My mom lives in a 1920's vintage house - the boiler looks to be about just
as old. It's a steam system with cast iron radiators.
This past winter she spent about $2,000 in heating oil for the boiler (by
comparison, I live in a much colder place and paid a fraction of that for a
year's worth of natural gas). I am trying to get her to get the boiler
replaced with a new and much more efficient one that runs on natural gas
(she uses gas for her hot water and stove). Money for her is an issue -
doesn't make much, lives in a high cost of living place (Long Island).
Are there any programs that'll give her some kind of assistance for getting
a new boiler put in? I'm not a big fan of handouts - but I can't help her
(got enough bills of my own). I told her that a new boiler would pay for
itself in 2-3 seasons given what she's paying for home heating oil now - to
bite the bullet and do it now.
As for any kind of gas rebate, check out keyspan. (they are the local
providors of gas on Long Island, well at least who I mail my checks to)
They used to offer rebates, but probably not anymore.
One of the only things I can suggest is that you get it financed or
take out a small home equity loan out. When I got my forced hot air
system installed I used True Mechanical from out east. Not bad, OK
work. Price was good.
Speaking of which, I highly recommend shopping around. Prices will
vary greatly. Used the newsgroups to find out what brands are
A new boiler may help, but is the house properly insulated? Weather
proofed? If not, that would be a faster payback.
Gas may or may not be cheaper. Check before you jump ship. Your
comparison is not a good one because I don't know about the variables. I
have oil heat and paid about what you did so that proves oil is the same as
There are plenty of high efficiency gas burners on the market for hot water
heat, but I don't know what is available for steam.
Call the local utilities and they may point you to some programs for
You have no idea of payback , you probably have not run Ng -oil
comparisons, or even know your units efficiency. It could be easily a
15-20 yr payback since steam efficiency peaks at apx 82%. You may be now
at 70% or more, but nobody knows whay you have or how it is set up.
Boiler men love to sell equipment that is their big summer money. Run
numbers and learn before giving her bad advise. Cheaper is insulation to
start with. Try www.heatinghelp.com go to the Wall for Boiler pros.
Steam is not simple stuff like HW
Check with local government ombudsman.
There may be some funds available if your mom meets income limits.
Check with local Habitat for Humanity or other housing providers.
The ombudsman or housing director may have some names.
Mr. Pawlowski makes a good point.
Some of the housing groups will help weatherise old houses.
It's easier and ofthen more effective than new heating equipment.
I know my grandparents (before they died and willed the place to my mother)
had some work done to the house about 20 years ago (new siding, windows,
etc...). I figure an 80+ yr old boiler that was converted from coal to oil
can't be very efficient anymore. I pointed my mom to a few places that'll
help with insulation and whatnot.
Hopefully she'll take my advice and look into these things instead of
bitching about another $2,000 heating bill next winter.
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