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    Actual savings over steam heating (41 Posts)

  • Henry Henry @ 7:52 PM
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    Actual savings over steam heating

    I have posted below two utility bills covering two years of steam heating versus two years heating with mod-con of a cathedral in Montréal where our design temperature is -20F! Please look at the volume in cubic meters and not the dollar value! The steam system was properly maintained fire tube boiler system. In every conversion from steam to mod-con, we have achieved similar savings with an INCREASE in occupant comfort!

    For they naysayers, please provide actual energy documentation as I have shown over 4 years!
  • BobC BobC @ 7:55 PM
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    No images

    Attachments have to to be either jpg or pdf formal, you cannot place images into the text - they have to be attachments.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 84,200 BTU, Single pipe steam

    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in

    3PSI gauge
  • SWEI SWEI @ 8:57 PM
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    PNG also works.
  • Henry Henry @ 7:59 PM
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    Big files and will reduce!

    Each file was 9 megs!
  • Henry Henry @ 8:10 PM
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    OOPS pics

    Here are the pics of the gas bills:
  • Hap_Hazzard Hap_Hazzard @ 4:06 AM
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    Apart from being illegible, your documents say nothing with regard to your claims that the steam system was properly maintained or that occupant comfort was improved. Do you expect us to take your word for anything you can't prove? Why offer any evidence at all if you can't support the most critical of your claims? If I offered you a chair with one solid leg, would you sit in it?

    Sounds like a mod con job to me.
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S

    3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    This post was edited by an admin on February 1, 2013 4:52 AM.
  • Henry Henry @ 8:25 PM
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    1/3 less consumption!

    Steam is a great way for a process but a poor medium for efficient heating of residential units whether single or apartments. I dare anyone to come up with actual energy usage that can prove otherwise! it is not even in your "Energy Star" program for good reason! Get with it with the 21 st century and go mod-con! All of those small 6 plus units can benefit from going mod-con!

    BTW, I have saved 30-40% on commercial properties heated by steam that could not be efficiently converted to hot water. My costumers have even not met the minimum obligated consumption of the utility on my last two! I replaced one 5 Million BTU in the same place with two Bryan water tube of 5 million each in the same spot.
  • BobC BobC @ 9:07 PM
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    I printed out the images

    on my laser printer but can't read them. the faxed copy you have does not seem to work well with your scanner?

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 84,200 BTU, Single pipe steam

    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in

    3PSI gauge
  • Jamie Hall Jamie Hall @ 9:08 PM
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    Can we kindly drop this?

    I honestly don't think anyone is going to convince anyone else, as there are too many variables involved.  In the present example -- and I am familiar with the building involved -- there is the rather obvious question of the thermal efficiency of the older fire tube boilers vs. the newer water tube boilers.

    As to the Energy Star program used in the United States, there is some concern that it is in much the same class as the fuel efficiency figures used for automobiles and trucks -- "your mileage may vary".  The figures involved -- which have been severely criticised by some over concerns in the testing methods -- should never be regarded as real world efficiencies -- particularly for condensing hydronic units.

    But thank you, Henri, for posting the information.

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    This post was edited by an admin on January 31, 2013 9:09 PM.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 12:05 AM
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    I wish it was that simple

    unfortunately, this comes up every so often. I have a bunch of these threads bookmarked and they mostly follow the same pattern as this one. Eventually they die down, then a couple years later the next one starts up.

    I hope to have some more fuel-savings figures at the end of the season.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 9:15 PM
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    We have acheved similar savings

    by simply de-knuckleheading steam systems. The numbers for one example are in our Find a Contractor ad. And in this example, the boilers were not replaced, nor was the steam distribution system modified in any way except to add proper main vents. So it cost a LOT less than your way, and the return on investment was much quicker.

    I am sure that Notre Dame system had issues that had not been addressed which made it less efficient. Most do, that's why our company is so successful. But you chose to spend a lot more of their money than needed to rip it out and put in hot-water and mod-cons. You must be a great salesman.

