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Thread: Oil prices are choking us to death. Convert to gas?

  1. #16
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gennady View Post
    You can cut your bills in the half without converting to gas. Install I series taco 3 way valve with outdoor reset, bumble bee taco delta T circulator , or just retrofit radiators with thermostatic radiator valves. You will be amazed with comfort and savings.
    Yes, I would truly be amazed if it actually cut oil use by fully half.

    Were it actually that effective, you made those adjustments to the system AND changed to gas, the net savings would be more like 3/4, (and thus cost effective, even in buck a therm land.)

    But I sincerely doubt the net savings would actually be half. A quarter I'd believe, a third, maybe, if you're starting out with the worlds crummiest hydronic system designs.

  2. #17
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    Well, a half at least. With conversion to gas fuel bill can be cut over 4 times down on really screwed up systems. On average 3 times down. And no zoning at all.
    Last edited by gennady; 05-30-2013 at 03:23 PM. Reason: Damn auto correct

  3. #18
    Master Hot Water Mpls,MN BadgerBoilerMN's Avatar
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    "You can cut your bills in the half without converting to gas. Install I series taco 3 way valve with outdoor reset, bumble bee taco delta T circulator , or just retrofit radiators with thermostatic radiator valves. You will be amazed with comfort and savings."

    Good idea, but for the same money we can usually install a condensing boiler and cut you heating bill in half, for real.

    The conversion would cost less and if sized and set up correctly would certainly be the best ROI. Any such conversion should be done by an experienced technician using a combustion analyser. As for warranty, we are design, install and service all makes of boilers here in Minneapolis and find the manufacturers more than fair with warranty issues on residential boilers. The only component covered after the first year on most models is the heat exchanger, which will last long burning gas than oil, regardless of model or manufacturer.

    Go for it!

  4. #19
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    Default Taco bumble bee.

    Quote Originally Posted by BadgerBoilerMN View Post
    "You can cut your bills in the half without converting to gas. Install I series taco 3 way valve with outdoor reset, bumble bee taco delta T circulator , or just retrofit radiators with thermostatic radiator valves. You will be amazed with comfort and savings."

    Good idea, but for the same money we can usually install a condensing boiler and cut you heating bill in half, for real.

    The conversion would cost less and if sized and set up correctly would certainly be the best ROI. Any such conversion should be done by an experienced technician using a combustion analyser. As for warranty, we are design, install and service all makes of boilers here in Minneapolis and find the manufacturers more than fair with warranty issues on residential boilers. The only component covered after the first year on most models is the heat exchanger, which will last long burning gas than oil, regardless of model or manufacturer.

    Go for it!
    Taco bumble bee on primary and secondary loops are standard on our installations. and radiator thermostatic valves are very strongly recommended as an option. On steam conversions TRVs are not even an option. We will not do conversion without them. So bumble bee and I series Valve with outdoor reset actuator cost few hundred dollars and half day of work. So it is by far not a new boiler. But it will reduce pressure on home owner , and what is more important, when he will decide to go for new boiler bumble bee and TRVs will stay with new system.
    Last edited by gennady; 05-31-2013 at 05:44 AM. Reason: Damn auto correct.

  5. #20
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    a couple factors nobody seems to want to address is the payback and the longevity of the system. Condensing equipment is a pain in the ass plain and simple. It's complicated, uses proprietary controls and WILL cost more in upkeep and service than non condensing equipment. I find the guys pushing this stuff generally do not have much of a customer base, do not actually install or service equipment and live in a fantasy worlds where everyone has a wad of cash to spend. As a consumer you have to understand that while you may save a few bucks in fuel cost, it may very well take 10 years or more to realize the savings over the cost of the equipment and by then guess what? The equipment is on its last legs or, someone else has come up with something better. I know of many folks that have spent in excess of 15 grand tearing out their oil system to convert to gas and while gas is currently ( note the word currently) cheaper than oil, there is no guarantee that it will stay that way. Worse yet are the poor suckers that tear out their oil system and install propane. We service close to 8000 customers, both oil and gas and by far the most cost effective thing to do is to upgrade the current system. A 10 year old oil boiler can and will perform quite well with a minimum investment. Mod con's have their place but intelligent research must b don before laying out the cash. And, I love to see all the math and numbers being thrown out but 90% of them are based on erroneous, or missing data.

