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Steam heat efficiency

Mad Dog_2
Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,944
Addressing problems just like yours on a weekly basis. I have yet to see a system that we couldn't improve on. We can show you how to cut the fuel bills. Drop us a line. Here to help. Mad Dog

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  • Rich P._2
    Rich P._2 Member Posts: 2
    Steam heating system

    I have a single pipe steam heating system with a Utica PEG187A boiler.

    The system is in decent shape but my heating costs are pretty high, about $600-$700 per month during the winter, so I'm trying to figure out the best way to heat my house.
    My house is fairly well insulated and the windows are in good shape.

    New boiler?
    New system? (Radiant heat or change to hot water)

    Has anyone done this in the NY metro area?
  • Brad White
    Brad White Member Posts: 2,398
    Need more information

    For example, what is the heat loss of the house? (Not just being well insulated, but what is the heat loss?)

    More importantly, how much radiation do you have (in square feet EDR) relative to boiler output?

    Disparity between boiler capability and actual load contribute to inefficiency.

    Going out on a limb with no particular knowledge of your house but that it has insulation and new windows, assuming an older house (70-100 years?), let me assume a heat loss of 40 BTU's per SF.

    Your boiler at 472 EDR (113.3 MBH), your house could well be 2800 SF floor area if perfectly matched to both heat loss and radiation.

    How does that square with your house as you know it?

    If I assume the boiler is accurately matched to heat loss and radiation (a perfect world- this is hypothetical!) at about 113 MBH, assuming 6,000 degree-days and an indoor temperature of 70 when it is zero outside (conservative), I would figure you would burn, at 75% annual efficiency, about 1,860 therms of gas annually. If you pay $2.25 per therm (a guess) that is about $4,185 per year. If January comprises 20% of your fuel use (1200 degree days call it), that would be $837 for that month.

    All things being equal and absent other information, if your house is that large with that heat loss, you are not doing too badly.

    If your house is a 1400 SF bungalow, we should deepen this conversation.

    There is so much you can do to improve an existing steam system. A few common suggestions are to insulate your piping, vent your mains, lower your pressure... buy Dan's book "We Got Steam Heat" as a great place to start and stick around here for more folks' comments.
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"

    -Ernie White, my Dad
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