    Those bills you posted are hard to read, so it's hard to tell if they were adjusted for degree-days. But it really doesn't matter. With only 1/3 savings, you haven't done anything we couldn't do with a lot less cost and effort by fixing the steam system. Nice try.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • JStar JStar @ 6:37 AM
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    All you have to do is remove an oversized system and install the correct size boiler and you'll save 30%. That's sort of the minimum fuel savings goal right now. Let's talk about changing a couple of steam vents, and dropping 50%.
    - Joe Starosielec

    Guaranteed performance. Guaranteed energy savings.

    Serving all of NJ, NYC, Southern NY State, and eastern PA.
    Consultation anywhere.
    (Formerly "ecuacool")
  • Jamie Hall Jamie Hall @ 8:38 AM
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    The other way...

    is to replace an old boiler with a new one.  Since I have the records on this place going back to 1872, and the records on the heating system going back to when it was installed in 1930, here's a tidbit from same.  When the steam system was installed in 1930 (it replaced/supplemented a gravity hot air system installed in 1893), it had a nice H. B. Smith boiler fired by a Quiet May oil burner (which was anything but quiet, but hey...).  Very good work, and the burner and boiler were sized to the radiation; records show that there was a little cycling at the end of a long recovery, but not that much.  The present boiler, a Weil-McClain (see signature) is fired by a Carlin.  Also very good work, and the burner and boiler are sized to the radiation.  The Quiet May/H. B. Smith combination fired at 5.0 gallons per hour.  The Carlin/Weil-McClain combination fires at 2.75 gallons per hour -- a 45% drop in oil consumption with absolutely no other changes in the system whatsoever.

    Note that, being steam, there is no need to adjust for degree days or insulation -- the question being solely what matches the radiation.

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Henry Henry @ 9:08 AM
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    it is not voodoo

    I have shown 2 years of consumption in steam and two years as hot water. The actual consumptions are 1/3 of what it was using steam. I am not a salesman but design systems that meet the customers needs. Our group do nearly $50 Million a year of installs.
  • Hap_Hazzard Hap_Hazzard @ 11:14 AM
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    I can believe your last statement.

    $50,000,000 is a lot of money. One can appreciate how that kind of financial incentive might motivate someone to overstate the case for replacing a system that, with a few corrections to the installation and some customer education, could run at 87% efficiency, with a very expensive, completely new system that could, if properly maintained, run at 90% efficiency. That's all we're really talking about here when you compare apples to apples: 3%.

    In both cases, proper installation, maintenance and operation are critical to achieving those numbers, but you don't emphasize that. No, you're taking this tiny difference in efficiency between the two technologies and blowing it way out of proportion so you can sell new systems and make your millions.

    And if you succeed in convincing people that they need to replace their old, outdated steam systems with shiny, new hydronic systems with condensing boilers? Well, if you're wildly successful you won't be able to keep up with the demand, and people will get their systems installed by knuckleheads who cut corners and butcher them, or the customers will be so sure they've bought the ultimate system--they certainly paid for it--that they don't need to worry about mundane stuff like maintenance, and they won't realize the full potential of their new systems any more than they did with their old ones. But you'll retire a wealthy man.

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S

    3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Jamie Hall Jamie Hall @ 11:02 AM
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    I am not arguing with your figures,

    Henry, nor with the quality of your work; oddly enough, I am acquainted with your company sufficiently to be aware of your reputation, which is very good.

    All I am trying to indicate is that your savings -- which are real, and I'm sure are appreciated by your clients -- may not be, if considered fairly, entirely attributable to converting from steam to hot water as a means of transferring heat from the fuel entering the boiler to the space being heated.  There may be other factors involved.

