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Dead Men Tales: Divvying Up the Utility Bill

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HeatingHelp
HeatingHelp Administrator Posts: 650
edited December 2022 in THE MAIN WALL


Divvying Up the Utility Bill

There’s long been talk about how to divvy up the heating expenses in buildings that have tenants. In this episode, Dan Holohan shares some methods he’s seen over the years in Europe and the US.

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Comments

  • lproulx
    lproulx Member Posts: 4
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    I once had an eight-unit building with one fhw boiler. I put a running time meter on each circulator and adjusted the hour readings to compensate for different amounts of installed baseboard.
  • tanklessman01
    tanklessman01 Member Posts: 11
    edited December 2022
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    Great story,...
    I love those Wall Hung combi boilers.
    All on demand. 10:1 step down can go from 200.000 to 20.000 BTU as needed.
    They have different sizes to fit the demand.
    Priority is giving to the hot water when the flow switch activated. That assures hot water gets full capacity. Add a recirculation loop, hot water at the faucets when you need it immediately.
    My 2 story semi-detached with basement has the 120.000 BTU model 5:1 step down model for about 9 years now.
    Combined with the thermostatic radiator valves at each radiator on the first floor, allowing heating water to get to the radiators farther on the second floor quicker. I get nice even temperature thru-out and the efficiency increases even more.
    I mean, we are talking about more than 50% savings on the gas bills,....even with the single pane windows from 1920s and aluminum storm windows, still doesn't stop the cold air keeping glass of Scotch perfectly chilled on the window sill 😂🤣..
    At least I know my house breaths very well.
    My neighbors on both sides replaced all 32 windows with double pane, hi-efficiency ones but kept the old cast iron boiler and 40 galon gas water heater.
    I was inclined to do the same thing 9 years ago, when I first bought the house.
    I praise the window guy who refused to sell me the $30.000 worth of windows during renovation, because my wife wasn't present.
    That gave me a chance to evaluate my than, newly purchased home in January cold.
    Cast iron boiler was still running, keeping the house toasty warm.
    I just purchased a new toy,... infrared thermometer... I started pointing at the walls. It was 20deg. outside, thermostat was maintained at 68deg.
    I was surprised how accurate the infrared thermometer was, it read 68deg at the wall where thermostat was attached and pretty much all the interior walls in the house.

    Money saving idea came when I pointed same thermometer to the exterior walls.
    They were all reading 8 to 10 deg. colder.
    Hence, the revelation kicked in,...replacing windows would not do much for this 1920s house with the stoco exterior walls with no insulation,... instead above mentioned COMBİ BOİLER hung on the wall and cast iron boiler was donated to a friend in need to replace his boiler for his 4 unit apartment.
    Water tank stayed till I was sure my new COMBİ BOİLER would deliver hot water as needed and found it's way to the salvage yard.
    Yes, that is how I measured the efficiency of my COMBİ.
    3 identical houses,...3 identical temperature settings programmed.

    2 with upgraded windows but,...1 with cast iron boiler and 40 galon gas water heater,
    the other with fin tube boiler with indirect water tank.
    My gas bill every winter 50% less than both.

    I installed dozens with success for my clients ever since,... including the one servicing a 8 one bedroom apartment that used to have 400.000 BTU, maybe 50% efficient boiler and 2- 40 galon gas water heaters,... Going on 3rd. Winter without any complaints..

    You gotta love technology that is used for something good 👍👍
  • bill_brooks
    bill_brooks Member Posts: 50
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    i have an observation and a comment.
    if you remember the movie "cinderella man" with russell crowe and rene zellwigger, a
    depression-era boxing movie about jim braddock, there's a scene where she is trying
    to keep the kids from freezing and goes outside to feed the electric (gas?) meter to get heat. i'd seen those meters in england once so i sorta figured what she was doing.

    my observation : i have a wall-hung weil-mcclain boiler for my radiant system.
    the original boiler had a measely 5:1 turn-down but the boiler was 125k and needless
    to say.....short-cycled. [ it failed because it was korean and no longer supported here.]
    after stumbling across an article about using a "buffer tank" to store heating water and
    replumbing the prim.-second. loop to feed the tank only. this created an artificial larger load and solved the short-cycling. the boiler fired for a much longer period and stayed off for a much longer period. the system was drawing heating water from the tank even after the boiler was off. a single zone was created using boiler's stat connection when
    a call for heat was made. the system's indiviual heating zones continue with their respective stats which in turn signal the boiler's stat. to fire the boiler. the system circulators continue to report to their room stats as before.

    i have not investigated the revised system efficiency. my gut says storing heating water
    and continuing to use the heated water after boiler shut-down , has to be a benefit to
    the overall efficiency. stand-by losses would be my only concern.
    when i built my house, we calculated the heating load to be 49k. originally the old boiler
    was a combi unit to give rapid DHW. the weil-mcclain is heating only w/10:1 turn down.


  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 522
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    The coin operated machines reminded of the days of the Magic Fingers found at the finest roadside Motels...
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
    CLamb
  • newbieDIY21
    newbieDIY21 Member Posts: 8
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    What a waste of energy in the U.S. on heating (specifically in old co-op buildings like the ones in NYC). I can confirm that during winter, there was no way to regulate the radiator so you had to wear short', t-shirt and open the window to function normally throughout the day while the radiator is on full blast. At the end of the day, it's all part of the monthly building maintance (and some people wonder why maint. in some of these buildings is so high)
    CLamb
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 522
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    What a waste of energy in the U.S. on heating (specifically in old co-op buildings like the ones in NYC). I can confirm that during winter, there was no way to regulate the radiator so you had to wear short', t-shirt and open the window to function normally throughout the day while the radiator is on full blast. At the end of the day, it's all part of the monthly building maintance (and some people wonder why maint. in some of these buildings is so high)
    So how would you "Fix" the particular building that you are speaking of ? Who would pay for the "Changes" and would the tennents be ok with contractors coming and going, the noise , disruption and obviously increase expenses and cost of maintenance...
    Just to start... How would you address this building? Only curious how 
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,828
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    Fix the broken parts on the steam system and the knuckleheading and put TRVs on the radiators, put a control on the boiler that cycles it based on outdoor temp. Make sure the boiler is as small as possible on the next replacement.
    PC7060john_james
  • fixitguy
    fixitguy Member Posts: 92
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    Some years back, I installed a couple of Hobbs meters from airplanes (24 volts) to pump relays on a hot water system at the landlords request. I was back a couple of months ago and saw that no one had ever looked at them. Not a surprise.