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Gas bill down 50% 🔥

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guzzinerd
guzzinerd Member Posts: 243
edited March 2023 in Strictly Steam
The January bill went from an astronomical $1200 (for the six apts) to the more reasonable $650 bill I just received for Feb.  Outside temps pretty much the same for both months.  Incidentally,  $650 is also how much the largest bill was last winter, February, before these gas prices got jacked up.

Starting at the beginning of February I:

  1. reduced the running trol setting from 6 to 1.5 max psi (runs most of the time around 0-0.5 psi)

  2. Added five Gorton #2 vents to the mains and returns 

  3. Replaced half of the Dunham traps

  4. Wrapped the return lines with 1" fiberglass

  5. Added traps to the five replacement floor board units that had no trap

Next week I'll finish rebuilding the other half of the Dunham traps.

In my last thread I'm told not to wrap the returns... Do i need to undo that work i did or is it too late?

All of the radiators work, apts warmer on average and everyone seems pretty cozy. No complaints 

It cost me a couple of grand in parts but it's a long term investment to help the boiler last and reduce fuel bills.

You guys are awesome, thanks for your help and patience.
Bryant 245-8 2-pipe steam in a 1930s 6-unit 1-story apt building in the NM mountains.  26 radiators heating up 3800sqf.
kcoppSTEVEusaPAMad Dog_2bburdmattmia2reggiRayWohlfarth

Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,631
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    leave the insulation as is. good job!! when you finish the traps you will probably have more savings.
    guzzinerdMad Dog_2
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,902
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    I agree- great job.

    You might want to go by degree-days though- it's a bit more accurate. Home page is here:

    https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/cdus/degree_days/

    The actual degree-day data files are here:

    https://ftp.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/htdocs/degree_days/weighted/legacy_files/heating/statesCONUS/

    Pick the location closest to you. You may have to interpolate a bit if the meter readings don't correspond exactly with the file dates.

    We'll be interested to hear if the gas company wants to check your meter B)
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Mad Dog_2
  • guzzinerd
    guzzinerd Member Posts: 243
    edited March 2023
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    Steamhead said:
    I agree- great job. You might want to go by degree-days though- it's a bit more accurate. Home page is here: https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/cdus/degree_days/ The actual degree-day data files are here: https://ftp.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/htdocs/degree_days/weighted/legacy_files/heating/statesCONUS/ Pick the location closest to you. You may have to interpolate a bit if the meter readings don't correspond exactly with the file dates. We'll be interested to hear if the gas company wants to check your meter B)
    Interesting thanks... You'd think the gas company would want to check the meter when the bill went up 🙄

    I read it a couple days ago and the usage was in the 400s compared to the 840 last bill... Just wanted to wait for the bill before celebrating.

    P.s. i don't know how to decipher those temp stats on the link.
    Bryant 245-8 2-pipe steam in a 1930s 6-unit 1-story apt building in the NM mountains.  26 radiators heating up 3800sqf.
    Mad Dog_2
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,110
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    Congratulations 👏 Man. You done real good!  Gorton #2s are worth every red cent..I still remember the first Gorton #1 and held in my hand....and exactly where I was standing.   It was in my barn and Noel Murdough RIP gifted me one.for the extremely rare Vapor System I was building from scratch.   I couldn't get over the girth of it....Then he blew in to it and we compared its competitor...Nolo Contender!  That very one went.on the Christmas Tree vent battery I piped in. Noel, Steamhead and Dano popped by in the beginning to review and make suggestions.   Steamhead donated a Beautiful Flue radiator (6 Sq Ft EDR per section!!  Mini boiler!).  Dan gave me the Burnham Classic Victorian Radiator from his showroom - always so generous!  I honored them all with a etching their names in the wet cement pad  that the boilers and water heater sat on...Above it I wrote:
    "THE DEADMEN ARE ALIVE AND WELL" 
    20 Years ago and one of us is gone......Mad Dog 🐕 
    guzzinerdmattmia2
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,902
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    guzzinerd said:

    ....... i don't know how to decipher those temp stats on the link.

    The figure you want is the total for the week or month of the file. That's how many degree-days you had.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Mad Dog_2
  • guzzinerd
    guzzinerd Member Posts: 243
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    Steamhead said:
    ....... i don't know how to decipher those temp stats on the link.
    The figure you want is the total for the week or month of the file. That's how many degree-days you had.
    I can find the new mexico monthly total for January (940?) but not February.  Where is it hidden?
    Bryant 245-8 2-pipe steam in a 1930s 6-unit 1-story apt building in the NM mountains.  26 radiators heating up 3800sqf.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,902
    edited March 2023
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    guzzinerd said:

    I can find the new mexico monthly total for January (940?) but not February.  Where is it hidden?

    Weekly files. The February monthly file will be up later.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    guzzinerd
  • guzzinerd
    guzzinerd Member Posts: 243
    edited March 2023
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    Ok thanks 

    The dates are weird (mostly end of the month dates). I see 5 different week totals... 895?   I'm sorry, I've never read this sort of data before.  If that's right then it's not too far off January 
    Bryant 245-8 2-pipe steam in a 1930s 6-unit 1-story apt building in the NM mountains.  26 radiators heating up 3800sqf.
    Mad Dog_2
  • Dan_NJ
    Dan_NJ Member Posts: 247
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    This is where I used to grab my degree days from, lots of stations to choose from:
    https://www.degreedays.net/
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,110
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    Don't worry...they can be like deciphering 
    Symbolic logic equations.  Mad Dog
  • guzzinerd
    guzzinerd Member Posts: 243
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    Dan_NJ said:
    This is where I used to grab my degree days from, lots of stations to choose from: https://www.degreedays.net/
    Perfect thank you.

