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How to save customers money

heatpro02920heatpro02920 Posts: 991Member
I go to customers homes and everyone wants to save money {well, almost everyone}, and the first thing I look at it USE, it is the easiest and least expensive place to save money. Next of course is loss {tighten the envelope} then equipment efficiency.

BUT everyone jumps rite into efficiency, which to me is the last step and one of the most expensive. The truth of the matter is USE is going to save you the most for your investment... Now with the HUGE price differences in energy types I also factor in fuel cost but for the most part where NG is piped they get NG where it is not they get lp or oil....



Anyway, I have a customer that lives alone in a 1700 sq foot home, built in the 50's with upgraded windows and doors, he called me and asked about a new LP boiler {his choices are lp, oil, electric}. I installed his existing unit in 2009, its a Buderus g115 with a 40 ga smart tank, ODR, outside air, everything but delta t pumps {was before I really started pushing them}, but he was spending, in his opinion "way too much on oil". Now mostly because oil is expensive, if it was 80 cents a gallon no one would complain or care about HE boilers...



So I explained that his boiler is brand new and he will definitely loose money even if the LP boiler was 100% efficient, he wasn't getting it so I told him that when I had time I would stop by and go over it with him, which I did, and after a 30 minutes conversation about efficiency and equipment life span we were on the same page... So I offered to go through his "habits" and see if we could tighten up with out spending a ton of money...



I started with his schedule, he lives alone, works 4 days 10 hour each- Tues to Fri and he has every, Sat-Mon off, so he is home for most if not all of them days, then I went to his comfort, he keeps the house at 72 all winter, he has a basic round tstat and never touches it, next was the building itself, nothing jumped out at me as an issue, newer windows, tight doors, 2x4 construction with old but decent insulation so nothing worth really ripping apart- except the attic which only has a few inches of old blown in stuff...



Now we talked budget, he didn't care what he spent, but he wanted it back before he died, lol....

So I put together a little plan to start, I started with DHW, he already had propane in the house for a genny and stove so I installed a Rinnai tankless water heater, a new high sierra shower head and I changed his kitchen faucet for him {he had an old single handle with no filter in it that leaked, I put in a nice tankless friendly 2 handle}...



next was the attic insulation, Atlas sucked out his old shredded newspaper and put as much r30 as they could get in there, I did a blower door test and the house was tight, we fixed a few little issues but it was all 5 minute foam and caulking stuff...



Now zoning and setbacks - he had 2 baseboard zones so I left that alone except he had 3 bedrooms on the upstairs zone and only used one, so I installed a zone valve and bypass so he could control his bedroom alone and turn down the other 2. I installed 2 programmable tstats and moved one of his old ones to the new guest bedroom zone, which he felt comfortable keeping at 50 degrees. So we set his tstats up for his lifestyle, I may not remember exactly but I believe it was set to 70 when he was home 55 away and the bedroom zone and living space zones were setup for his use, 1st floor down to 62 for his sleeping hours, ect...



So after all of that was dealt with, he had a new tankless, low flow shower heads, better zoning, better insulation, and seemed to be happy with what we did, EXCEPT he wanted more, lol... So I told him about solid fuel, and he was interested, I ended up installing a small automatic coal stoker, which IMO he was perfect for, being home for 3 days in a row is perfect, he can start the stove when he gets home on Friday and let it run until he goes to work on Tuesday in the cold months...



So we got everything done last year {I believe I made a post about it when we were doing it, but I couldn't find it in search} and he just gave me a call first thing this morning... He wants to put central A/C in as soon as possible, he wants a heat pump system {I must have mentioned it to him} and said the money he saved will help pay for it, so I asked what he spent this year, he said half of last year and it was much colder this winter...

He said it worked perfect the boiler hardly ran, he fed the coal stove on his 3 days off and let the boiler handle the rest of the week, he burnt around a ton of coal {$300} and said he loved the heat it gave... I am going to try and get there in a couple weeks to spec the a/c system {really behind rite now} and if he goes for it he will be able to run the heat pumps in the shoulder months, coal when he wants to and oil when he has to.

It is very similar to my homes system, I run coal, lp, and heatpumps but because someone is almost always home at my house the setbacks dont really get used, BUT we can run coal all winter, I NEVER ran my lp boiler this year, heated with just coal...



Anyway, I figured I would share, maybe someone is in a similar situation and can use the ideas...
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Comments

  • SnowmeltSnowmelt Posts: 654Member ✭✭
    Actually

    I do have a small story, I but a 7 zone boiler

    4 zone radiant

    2 zone baseboard

    1 zone domestic water



    Also installed a 400 gallon roth oil tank.



    He lived on top of a mountain with a 1/2 mile driveway,



    He bought a outdoor wood boiler.



    He fills the wood boiler up all the time in winter and uses 0 oil,



    I installed a flat plate hex, the home burns more oil in the summer for the domestic water then the whole winter.
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