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BTU reduction 235k to 140k

GW
GW Member Posts: 4,490
How many y’all keep an ongoing list of jobs you do and reduce BTUs? Just a hobby of mine. This one we are taking a 135 and a 100 furnace out and installing an 80 and a 60. 95k drop. Share some BTU stories😀

we dropped the ac too but those numbers aren’t as cool 

ps there’s a bit of an addition in the rear. I spent a chunk of the day running 45 feet of 3” Centrotherm and pvc in a nice modern crawl space 




Gary Wilson
Wilson Services, Inc
Northampton, MA
[email protected]
«1

Comments

  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 869
    When I have that mythical thing called free time, I'm gonna rip out my current FAGF and install some hydronic heat. Existing is for some insane reason 240k, load calc says 65k......can't wait for those new heating bills!!!
    GW
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,887
    The house we grew up in my mom later sold to my cousin. When I was in school one of our projects was to do a heat loss on our own house, It's 54,000 btu

    When the house was 35 years old my cousin wanted to change the furnace and add AC which it never had.

    The house had an addition on it making the total heat loss 65k.

    The original furnace was 100k in 80k out.

    he got 3 quotes before he called me. #1 was 120k input and 3 1/2 tons, #2 was 100k input and 3 tons. The third one, the right one was 72K input (These were all high efficiency furnaces) and 2 1/2 tons.

    The old house my brother bought had an old Texaco oil fired furnace WITH A 1.00 GPH nozzle in it. That's 140k input

    Replaced it with a new gas furnace 80% eff. New furnace is 55K output and 2 tons of cooling

    GW
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,672
    The original boiler in Cedric's home was a monster HB Smith with a 5 gph Quiet May burner. The current one is a much Weil-McClain with only about half the fuel flow... how much of that difference was boiler efficiency and how much storm windows I don't know.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    GW
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 432
    90,000 input/ 72,000 output replaced with 23,000 btu output (still comfortably oversized). Comfort much improved 
    GW
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,121
    I replaced an old gravity furnace (uhhh, 100K?) with a 40K two stage 80%er that keeps the place toasty.
    GW
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,252
    edited July 2021
    Here's one we did a long time ago- current owner had us switch it from oil to gas. Pics are no longer there but the info is:

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/comment/1017181#Comment_1017181

    Edit- another one from the archives:

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/96753/thee-olde-spencer-has-retired-gordo-steamhead#latest
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    GW
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 886
    Just about every job we do is one of those.

    My church, 2,100,000 input WM LGB steam, replaced with two baby 80's ( 345,000 in each) and a 150,000 input hot water boiler. With the new heating plant, upgraded 2 pipe system and electrical ( mainly lighting) upgrades, building source energy usage is in the 4th percentile ....96% of all worship facilities use more energy than the building.

    Current project I just sent out proposal: Current, 2-WM LGB steam totaling 2,210,000 input, radiation load 639,000 btu/hr. New boilers 1- 480 and 1-580, both with a little extra beyond the 33% factor.

    Upcoming project: 630,000 input Peerless 211A steamer, radiation load 198,000 btu/hr. New boiler: Baby 80 ( WM380) at 345,000 input.

    Previous project for this same owner: 3,000,000 input Peerless atmospheric to a 1, 400,000 Peerless power burner

    One a couple years ago 2,800,000 input on/off steamer. Upgraded the 2 pipe system with orifices, eliminated vacuum pump and installed mod burner on boiler firing from about 400,000 input to at most 1,100,000. cut fuel usage about 50%.



    While we don't do cooling, I do know how to do calcs. A church a couple years ago, the engineers calculated about 50 tons, I ran the numbers about 12 tons.

    My previous church: the experts from the design department at the distributers figured 10 to 12 tons, I calculated 6, which is what was installed about 12 years ago. It still tends to be cold and clammy until the room fills up during the services.

    What we have seen with steamers is a pretty consistent pattern that they are nearly all oversized by around 60%.

    The worst we've seen so far have been:
    A nursing home.....3,200,000 input, with a load around 250,000 btu/hr
    A public high school built in the 1970's in a small town.....installed capacity about 10 times the load. Lots of evidence of massive "good old boy" network corruption.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    ratioGW
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,715
    Hoping for a good result with this project.
    Removed 1.5M firing single boiler and installing 3 boilers totaling 590,000 BTUH.

