A couple years ago I had the opportunity to provide service for a customer in the Twin Cities. The customer had motivation to replace his old hot water boiler through a low interest loan program offered to Minnesota residents, at the time, who were candidates for major appliance upgrades that would improve efficiency and lower utility costs.
As with any other potential client, I approached this project with high intention of finding the best possible boiler and components to fulfill the requirements of this particular home and the owner’s needs. The approach is simple really, perform a heat loss calculation; measure the existing radiation in the home (in this case it was baseboard) and select the right size boiler for a replacement. Although some contractors do not take the time to this I do and the following is proof of how big an impact this approach can make.
Now this particular installation brought together a few new technologies the owner was not currently using. The baseboard lined the home’s walls as if it were holding them hostage of, as if it may have been almost free at the time of the original install. As I look back at the job file I see that there was over 45 feet more than needed. Most of my competitors wouldn’t have known this [huge] piece of info though and I was glad to have it as it allowed for me to offer the highest efficiency modulating condensing boiler available at the time. Changing from their 30 year old cast iron behemoth was charting new territory for them and they were not only impressed that I was the first contractor to offer such savings they were equally impressed I was able to show them proof from past projects of doing the same for others.
Other new technology introduced was the method of variable speed pumping. I prefer, for many reasons of which I will not get into here, to control the systems flow related to ∆T although this particular job would be a great candidate for ∆P as well with its many zone valves and a single circulator.
I am convinced that the combination of my own sales experience, past client references along with proof of past customer’s savings was also a big part of why this client chose all but one option presented to them prior to them hiring us to do the work. I guess the one option (replace five zone valves) was just a little more than the budget allowed after checking the box for the installation of an indirect water heater.
Following up with my customers after the project is done has always been a habit, after all if there are any quirks or questions that need to be addressed I want them to know I am available. In this particular case I was contacted by the homeowner with some very pleasing information. Pleasing for him especially because it was proof in writing, from his natural gas provider, that he and his family were now using 28% less natural gas this year as compared to the same time the prior year! That's a huge savings directly related to the replacement of their [then over-sized] boiler with a properly sized unit that also does the work of heating their domestic hot water; replacing a standard water heater with an efficiency rating of approximately 65%. Take a look at the “report card” sent to them from their gas company, the proof is in writing, and that is why the simple homework is so worth it! Oh, and the smiley face is the cherry on top.
Having the savings in writing can be a large task in itself but it's definitely worth your time!