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38 year old boiler - is it the cause of high gas bills?

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rebecca2804
rebecca2804 Member Posts: 1
edited February 20 in THE MAIN WALL
Bought a two story 2551sq ft brick house December 2022. Came with a 38 yo Bryant/Dunkirk boiler which services radiators throughout the house that all work properly. It keeps the house toasty but it’s expensive! I’m in Washington DC and in a month with a few cold spells with just below freezing temps we get bills that are about $200. I think the unit is oversized at 140000 btu although the house is incredibly drafty in certain places. 

I don’t want to replace it because it functions as it should minus the high bills. Is there anything affordable I can do to lower the bills until it officially kicks the can? I’ve got a screen shot of the label on it if more info is required. 

Comments

  • rebecca2804
    rebecca2804 Member Posts: 1
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    Image of boiler info below
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,280
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    Have Foley Mechanical out every fall to maintain it. Foley can also give you a quote to replace it with a mod-con. A mod-con will use approximately 15 percent less gas than your current boiler, but it wont last 38 years.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/foley-mechanical-inc
    Personally, I'd keep what you have until it kicks the can. I would get annual professional maintenance.
    What do you do for Air Conditioning? A combination Heat Pump Air Conditioner could save you operating costs on spring and fall days. I'd keep the boiler you currently have for the 20 coldest days of the year.
    I DIY.
    Ironmanexqheat
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,280
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    Almost forgot. A mod con will also have higher maintenance and parts costs. Which will eat up the gas savings.
    I DIY.
    jeff klaverweidenexqheat
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,112
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    200 bucks to heat a 25oo sq ft home is not bad . the cost of replacement would be ions for return on investment . all would be happy to pay so little to heat a home of your size my self included . you should have your boiler serviced and looked at least once a year to avoid any safety issues and to ensure that it is working properly and that there are no safety issues including proper chimney venting ,flame roll out and or flame impingement . this can and should be done . peace and good luck and if dan foley services your area you can do no better .
    peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    IronmanSlamDunkmattmia2
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,160
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    What @clammy said. $200 per month given the recent cold snap isn't bad.
    Ironmanbburdrealliveplumber
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,856
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    I’m a bit north of you and if you have ductwork, adding a heat pump could save you a good bit. Do it when replacing the AC and it’s more or less free. In our climate, ditching gas makes sense since electricity is pretty cheap. 
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,158
    edited February 20
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    Work on eliminating the drafts first, that will lower the heating costs 

    Have a blower door test performed that will show where air is blowing in
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    ethicalpaulPeter_26exqheat
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,376
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    $200 per month is not a high gas bill for a drafty 2500 square foot house. In fact, it’s quite reasonable.

    The best thing you can do to save energy is to tighten up the envelope of the house: caulk, weatherstripping and insulation are cheaper than fuel.

    At 38 years old, your boiler is near the end of its useful life. When that time comes, a mod/con boiler may be a good option.

    As mentioned, Dan Foley of Foley Mechanical in Lorton is one the best in the country.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    delcrossvPC7060
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,210
    edited February 21
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    I agree completely with the $200/month being very reasonable. The Dunkirk is a fairly efficient design. I doubt a new boiler, with repairs, parts and maintenance will see much of a savings.

    There are folks here in New York in new houses with "modern, clean electric heat" paying six times your bill each month.
    clammydelcrossvSlamDunkjeff klaverweiden
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,583
    edited February 22
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    I pay that much during a cold snap and my house is only 1600 sqft and I'm 300miles south of you. Are you sure you meant 200& not 2000?
  • guzzinerd
    guzzinerd Member Posts: 233
    edited February 22
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    My 75 yr old boiler ran up $1200 during a cold snap last year.  Fuel is less now and I've tuned it all up with vents and traps but  still paid $400 during the last snap, for 3800sq ft. 

    $200 is amazing for a house that size.
    Bryant 245-8 2-pipe steam in a 1930s 6-unit 1-story apt building in the NM mountains.  26 radiators heating up 3800sqf.
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 976
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    I wish i had a $200 heating bill.
    realliveplumber
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,324
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    So do I. I can go through twice that in a week in cold weather...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,843
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    Ironman said:

    $200 per month is not a high gas bill for a drafty 2500 square foot house. In fact, it’s quite reasonable.

    The best thing you can do to save energy is to tighten up the envelope of the house: caulk, weatherstripping and insulation are cheaper than fuel.
    ........As mentioned, Dan Foley of Foley Mechanical in Lorton is one the best in the country.

    This.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Peter_26
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 976
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    So should i call Dan Foley lol
  • LRCCBJ
    LRCCBJ Member Posts: 121
    edited February 24
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    Ironman said:

    $200 per month is not a high gas bill for a drafty 2500 square foot house. In fact, it’s quite reasonable.

    Here are the numbers:

    A 2500 square foot house, poorly insulated, in Washington DC, will probably have a HL of approx. 25K on the design day (28F). With a 65F base temperature, the HL is 675 BTU/hr/degree F. 16216 BTU/day/degree F.

    There were 789 HDD at Washington Airport in January, 2024.

    The net heating requirement for January is 12,794,424 BTU and the input (75% efficient) is 17,059,232 BTU.

    This is approx. 171 therms.

    If the cost of gas is $1.25/therm, the January gas bill would be approx. $213.00. This does not include any hot water.

    Apparently the $200. cost is exactly as predicted.
    MikeAmann
  • jesmed1
    jesmed1 Member Posts: 560
    edited February 25
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    ...the house is incredibly drafty in certain places...

    I think you just found your real problem. Air leaks are the #1 cause of heat loss in older houses. Get some incense sticks and hold them around the edges of windows and doors on a windy day. See where the smoke blows. You'll be amazed at how many air leaks you find. Do some research on how to seal up air leaks in old houses. Air sealing is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to save on your heating bills.

  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,260
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    Efficiency is over rated. Eventually gas bills will incorporate cost of pipes instead of amount of gas going through them.
  • Sylvain
    Sylvain Member Posts: 134
    edited February 25
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    jumper said:

    Efficiency is over rated. Eventually gas bills will incorporate cost of pipes instead of amount of gas going through them.

    Shouldn't the bill indicate the volume of gas and its calorific power?

    Where I live it is the case, and we know in details what we pay for the broker, the long distance transport, the local distribution and the various taxes.

    EDIT
    You mean dividing the gas volume by two will not divide the bill by two.
    Alaas.
  • exqheat
    exqheat Member Posts: 185
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    Are your heating and hot water pipes insulated?
    John Cockerill Exquisite Heat www.exqheat.com Precisions boiler control from indoor reset.