    Going for orifice installation in supply valves to see maybe 60-70% of remaining connected EDR.
    Building envelope improvements over the years and adjacent newer construction have dropped the heat loss covered by the steam system.

    My first and probably only steam boiler installation.....it is close to semi retirement.
    GW
  • Mike_Breault
    Mike_Breault Member Posts: 36
    personal last 2 homes... prior to here I worked for Olsen furnaces, ripped out a 125,000 clare furnace (draft hood, standing pilot) installed a 2 stage 60k. I had a DAC on it, in 2 years it never went to hi fire (36,000) even when below design conditions, this was based on a heat loss of course (52,000) so 89,000 btu drop there

    current home, Furnace died, plan was to convert to Hydronic heat, but HE failed Nov... already had the ModCon boiler, so I dropped it in, added a fan coil as it was cold.... needed heat. Furnace was a Hi Eff Armstrong, 120k. Fan coil is rated 80k @180F water, have been running reset curve on boiler from 105-135 all winter, adding in the radiant as we reno... so again, nowhere near the heat loss calculated.
    GW
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,490
    Nice job all. Some of y’all have some huge stuff. We just do residential. 
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,454
    edited July 2021
    Quite often 1.5 mil or so down to twin 399s. Plus we add indirects for domestic hw where they had separate 199000, 100 gals x 2 tanks prior. Quite a waste prior.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,490
    Wow you commercial guys- let me guess—a mechanical engineer designed these systems originally 
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    ratio
  • SweatyInToronto
    SweatyInToronto Member Posts: 73
    GW said:
    Wow you commercial guys- let me guess—a mechanical engineer designed these systems originally 
    Wonder how long the record heat in the west especially will take to affect the design day temperature, and subsequent calculations! 
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,121
    GW said:

    Wow you commercial guys- let me guess—a mechanical engineer designed these systems originally 

    You betcha, & if you question it they'll whip out a calculator and prove it's right.

    <sigh>

  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 886
    Well in in some the recent cooling loads I whipped out the calculator and proved them wrong... it appears they ignored the cooling load factors for building usage patterns and building mass. Just very sloppy design work.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    ratio
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,377
    Don't do a lot of swaps, but earlier this week I started a project in a new surgical center running 2.5M worth of condensing boilers and all VAV coils with just a little baseboard and one air curtain. Out of curiosity, yesterday I collected all the envelope data and ran a load calc. It came in just under 400k. Yes, it was all "engineered" and the piping diagrams provided by the "engineer" are also ridiculous.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,887
    I have not run into an engineer yet that can size a pump. They throw a dart at the wall and it hit's a number and that's what they go with. Sad. Very sad. All it takes is a little time, it's not rocket science.
    GroundUp
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,252
    Been looking for this one- we cut the total BTU input for heat & hot water in this house by half:

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/comment/1251001#Comment_1251001
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,672

    I have not run into an engineer yet that can size a pump. They throw a dart at the wall and it hit's a number and that's what they go with. Sad. Very sad. All it takes is a little time, it's not rocket science.

    C'mpn, @EBEBRATT-Ed -- we're not all that bad. Just most of us...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ratio
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 861
    Engineers look at flow curves and sometimes worry that the numbers are to low, so they go to the next size because if the system is not performing they are responsible for a system that does not work.

    I had occasion to call on GE specialties with pump problems, when the field engineer came on the job he straightened out the pump problems that occurred due to a misalignment between the motor and pump shaft. Since I had to pay for a whole day he walked the chilled water and condenser water system, he had a gut feeling that the 50 horse Power motors were 15 to 25% over sized. He ran tests on the pumps under simulated loads and recommended that the impellers be shaved. Not Knowing what he was talking about I asked him to clarify his thesis, He explained that if the impellers were shaved to supply the needed amount of water the 50 HP motors will not draw the same amount of electric if the impellers were shaved.

    I asked him can he guarantee the result, he stated that the company will make the customer whole if he was wrong. I proposed this to my customer and stated there will an electric savings and the pay back according to the engineer will occur in one year. The price for the job on both pumps was fifteen thousand dollars. The impellers were not shaved two new impellers and new seals for the pumps were installed.

    The job was done on site, the system worked fine The pay back as promised happened in less than the cooling season.

    There are book engineers and field engineers unfortunately there are more book engineers than engineers that work in field.

