Most all of you by now have heard or read about the wall-hung condensing boilers that seem to be appearing in every trade magazine. As I look back on my career, I like many of you, never thought that I would ever imagine seeing a boiler hanging on a wall.
However, several years ago when I traveled to Europe, I noticed that these boilers were like an added piece of furniture, located in the main part of the house. To me, they seemed as popular as the flat screen TV is here in the U.S. In China, their marketing volume in 2013 is in the neighborhood of 1.65 million units and the projection for 2016 is 3.3 million.
Several tradesmen and contractors have called or e-mailed me asking me for my opinion of these boilers and which one is the best. First of all, they are great as long as they are sized for the right application, be it for domestic hot water or heating.
As for which one is the best, the honest answer from me is simple, I have not tried all 27 of the different versions that are on the market, and most likely never will. So the answer is, I don’t really know.
I have, however, talked with several contractors that for the most part seem satisfied with the specific brand they have selected, but of course, there will always be someone complaining that they don’t make enough hot water to meet the end users requirement. This most likely could be a sizing issue.
I do know that they can be direct vented either vertically or horizontally for starters and you must follow the installation manual like any unit to the letter. Also, never make a statement to the end user that ‘you will never run out” of hot water!
Remember that the originally sized unit needed at the time of the sale could be subject to a load change. For example, we have all experienced, family additions or bathroom fixture additions. Remember to ask this question when sizing the unit and keep notes.
I would also suggest that those of you who are doing these installations to take advantage of another way to generate additional revenue from these units. Here’s a suggestion: at the time of discussing the FAB’s of the unit selected, inform the buyer that their new unit like any will require an annual physical, in order to maintain the highest level of efficiency.
To generate this new revenue, start by establishing a new customer listing for all the units that you have installed, along with the date of the installation. Now, establish a tune-up price plan and when the anniversary date comes up on the computer, send a reminder card for the service needed.
At some point with the growing popularity of the wall-hung boiler, you will stock the critical parts required to perform service and remember to plan on buying a flush kit, so the unit can be flushed of all minerals that can reduce the volume of hot water or heat from the unit. This should be done at the time of the service also. I have available a comparison chart for several of the wall-hung boilers that I would be glad to e-mail to any reader.