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    Steam to warm water conversions cost 3 times less to operate (35 Posts)

  • John Ruhnke John Ruhnke @ 1:15 AM
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    Steam costs 3 times more in fuel then warm water...........

    Hi Everyone, I once posted about saving 50% by switching from steam to warm water heating. This is in a conversion project. Everyone got mad at me and accused me of overstating things. I just read an engineering report and they saved more like 68%. That means when switching from steam to warm water it will cost you 3 times less in fuel bills. Wait I'm wrong again, MORE THAN THREE TIMES LESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 10 boilers in ten different schools were converted from steam to warm water and saved an average of 68% in fuel bills!!!! I am quoting this from the ASHRAE Journal July 2006 Page 51. This is on Professionally Engineered and monitored projects. Proper data logging was done. Now I ask you again, What about converting from steam to warm water? Don't you want to save an average of MORE then 3 times less in fuel bills? John Ruhnke JR@ComfortableHeat.com To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • John Ruhnke John Ruhnke @ 1:55 AM
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    No shooting down, This is cold hard facts here.

    Our atmosphere is warming as we speak. It is our duty to save energy. If you switch from steam in your house and follow the same guidlines as they did with the schools then you to will save 68%. Another ten schools were converted from hot water 180 degrees to warm water and saved an average of 49%!! Of course in both projects they were converted to condensing boilers. This is the truth, cold hard facts. I've known this all along. I did the math and I knew what the savings were. Now look at these numbers again. Lets do the math, We put steam at 100. Then we put warm water at 32 Now hot water was twice what steam was so that should be at 64. That means 36%. It should cost 36% less to operate a hot water boiler in a steam system. Prisco Panza has a noncondensing boiler with outdoor reset controls and he saved 50% in his steam to warm water conversion!! Do the math, look at the facts!! CONVERT FROM STEAM TO WARM WATER AND SAVE A BUNDLE!!!! I hate to sound bad here against the steam guys but energy conservation is real important. I just want you to do the right things. JR John Ruhnkie To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • John Ruhnke John Ruhnke @ 2:11 AM
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    pdf of the article

    Hi Everyone, I found the pdf of the article. They want $8.00 to print it. I am a member of ASHRAE and could possibly get a reprint for free or less. Would anyone be interested in reading the article? If not I won't go through the trouble to get it. JR To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Arthur Arthur @ 3:07 AM
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    Steam 2 water

    >>>>>>Now look at these numbers again. Lets do the math, We put steam at 100. Then we put warm water at 32 Now hot water was twice what steam was so that should be at 64. That means 36%. It should cost 36% less to operate a hot water boiler in a steam system.<<<<<< ???? Do you mean to say that steam at 100degC and when it condenses to water (giving up latent heat) has less heat remember the room temp required would be 20 degC There fore 100-20 = 80degC diff. Over water at 80degC has more heat 80-20degC =60degC. Water at 32 deg would not be very warm, Whats this 64??? As I said I'm hot water fan, worked with it for over 40 yrs but the advantages of hot water relate more to lower maintenace, The radiators in a steam system can be smaller as they operate at a higher temp the lower the medium temp into the rads the lower the heat output. The lower the temp diff the lower heat output. By the way are you comparing some old inefficent boiler with a new high efficent condensing boiler if so the fuel saving would come from the change of boiler, We've just removed an old coal fired boiler and replaced it with a modern gas fired boiler complete with outside temperature compensating control and the saving on fuel was great too. This had no change in the medium (Hot water).
  • Steamhead (in transit) Steamhead (in transit) @ 3:19 AM
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    Narroc, we've asked this before

    Unfortunately, John's response is "call someone else"- see the "2 pipe steam" thread. I'd really like to get the full story on these jobs but shouldn't have to cold-call someone to do it. The magazine article is the same type of thing- if some details are left out, here we go calling and e-mailing again for the rest of the story. Most people on the Wall post their own jobs, and can answer any questions other participants may have. That's how it ought to work. To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Arthur Arthur @ 3:45 AM
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    steam 2 water