    2023-01-01,782.6,0
    2023-02-01,656.5,0

    So looks like February had 17% fewer HDDs, still big savings.
    Bryant 245-8 2-pipe steam in a 1930s 6-unit 1-story apt building in the NM mountains.  26 radiators heating up 3800sqf.
  • dabrakeman
    dabrakeman Member Posts: 556
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    I agree with @Dan_NJ. https://degreedays.net/ is really easy to use. Plug in your zip code and pick the nearest measurement station. I use 65F as the equilibrium (no heating point. Can download daily degree days as a daily file for whateer time period you want, i.e. last couple months and then in the spreadsheet just total up the degree days for the days that correspond to the date range on your gas bill. Not perfect but as good as any means of normalizing your data so you can better assess your improvements in terms of amount of gas used in a month per total heating degree days for that billing month.
    guzzinerd
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,902
    edited March 2023
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    guzzinerd said:

    .......So looks like February had 17% fewer HDDs, still big savings.

    Yes!

    Now, when you know how many degree-days have elapsed between meter readings, you can calculate how many therms the building used per degree-day.

    Then, take your monthly summer gas usage and subtract it from the winter totals, and you'll get the number of therms the heating system used.

    Since you're just finishing the trap work, you may see even better results on your next bill.

    I'll definitely bookmark this thread, so I can retrieve it when someone comes on here advocating converting these systems to hot-water because "it'll save so much". In this and many other cases (see https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc ) we've shown similar savings just by fixing the steam, for far less cost and risk.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    mattmia2Mad Dog_2
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,218
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    Steamhead said:

    guzzinerd said:

    .......So looks like February had 17% fewer HDDs, still big savings.

    Yes!

    Now, when you know how many degree-days have elapsed between meter readings, you can calculate how many therms the building used per degree-day.

    Then, take your monthly summer gas usage and subtract it from the winter totals, and you'll get the number of therms the heating system used.

    Since you're just finishing the trap work, you may see even better results on your next bill.

    I'll definitely bookmark this thread, so I can retrieve it when someone comes on here advocating converting these systems to hot-water because "it'll save so much". In this and many other cases (see https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc ) we've shown similar savings just by fixing the steam, for far less cost and risk.
    Amen to that, Steamhead.

    A year ago, just before Christmas, we did some repiping near a boiler to eliminate the unnecessary condensate pump ( which may not have been working at all) and traps, installed some system vents with check valves to promote vacuum operation and a vaporstat. They had a 23% reduction in fuel use and paid for the work in about 2 1/2 months from the fuel savings.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    mattmia2guzzinerdMikeAmannMad Dog_2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,749
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    The insulation on the returns won't hurt anything but it only has marginal benefit.
    guzzinerdMad Dog_2Long Beach Ed
  • guzzinerd
    guzzinerd Member Posts: 243
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    Steamhead said:
    .......So looks like February had 17% fewer HDDs, still big savings.
    Yes! Now, when you know how many degree-days have elapsed between meter readings, you can calculate how many therms the building used per degree-day. Then, take your monthly summer gas usage and subtract it from the winter totals, and you'll get the number of therms the heating system used. Since you're just finishing the trap work, you may see even better results on your next bill. I'll definitely bookmark this thread, so I can retrieve it when someone comes on here advocating converting these systems to hot-water because "it'll save so much". In this and many other cases (see https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc ) we've shown similar savings just by fixing the steam, for far less cost and risk.
    Thank you @Steamhead.  Last night i made a spreadsheet and jotted down the HDDs, therms and costs for the past few months.

    Now i need to find a formula to track the progress.


    Bryant 245-8 2-pipe steam in a 1930s 6-unit 1-story apt building in the NM mountains.  26 radiators heating up 3800sqf.
    Mad Dog_2
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,218
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    Just divide your therms into the DD. This will provide a comparable standard for different time periods.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    guzzinerdMad Dog_2
  • dabrakeman
    dabrakeman Member Posts: 556
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    Attached are a couple ways I plot and track. You can backfill your baseline data by getting past billing statements from your gas provider and then generating the correlating total HDD for those billing cycles from one of the degree days databases.

    guzzinerdMad Dog_2
  • guzzinerd
    guzzinerd Member Posts: 243
    edited April 2023
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    Body is required 
    Bryant 245-8 2-pipe steam in a 1930s 6-unit 1-story apt building in the NM mountains.  26 radiators heating up 3800sqf.
    bburd
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,886
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    @guzzinerd Can you show the therms per bill? That's the apples to apples efficiency comparison. $ can't be used to compare previous bills to one another.
  • guzzinerd
    guzzinerd Member Posts: 243
    edited April 2023
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    Here are the screenshots in order from Jan to March, appreciate you helping me interpret my progress, if any:

    January:

    February 

    March 



    Looking at the charges again, looks like they made a big mistake in March... nevermind :neutral:
    Bryant 245-8 2-pipe steam in a 1930s 6-unit 1-story apt building in the NM mountains.  26 radiators heating up 3800sqf.
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,886
    edited April 2023
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    @guzzinerd yup looks like it. Comparing Therms/HDD for the pre vs. post improvements is the way to evaluate. For example, if you were in Santa Fe and the meter readings happened on the last day of every month, you could compare like below. In which case, eh not much savings. But you can plug in your own info. If you have other things that use gas, you could try to subtract that out using the usage from summer months. It would make % savings increase.



  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,110
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    Over the years, I've had Consulting clients that have reported savings after corrective action on their Steam systems anywhere from 20% - 70% !! And 20% -50%..some of these very large buildings where therms & fuel oil add up $$$$.  Its  a very gratifying feeling when you can save $$$ like that! Mad Dog
    guzzinerd