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Cost for removing steam?

smoothdeity
smoothdeity Member Posts: 11
edited January 16 in THE MAIN WALL
Hey all

I had an opportunity fall in my lap to add mini-splits for free or very cheap. I'm in NY, and ConEd is offering some pretty big rebates right now.

I can get the mini-split system for free except some electrician charges, provided we remove our current steam system. There's another option where we leave in the steam system as a hybrid heating system. It looks like it's about $$$$ for this option, plus the same electrician charges.

I'm very much inclined to leave the steam in. I prefer the optionality. But my wife would loooove to have the radiators disappear, and I would also love to get the space back.

I've read lots of posts on here about the pros and cons. I'm well aware that most here recommend keeping steam, and I lean that way as well. But I'd still like to make a decision with as much data as possible. And there are a lot of variables at play.

One variable is that we're planning to remodel this summer. As part of that, we may need to make some changes to the steam system, and/or add supplemental heat to some rooms that would be complicated to add steam to.

Another variable is that our steam system needs some significant repairs. I recently confirmed that our boiler is piped incorrectly, causing significant wet steam. It's noisy, drives my sinuses crazy, and wears out radiator vents really quickly. We also have no main vents. I can see where they were plugged off, but one of them only has a couple inches clearance due to a floor joist above, so no room for a bigger main vent. I'm sure something can be rigged, but it's not a straightforward job and likely out of my league.

Further, I spoke to a steam guy I found on here, and he pointed out that I probably don't have a ton of life left in my boiler. It might not make sense to repipe a boiler that doesn't have a lot of life. So I could be looking at a boiler replacement as well. So, I'm potentially looking at some major $$$ to keep the steam system around.

One option I've been considering: keep the steam system for now, experiment with running only off of the mini-splits for the winter, and then if the comfort and cost is tolerable, have the steam system taken out as part of the renovations. But I have no idea what that would cost. I imagine it wouldn't be too bad—cap off the boiler & radiators and have them carted away. But maybe there are other expenses I'm not aware of. I'd love to have even a very general ballpark.

TL;DR—what's a ballpark for removing a gas-fired steam boiler and radiators?

Comments

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,263
    IMO, the real cost would be the loss of comfort from steam heat.
    You should try a winter with the mini's before throwing out the steam.
    I am guessing you may have an older house with some air infiltration.
    Only intense remodeling will correct air leaks.
    delcrossvsmoothdeity
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,766
    If you don't mind being really really cold in the house when it is really cold outside, go ahead and take the steam out. Otherwise... you will regret it.

    Changing to mini-splits is not going to help your sinuses one bit. Steam heat doesn't dry the air any more than any other heat source.

    If the system is noisy, it probably does need some loving care.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    smoothdeitydelcrossvkcopp
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,405
    Double check the requirements for the rebates. From what I have heard, you need to remove burners, remove the gas shutoff, and cap the boiler gas line. And of course, you need to document everything. Don't think that you need to remove boiler. I would definitely suggest not getting rid of boiler or radiators, until you have spent a heating season using oversized toasters for heat. 
    smoothdeity
  • cross_skier
    cross_skier Member Posts: 147
    In the UK Bosch talk on hydrogen the Bosch speakers pointed out that customer satisfaction in the UK for those who converted to Bosch mini-splits was "very low" and that mini-splits we're best suited to modern well-insulated super tight construction and even then it requires a "change in customer behavior".  It's on YouTube, I put the link in one of my earlier posts
    smoothdeity
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,766
    And I might point out that the Bosch mini-splits to which @cross_skier refers are very high quality units -- and the climate to which the discussion is relevant is much nicer (well, if you don't mind rain...)
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    smoothdeity
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 505
    edited January 16
    Before you abandon the steam concept, look very closely at how a mini-split works in very low temperatures. Do they shift to electric heat for a backup?

    I own a converted 2 family near Albany, NY and kept getting asked by the sales guys at the orange store about converting. I asked one guy, "What do you do when the temperature goes below -10?" He said wait until it warms up. Do you think my tenants would like that? At my house at least 20 years ago the thermometer on my covered back porch read -30.
    smoothdeity
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 505
    Another guy said keep the steam heat system for a backup. Well if that's the case why go through all the expense of adding another system. The tenants us window air conditioners and have no complaints.

    Personally, I have a 1988 vintage heat pump with gas backup for my home. We don't use the heat pump for heat because when we checked it out in the early days, gas was cheaper. I haven't bothered to reevaluate it recently.

    Due diligence is important. Good luck.
    smoothdeity
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,561
    edited January 14
    Steam lasts 30 - 60 years
    minins 7 1/2 to 12! If sized and installed properly. 
    smoothdeity
  • smoothdeity
    smoothdeity Member Posts: 11
    Thank you all for your quick responses!
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,263
    Few mini's have any back up heat.
    So you should be sure that your house wiring will handle about 3 1500 watt space heaters, that is 3 separate 20 amp circuits. Seriously.

    If they don't cut it in the UK they may not do it in NY.
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,345
    Bottom line....no one here will recommend removing your current system. And I'm on here too.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 275
    How is your home cooled in the summer? Do you currently have AC? If so, how old? $8000 of rebates is hard to pass up. Can you leave the boiler and just remove gas service to qualify. If so, do that, and have oil installed later.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,263
    What is the status of your water heater. Is it gas?
    Would the powers that be allow you to keep a NG water heater?