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 12:27 PM
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    Real life residential

    Well, I really have to weigh in on this one as i almost went down this road, until i figured out what a great system i had and how efficiently it could run.
    I've no doubt that HW mod/con systems can achieve a slightly higher efficiency than a properly functioning steam system. However, as Jamie and others state there are many things to be considered, especially by the homeowner.
    The cost to convert my house ran anywhere from 2x to 4x the price of installing the best modular wet-based boilers with modulating gas burners. This did not include any pipe work or even removing my old boiler! Nor did it guarantee against leaks. 10s of thousands of dollars. Honestly, i could have bought a house for some of the estimates I was getting...and everyone gave me an estimate, whereas NOONE has given me one to replace my boiler. I've had to do that all by myself with the help of this forum (meaning figure out what I need). I have a big house and use a lot of gas even with conservative temperatures. However, I could NEVER have recouped the cost of conversion in my lifetime. Some of my neighbors did convert and were less than happy with the quality of heat post-conversion.They had to keep it hotter and thus, lost the savings.
    I'm hoping for a 25% reduction with my new boiler due to stage-firing, etc as my current boiler isn't vastly oversized. I'll be very happy with even a 20% reduction.
    Large businesses may have the resources to do these conversions, but if steam is good enough for the Empire State Building that is now one of the most efficient buildings in NYC, surpassing even newly built LEED buildings, it should work well for me.
    I also like having the option of leaving my house for periods of time without having to drain my radiators or worrying about freezing pipes due to a power outage. I lived in Montreal for years and wouldn't want to risk a freezing house there. Yes, -20C is cold and would quickly freeze pipes. A disaster for a large old house with plaster walls.

    I think the huge interest shown on this forum for the vapor/vacuum type systems which I'm lucky enough to have, is due to it overcoming many of the perceived and actual issues with steam. Plus, I like that it works on basic principles of physics rather than relying on pumps, etc to distribute heat. It's also very fast to heat.
    Let's call a truce! Colleen
  • Dave in QCA Dave in QCA @ 3:14 PM
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    Imperfect data here, but still worth looking at

    I do not have a years worth of data on the new system, and I don't have utility bills for the year before I purchased the property.  However, I was able to download the heating history, which tabulates the the main information from the bills.

    The highest usage billing period in the year before I bought the property was for a period ending 01/25/2008.  The number of days in the period was 37.  The avg temperature was 24.  Therms used was 1699.   Most current billing period, ending 01/24/2013, total days were 36, average temperature was 24, Therms used was 1190.   That's a 30% reduction.  Also, consider that about 1200 sq ft of unheated attic space was added to the conditioned space, an increase of 17%.  In doing so, 161 EDR was added to the heating system.

    What did I do?  I converted from Steam to Steam.  The very well engineered vapor system was de-knuckleheaded.  Traps and valves were serviced, Tekmar 790 was added, mains insulated, inlet orifices added, and finally, a good wet base boiler was installed in December 2012.  Combustion efficiency was greatly improved, standby losses were greatly reduced. At the same time, comfort was increased.  Even today, with a temperature of 3F outdoors, the building is a comfortable 71 + or - 1 degree F, throughtout.  And, with the radiant effect of cast iron radiators, it feels warm.  I have many tenants that have never lived with radiant steam heat, and they love it, saying that they've never lived in a building that is so comfortable.

    Would a modcon heating system be more efficient?  yes.  How much? Probably 3-10%, tops.  Does this make steam the least efficient way to heat my building?  Don't hardly think so.  Would there be a reasonable payback by converting the system to a modcon hot water?  No. 

    Back when I was working as facilities manager in a health care facility, the CEO would approve about any energy improvement that had a payback of 3 years or less.  If it was over 5 years, he'd never approve it because the money could make a better return somewhere else.

    People in my neck of the woods who are looking for the best efficiency are installing ground source heat pumps, aka geothermal systems.  Are they more efficient than a modcon system?  Yes!  Does that then make a modcon the least efficient way to heat a building?  No!  of course not!  To say that because it's not the best, it must be the worst, would be sorta silly.  

