Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

How much efficiency should I expect replacing original American Standard Boiler

I am looking to replace my home’s original Arcoliner Steam boiler. The home was built in the 1920’s and I’m guessing the boiler (the plate say American Standard Radiator Co) is definitely before the 50’s. Anyhow, the efficiency with a new boiler is that it’s boiling less water (50 gallons vs. 6 gallons). I was averaging $400 a month in gas bill our first winter. I’m hoping to to save some money this one. Any idea how much/ballpark savings I should expect? How efficient approximately would an 70 year old boiler by today’s standard?

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,760
    That will depend on how good a job they did converting it to gas from oil. Since the usual conversion wasn't very good, the savings should be noticeable.

    Also, and just as important, there are things one can do out in the system itself that will lower its fuel consumption, such as main venting.

    The most important factor is the right contractor. Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    ethicalpaul
  • tomsloancamp
    tomsloancamp Member Posts: 77
    I’m located in Rhode Island. I found a contractor who strictly works with boilers. The boiler that is being replaced was converted and most likely not very well. We had central air installed when we first move in and the installer mentioned hydro coil/hydro air. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to work it out financially (we were doing a renovation mortgage loan.) We were quoted much more to do that.
    My wife and I like the steam heat more then we liked our forced air we had i our previous home. We are also planning to have our home insulated, which should help with the utility bills even more. It appears like steam gets a bad wrap but how much is 82% to 93%?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,760
    You'll only find advertised ratings over 87% on condensing hot-water boilers, which cost more, cannot exhaust into a standard chimney and don't last as long as cast-iron boilers. And these units need pumps to move the water which uses more electricity. Not worth it IMHO, but of course the installer pushed it since he could make money on it.

    Keep the steam. Insulate the house.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    ethicalpaul
  • tomsloancamp
    tomsloancamp Member Posts: 77
    That was my feeling. The cost to run the pumps and the blowers upstairs and downstairs vs. the cost of gas to heat the water to steam. Then I have to remove all the radiators and refinish the floors.
    ethicalpaul
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,760
    Keep the steam.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    ethicalpaulSlamDunk
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,368
    edited September 2019
    I hope this helps. I replaced my 1930 american standard with a 2010 Burnham IN-5, natural gas, as well as replaced radiator traps, main vents and pipe insulation. This is a two pipe steam system. My fuel bill dropped from ~500/month to 200/month during the coldest months ( 20-30degF).

    With average outside air temperatures, fuel bill is around 150/month.

    Outside walls are not insulated.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,194
    edited September 2019

    That was my feeling. The cost to run the pumps and the blowers upstairs and downstairs vs. the cost of gas to heat the water to steam. Then I have to remove all the radiators and refinish the floors.

    We like the way you think! I look forward to seeing and hearing about the results (please share before and after pics!). Make sure your installer does the near-boiler piping to the manufacturer specs (they put the plans right there in the installation manual). Have your bidders show you in the manual (or pdf) where it shows them how to do it, and have them agree to do it that way and that you will need to verify it before final payment.

    Also make sure they do an EDR measurement of your existing radiators to determine the size of boiler to install (not the size of the house, or the number of windows, or especially not the size of the existing boiler!). That chart is also in the manufacturer's documentation.

    Maybe you know all this stuff but you are in the perfect position to have a great new boiler install and that will put you in the minority of folks who visit this site!
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    SlamDunk
  • SeanBeans
    SeanBeans Member Posts: 505
    I would ask for a drop header rather than use the manufacturers spec, by that’s just me.

    I recently piped a house from scratch and I calculated the steam velocity leaving the boiler. With the manufactures specs It would leave at 31 per second and with the extra riser it cut it in half to 15.5.

    I feel like that would make all the difference in the world to a modern steam boiler