    Jake
    rick in Alaska
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,490
    Kinda funny it seems- he’s making a recommendation to save money and he’s being asked to guarantee it. A little ironic. 
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • Dave H_2
    Dave H_2 Member Posts: 502
    I converted my one zone of a Farced Hot Air system to three zones of radiant. Disconnected the 100k BTU furnace for a 50k boiler. Heat loss was 32k with the added radiant basement. forced air never went to the basement. The house was new construction, 3 years old when I converted.

    Fuel bill dropped almost 70%.

    and the comfort level was unbelievable!

    Dave H.
    Dave H
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,490
    Dave wow where was that heat going? BTU is BTU, it must have been going somewhere.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 886
    A Btu is a BTu is not true in terms of efficiency, especially when it comes to the additional heat losses caused by the ductwork penetrations in the envelop and the general increase in air leakage when furnace fans are running. Also hot air stratification tends to occur with typical on/off oversized furnances. Radiant heat stratifies upside down....warmer at the floor, cooler at the ceiling. Warm feet typically means lower thermostat setting for the same comfort.... equalling more savings. DOE has all sorts of data on the inefficiencies of typical forced air systems when compared to other systems without ductwork.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,490
    SteamWhisperer, the BTU is going somewhere, so yes it’s all heat. 
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,490
    5 tons to 4 tons, 3 day job
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 886
    Basically what I was saying is that the heat load with a typical forced air system has been shown to be much higher than with other systems. Radiant floor is probably at the complete opposite end in terms of efficiency.... essentially how many btus does it take to produce comfort in a home. Typical forced air takes a lot more btus to produce the same comfort due to these extra losses induced by the system. The DOE has all sorts of studies about these problems.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,490
    Right on, we are prolly talking the same language. It seems like you’re getting to perceived comfort and I was talking “where are the BTUs going”. That reduction in fuel that Dave mentioned—-clearly there was something very wrong. I concur, warm air will create a tad more infiltration, but let’s be real. If the house is that leaky, radiant will not correct that problem 
    general theory-
    A- how well the home retains its heat
    Aa- many folks don’t grip the difference between insulation vs infiltration 
    B- how well the appliance burns its fuel
    Ba- certainly a plastic piped appliance converts more energy than a metal piped appliance. 
    C- how well the distribution system delivers
    Ca- is that lost heat truly lost or just offset
    Cb- how much energy is required to “warm up” the distribution system (stand by losses)
    D- Variables—-then of course there’s thermostat settings, weather, and people leaving the door open as they get the groceries out of the station wagon. Did the space change? 
    My “sales dollars to amount of crew/employees” is above average (I suspect), I don’t promise squat. I just allude. Too many variables.  
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 886
    The increase in air leakage is much than a tad according to the DOE testing. IIRC, the ductwork just being installed in a typical home increased air leakage about 10 to 15% when it was not even in use. When the furnace fan came on, air leakage doubled. With air temperatures higher at the ceiling ( 80F instead of 65 or lower with radiant) you also have more conduction loss through the ceilings and upper portions of walls and an increase in air leakage due to stronger drafts through any penetrations at the top of a structure. Most of these issues can be addressed with fully sealed ductwork and much better air tightening of the structure, but few buildings get that attention.

    I had a newly built home where we installed radiant floor heat with an atmospheric boiler. The walls were all foamed, though they only blew in the attic. They also installed ductwork with a furnace/ AC unit. With the radiant heat only working, they had problems with excessive moisture in the home and mold forming at locations in the walls and ceilings where they were colder than average. The boiler went down one day, so they flipped on the furnace before going to bed. The next morning the house was so dry that the family was getting bloody noses. This and all lteh DOE testing convinced me of the problems of air leakage related to forced air systems.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,490
    Yes I’m a HW guy so here here. But somehow the majority of the county is getting by with this strategy. Just hard to think that warm air is “that bad” Not all duct systems are junk 
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 886
    The testing the DOE did was with typical duct system.... not ones that are junk. I'm sure you know this already, but on the worldwide market almost no one uses forced air for heating or cooling.....and this is one of the main reasons why.... most people can't afford the cost of operation of forced air...particularly when adding all the electrical costs.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,490
    Ok I don’t love warm air either, but son of a gun- you really hate it😀
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,887
    Most of the USA is scorched air. The hydronics market is much smaller. Sloppy leaky duct work is a huge problem.