    I do think that there are cases where a modcon conversion would be the way to go.  But, there are many cases where it would be a very expensive proposition with a VERY long payback.   In my own personal experience, most of the conversions that I've seen were poorly designed, poorly executed, cost a lot, and didn't save much money.  Does that mean they all are like that?  No.  But, it affects my opinion on the matter.  They don't always turn out the way they're supposed to.  However, Henry, I have not seen even one of your projects so I can't and won't argue their merits.   I will assume that the facts on your jobs are as you say.

    Likewise, you don't know the details of my building and it might not be real accurate for you to proclaim that I can cut my costs to 1/2 or 1/3 by switching to a modcon.

    Additionally, I'll make you a promise, I won't go into the ModCon room and say that all ModCon systems suck.  That would do nothing but close minds and ears to information that might actually be helpful.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    This post was edited by an admin on February 1, 2013 3:34 PM.
  • Ban Ban @ 4:06 PM
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    Well said

    Dave, VaporVac(!). Nice
    Richard Ban

    Detroit, Michigan (Dunham 2-pipe vacuum)
  • Henry Henry @ 4:27 PM
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    Simple math

    I don't condone doing conversions for small residential units as it is NOT cost efficient. The Empire State building uses district steam and has no boiler room. It works at 3 PSI. 87% efficiency for steam, give me a break and do the math! I did not get 3 patents in heating & combustion by not knowing basic math. But for some 25 plus years, I have been an expert witness in many a court case and back things up with published pieces, as I have shown the actual gas usage over 2 years of steam and two years of hot water. We will convert a modern tower this spring from district steam to mod-con. It is a 14 story office building getting steam from the CCUM. It is owned by a very large property management group that had the accountants do the math and the payback is less than 3 years.
    Here is a simple proof of hot water over steam and it is not even a mod-con! A Smith 28-10 hot water boiler or steam has an input of 3,172,000 BTU.  The IBR gross in both cases is 2,498,000 BTU. The net IBR for water is 2,172,000 or 68.5% efficiency. While the steam version is 1,939,000 BTU for a net efficiency of 61.1%. Those are facts that you can all look up. Now ad a modulating burner and the possibility of heating  at below 120F during 800 hours of operation and at 185F for 200 hours during the coldest spells. It is very apparent that there is a distinct advantage for commercial buildings to be converted.  We have converted the first downtown tower from steam to a hydronnic system that heats during the winter and cools during the summer. The combined energy bill of heating & cooling is less than the previous steam heating gas bills!
    Mod-con are not for everyone and it really depends on how much energy one uses. The larger the user, the more it makes sense. But there are so many charlatans there that just install and have no idea of how to make a energy efficient system. I saw one install this week that had 2 X 500,000BTU condensing boilers on a 980,000 heating load supplying hot water by one to 40 units. When it got cold, there was insufficient hot water and the temperature dropped 10 degrees in the apartments. The boilers were piped 1 1/2 inch and Grundfos UPS43-44 were used for each boiler circuit while a Willo 1.25-35 was used on a 1Million BTU heat exchanger that was replaced after the 500,000 BTU heat exchanger packed up. I also saw about 20 hot surface that were replaced. Being the detective, I found that both boilers had the combustion air and exhaust one next to each other. The boilers were sucking in corrosive air that was killing the hot surface ignitors.
    We have established standards for our installations and I don't have to babysit the teams anymore. I am refereed by the utility on problem installations.
  • Jamie Hall Jamie Hall @ 4:55 PM
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    OK, I give up

    it is evident that the God of ModCon is alive and well and living in Montreal, and that the rest of us knuckle-dragging mortals should just shut up and bow to the altar of his vastly superior wisdom...

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    This post was edited by an admin on February 1, 2013 5:12 PM.
  • Dave in QCA Dave in QCA @ 5:02 PM
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    Ah Hah! Now I see!

