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Question DetailsAsked on 8/3/2014

How do you convert an oil burner heat system to individual hot water tanks?

I have an hot water base board heating system using an oil burner in my building with 4 townhome units. I want to see what is entailed in switching this system to individual heating units in each townhome.

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    1 Answer


    It would help a lot to see a picture or two (using the Answer This Question button below your question, and attaching photos using the left-most yellow icon above the Answer box) showing your entire heating system (boiler and piping to and from it and pumps and such) to answer this- but basically you probably have 4 or 8 baseboard heating loops - 1 or 2 for each townhouse, all coming off one large boiler. Those loops would have to be cut and intercepted at or relocated (as applicable) in each townhome unit for its respective loop, then a new baseboard boiler put in for probably at least $1500-2000 and possibly twice that or more per townhome- then decommission and remove the existing unit, and also the oil system and tank if changing to gas. Another possibility but rare would be putting 4 separate units all side by side wherer your current boiler is - much simpler and probably 25%or more cheaper, but usually in a townhome (especially if individually owned) having the furnaces in a common area is odd, and not very secure for the respective owners against vandalism or against risk of accessibility issues with the owner of the unit they are in - who of course loses some floor space and convencience with them all in his unit.

    You definitely need at least 3 responsive bids for this type of change as you are talking probably $6-10,000 range for the changeover and possibly more in gas has to be run to the building and oil piping/tank removed and any contaminatedsoil cleaned up. Probably the place to start is ti (pre-bid phase) get a reliiable plumber (with 4 units hopefully you already have one you routinely use) to first come and look at the piping and pjmps and such and scope out the ballpark of what would need to be done in the way of piping and where the new boilers could reasonably go - you also have to figure out where flues can go for the new units, which if vertical flues to the roof are not feasible might push you into the pricier higher efficiency (but pricier) condensing units or fan-assisted units that duct out through the nearest sidewall.

    In many code areas, this is going to require an HVAC system design from an architect or mechanical engineer to be able to get the building permit, so if so that person should be your first stop.

    Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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