    If your old boiler is running at say 80% efficiency and your new equipment is running at 90% you save a whopping hundred bucks a year if you were spending a grand on oil. At 8000 dollars plus for a new boiler.....well, you can do the math.
    Last edited by Tom Sawyer; 05-31-2013 at 06:22 PM.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    Argument about 10% difference in savings because standard boiler efficiency is 80% and condensing is 90% does not hold water because at the end we have to look at whole system efficiency not mythical AFUE or combustion efficiency. The way boiler follows changes in structure loads, handles shoulder seasons and other factors determine savings and SYSTEM efficiency . I know in USA there is no market for high efficiency boilers now. There are people who do not understand how new technology works and present themselves as an authority to public, convincing them it does not work. I do install only condensing boilers and turn away non condensing boiler installations. I often get calls to resolve issues with condensing boiler installations and it is always 100% original installer fault that boilers does not work and fail. Condensing boiler properly installed is most reliable boiler.

  7. #22
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    You are right back to that spending a whole lot of money thing. System efficiency is indeed different from combustion efficiency but upgrading the entire system is quite often not financially feasible for a lot of homeowners. If you are only installing condensing equipment then you are loosing a sizable chunk of your potential revenue stream. I will agree that most "problems" stem from faulty installation of the equipment but that's nothing new, it's been going on since way before we were born. I will say however that I have way more heat exchanger warranty issues (and so do the supply houses) with condensing equipment than I ev have had with cast iron.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    You are right back to that spending a whole lot of money thing. System efficiency is indeed different from combustion efficiency but upgrading the entire system is quite often not financially feasible for a lot of homeowners.
    Here comes disconnect between contractors and homeowners. Contractor assumes that ALL customers want lowest price, that ALL customers want high ROI. Yes, some segment of the market looking just for this. But it is a minority. Maybe customer wants comfort. Maybe customer wants latest and best there is. Maybe they want internet controlled boiler. or just yellow or red one. I see a lot of Mercedeses , BMWs and Cadillacs on the road. What kind of ROI they bring to the table? And those are not cheap ones. Maybe contractors have to learn something from car salespeople?

    I have a customer who wanted just a reliable system, because she was tired of old boiler being out of order every other week. Reduction of the fuel bill from $40,000 a year to just $8,000 came just as a nice side effect.
    .

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    If you are only installing condensing equipment then you are loosing a sizable chunk of your potential revenue stream.
    I like high efficiency heating. If someone wants just standard efficiency boiler, they can buy it somewhere else.

    As per warranty issues i will answer: what issues? There are no issues. every single boiler we installed performed flawlessly since day one. We had issues with one brand and I will not name it here, but they took care of the business.
    Last edited by gennady; 06-01-2013 at 11:25 PM. Reason: grammar

  9. #24
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gennady View Post
    Here comes disconnect between contractors and homeowners. Contractor assumes that ALL customers want lowest price, that ALL customers want high ROI. Yes, some segment of the market looking just for this. But it is a minority. Maybe customer wants comfort. Maybe customer wants latest and best there is. Maybe they want internet controlled boiler. or just yellow or red one. I see a lot of Mercedeses , BMWs and Cadillacs on the road. What kind of ROI they bring to the table? And those are not cheap ones. Maybe contractors have to learn something from car salespeople?

    Not all but certainly the majority, not the minority unless you are lucky enough to be working in an affluent area. If I had to put a number I'd say less than 20% of customers are looking for the "Mercedes". And the other 80 just want something reliable that they don't need to take a 2nd mortgage to pay for. It always should come down to ROI.

    I have a customer who wanted just a reliable system, because she was tired of old boiler being out of order every other week. Reduction of the fuel bill from $40,000 a year to just $8,000 came just as a nice side effect.

    40,000 ? So she either lives in a mansion or a house with Holes big enough to throw a cat through. 40,000 is a world damn few folks live in. Why not use some more realistic numbers like the average schmuck that is spending around 2000 a year for oil or gas and you manage to save him 20%. Or 400 dollars a year. At 10 grand plus to upgrade the system you're talking a ROI time of 25 years and that's a much more realistic number unless you are replacing an 60 year old system that was crap in the first place


    I like high efficiency heating. If someone wants just standard efficiency boiler, they can buy it somewhere else.