    You have the same basic Missunderstanding as I did, of the meaning of the Net I=B=R ratings for steam and water systems, how they are calculated, and what they mean.   For many years I too was thought that the difference between the net ratings for steam and water represented a difference in efficiency.  Of course, the net ratings do not mean that at all.

    You need to do some homework.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    This post was edited by an admin on February 1, 2013 5:04 PM.
  • Henry Henry @ 6:15 PM
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    Only the facts

    The naysayers can say want you want, but our business is fixing uneconomic heating systems. We are good at it as we have plenty of demand. The facts are that a 94% efficient boiler properly installed will out do a steam boiler at 80% combustion efficiency! If you want to dream of higher steam efficiencies , go ahead. Our business numbers are so far so much ahead for conversions of large commercial buildings, that you can only imagine! This  is the real world of commercial energy efficiency! I have still to see on this forum actual figures that would  support anything that can prove otherwise. Naysayers are one thing when I have furnished actual facts! So please back up YOUR wisdom with actual heating bills! I have !
  • Jamie Hall Jamie Hall @ 6:42 PM
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    So did I

    but I respectfully decline to argue with a fanatic.

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Hap_Hazzard Hap_Hazzard @ 8:22 PM
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    Who's the "naysayer"?

    May I point out that this forum is called "Strictly Steam"? If you're not here to give accurate information to help steam professionals and owners of steam heating systems or to seek help from the knowledgeable, experienced steam professionals who come here to offer their guidance and advice, please go elsewhere. We're not buying your BS.
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S

    3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ChrisJ ChrisJ @ 9:21 PM
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    I'm a homeowner and I don't even buy the B.S. you're selling.  Most if not all of the guys in this thread take a huge amount of pride in the work they do and then after hours they come here to help people for free.  Maybe I'm wrong but I view it as you claiming anyone that maintains a steam system is wasting their time and customers money. 

    Why are you hounding them with this?
    Weil-McLain EG-45 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures updated 6/5/14.
    This post was edited by an admin on February 1, 2013 9:23 PM.
  • Eastman Eastman @ 8:53 PM
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    The best thread

    I like these threads the best.

    Iron Fireman FOREVER!
    This post was edited by an admin on February 1, 2013 10:48 PM.
  • MTC MTC @ 6:43 PM
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    you seem like smart guy that's doing his thing, and seems to be doing it well.

    That is, until you come on here and rail on and on like this. Then you sound like an idiot. Give it up, steamheads are going to remain steamheads, modders are likely going to remain modders. And I don't think anyone here so far has said that steam is more efficient than a mod-con system, just that you can get a lot more out of a steam system than most people do, and bring it up to reasonable efficiency with much less work and cost. These are different things, but you seem to be missing that.

    I have hot water radiant floors in my home. I like hot water. I installed the system myself after ripping out the forced air that was added.

    But I manage buildings with steam heat. I'm working on starting to buy my own buildings. I would never convert a steam system. Setting aside all of the stuff you're talking about, as that's all been covered, there's two really good reasons not to do it:

    1. These systems are old and have been knuckleheaded to death. Usually a few hundred bucks worth of venting, insulation, etc will do wonders. It might not pull 33% increase that a massive conversion did, but for a small investment it can easily pull a 20% increase.

    2. More importantly, these systems are old. They were designed for steam. The fittings hold fine now, with a pound or two of pressure, but what happens when you fill a 3" main that's 12 stories tall with water? That's a heck of a lot of pressure on old fittings. They may hold now, while your company does its thing and gets paid, but I for one won't be owning or living in that building, waiting for one of those lines to blow.
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 9:18 PM
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    Do they Knight Canadian citizens? Oh boy.....I probably spoiled his next post. I can see why large jobs would be a requirement.....headroom.
  • gerry gill gerry gill @ 10:23 PM
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    I find this thread interesting,