    Thanks Steamhead, As I said I'm a hot water fan probably because we don't use steam over here but the figures look all up the pole to me, Guess if you go off half cocked you get half cocked answers. If you compared an old 60yrs system with a new modern system you would get a big difference even if it was still steam 2 steam. John didn't say what exoperience he has had or is he just a theory man? Perhaps he is trying to sell these $8.00 notes on the conversation? LOL. Wonder if he gets any suckers.LOL.
  • John Ruhnke John Ruhnke @ 10:37 PM
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    Equal comparison

    I said "I've known this all along. I did the math and I knew what the savings were. Now look at these numbers again. Lets do the math, We put steam at 100. Then we put warm water at 32 Now hot water was twice what steam was so that should be at 64. That means 36%." That statement describes an aproximate comparison of old steam systems to old hot water systems before the conversions took place. This would be an equal comparison. Both systems were maintained in the same way based on the following facts. ten schools were converted from hot water 180 degrees to warm water and saved an average of 49%. ten schools were converted from steam to warm water and saved an average of 68%!! To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Arthur Arthur @ 7:06 AM
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    John??

    A couple questions Whats this, We put steam at 100 then warm water at 32, now hot water is twice steam so we put that at 64, that means 36%???? What that, 100deg, 32 degs and 64deg??? Whats this warm water, Do you mean a outside temperature compensation system control, Thats been done for years using either a 3 way valve or nowdays with wall hungs by direct boiler heat, We did one recently on a big school coal fired system as there was no gas for miles, works great, boiler at 80deg C, School water temp depending on outside temp.However the coal boiler will be there long after the hi-efficency boilers are scrap. Or what do you mean by warm water?? Would still have to come to full heat sometimes.
  • John Ruhnke John Ruhnke @ 8:55 AM
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    warm water

    Narroc, Hot water is defined as a system that has a high limit control on the boiler. Mostly they set them at 180 degrees. The system runs up to that all year round A warm water system has outdoor reset. It runs the water temps according to what is needed for that day. If a conventional boiler is used a minimum setting is needed such as 140 on american boilers. Buderus can take return water temps as low as 110. Condensing boilers work best at cooler temps and have no minimum setting. The lower the water temps the more money you save in fuel bills. JR To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Arthur Arthur @ 3:10 AM
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    Steam 2 water

    > Narroc,
    >
    > Hot water is defined as a system that
    > has a high limit control on the boiler. Mostly
    > they set them at 180 degrees. The system runs up
    > to that all year round
    >
    > A warm water system has
    > outdoor reset. It runs the water temps according
    > to what is needed for that day. If a conventional
    > boiler is used a minimum setting is needed such
    > as 140 on american boilers. Buderus can take
    > return water temps as low as 110. Condensing
    > boilers work best at cooler temps and have no
    > minimum setting. The lower the water temps the
    > more money you save in fuel bills.
    >
    > JR
    >
    > _A
    > HREF="http://www.heatinghelp.com/getListed.cfm?id=
    > 96&Step=30"_To Learn More About This
    > Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in
    > "Find A Professional"_/A_

    You have a funny way of describing a low pressure hot water system which is what we here in NZ call this type of system. These have been used by the Poms since Adam was a boy. Our School system have almost universaly used LPHW for donkeys years too, Although there is a drift to Air Conditioning especially in the admin areas, (Got to look after the office staff) This reset business you go on about sounds like a outside temperature compensating control. Which we have used for years too, Mostly via 3way valve although now with the wall hung condensating boilers which have these controls built in to vary the temp of the boiler, The saving in fuel you are on about comes from not overheating the classrooms like what used to happen before the main heat control was to open or close the windows. Mainly because teachers find it easier to open the windows than turn the rad valve off, Mind you most of the valve knobs have long gone missing years ago. This has nothing to do with whether steam is less or more efficency but whether the heat is wasted. You still havn't answered the business about 32,64,100,????
  • Mad Dog Mad Dog @ 9:27 PM
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    When the Dept of Energy offers to foot the bill or most of it...

