There are some opportunities that come along for homeowners that seem to good to be true, and most of your parents and grandparents can tell you if it looks this way it probably is. But, how about quick return on your investment that will continue to save money for the life of your boiler? This is what an outdoor reset control will do for them. Add the feature of a more comfortable home and most people start asking: What is the catch? The catch is the technician needs to not only sell this product, but install it correctly and educate the customer on the new use of the boiler.
When installing an after-market outdoor reset control on a non-condensing boiler, be sure to keep the minimum Return Water temperature above 115F. Most recommendations state 120F to avoid condensing on the sections and in the flue. The installation of said control will save an estimated 15% of the annual fuel costs! The same percentage in AFUE as the difference between an EnergyStar boiler versus conventional.
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I have heard arguments regarding increased electrical consumption since your circulator will now run for almost infinite periods of time. Luckily, our Manufacturer friends have thought of this and developed some amazing pumps over the last couple of years. Most of these ECM pumps will operate at minimum 50% less than their counterpart PSC pump. To put it into friendly terms, instead of approximately 84 watts, these new pumps can range from 9-42 watts depending on load. As more zones turn on, the pump will need to speed up to maintain the gallons per minute (GPM) or temperature differential settings.
That all being said, I would recommend installing both of these: an outdoor reset control and ECM pump on any boiler without one! It is not a code requirement, but it probably should be. Have a Domestic Hot Water Indirect? They have a priority setting for that. Can't run the sensor wire outdoors in the mechanical room? There are wireless versions that are now cheaper than the traditional controls! Don't live in fear of your customers saying no - and put the inventory on your trucks! It will amaze you how fast they move, particularly when you start offering Utility Rebates for most Natural Gas customers in RI and MA (sorry, no pumps in MA)! When installing the parts, including markup and labor costs, the total job can run around $900 or so. When the RI natural gas customer can receive $325 in rebates, this drops the payback period to about 2 years! Depending on fuel usage, payback could be sooner. Without rebates for Propane and Oil applications, this makes the payback approximately 3 years on a boiler that may be in for another 15 years? That is an incredible amount of fuel & electrical savings, plus comfort. So, what's the catch?