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Not Adding Up

MacPHJr Member Posts: 66
I have been crunching some numbers for an upcoming visit at a customers home. She wants to know how much money a 95% efficient boiler will save her over a 85% boiler. The total yearly savings is coming out to be around 230 to 250 bucks. Just enough to cover the cost of the yearly cleaning. My question is why not skip the 95%er, skip tax credit and rebate paper work and take the difference in install price and buy a big screen TV.

Dont get me wrong, im a strong advocate for high efficiency heating systems. I truly believe it will be better for us all in the long wrong. But if it doesn't add up then it doesnt add up.


  • Can I assume we`re talking NG?

    Many variables here,,, like, is the present boiler sized-right in the first place?

    Is there any existing in/outdoor reset?

    Is she planning any "envelope tightening" in the future? etc, etc,,,,

    Most modcons(properly installed),, can reduce present heating bills by at least 25%
  • digger_2
    digger_2 Member Posts: 39
    Price of gas

    At some point the price of gas will skyrocket again. Much higher than last time. My guess is at the first sign of economic recovery. She'll be saving alot more then.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    Dollar Savings

    This is where contractors and homeowners set themselves up. The look at dollars. You can't look at dollars you have to look at therm's used. You have to also take a look at the entire system not just the appliance. What if I', zoning with zone valves and I use a Grundfos Alpha on that mod/con and you use the 007 that comes with that 85% boiler. Does that have an effect on energy savings? Did you calculate for outdoor reset? How about the fact you may be able to run a lower heating curve than the traditional 180 degree water temp. I could go one but this is a good start. 

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  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,433
    And this is a nice illustration

    of just why efficiency can be a hard sell: the money just may not be there.  There is a whole branch of engineering which deals with economics, both first costs and life cycle costs.  It is never simple!

    In an instance such as this one, one has to ask questions such as:

    Are you replacing the boiler anyway?

    What is the difference in first cost between the various boilers?

    What is the expected life (depreciation) of the various boilers?

    What is the expected maintenance cost of the various boilers over that lifetime?

    What is the difference in energy use over the lifetime of the various boilers?

    What is the probable cost of the energy over the lifetime of the various boilers?

    What is the probably cost of money (related to the cost of depreciation) over the lifetime of the various boilers?

    And then you can crunch the numbers -- it's messy and long, but not that hard -- and come up with a life cycle cost of the various options.  And, unhappily, it is likely to be different for each application...

    Of course, if there are various distortions involved in the numbers, such as government subsidies or tax breaks, these have to factored in.

    Then of course the question arises: is it worth your time, as the dealer, to do all this?  Will the customer even understand it when you get done?! 

    But this sort of thing does illustrate why efficiency or economy can be such a hard sell.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • NRT_Rob
    NRT_Rob Member Posts: 1,013
    if the heat load is low enough

    then high efficiency doesn't make sense.

    but then again, if it's low, a conventional boiler will not get near its AFUE rating and the differential is wider.

    Also the benefits of sealed combustion vs atmospheric are important.

    Use a unit that doesn't need to be cleaned every year (say, a prestige solo).

    it's very reasonable to assume a 20% differential between a mod/con with reset and a conventional boiler, atmospheric, without. sometimes the differential is even higher.
    Rob Brown
    Designer for Rockport Mechanical
    in beautiful Rockport Maine.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    Keep it simple

    For the Lady, If you start going off on a tangent we here understand. She is going to get lost in figures. Remember the customer does not dwindle on the advantages/disadvantages of heating plants daily. Give her a bottom line that is dependent on fuel costs now, and in the future. Most people can conceive fuel is not always going to be cheap.

     I would not hang your hat on to high of a  % savings number. Anything less will be a disappointment to the consumer, and reason to believe they were scam ed into a more expensive product/install. Depending on the type of emitters the savings will vary.

     If you have any other mod/con installs with recorded savings by happy customers this will be your most convincing weapon in the arsenal.

    Conventional verses mod/con is a hard sell to the uneducated. Most people tend to look at the bottom line cost on paper. Asking about the savings is an advantage to you. At least she is thinking about it.

     The tax incentive while better then nothing should be 30% across the board with no cap. Or move HVAC, and windows doors to the 30% no cap category In my opinion.

  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
    Real world efficiency

    We have found that our customers typically see 25-30% reduction in fuel costs when switching to a M/C boiler using outdoor reset. System efficiency is more than the raw AFUE numbers which mean virtually nothing during real world operation.

    AFUE ratings bear about as much resemblance to actual efficiency as I do to  Miss America. :)

    AFUE ratings are derived from steady state firing with 120* in and 140* out water temps. How many systems do you know of that run like that?
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