    THEN!!!!! you will see SOME people doing it. Mad Dog To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Steamhead (in transit) Steamhead (in transit) @ 3:05 AM
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    John, once again

    you are leaving out critical facts. I will re-post the relevant questions: 1. What boiler was removed and what boiler was installed? If oil, did the old one have a flame-retention burner? 2. Were the steam pipes insulated? 3. Were the steam mains (and dry returns, if Vapor) properly vented? Were there any rooms that were too hot or cold? Any radiators that heated slowly? 4. Was the steam boiler clean inside and out? 5. Were the steam traps (if used) leaking? 6. Was the building envelope tightened up at the same time? You really need to answer our questions, John. Otherwise you come off like a politician, lots of hype but little substance. That kind of behavior is beneath most of the rest of us here. If you want to do the right thing, stop hyping and tell us what we need to know. Since you're talking about schools, to me that automatically says "poor maintenance". Many school boards relentlessly pinch pennies until they are faced with near-total system failure, so then they spend big bucks for new equipment that will also be poorly maintained. I bet those steam systems had been knuckleheaded to death. That's why they were so inefficient. I wonder how soon those condensing boilers will fail with such little care? To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • John Ruhnke John Ruhnke @ 9:36 PM
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    Look at the post under boiler efficiencies

    Steamhead, Look under the posts for boiler efficiencies. I think you will find a little comparison of the old steam to the old hot water systems. This is comparison of equal terms, old vrs old not new vrs old. Hot water came up 36% better in efficiency then Steam. For you I will find out more information, I will research this one. It is going to take a while. I will call the author, talk to him and find his sources. I will find more data and talk to his sources about the study. I am sure we will all learn from this. JR To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • John Ruhnke John Ruhnke @ 10:06 AM
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    I am only interested in the truth............

    Steamhead, I just read the thing. The article doesn't give much detail. It was written by a P.E. named Thomas Durkin. I will get the pdf of the article early next week and post it here on the wall. Everything in the article points out the need for measuring overall heating efficiency as I have described it. They have a different version of overall efficiency in the article. If you need more detail I will try and find it for you. Steamhead, I don't leave details out or try and make things look better then they are. Yes, if Steamhead maintaned the boiler he could of improved the efficiency. I will give him that. I don't think Steamhead could ever find 68% though. Condensing boilers with outdoor reset are a lot more efficient. Not just a little bit as AFUE suggest. AFUE MUST GO AFUE MUST GO AFUE MUST GO AFUE MUST GO!!!!!!!!!! JR To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Arthur Arthur @ 4:51 PM
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    Condensing Boilers.

    I have installed a few condensing boilers too, And while they went ok I'm not that I cann't say I'm all that fussed on them, 1) They are a lot more fimisy than a good old type boiler, Someone told me the life expectance is about 10-15 yrs, All full of electronics. Now I know even some of the heating equipments we put only 8-10yrs ago we have a job getting new electronic boards or other parts for, Had to wait 2 weeks for a combution fan for an old appliance just recently. What's going to be like for some of these Hi-efficency boilers in 10yrs time when the parts stuffup. All the money saved by the hi-efficency will go to a new boiler. Well some saving. 2) I've just replaced a hi-efficency furnace 12yrs old (warranty on heat exchanger 10yrs) because it burned out. at least with the older less efficent furnace you could count on 20-30 yrs so what have you saved?? save say $200 a yr on fuel then spend $5,000 for new furnace after 12yrs?, Mind you in this case it was a new owner who had to fork out. of course the manufacturer is going say parts no problem as he wants to sell boilers but whats it like 10yrs down the track? Try and get parts for a 10yrs old auto ?? If we are going to compare then compare apples with apples not apples with bananas
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 5:24 PM
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    John,

    perhaps you could fax the article to me? 516-579-3046. Thanks.
    Site Administrator
    dan@heatinghelp.com













