Banner
Home Forums Movie Theaters Cinema Design Natural Gas conversion
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
  • Page:
  • 1

TOPIC: Natural Gas conversion

Natural Gas conversion 05 Feb 2005 11:07 #28831

Hi There,

There is a theatre that needs to be converted to natural gas in order to run again. It was built in 1926 and retaing 11,000 sq feet of space. There are two huge squirrel cage blowers on the ground level that used to force the air from the furnace that shot 9 gallons of oil per hour if needed. Along with 1,004,000 btu's.

After contacting a reputable heating contractor he initially advised to consider installing 4 smaller units for efficiency. Possibly two on the bottom for the auditoriums and two on the front top part for the offices and down stairs lounges and lobby areas. I am waiting on a service call but would like to know what a projected conversion cost may run ??? I am figuring between $25-30,000.00 Is that realistic ??

Thank you
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Natural Gas conversion 05 Feb 2005 20:19 #28832

  • wimovieman
  • wimovieman's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Gold Boarder
  • Posts: 279
  • Karma: 0
I have done many conversions (well--had them done) The most as far as gas usage is going with high efficency furnaces--but in the theatres I have that had that, I spent thousands over the years in replacing blower motors as they are not designed to handle that amount of air movement (usually out of the ceiling and pushing from the basement. Last fall I had a theatre that was using 3 furnaces changed to hot water boilers and we put a heat exchanger in the old fan system--my usage this year so far is a third of last year for a comparable month. We used 2 150,000 high efficency boilers--they are real small and not hard to install anywhere--use pvc for exhaust and incoming combustion air. I am very happy at this point--Unless you live in a very pricey area, you should come in under your estimates doing this system--if blower(s) are working and sheet metal all intact. I had new air conditioning don at the same time using the same blower that was sitting idle for years--the new air dropped in utility costs by over 50%--the whole job was right about $20,000 and that was with some sheet metal work needed to redo what was undone when other furnaces were in use.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Natural Gas conversion 05 Feb 2005 20:22 #28833

  • wimovieman
  • wimovieman's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Gold Boarder
  • Posts: 279
  • Karma: 0
I proofed my reply AFTER hitting enter--I should know better than to do 3 things at once--if you have any questions or are confused about what I am saying--feel free to e-mail me directly.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Natural Gas conversion 12 Feb 2005 01:25 #28834

  • RoxyVaudeville
  • RoxyVaudeville's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 895
  • Thank you received: 17
  • Karma: 3
Last year I converted my steam boiler from gas to oil. The previous heating season with gas cost me a little over $11,000. Last year with oil it cost $6,500. The conversion cost $3,500. After paying for the conversion, I still saved $1,000 last year. This year with much higher oil prices, my cost projects to be about $9,500 to $10,000 which means I'll still be ahead of the cost of what gas had been, and I understand gas has gone up quite a bit as well, which would make my savings even larger.

The other problem I had with gas was that I often had the smell of gas. I would have the gas company out every other week looking for a leak, and they could never find one. Often patrons would tell me they smelled gas. That's certainly not good for business. Even if there was no savings with oil over gas, it's so much nicer not having that gas smell around.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Natural Gas conversion 14 Feb 2005 15:27 #28835

As a newbie to the business but not old buildings I can tell you what we have done to our 1924 6000 sq. ft. auditorium. The building was originally equipment with steam radiators mounted on the side auditorium walls, coal fired then converted to oil. The major problem was the noise with the old system as the pipes expanded...for former owner said it sounded like gunshots (of course during a quiet part of the feature). In 1982, he replaced the original system with a new Weil-McLain oil fired boiler with baseboard heating. A/C was not installed until 1978, when the "Artic Nu-Air" system was replaced. A/C was done via (3) 5 ton rooftop units.

When we bought the building in August 2004, it should have been demolished as the roof leaked for the better part of a dozen years. We were not pleased with the baseboard radiators as they hid the columns that were part of the original design. Since the oil fired boiler was shot (freeze damage) and the rooftop A/C units were 25 years old and had to come off to replace the roof decking, we decided to go with (3) new 5 ton Ducane gas heaters, electric A/C units in the auditorium and a new 3 ton for the lobby. The problem with hot air heat is it is often induced to the building via ceiling ducts and hot air rises. We have a 20 degree temperature difference from the floor level to the booth level. Once restoration of the interior is complete, 4 ceiling fans are being installed to help bring the warm air down.