    but not in an engineering way..i'm just sitting here thinking, 'that takes alot of gaul to come to a forum titled Strictly Steam, and then basically say, 'shove that steam up your rump, waters better'..the forum is strictly steam, and there are many of us who actually like steam. I have customers who tell me all the time how much they love their steam heat, and how it actually plays into the choices of houses they have it just me, or should you perhaps put your anti steam rhetoric on the main wall page. My 2 cents.
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.
  • Canucker Canucker @ 10:26 PM
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    I've never

    read a fair comparison for these "efficiency" threads. Basically, you've increased their combustion by less than 10% over a properly maintained steam system BUT you've added an electrical cost to their distribution of that heat they didn't have before, no? system efficiencies are much closer once the total energy requirements to run them are compared. I guess we need to see the electrical bills now, apples to apples and all.
  • SWEI SWEI @ 12:25 AM
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    I've started

    four previous replies to this thread and discarded each after after multiple edits, thinking "best not to wade into that swamp."

    As usual, it depends...
  • jumper jumper @ 1:03 AM
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    defending Henry

    I don't understand why some people are offended by what Henry's posts. He's obviously knowledgable. With present zero interest rates and, I suppose, tax benefits customers go for conversions. Forty years ago, interest rates were higher and energy savings was a tough sell.

    An interesting aspect of Henry's experiences is that some inexpensive efficiency measures
    are not mentioned. Overhead radiant and vacuum degassing.
  • Hap_Hazzard Hap_Hazzard @ 9:15 AM
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    He's not interested in inexpensive efficiency increases.

    He's interested in selling his expensive systems and making millions of dollars.
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S

    3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • steamychick steamychick @ 10:13 AM
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    just a homeowner's $0.02 worth...

    My house was made for steam 130 years ago. They knew what they were doing. Not their fault if I don't. I have steam. I like steam. I'm keeping steam.

    (makes for a fun thread to read though :-) !)
  • PMJ PMJ @ 10:49 AM
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    Dear Henry,

    I don't think anyone here is arguing that hot water is not fundamentally more efficient that steam. They are only saying that it is only 10% or so. All the rest of the improvement you observe with your conversions would also have been seen staying in steam and de-knuckleheading the stuff that was there. This has been stated several times above but you seem to have missed it somehow.
    At least you acknowledge that the smaller the system, the less appropriate the conversion is. Your systems have a lot of moving parts - pumps, valves, blowers etc. and these things require a lot of downstream maintenance. One service call certainly blows a year's projected fuel savings away at the residential level. Big systems with lots of I/O and computer controls come with high priced service calls as you obviously have figured out to your advantage. Basically the building owner can't run "his" system without your ongoing support. Not everyone likes being over that barrel. Looking at only the fuel bills in the first year or two is the easy part. It gets considerably more complicated for the owner as the years roll by and his limited warranties expire.
    I also wonder why you pick this place to attack steam. Steam does have its place in the heating business and the steam guys here just want to work on that. One would think that someone in the position of facing a stream of new orders faster than he could fill them and then having to manage all those wonderful profits wouldn't have time for this. But I'll just remain puzzled about that for now.
    I'm not sure what percent advantage it would take for me to consider removing steam heat from my home. I doubt I ever would.  I like not worrying about upstairs floods like my friends have had who have older water systems and all that pressurized water running over head. Systems don't stay brand new as we all know and steam seems to age a lot more gracefully. I also like the peace of mind of knowing that I can have heat without any electricity at all if I really need to. At least you will surely admit your systems can't do that.
  • Techman Techman @ 12:34 PM
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    I have looked over so of your stuff ,Henry, nice size jobs. How many years before the ModCon has to be replaced? As compared to a steamer?
  • Henry Henry @ 8:26 PM
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    Not for residential

    I have personally restored one pipe systems and a number of Dunham-Bush vacuum systems to proper functioning, AKA my dentist and many more condos. People do not read very well. I specifically mentioned that a conversion is not for residential systems only commercial or institutional. Steam in residential, commercial, institutional and more importantly process, is a big part of our business. I have designed steam heating systems that have saved owners more that 35% in energy volume and 50% in actual dollars. Go to  and view some of our steam jobs. As for selling expensive conversions, 95% of our volume is by contacts and word of mouth. We must be doing something right with over 45,000 customers and also servicing the gas utility with more that 66% of the commercial & industrial requests in the Montreal region.

