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Continue with steam or replace?
A little background and this may get long, sorry.
We had a house fire 5 years ago, while the fire did not completely destroy the house we decided to completely gut it and replace everything at this time. We added money we planned on remodeling with to the insurance money.
The house is a 1860's farm house approximately 1500 sq ft. We upgraded it to meet energystar standards including spray foam insulation throughout, all new windows and doors, insulated basement etc... We did retain using a fuel oil boiler and steam heat which kept us from getting a certificate but that wasn't as important as the savings in the long run. The fuel oil boiler was resized and replaced at that time with one that puts out 77,000 btu net.
Right away we learned we did not need to heat the upstairs so those radiators have been off at the valve, for years. Recently I roughly calculated the btu's needed, including the upstairs at it's 73,000 and without it's 55,000.
I believe I have been keeping my system in good operating condition however I've never been able to keep it from "short cycling", it starts and run for a few minutes and then shuts off. Does this 3 or 4 times and then finally it stays on long enough to heat everything up.
With fuel oil prices near $4/gallon and rising here in western NY I'm researching how to (if I can) make my system more efficient. We have been averaging 550-600 gallons of fuel oil for the past 4 heating seasons. When it was just over $2/g that wasn't so bad but now it's costing over $2000 per season. Thats a LOT and I'm at the point where I want to do something about it this summer.
Having said that the house is very comfortable to us with even heat and it retains it for hours. On mild days it only runs 3 or 4 times a day.
So can I make it more efficient or is at as good as it gets? I suppose I could invest in a smaller boiler yet but not sure if that is cost effective. May concider electric radiators based on cost comparison of replacing the whole system and cost to operate over the years. Natural gas is not available to me and Propane seems just as expensive.
Any help and opinions is greatly appreciated.