    If you want to see crappy duct work systems follow "Anti DIY" on you tube. I think he is in N or S Carolina you will see many shoddy jobs he comes across.

    It's pretty bad
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 886
    I started looking at the research data about 30 years ago when I was doing research at IIT-Chicago on affordable housing for Chicago under a grant from Bob Galvin....founder of Motorola. It came really apparent then just how bad the problem is. It also became quite apparent just how poorly nearly all homes are designed since World War II. A typical freestanding home in Chicago, if designed with some thought to using passive solar heating and shading( with no additional construction costs) would save about 30% of heating fuel and also reduce cooling loads too. A more efficient design using row houses would save even a greater percentage of heating and cooling costs.
    And people wonder why no one has enough money......just generations of really poor choices ( and other bigger reasons too, of course).
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    Larry WeingartenHot_water_fan
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,715
    I have tried to convince people to run their single story ranch house along the east/west axis to avoid the east and west window exposure in the summer and get solar gain in the winter.
    Also this would put the garages and drive ways on the south side in the sun light.

    They insist on the front of the house facing the road (often east).....the road is a quarter of a mile away and seldom traveled!
    They might own one square mile around them.

    I showed them the heat gain with the house facing both ways...let alone winter solar gain...and often the AC tonnage would drop by 1/2 ton, sometimes 1 Ton.

    They were then not concerned about operating costs.....maybe today 20-30 years later they are.
    ethicalpaul
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 886
    Jugne, you're a rare man indeed! Almost everyone ignores this basic site planning that was often looked at in older homes, since it made if more difficult and much more expensive ( think coal) to heat the home if ignored. My last home (circa 1908) had very large south and east facing windows and about 3200 sq. ft. of heated area. My yearly natural gas cost was under $1000.00 for heat, hw, cooking and dryer.
    Some people still insist that if we start working on saving energy, that ( to quote) we will be "eating rodents and bugs". Most western European countries ( UK, FRance Germany) per capita energy consumption is just slightly over 1/2 of ours. We really need to get it together!

    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    ethicalpaul
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,887
    When fuel prices are cheap and plentiful people don't care about operating cost. When eeand if they get choked on fuel prices they would smarten up.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,715
    My parents built their house with lumber from tearing down an old house.
    Reused everything including lath nails.

    But they did buy balsam wool insulation bats for the walls, 1 1/2-2" thick.
    That had to be a major cash expense when most people did not see the ROI when fuel oil was about 10 cents.
    But they burned wood and my father figured he had better things to do than cutting more firewood.

    This project was done in the early 1940....war time.
    Apparently lead was in short supply so he used cement for the CI hub joints.
    Still holding today.

    For our present home we studied many "homestead" books.
    The southern facing with minimal east and west windows was stressed, also cross ventilation for the south summer winds going thru to the north windows.

    This is the south exposure of our present house at noon on the Summer Solstice, (June 22, this year), you notice the sun is not touching any of the glass on the first floor including the garage.

    On winter Solstice all the glass has sun at noon and sunlight penetrates deeply into the house.

    The only thing different about this design from the norm is that we have 3' overhangs and the soffit is at the same height of the inside ceiling.

    Most houses of the ranch style here have the soffit just above the windows...you don't notice that extra foot or so that we have until it is pointed out.

    With the cross ventilation we don't need AC until it is in the high 80's.
    One of the two 2 ton systems will cool the house when we are 95 or so outside.
    ratioLarry Weingartenethicalpaul
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 432
    most people can't afford the cost of operation of forced air...particularly when adding all the electrical costs.
     
    to be fair, plenty of forced air systems use low amounts of electricity and plenty of hydronic systems waste it - I remember someone posted here complaining about their combi not saving enough money and they had a high head loss boiler piped primary/secondary and two zone pumps. Used several hundreds of watts for distribution if I remember correctly. Plenty can be screwed up between theoretical and installation. 

    Related, much easier to get a high efficiency furnace to condense 100% of the time. 
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,490
    Well thanks for being fair. 20 years ago I was so pro-hydronic, I was slanted. Then I installed a couple systems where the homeowners complained about higher fuel usage (a Viessmann, a Buderus). It took me some time to put the two and two together, as to what happened. I had to get off the brainwashing and get back to reality😀. If ducts are in an attic, sure, not good and plenty of waste. If ducts are in a basement- less concerned. 
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    PC7060