Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Time To Toss Out The Old Hot Water Tank

We have a Burnham furnace / boiler in our house that was here when we bought the property back in 2006.  It is 10-12 years old, and so far, it's doing well.  Steam heat is a very comfortable heat.  Unlike forced hot air that heats the air, and then is gone till the next round of hot air gets blown into the room, steam heat lingers.  It radiated slowly from those cast iron radiators long after the steam is off.  Our furnace also heats our hot water for the household needs.  I believe it is a better system than an electric hot water tank.

This past summer we had the opportunity to tear out our main bathroom and start from scratch.  One of the things we considered was how to heat the water in the new second floor bathroom.  Would the boiler be able to supply ample hot water for the new tub? How about the new shower?  Our pressure was always low, and it took several "fill 'n wait's"  to get the old tub temperature to where it was not painful to sit in.

A new bathroom needed a new system.  I talked hot water systems with Dave at Pioneer Oil, and he offered a lot of great advice.  The neat thing about talking with Dave was he is a wealth of knowledge, and my decision to go with an oil fired system would be good, but if I didn't he was fine with that, too.  He just wanted to share what he knew, and he knows a lot.  So after researching, listening, and doing the pro's and con's thing many times, I decided to have a Bosch On Demand Hot Water System installed.

This small box is the  Bosch tankless water heater, and
now takes care of all our households hot water needs.
Residential on demand hot water systems are like those in hotels, and large buildings, that supply hot water, well, on demand, and when the demand is done, the heating is done.  No large hot water tank to heat, and maintain the temperature from dawn to dusk in case someone needs to shower, or wash their hands.  The heating of the water is only done when needed, and for as long as it is needed; that's it.

My fear was the electricity it would take to to heat the water, especially for the large jetted tub, would be a lot, and although no oil would be used to heat it, I may loose out to the electricity.  The research I did said otherwise, but still...

After air conditioning season passed, and I could begin to see the "true electric usage" I was amazed that our kilowatt hours were returning to our pre-remodel time for a year ago.  There had been no huge hike in electrical usage despite the tub, and shower being used multiple times daily.

The last time we had oil delivered was in June, until this week.  That oil usage was for heat, and for heating the hot water for the rest of our house.  The delivery was for 121 gallons; not bad for almost half a year of heating water for the rest of the house, and the steam boiler for heat.  I opted to see how well the On Demand heater would do with only the bathroom before I chose to flip the valve, and have the rest of the house on the On Demand System.  Yesterday, we put the whole house on the system, and shut down the hot water heater in the boiler.

With our decreased oil usage to date because we put the new bathroom on the new system, and now putting the rest of the house on the system, I expect to save some more money that would normally be spent on oil.  Sorry, Dave.

It will be interesting to see how our kilowatt hours do next month.  Except for the dishwasher, we seldom use hot water elsewhere, and we use cold in the laundry.

When it comes time to change out your electric hot water heater think about an on demand system.  The initial cost is more, but you will save a lot of money every month.  It makes no sense to heat water in anticipation of it being needed, not with todays technology.  Electric hot water heaters that heat 'n store are archaic, and a thing from the past.

Today, we have new technology, and its waiting for the rest of the world to enjoy it.  My wallet is already smiling.


  1. Hope you update your findings every now and then in a short post (don't want to have to scroll to find this post everytime!). We are way overdue to enter the modern heating age, too. Have been shutting off the oil burner when we are away and at night - like you said, why heat water you don't need.

  2. Brian, I will definitely update everyone as to how we are doing energy wise with short posts. I may even put something in the side bar, and update it as the bills come in with the KWH used now, and a year ago, and just how much oil we are doing without. Also, if you haven't already, sign up with Easy Energy. They sell electricity far cheaper than National Grid, but National Grid will supply it to you, and still take care of your electrical infrastructure. We save a good bit using them as well. You can find them online.


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