    Great, you are not competition for the other heating guys in your area

    As per warranty issues i will answer: what issues? There are no issues. every single boiler we installed performed flawlessly since day one. We had issues with one brand and I will not name it here, but they took care of the business.
    That sentence tells me that you have limited experience with condensing, high efficiency equipment. LOL
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    [B]40,000 ? So she either lives in a mansion or a house with Holes big enough to throw a cat through. 40,000 is a world damn few folks live in.
    It was 18 family building in upper Manhattan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    That sentence tells me that you have limited experience with condensing, high efficiency equipment. LOL.
    Limited experience? 30 years in the field and degree from polytechnic university with major in power plants. Oh, I'm also NYC master plumber. Lets stick to the subject.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    .Not all but certainly the majority, not the minority unless you are lucky enough to be working in an affluent area. If I had to put a number I'd say less than 20% of customers are looking for the "Mercedes". And the other 80 just want something reliable that they don't need to take a 2nd mortgage to pay for. It always should come down to ROI
    Ok, GMC not BMW. What is the ROI on GMC? How does it work? Client comes to dealership and asks sales person to show him the car with best ROI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    Why not use some more realistic numbers like the average schmuck that is spending around 2000 a year for oil or gas and you manage to save him 20%.
    I would start with the fact that I do not consider my prospects a schmuks. I give them some credit and try to present them some heating basics so they can make informed decision.
    per BTU gas is cheaper than oil by 40%. so on oil to gas conversion, savings should be be at least 40%, based only on this fact. 20% savings means new system 20% less efficient than old outdated existing one.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    Great, you are not competition for the other heating guys in your area
    You are absolutely right. Not only I'm not a competition, I do not even consider them as my competitors. My simplest installation starts with way more than 10k. I have customers who cancelled their plans to buy standard boilers from other companies, saved money and come to me a year or 2 later to purchase my product.

    But lets not talk about me.

    Lets talk about the fact that new technology with proper design, installation and settings works miracles.
    I want to bring one example, everybody knows. All cars have 2 MPGs published, city and highway. Highway MPG almost doubles city MPG. Why is that? the car is the same, gas is the same, driver is the same. But highway driving is very efficient. Any ideas?
    Last edited by gennady; 06-02-2013 at 07:34 AM. Reason: grammar

  11. #26
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Providing they already have nat gas service and the service is large enough to handle the load which many times it is not on either count. Where do you get the 40%figure from? Especially when there is a 30% decrease in btu output between oil and gas. Don't get me wrong, I'm not pushing oil but if a customer already has oil and the system is not too old, it makes no financial sense to tear it all out and convert to gas. I hear that 40% savings thrown out all the time and though I have done conversions that did net close to it, that's by no means the norm. 15 to 20% is much more common and realistic.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  12. #27
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    http://www.hrt.msu.edu/energy/pdf/he...on%20fuels.pdf

    lets say we have 100,000 bruhr input boiler
    this is 1 therm of gas
    in NYC 1 therm of gas roughly is $1.50
    1 gallon of #2 oil contains 138,500 btu
    in NYC 1 gal of fuel oil roughly 4 dollars , so 100, 000 btuhr input costs 100,0000/138,500x$4.00=$2.88
    same amount of heat costs $1.50 on gas against 2,88 on oil
    of course this relationship changes with locality, but idea is the same.

    Here is the issue of savings. where does it come from?
    From cheaper fuels? Gas against oil? Or better efficiency? Oil system might perform better then conventional gas system if properly set up. i did correction work in 72 apartment building boiler couple years ago, and saved landlord over 60K in a winter season. Did i make unusual things? No way. System was so screwed up that just bring it to normal shape made a huge difference. Return on investment was less than 4 month. still he had many things to do, like oil to gas conversion, TRVs, insulation and so on. But he did not want to continue.
    Last edited by gennady; 06-02-2013 at 10:25 AM. Reason: grammar

  13. #28
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Don't misunderstand me. I am all in favor of technology. We do solar, ground water heat pumps, Mitsubishi and Fujitsu mini splits, were the 1st company in the area to install system 2000 and lochnivar. We currently sell and install lochnivar, buderus and baxi but I think our demographic is a whole lot less shall. Say rich than yours perhaps is. There is still a lot of oil equipment in my area and limited access to natural gas. Propane is prohibitively expensive and not really a good option. But by far, the most success we have is upgrading older systems with new burners, outdoor reset, proper zoning etc.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  14. #29
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    There still a lot of things can be done to get efficiency and comfort out of equipment other than gas burning. The point I m trying to make we have to give customers options. They have to get information to make their choice. We cannot assume they cannot afford and therefore make choices for them. Life is full of surprises and people have different values. I had installed my systems in houses of people by far not rich and I had seen horror show mechanical rooms in multimillion dollars mansions.

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    DIY Junior Member Highgear's Avatar
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    I know prpbably many people come on this forum for questions to be answered and to never be heard again. I just want to thank you all for the info I got and to tell you the outcome. My new Buderus GB 142/30 and Superstore indirect have been in place for a month now. Man, how quiet. I never looked worward to Winter so much in the past as I do now. Bring on the cold!Name:  bo4.jpg
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