Is that possible?
I converted the two oil fired steam systems in my apartment and rental apartment in 2010. We used condensing natural gas (NG) fired boilers, hot water Hydronic Alternatives Integral panel radiators, and PE-RT tubing for the installation. Comparing 4 full years of NG usage to 4 years of oil use history, I’ve been saving an average of 33% per year in energy (million Btu, or MBtu). This is for heating and domestic hot water, and with a couple of caveats - my house is now more comfortable and evenly heated, and I’ve eliminated the electric spot heaters I needed when I used steam. On top of the Btu (energy) savings, the current price of oil ($2.50/gallon, or $17.86/MBtu), is 28% more expensive than natural gas ($12.90/MBtu). So in dollars I’ve averaged a total 60% savings for the 4 years - actually more since oil was twice the cost of gas for the first 3 years – but I’m being conservative.
The new heating system made it possible to market my next door apartment as a more upscale rental. After the conversion and some other improvements, I increased the rent of the 2 bedroom unit from
$1,100 to $1,800/month. Interestingly, it’s been consistently rented to folks who’ve lived with similar systems in Europe and know about the comfort and efficiency (a selling point since they pay the heat).
The maintenance savings; I was looking at replacing two antique oil fired steam boilers and doing something about the two 1930’s vintage unlined brick chimneys. One of the oil tanks had failed and I’m sure the second was getting ready to follow it. All resolved by the conversion.
The unquantifiable benefits: I’m way more comfortable, the aesthetics of the Integral panel radiators are great, I’ve got tons more space in my basement, and the two church-sized radiators you fixed me up with (one for each of the basement laundry areas) are really elegant for air drying certain clothing. And there’s no doubt in my mind that I can attract better tenants because of the heating system.
So it’s worked out really well for me, and I really appreciate Hydronic Alternatives’ support all through the process; design to final commissioning. Including last year when you helped us convert the three-unit “barn” - that’s been home run as well.
My partner, Mindi, runs that and pays the utilities for all 3 units. The other day while doing her taxes, she said her heating bill seemed to be $3,000 less than the year before – “is that possible?” she asked me.
-- Barry S.
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