  Instead of going that route, it might make sense to replace our aging boiler with a direct vent unit like this 85,000 btu Weil Mclain Ultra.  This would free up our chimney and we could install a wood stove either in the basement or in the living room.  Even if we lined our chimney for about $1,000 it would be substantially less expensive than an add-on and we would end up with a much more efficient and reliable boiler out of the deal.

The one down side is we would need to do something about our domestic hot water.  The Ultra doesn’t have a dhw coil like our current boiler does.  So we would need to spend a little over $1,000 going to an indirect-fired hot water tank, or switch over to an electric water heater for $250.  If we go the route of the electric, we could always add solar hot water panels to it later too which would reduce our electric usage.

If we don’t do the add-on we could go with a smaller stove and the wood stove I’m interested in is an Englander 17-VL.  It is a 40,000 btu stove that is EPA approved and the hearth would only need to take a 48″ x 48″ spot – that includes all air space to combustibles and everything!

Boiler – $1,750
Installation materials for boiler – $250
Water Heater – $250
Chimney Liner – $1,000
Wood Stove  – $750
Installation materials for wood stove – $250
Child-proof hearth gate – $250

Total: $4,500

About half the price compared to adding on, it would give us a brand new ultra efficient boiler and the possibility of a wood stove without adding on to our house, which would probably keep the wife happy.


Turns out for the same price I could purchase a Jotul 602 from Northern Lights AND have them do the wood stove install for the same cost I was estimating above!  Then I would only have to do the boiler work.

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