    Hug your kids.
  • hr hr @ 10:15 PM
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    none of use will be able

    to quote or even guess at payback these days. Didn't gasoline hit an all time high today. I suspect fuel costs will continue to climb with instability in the middle east. What would ROI look like if fuel costs doubled or tripled? or more :) Suppose fuel oil hit 5 bucks a gallon, or gas and LP for that matter. Users will be lining up for building and power plant efficiency upgrades, I predict. hot rod To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Steamhead (in transit) Steamhead (in transit) @ 10:41 PM
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    As far as I know

    there has never been an apples-to-apples scientific comparison of a properly-functioning steam system vs. a properly-functioning hot-water system, installed in the same building with similar boilers and controls. That's the key here- everything in good working order. All the ones I've seen have compared badly-knuckleheaded steam systems to new hot-water systems or conversions. This is not a valid way to compare distributing heat by steam as opposed to hot-water. Mad Dog, thanks for your support. My information is as scientifically accurate as I can make it, in that we're making system improvements and tracking the amount of fuel used per degree-day. That's the best way I could find. If someone out there has anything better, I'm listening. To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • John Ruhnke John Ruhnke @ 10:57 PM
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    Good for now........

    Steamhead, That is what I have used too. As a contractor it is the best way to go. You could get more involved but then the cost of monitoring outways the advantage. I saved about 40% on my parents house. I saved 35% on a clients house. These are boiler change outs. hot water to warm water noncondensing. I am looking into doing some things with data loggers. Data loggers are great!! For about a $150 you could get a couple and record a years worth of data, inside and outside temps. More accurate then relying on a weather station further away. JR To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • heatboy heatboy @ 8:35 AM
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    So, even if......

    ....you spend the literally thousands of foolish dollars converting (provided the rads hold water and there is minimal build up of debris), I don't see the point. ROI seems negligible at best over straight steam even with a 50% fuel reduction. To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    heatboy

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    "The laws of physics will outweigh the laws of ecomomics every time."
  • N/A @ 8:57 AM

    More than the boiler!

    I am sure that there is more playing into this savings than simply Steam versus Hot Water. There have to be numerous other things contributing to this savings that are System related such as the Heat Distribution Units, Multiple Zoning, Outdoor Reset, Fully Modulating Burners, etc.. In addition to that I would venture to guess that new piping and insulation have played into this as well. Maybe the old steam system was zoned but in 36 years in this business, I can count on one hand the number of Motorized Globe Valves that are actually still working on steam systems. Most of them are in the manual open mode due to leakage or motor and linkage failure. I would also guess that modular boilers have been installed in these buildings as well. We'll see when the article appears. Glenn Stanton Manager of Training Burnham Hydronics U.S. Boiler Co., Inc.
  • John Ruhnke John Ruhnke @ 10:28 AM
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    build up............

    Heat Boy, The only real build up that we see is in the condensate returns that are below the water line and those get replaced on a conversion job. The steam pipes are always very clean inside. The steam system has much less build up then in a older radiator system with water in it. Build up is almost never a problem with steam. Also we have never seen any serious leaks on these systems. Once in a blue moon we get a slight leak in one or two fittings but that is no problem to replace. The clients are always so happy to have it done!! Conversions produce very happy clients because the before and after difference is big. JR JR To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • John Ruhnke John Ruhnke @ 6:45 PM
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    Did you get my e-mail yet?

    Dan, Did you get my e-mail yet? JR To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO Mike T., Swampeast MO @ 5:59 PM
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    School Projects

