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What to do - DHW/boiler/electric/solar

Post in 'The Green Room' started by CarbonNeutral, Feb 3, 2010.

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  1. CarbonNeutral

    CarbonNeutral Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,132
    Loc:
    Nashoba Valley(ish), MA
    Current situation: 40 year old oil boiler with tankless DHW - costing me a fortune just for water as it's so inefficient. House is heated 95% with wood (obviously). The boiler kicks in too often, heating the "tankless" section of the boiler

    One option: switch to electric DHW - my electric rate is the lowest in the state, and if it was just the cost of the heater, I would be looking at a 6 month payback - BUT, I would also have to upgrade my panel to 200Amp, and I would still have to do something with the furnace as I can't have the tankless section working, and the boiler starts to leak when it gets cold

    Another option: wait for Cash for Caulkers - go solar, but all of the other points on option one apply - still need electric backup and to do something with current boiler

    Or how about this: get a cheap boiler with superstore water heater, then solar, and no need to upgrade service...

    Any ideas?

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  2. mikeyny

    mikeyny Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Messages:
    294
    Loc:
    upstate ny
    I think your best bet and bang for your buck would be to go for the super store. Keep the current boiler for now. About 900 bux buys a super store,and pump. You may still have to deal with the leak though, because most super store set ups work off of a "cold start boiler". This is certainly the most efficient way to go. You may be able to get the service update for about a grand or so, if you know someone in the biz., then go electric and build your own hot water preheat solar panel to assist in the sunny season. Keep an eye on the classifieds, craigs list etc, for a used boiler. they can be had cheap when people add on to a house and need a bigger boiler. Thats my 2 sense anyway.
  3. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    785
    Loc:
    Central NY
    How much hot water do you use in a month? The less you use, the better electric hot water is. If you consumption is low, or you can cut your consumption, that might tip the scale in that direction.

    In any case, with today's oil rates (~$3/gal), if your electric rate is <$0.10/kWh, then electric will be cheaper to operate. So if initial cost between oil upgrade and electric is the same, go with electric.
  4. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Messages:
    530
    Loc:
    Palmer, MA
    Curious as to why the need to upgrade to 200 amp? A water heater is only a 2 pole 30a breaker.
    Unless you have a old 60 amp service you should be good to go with a 100.

    If it's a matter of panel spaces you could just change the panel for a few more spaces, or even cheaper toss a mini breaker in there to free up the space.
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