I bought the ENERGY KINETICS SYSTEM 2000 OIL boiler (EK1) back in Aug. of 2008 and as of this post had it for 6 winter months. If you are thinking of getting one of these please read on as I can save you a lot time & effort, in your choosing if you should get one or not. Go get a cup of coffee, this is going to be a long post! I'm doing this because I feel that after research on the web etc. my questions just were not being answered! BTW No, I'm not a company rep to any poster that might think that a "newbie" might be one... I'm just a homeowner that wants to help other homeowners, and that others won't have to go thru what I went thru!
I started looking almost 8 months before I bought a boiler and did many many hours of web searches, reading blogs etc., looking at boiler lit and talking to 9 local heating contractors ( and getting bids) as well as 2 heating contractors that would never make a dime on me as I was too far away.
The short ver. of the story is this...I ended up talking to a friends husband that owns a large oil co. in CT., they also install boilers & service them. It was too bad that he would not install mine as I was too far away for him, but the info I'm about to share is straight from an oil co. owner that wasn't going to see a dime in his pocket and had nothing to gain.
He said that over the last 25+ yrs he had installed many diff. boilers, all kinds of controls and programmable thermostats etc, as far as he was concerned the Energy Kinetics System 2000 was the only thing that really did save his oil customers 100's of gallons of oil a year!
He told me that he went thru his records from over the last 10 yrs. & looked at all the diff. brands of oil boilers (many of them listed in other posts on this topic) and the System 2000 was the clear winner. Some of the boilers he mentioned he didn't install, but the bottom line was some boilers, like the Buderus
with the controller, saved some oil like 5-8 percent, but the System 2000 customers were saving 35-45 percent on oil consumption! He took into account the K factor for each year, as well as service records...so it wasn't a few min. of quick going over the numbers, but many hours of work to come to this conclusion.
The next thing he said was to make sure I bought it from someone that can service it. The only thing was, as others have said, some oil co's I got quotes from also wanted me to buy the oil & expensive service contracts from them. One company went so far as to say if you don't buy oil from us you're on your own for service! (they were the highest bidder at over $10,000 & tried to get me to buy the Buderus to boot! gee maybe because they would sell more oil?) I was lucky to find a dealer that was close to me that didn't sell oil, just installed & serviced boilers....BTW I found this out from calling the Energy Kinetics co. directly in NJ...nice folks & very helpful too! (and yes a real American answers the phone!)
I ended up getting the stainless steel 40 gal. hot water tank as I have acid water, as well as an extra zone valve as a back up and the "dummy" board in case the control board got zapped by a lightning strike or a power surge.
I also needed a new oil tank as mine was well over due and was also 50 yrs old. After much research I bought a Roth tank that was shown on TOH. It's a plastic tank inside a metal one. The only issue I ran into was air in the line. The old tank took oil from the bottom but the Roth sucks it from a few inches above, which is good, as you never need to worry about crud getting into your burner or clogging the filter BUT...it also is easier for air to get into the line! I guess when the oil is delivered it creates a lot of air bubbles & foam in the tank. In my case the tank was moved from 50' away to 5' away, so it was even more of an issue. One day in Dec. I got an oil delivery and a few hours later my burner stopped working. Pushing the reset button didn't work...so my dealer had to come out to get the air out...nice guy didn't even charge for the service call. The solution was to put in a Tigerloop , which takes out the air and self primes if need be.
I also had a few issues right off the bat. This is kind of funny...After telling my wife how great it's going to be to finally have unlimited hot water for showers (it used last no more than 3 min., I had a tankless before.) She comes home from work after a long hard day the first day we got the System 2000 gets in the shower soaps up...and you guessed it, no hot water! I didn't hear the end of that for weeks! anyway...My dealer came right over and found a problem with a board or something on the hot water tank and replaced it. The hot water has been great!
I also had an issue with one of my zones not working as the wiring to the 2 wire thermostat was backwards. I guess that stuff happens in 50 yr. old houses...so even if it's 90 deg out when you get it installed ck all the zones to make sure they work!
As far as my savings...I have, for the last 50 yrs, always got 2 deliveries of oil of about 250 gal each in Jan.& Feb, this year I only got one delivery each month! 500 gallons saved in 2 months, that's great in my book! I also saved about 180 gallons from Sept. to Dec.
I save $20 a month on electric as the system doesn't go on every 2 hours like the old burner did to keep the water hot all the time and there is only one small circulator and not the 2 big ones I had. This was a bonus I wasn't expecting! During the warm months the burner only went on 2 times a day rather than 12 times. At first I thought there would be an issue that the one circulator could handle the whole house & hot water, but now after going thru one of the coldest winters in 20 yrs. it not an issue.
I also found out later from my dealer that on an older round type thermostat, to move the anticipator (the little metal arrow at the bottom of the unit) all the way to the right, or for least amount of time. This helped even out the heating.
Another thing I found out from a phone call to the co. is not to drop the temp. more than 3 or 4 degrees in a day as it will take a long time for the house to heat back up. If you need to do more of a temp. swing than that, then get a programmable thermostat and have it programmed to the temp you want 45 min before you come home.
BTW I also noticed our basement is colder because the boiler does not hold any heat, so if you're relying on heat from your boiler to take the chill out of your basement you better put a zone down there. Just so you know the system comes ready to install up to 4 zones plus your hot water zone, just cap off the zones you don't need & add zones later as you need them.
Other things I like... it's VERY quiet, we have a movie theatre for the kids in our basement as well as my high end stereo (I'm into Lp's if that gives you any hint) and it's so nice not hearing that darn burner anymore!
I had the optional air intake from outside, this helps in an older home as it doesn't suck in cold air thru cracks in the house to feed air to the burner as well as making it quieter.
And just so you know, I also got the chimney (stainless steel) liner thru Energy Kinetics, they make a very well made liner & cap, much nicer than the ones on line or even from my local tin shop and the cost was about the same. I got this because I noticed soot was showing on the joints of the cement blocks...so I knew there was a co2 leak somewhere.
One of the things that the system 2000 doesn't have is the air vent on the exhaust end of the system. It always used to bother me that to see that big 6" round opening with a little thin gauge metal flapper door sucking out my heated air up the chimney.
I also should mention that I like the control board, it's really nice to see what's happening with the system, like which zone(s) are calling for heat. It's also neat to see the circulator light on after the burner goes off...getting every last bit of heat out of the boiler into my house!
I would also check into any state & federal rebates. I got a CT state rebate of $500...it was a pain to fill out & took 2 months to get...but hey $500...it was worth it. I just heard from the EK that as of right now the System 2000 doesn't qualify for a $1500 rebate, the federal guidelines for boilers are WAY out of date. All the ways this system saves heat & oil as I said above, are not even considered in the federal guidelines...what a joke! To tell you the truth, I'll make up that money in less than a year.
So, what would I change? as I said at the beginning I have acid water and I wish I could have gotten all brass fittings & tubing and no copper for all of the domestic hot water lines, connections & heat exchanger, but that's all that I can think of...maybe a little better quality control on the hot water board...being picky here...it could have been damaged during shipping or when installed.
Well...I told you it was going to be long and I hope it helps you make your decision... to me it's a no brainer once you know all the facts...and as a friend of mine always says... that's my story and I'm stickn' to it...good luck!