The total project cost (HVAC) was $42,000. Alas, my warning - just because natural gas is available on the curb and/or in the building already don't assume you can get it! My favorite utility (sic) PECO Energy informed us AFTER we signed the contracts for the equipment that the main was over capacity and they could not supply gas to the building. We had to redesign some of the system, convert the 4 new units to propane, purchase and bury a 1,000 gallon propane tank, and got billed for another $6,000 for the changes.

Keep in mind if underground tnaks were on the property that they were removed and tested per your state's DEP requirements.

I still prefer the ceiling vents over the wall radiators, being a purist on my restorations.

Plese make sure you check with the utility companies!!! I have been restoring buildings and investing in real estate and just assumed that with a gasline out front, fronting Main Street, that the utility monopoly could supply!

Best Regards,
Ed Buchinski
Grand Theeater,
East Greenville PA www.thegrandtheater.org


Ed Buchinski,
Grand Theater,
East Greenville PA
www.thegrandtheater.org
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Natural Gas conversion 16 Feb 2005 09:21 #28836

  • RedDawg
  • RedDawg's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 17
  • Karma: 0
Just kind of thinking out loud here. I am certainly not an HVAC expert here but I am an engineer and am going to have to face this question if www.parkwaytheatre.com ever gets off the ground. I would venture to say that a majority of theatres built in the 20's and 30's had hotwater/radiator convection heating systems. Since the main problem (I assume)with these is the corrosion effect of water, I am wondering if the design principles of the small circulating oil space heating radiators has ever been (or thought of being) scaled up for use in large spaces such as theatres? I suppose the oil could be heated by any conventional boiler design using NG, propane or fuel oil (or even wood or coal). Seems to me the big advantage from a maintenance standpoint would be the (presumed) non-corrosiveness of the circulating oil (the composition of which I do not know.) Venues with hot water systems currently operating should be able to convert with no more than a good system flush and perhaps some adjustment of over-temp controls. Sorry, I guess this would not be much help for you forced hot air guys, except, instead of one large heat exchanger in the basement, you might be able to do a distributed system with an oil radiator/heat exchanger in each of several of the air handling ducts. Experts?

No Signature yet but it will have something to do with http://www.parkwaytheatre.com when I get around to it.

-RedDawg
The Parkway Theatre, an idea whose time has come. Help Make it happen!
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Natural Gas conversion 16 Feb 2005 10:52 #28837

  • rodeojack
  • rodeojack's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1249
  • Thank you received: 6
  • Karma: 2
Interesting idea.

Offhand, I imagine a couple of problems could be the cost of the oil, given the size of the system. Leaks would be an issue... you'd need some kind of reservoir to maintain the proper level in the boiler. Along with leaks would come the problem of cleanup and disposal... and likely a very hard look by the local fire department.

This goes way beyond what I've kept up with... but I seem to recall that steam system operators had either a chemical flush or some kind of water additive that addressed the corrosion issue... especially since tap/well water is used to maintain levels.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Natural Gas conversion 16 Feb 2005 12:17 #28838

  • jimor
  • jimor's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 395
  • Karma: 0
Rodeojack brings up the problem of leaks with a circulating oil medium in the system, and that asks the question: 'Is the oil medium flamable?' Water leaks are annoying, but a flamable oil leak could be disastrous! I don't know of any non-flamable oils aside from those developed to encase large electric transformers as part of their cooling loops. I know that some of these were made with PCPs years ago since such chemicals are non-flamable, but when it was found that they were very toxic to the environment, they were banned. Are non-flamable alternatives still available? You would have to check out that in detail. And I imagine that the cost of such non-flamable, and preferably odorless oil, would not be cheap!

Aside from the odors and toxicity of oils, there is the possiblility of it becoming aerosolized such that the air contains invisible concentrations of microscopic globules of it that most people can breathe with no short term problems, but for anyone with respiratory problems, such an environment could lead to partial asphixia - illness or death due to suffocation as the globules coat the air sacks in the lungs of those people no longer capable of self-cleaning their lungs. I'm sure no one wants that possibility in their future, so deeply investigate all details and do NOT rely upon anyone selling such an oil medium installation to tell you all the truth, IF they even know it. Best Wishes on your Due Dillegence.
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Natural Gas conversion 16 Feb 2005 15:26 #28839

  • RedDawg
  • RedDawg's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 17
  • Karma: 0
All comments duly noted. I make one more observation: I have looked at many of the circulating "oil" heaters designed for "spot" or space heating in small rooms. Never have I observed any with any sort of warning labels relating to the flamability or other danger of the medium. However, I will do some more research and report my findings here.