    It seems that some people cannot smell the roses and understand that a hydronnic heating system is capable of better efficiencies than a steam heating system, even when fine tuning the steam system. It is just physics and I have provided actual consumptions of energy. If you have a steam system in your home, you are stuck with it and need to tweak it as much as possible to reduce your energy use.
    BTW, I use a 96% full mod hot air system with outdoor sensor and  with electronic air filter and not a heat pump but a modulating AC. My gas bills are half of my neighbours. My allergies and humidity levels are under control , specially with the STEAM humidifier. The prefilter on the air filtration unit catches all of Oban's (dog) hair! You don't get to smell today's cooking tomorrow!

    So no more pissing contest! If you need help, I am available.
  • Maine Vent Maine Vent @ 8:43 PM
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    Polyvou France' Henry

    My wife and started to laugh when we got our December & January GAS bill. Yes we laughed, We are just as cold here in southern Maine as you are in Qebec (sarcastic) My !50+ year old brick Victorian with zero wall insulation. 3 years ago I spent $1700.00 on oil. Sit down Henry and just listen to these really, really smart steam Pros, and homeowners have to say. and don't be disrespectful.

    No more French sarcastic jokes, My bill, $156.00, for gas, delivery charge, all the extra charges. $156.00.

    I'm still laughing, I love my new, deknuckled steam system, I love my monthly gas bills.

    I've wasted enough time on this thread.
  • Eastman Eastman @ 5:41 AM
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    incompressible fluids are the work of the devil

    Dear Mr. Punching Bag,

    Do you take the food from the table when your overweight aunt grasps for seconds at the Thanksgiving feast.  Or deny your 98 year old alcoholic grandfather the last beer.  Absolutely not --kicking the patriarch to the curb leaves the family he built gutted and motiveless.

    Architects design lifeless boxes.  Structures were given a heart and soul by guys like you and me that traded the balance of their adult lives for a thermodynamic wonderland.  They put their dreams into these buildings.  Maybe they didn't expect their work to carry on to this point in time, but one must except the unique harmony of initial willful human creation and the long term identity that such conscientiously engineered systems foster.

    When was the last time you saw a liquid soul?  Or some other type of watery spirit?  See what I'm saying? You've seen "Raiders of the Lost Ark," right?  On TV they are all quite ethereal; the only time I've ever seen water ones was in a James Cameron movie I think.  Buildings with steam breath.  And they speak to the owners, workers, and tenants  --communicating rhythmically from the heart of the system in tune with the daily toils of its occupants.  The message can range from the simple to the complex, but always fills my mind with awe.

    Every building designed with steam bends space and time.  The chaotic yet controllable mists of the unfathomably dark linear void carry the union of the cosmic supernatural with our past, present, and future.   When you suffocate the mist, bleed the rust, and finally gut the heart ...please finish the task and let the knowledge and dreams embodied in our sacred dwellings return to the dynamics of the universe from which it came...   ...please burn it to the ground.
    This post was edited by an admin on February 3, 2013 6:22 AM.
  • Danny Scully Danny Scully @ 11:44 PM
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    Dear Henry

    I couldn't help but notice that you keep comparing hydronic heating systems to steam heating systems. For someone who clearly displays knowledge in the field of heating, I would expect you to know that steam heating systems ARE hydronic heating systems. I think the system you're referring to is forced hot water...Of course I'm just splitting hairs here, but it only seems fair ;)
    This post was edited by an admin on February 3, 2013 11:47 PM.
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