Boiler Up! - Saving Big Money on a New heating System

A few weeks ago, we mentioned how we were trying to make a decision on replacing our roof, or the boiler, or both. The roof was no longer an option as two new leaks had appeared. With as wet and unpredictable as our spring seasons are here, we won't be doing it until mid summer. Until then, we patch.

In the meantime, the third quote came back on the boiler. It was the most expensive of the three. You may be surprised when I tell you that the work from that quote was just completed. But all is not as it seems. In the end we were able to knock $3100 off the cost!


Well, first I have to say that the third vendor was the only one that impressed us with their method. Years ago, we took a green building class for home owners, part of which was about your heating and cooling systems. The major point of that presentation, was the importance of your system being sized correctly. Turns out the majority of installers are great at installing and lousy at sizing the unit. Many relying on the size of the old unit. Our first two quotes did exactly that.

With all the insulation we had added, as well as other efficiencies, such a large unit was not needed. The unit that was installed puts out 40% less BTUs - the area around the new unit is a lot cooler too! Yet the living space is plenty warm. How did they know? The Mrs. had found guidelines for sizing your system on the Energy Star website and this installer followed them to a T.

But the money! You said you saved big money.

Right, I'm getting there. That savings came in two parts.

First is the installation, part of which involves removing the old boiler. When we asked the installer what we could do to save some money, we were told that we could save $1600 by removing and disposing of the old unit ourselves. $1600! It was a bit of a loaded question, as we knew that was a good way to save, but we had no idea it would be that much. I will say that after a day of labor with two family members, we earned every penny of that $1600.

Two years ago, when we added all that extra insulation, we were excited to hear that there was a tax incentive for doing so. We saved all the necessary info and come tax time were disappointed to see that the amount was only a 10% credit. In our case, we got 30 bucks back from Uncle Sam. Yeah-Rah. Well, Pres. Obama has changed that a bit. Part of that stimulus bill included a bump in Energy Star tax credits - to 30%! For big items like PV systems and wind turbines, there is no cap. But for a boiler like ours, the credit is capped at $1500. Still, we'll gladly take the money.

Those two adjustments brought us back down to a more reasonable number, though we will have to wait a year to get that last bit back. It the meantime, we'll enjoy the lower monthly bills.


Mrs. (not) the Jet Set said...

Our gas bill just came in today and it was $100 lower then the previous month!

We'll have to wait until next winter to see if it continue to be that much lower, but I'll take the extra hundred this month. :)

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