Last Saturday Dick and Tim Mavro, with the help of a large friend of Tim's named Justin, came and took the oil heating system away. On the trailer you can see the boiler shorn of its blue Buderus jacket and strapped to a dolly. Also in the photo is the old oil fuel tank and the indirect tank that the boiler heated for our hot water, as well as a 55 gallon drum that holds the remaining oil that we pumped out of the tank with a portable pump and hose set-up. I was fortunate because Tim works for a major fuel oil supplier here, so he knew what to do to get all this stuff disconected and ready to move. I'd drained the boiler and disconnected the piping and wiring, and pulled the flue pipe and fresh air inlet. I patched the flue pipe hole, and filled it with rigid polyisocyanurate foam, and added another three inches of foam against the rim joist - now this small area is the best insulated portion of my house :-(
I noticed that as the oil fill line and vent line were removed that they slid right out, letting me know that there wasn't any air seal around them. At the moment they are temporarily filled with foam sealant:
What really struck me during this process was how dirty the burning of fuel oil is. The flue pipe was half blocked with soot (it should be cleaned annually, but because it is sealed no one wants to pull it apart and then re-seal it) and the boiler had about an inch of soot inside. And of course the oil itself is a smelly liquid hydrocarbon that we risk spilling in our homes and creating our own little Superfund site. I was clear to people that I was focused on not spilling any oil during the removal process and we pretty much achieved that.
The Buderus is headed to replace a 40 plus year old boiler, so I felt good about moving it on, because it's possible that this modern boiler will save 10-20% of Tim's fuel bill, even more if his present boiler has a tankless coil for producing hot water. This is a heat exchanger immersed in the boiler water that has cold water coming in and hot water leaving, heating it as it passes through the coil. Boilers with tankless coils are set to maintain themselves at high temperature all year around, regardless of heating load, because it has to be hot enough to make hot water at any moment. Setting a boiler up to heat an indirect tank allows the boiler to cool off once the tank is up to temperature, and perhaps not come back on until there is a call for hot water again.
I was glad to see the truck drive off with all that equipment on the trailer. Now I have to find a home for the Vermont Castings gas heater and we'll be fossil fuel free, at least as far as site energy.