The Parkway Theatre, an idea whose time has come. Help Make it happen!
The Parkway Theatre, an idea whose time has come. Help Make it happen!
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Natural Gas conversion 16 Feb 2005 17:32 #28840

  • outaframe
  • outaframe's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 672
  • Karma: 0
If you are working with a closed circulated hot water system (rather than steam), an alternative to using oil as a heat transfer medium is to use a water/ethylene glycol (permanent anti-freeze) mixture instead... The advantages are that it's not a fire hazard, is highly corrosion resistant, is more efficient than plain water at heat transfer, won't freeze, and is somewhat less a problem/mess if it leaks... I have used this mixture in a couple of hot water systems in the past with good results...
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Natural Gas conversion 16 Feb 2005 21:37 #28841

  • RedDawg
  • RedDawg's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 17
  • Karma: 0
OK, so far what I have been able to discover is that the small oil filled, electrically fueled radiators contain a "pure diathermic oil", details or specifications are somewhat difficult to come by. One source describes it as being similar to "light mineral oil" and "non-toxic". One brand name I was able to find was "Mannol" which according to Mr. Google seems to have links and references only in Russia. Another is "CALFLO" which is manufactured in Canada. (More information is available HERE. One of their products, Calflo LT seems particularly interesting as it can be used for cooling as well as heating. All of these so-called "heat transfer fluids" are characterized as "non-toxic" with flash points well below the temperatures normally associated with heating occupied spaces. Indeed, they apparently can be used in some industrial heating processess up to around 600 deg. F. Obviously, more research is needed.

The Parkway Theatre, an idea whose time has come. Help Make it happen!
The Parkway Theatre, an idea whose time has come. Help Make it happen!
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Natural Gas conversion 27 Mar 2005 09:50 #28842

Just one question:

Our two hold picture palaces closed because Winnipeg's steam heating plant closed in 1990. Once the snow started to fly, Famous Players closed them. One sat with no heat and crumbled to the ground before being demolished. The other had four large industrial funaces installed, a few years after rigid freeze/thaws, throughout the interior of it, and they pumped warm air into the theatre around them. It sustained only moderate damage.

My old house did have radiators and a brand new boiler we installed (because the other one died). These theatres had/have the air ducts, but also had/have steam heating.

Could some boiler type system be installed and hooked-up to the line that comes in from the now-demolished steam heating plant?
Since 1987
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Natural Gas conversion 28 Mar 2005 00:59 #28843

  • RoxyVaudeville
  • RoxyVaudeville's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 895
  • Thank you received: 17
  • Karma: 3
Andy,

Back in 1968 or 69 the city owned steam plant in the town that I grew up in closed down, and both of the large old movie palaces in that town lost their heat supply as well. Both theatres simply ( but at great cost) installed new gas/oil steam boilers and hooked them to the existing steam lines and continued to heat the theatres as before.

I know the cost to the one theatre was $90,000 (1968 dollars), but that included new air-conditioning as well. That theatre closed for good 4 years later and was torn down. The other theatre continues to operate as a performing arts center to this day using that same boiler installed back then.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Natural Gas conversion 28 Mar 2005 08:34 #28844

  • rodeojack
  • rodeojack's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1249
  • Thank you received: 6
  • Karma: 2
Olympia, Washington also had a steam plant. I had never seen a steam utility meter before I lived there... pretty interesting gadgets. At least two of the theatres that existed there in the '50s, if not all 3 of them used the service, then converted to in-house boilers. By the time I moved there, one of the theatres had abandoned its boiler and installed gas-fired unit heaters in the auditorium. Strange, but the place was apparently well enough insulated that it worked.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Natural Gas conversion 28 Mar 2005 10:28 #28845

Thanks for the replies!

As for these steam boilers, I think I've found two good companies. The first is Crown Boiler Co. (www.crownboiler.com/index.htm) and the other is Byran Boiler (www.bryanboilers.com).

I've been looking because I have a thirst for knowledge, and if the one building is to get up and running again, and be restored, it would be nice if some restoration cost could be retained by installing a similar heating system (and not have to ruin a lot of the building to put in forced air gas etc.

How exactly does steam heat work?

"Would you like fries with that?"
Since 1987
The administrator has disabled public write access.
  • Page:
  • 1
Time to create page: 0.219 seconds
attraction attraction
attraction
attraction
attraction
attraction