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Re: Steam boiler replacement and hot water unit

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Posted by steve on November 29, 2007 at 14:24:24:

In Reply to: Re: Steam boiler replacement and hot water unit posted by HeatPro on November 29, 2007 at 11:34:03:

How does the time lag and a feeder system factor into the steam system.

The house is original to the way it was built so there are lots of heat losses. Probably less than the radiation, but still a lot of losses.

I have always found steam to be warm and comfortable. Hot water in comparison always seems cold and then suddenly too hot.

I like the way the radiator just uses a small area of wall space without the baseboard running along entire walls.

I agree that $6000 heating a year is a lot. Isn't there some way to up the efficiency of the steam overall. I mean for years boiler people have said a new boiler will be much cheaper to operate than the pre1920 one. I think the cost will be nearly the same.

I have read that is is a bad idea to blow insulation into the old walls as it can create all sorts of problems. Without insulation, I am not sure the savings would be as significant.

It sounds like you support only a natural gas hot water conversion. How does one go about getting that done properly when it is so hard to do a simple boiler replacement.

: When replacing a boiler for a steam system, you must have all the radiators supplied by steam, as all the steam radiators must have steam to reach 212F to boil to get heat to them. So it is necessary to size the boiler according to the radiator sizes. In addition there is also required to have the steam pipes heated by the same steam first, so the boiler should be about 35% more input over the total radiator requirements.

: If you have a heat estimate done, you would probably find the heat loss of the building to really be 1/3rd that of the radiation. Steam heat for houses is fossil technology from more than a century ago. This means losing a sale for a lot larger boiler, so steam boiler companies dislike having accurate heat losses done by computer. It is really better to have the system converted to hot water, which requires re-piping between radiators. Fortunately, the large pipe risers are good chases to run PEX tubing through.

: Also, if you have a heat estimate done, you will find that insulation can cut your heat losses in half. This means a combination of insulation and a new hot water system can provide a payback in 10 years when getting fossil fuels will be prohibitive. There is no way people who were paying $2000 a year for heat will afford $6000 a year; but they can afford $3000. If you were thinking of getting a timeshare, or a power boat, invest instead in a new hot water system, it's time to choose the right 'boy toys.'

: Burnham's a good boiler manufacturer; but steam is going to be a 'white elephant' with a food shortage.

: As natural gas is taken from this continent, without using oil to fuel tankers carrying oil, gas promises more price stability and less international manipulation. It eliminates the tank problem. It will take too long to get non-toxic bio-fuel from our farms to replace the toxic petroleum from Asia, considering the resistance of the oil cartels to let loose of the reins. The writing is on the wall, depends on how large the letters have to be to read them with rosy glasses.

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