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Steam Boiler Changeout- Estimating Fuel Cost Savings

Paul Pollets
Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,547
A residential customer in Seattle asked me how much would he save by changing his oil-fired steam boiler (c.1980) to a new nat. gas steam boiler. The current boiler is firing at 1gpm into an uninsulated chimney. There are 9 radiators on a 1 pipe system.Basement mains are missing 90% of insulation.

Current prices for fuel oil are $4.20/gal and nat. gas is $1.06/therm. I couldn't find any software that was anywhere near accurate for comparisons.What would you say?

Comments

  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,463
    How many gallons?

    How many gallons of oil do they burn? Take the gallons and multiply by 1.35 and you will get the equivalent therms. 
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  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,463
    How many gallons?

    How many gallons of oil do they burn? Take the gallons and multiply by 1.35 and you will get the equivalent therms. 
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • gennady
    gennady Member Posts: 839
    oil to gas savings

    1 gallon of oil contains 140,000 btu, so cost of 100,000 btu will be $4,20/1.4=$3.00 per 100,000 btu

    100,000 btu is 1 term. so cost of heating will go down 3/1.09 = 2.83 times
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,524
    Paul contact

    me by e-mail at [email protected] and give me a fax number and I will send you a little chart that will do the trick.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,402
    % Efficiency

    You also need to factor in the efficiency of the Boiler.This is easy to do with the attached sheet. The insulation number will require a bit of a SWAG.

    Gennady is absolutely correct assuming the new boiler is no more efficient and you do not insulate.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,635
    Might want to look at

    a conversion burner. What make and model is the boiler? 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,547
    Existing boiler

    The existing boiler is not in good shape.

    The actual oil usage averages 566 gallons per year at $4.09 gal. based on 2 years worth of bills.

    I'd have recommended a conversion burner if the appliance was in better shape.
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,463
    566 gallons

    That's approx 780 therms.
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  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,463
    566 gallons

    That's approx 780 therms.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,635
    edited July 2012
    When you replace the boiler

    stay with a wet base/power burner type, for best efficiency. We use Smith 8 (the red one) and Slant/Fin Intrepid (blue one) series boilers with either Carlin EZ-Gas or Midco EC burners. Both EZ-Gas burners pictured have acoustic covers.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Ron Jr._3
    Ron Jr._3 Member Posts: 603
    $1.06 a therm ?

    Is that with all costs included ?  I just bought 200 gallons of oil at $2.91 , but that price difference makes it a no brainer .
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Is that with all costs included ?

    My latest gas bill, due July 12, 2012, is



    4.22 Therms Gas        $2.47

    4.22 Therms Delivery $2.18

    Customer Charge       $8.25



    Total $12.90.



    Per therm:

    $3.0569 all in.

    $0.5853 for just the gas

    $1.1019 for gas and delivery



    This is in Monmouth County, NJ.Only use is for domestic hot water indirect from my mod-con boiler. It is going up to 100F outside, so none is for heating the house. ;-)
  • Mark N
    Mark N Member Posts: 1,094
    Gas Price

    The price I paid for natural gas on my last bill was $.97 a therm plus $5.99 service charge. The service charge is the same whether I buy 1 therm or a 100 therms.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    out here in the West

    Things are a bit different http://www.nmgco.com/Current_Natural_Gas_Rates.aspx
  • David Sutton_6
    David Sutton_6 Member Posts: 1,079
    Hi Paul,

    I go with Steamhead, i wont put in a log burner for gas, only wet based oil blocks with the carlin E-Z gas, avg about 84% eff compared to 79 to 80
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045
    And if you really want to increase efficiency

    Insulate the pipes and fittings, and upgrade the venting.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

This discussion has been closed.