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Off-Season Savings?

One of my customers is a summer camp.  The cabins are occupied about 3 months of the year, with small retreats during the other 9 months.  There are a lot of water heaters on the grounds, most of which are inside heated buildings.  The few that are in unheated buildings get winterized, but the rest are left to run year round.  How much fuel (LP) would be saved by shutting these units down during the off season?


  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    How Much?

    How much?

    A lot. A lot more depending on the situation.

    Depending on the frequency of the "Retreats", I would drain the whole mess and set it up so that they could use what they needed, when they need it. It is too easy to drain buildings if they are set up properly. And turn it back on.

    There LP gas bill must be horrible. The savings will usually pay for themselves if the buildings are drained. If you have 4 buildings that you leave on and you usually only use 2 infrequently, it's a waste of money. The camp must be in a cold freezing climate. One freeze up with property damage will wipe out any savings by not draining the buildings.

  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    Tankless Heaters

    This would be an ideal situation for tankless water heaters. They only operate on demand and most have built in freeze protection. The propane savings would pay for the units rather quickly and if you choose to drain them down, it takes about two minutes!

  • WayneMech
    WayneMech Member Posts: 53
    Yes, but....

    Unfortunately, tank-less is not within reach at this time.  (I have one in my own home, and won't go back to a tank)  Emptying and refilling is not going to happen, due to labor/time issues.  (It's complicated)  They need rapid ROI.  Mechanicals are not that old, but will be the next stage.  Setback can be done wirelessly.  The decision makers are board members who will not give a green light based on what we know to be blatantly obvious.  I have to financially justify the control work with actual numbers, even if they are only estimates.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    the next stage

    The T-KJr2 is pretty affordable.

    Given the summer-only occupancy, you might even look at batch solar.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Off season Savings:

    If it is a "Camp", it must have a central water supply location. The buildings must have individual shut-offs. If so, the buildings can be easily drained without a lot of effort. I don't know what the property looks like, but it is far simpler than you might realize, no matter hoe complicated it might seem.

    And it doesn't take a big air compressor to do it. If you work it right, and you are like me, it will give you a fill in job all winter long. My policy with my customers is to give me as reasonable notice as possible and I will have everything on and working when you want it. I never have broken pipes, and they have seamless use of their property.

    It works for me. It might or might not work for you.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    Its my experience that these organizations, run by "Boards" have one or more that think that any money spent on your services is taking food or education from their first born son.

    I find that if you give them a lot of choices that can be advantages to both, that something can come of it.

    If you can show them a way to do what they want for not a lot of money, things get going. A Indirect Tank less may sound like a good cheap alternative, but someone is going to have to pay for it. Make something work that is existing, let them try out doing what they want and next year, you might get to put in a Tank less in a building. But not ALL the buildings.

    If you give them a price to do something that is expensive without alternates, you could loose a customer. If I gave them a price, it would be so riddled with prices that they would be interested in doing something. A money maker. I don't know what your service is like. This is a perfect fit for myself who always works alone.
  • WayneMech
    WayneMech Member Posts: 53
    The question still remains

    Yes, I am quite aware of how to shut the water off.  That is not complicated.  It is the situational requirements that are complicated.  They do not want to rely on manpower, and the cabin usage can change very quickly.  All I need to know is how to estimate their savings.  Period.  I appreciate your suggestions, but please save your breath about alternatives.  I have been working alone for 15 years.  I punched a clock for 8 years before that.  Prior to that, I was a mechanic on a submarine.  I completely understand the mechanics involved.
  • heatpro02920
    heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    simple answer...

    look at the side of the tank, there will be a number with a dollar sign, that is how much it costs to run that tank, minus the 25% you use the units leaves you with 75% wasted money... EZ PZ lemon.... well you know the rest...

    Are they at least turning them down to vacation when not in use? If that takes too mcuh manpower, than they deserve the high bills... "penny SMART and dollar STUPID will empty SILLY pockets]....
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Or my favorite:

    Or my favorite:

    Step over a ten dollar bill to pick up a dime.

    You sound like you have the capability. Don't be alarmed when you realize that you have spent hours of uncompensated time on their problem. Only to have theem ignore whatever you come up with. They're smart we're (you) aren't. If it is more than one that you answer to, there will always be a power struggle between two or more and anything you say that backs up one, will be over ridden by another.

    I'd be wishing their problem health, happiness and long distance.
This discussion has been closed.