    When and if the article is posted, pay CAREFUL attention to ventilation! Old schools were typically designed with WHOPPING amounts of reheated fresh air--regardless of the heat source.
  • frank frank @ 8:09 AM
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    Don't you guys sleep? I'm looking at the times of these posts.............from 1 AM to 3AM !!! I've heard of moon lighting, and "Oh, I'm a night person", but you guys are pushing it here. About this subject that has been discussed ad-nausium, to me there are some applications that work, and some won't. An old steamer in a single story residence w/an unfinished basement, easy to change over. But obviously it doesn't make sense in a 400 family high rise, considering the material and labor to remove the rad. steam traps,the end of main traps, condensate pumps and bft. Then installing trv's and system circs, air eliminators, and exp. tanks. So as I see it, it is up to the job conditions and the depth of the pocket of the h.o. But what do I know, I'm just a plumber.
  • Scott Kneeland Scott Kneeland @ 9:22 AM
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    As Steamhead said there are is a lot to the equation. I servive alot of steam in my area and the savings are great when replacing a 40 year old steamer with a new one only if the system is addressed not just a boiler. Replace ALL vents, repair ANY leaks, replace ALL wet returns, repack radiator valves,Insulate ALL pipes, pipe the new system correctly (thats the first thing done wrong 80% of the time). and with that said 40% savings in common. If you just want to change the boiler you deserve the problems you inherit To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Scott Kneeland Scott Kneeland @ 9:23 AM
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    I forgot the Most important thing, MEASURE ALL THE RADIATORS so you can size the boiler CORRECTLY. Sorry for ranting To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • mike mike @ 1:15 PM
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    My 2 cents (pro-steam)

    I have a one pipe steam system that heats my 2100 sq/ft house. I have a new boiler, and have made all improvements as suggested here on the wall. The house is one zone and during the heating season is 70(day) / 68(night) 24/7. I just added up all my fuel deliveries and last winter I used only 875 gallons of oil. I can't imagine much better efficiency than that. Proper steam systems are every bit as afficient as hot water, they just require more TLC.
  • Steamhead (in transit) Steamhead (in transit) @ 2:48 PM
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    That's Great!

    do you know how much it used before you fixed it? Have you compared gallons used to degree-days encountered? You can download degree-day info for your area at this link: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/cdus/degree_days/ "Steamhead" To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • mike mike @ 1:07 PM
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    > Heat Boy,
    >
    > The only real build up that we see
    > is in the condensate returns that are below the
    > water line and those get replaced on a conversion
    > job. The steam pipes are always very clean
    > inside. The steam system has much less build up
    > then in a older radiator system with water in it.
    > Build up is almost never a problem with
    > steam.
    >
    > Also we have never seen any serious
    > leaks on these systems. Once in a blue moon we
    > get a slight leak in one or two fittings but that
    > is no problem to replace. The clients are always
    > so happy to have it done!!
    >
    > Conversions produce
    > very happy clients because the before and after
    > difference is big.
    >
    > JR
    >
    > JR
    >
    > _A
    > HREF="http://www.heatinghelp.com/getListed.cfm?id=
    > 96&Step=30"_To Learn More About This
    > Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in
    > "Find A Professional"_/A_

  • Mad Dog Mad Dog @ 9:32 PM
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    I will profer this........................................

    Steamhead IS quite the scientist in his own right. He's done his OWN studies.....real boiler room studies NOT "lab condition - AFUE type studies" I think you have a good point John but you are leaving out the R.O.I. term and upfront costs that are associated with conversions. Respectfully, Mad Dog To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • John Ruhnke John Ruhnke @ 9:21 PM
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    I downloaded the pdf.......

    Dan, I found my member number and downloaded the pdf. I am now waiting for a reply by email from ASHRAE to post it here. I read the restrictions and I need to ask permision first. JR To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 6:04 PM
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    In the meantime,

    could you fax it to me?
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    dan@heatinghelp.com













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  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 6:05 PM
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    Or

    e-mail it to me?
    Site Administrator
    dan@heatinghelp.com













    Hug your kids.
  • Arthur Arthur @ 1:32 AM
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    Steam 2 Water

    I'm hot water fan, Over here in NZ steam is very very seldom used in over 40 yrs in the trade I've only ever seen it once. However having said that, 1) Have you still used the same radiators? If so you are only getting 68% less heat as the you are only getting sensible heat conversation as before you were getting latent heat as well as some sensible heat. 2) The temperature of the rads before were around water boiling point ie 212 deg F (we call that 100degC)as now what are runn ing the rads at 180 degF ?? So if you put less heat into the school you will need less heat input into the boiler hence less fuel. I'm sure there are some steam experts who will be able to shoot you down.
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