Clean Automated Pellet Boiler Kicks Oil Boiler Out of Basement
Why did Joe Bauman & Megan Keeler kick the oil boiler and oil tank out of their basement? Let’s ask them what motivated the switch to an automated Kedel pellet boiler:
Revision: Why did you switch to Kedel?
Joe: We bought the house in 2012 knowing that the old oil boiler was in need of replacement and would be expensive to run, but we decided to try to use it for a season and see how the house behaved. It worked the first winter we were here but it sure wasn’t cheap! When we started looking we got lured in by the magic of geothermal – but fairly quickly decided it was out of our comfort zone, price-wise. The geothermal folks make the numbers sound pretty appealing, but it really seems to make more sense for new construction, places with more land, and places that don’t already have forced hot water systems.
So, we started looking at options, stumbled onto reVision, and had Chris Kessler come out and give us some natural gas info and options. He walked us through the basics and then provided some details on the pellet boilers for comparison. As far as we could tell, both options (pellets and natural gas) seemed about equal as far as install and running costs. That was when we realized that getting away from oil/gas was actually a reasonable option – and as long as we had the option we might as well take it!
Revision: How much do you expect to save?
Joe: Last year we spent between $500 – $650 every month between November and April – including a full tank to run the boiler all summer for domestic hot water.
This year we’ve run it for three full months and, according to the boiler consumption chart, we spent about $360 for January and just over $300 for February and March. That’s not quite half, but pretty close! We are also spending an extra $20/month for electric for the heat pump water heater and we got a load of insulation blown into the attic, but we are still well below last year’s oil bills.
Revision: How did you choose Revision Heat?
Joe: One of your coworkers (Jacob I think? Can’t remember his last name) [RH: must be Jacob Roberson of Interphase Energy] is a friend of a friend and we met him one night over beers and bluegrass. We were still looking at geothermal at that point and when he heard that he started boisterously discussing the merits of pellets. :) When we started calling around for alternatives, you guys made it on the list. We didn’t know any companies/installers in the area – but once we started talking to Chris and Stefan, ReVision seemed like a friendly, local, good people kind of place.
Revision: What was the process like?
Joe: Long! We started off with an energy audit from DeWitt Kimball. That was a great experience – he let us watch over his shoulder and ask questions and we learned a lot. After that, there was a miscommunication and I didn’t get started with the Efficiency Maine paperwork right away. By the time we got the loan details out of the way, ReVision was well into the fall season waiting list!
However, once we made it to the top of the list, the ReVision process was great. Your guys were great about fitting us in as soon as possible and the installers came in and did great work. It was very satisfying to see the old oil equipment being hauled out to make room for shiny, new, efficient units!
The basement work went quite smoothly. We have an older house, but the basement space is quite clean and dry so I don’t think there were any major stumbling blocks. Brent and the guys did a great job cleaning up some of the old copper plumbing to give us some more space down there. The only tricky part I noticed was trying to get the new Nest thermostats to work on the old thermostat wiring. Basically, they needed new wiring to be pulled, but Brent tried his hardest to get it working on the old wiring!
Revision: What do we like best now that it’s installed?
Joe: Obviously the best part is that we can leave the thermostats at 68 and be comfortable all day! We still turn them down a bit at night and we have a couple rooms at the back of the house that still need some insulation work, so we leave those zones turned down, but the majority of the house is perfectly comfortable!
My other favorite part is I’ve been able to clean up the space and put in a small workshop. I’ve been making small pieces of furniture and am getting ready to start building a kayak. Having a space for projects is one of the main reasons I bought a house in the first place!