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Opinions, gas or oil heat?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by tele_mark, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. tele_mark

    tele_mark

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    Well, I had my annual burner cleaning done today, and found out the old girl is on her last legs. It's a Weil Mclean, and the boiler is starting to go. When I bought the house 3 years ago it and the oil tank were a big question mark as far as age and serviceable life left, so it's big surprise, but I am looking at an SVI 1911 or two worth of upgrade costs.

    I have gas service here, but shut it down last year as the only thing it was for was cooking, and switched to an electric range. As luck would have it, I just received an offer from Keyspan in the mail on Friday for $1500 off a new gas system for non-gas residential customers.

    So, what's everyone's feelings on the two modes? I'm wondering how much of a difference I'd feel in heating costs between gas and oil.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2007

  2. Bugs100

    Bugs100

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    It was the best thing I ever did going to gas. It's cheaper, cleaner, more dependable and most of all you can spead the cost out on monthly payments.

    Also you don't need yearly clean outs.

    The reason I went to gas is I have a 13 room house. The oil truck was showing up every 2 weeks in the winter.

    With home fuel oil currently at $2.65-$2.85 a gallon you should real consider gas.
     
  3. EddieCoyle

    EddieCoyle Consigliere Moderator NES Member

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    I've had both and prefer gas.
     
  4. bsimardjr

    bsimardjr NES Member

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    I have also had both and prefer gas, converted from oil to gas in my first house. It's great to get rid of the tank & smell. I now work for Keyspan.
     
  5. Scrivener

    Scrivener Banned

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    Not even a doubt - GAS! Wish I could get it here.

    Gas: No cleaning soot from the furnace every season, no hoses dragged all over your yard, no tank (with its potential for leaks and spills) wasting space in your basement, the superiority of gas stoves for cooking and the economy of gas for your water heater and dryer.

    Oil: I've had it for 22 years and am still waiting for one clear advantage.

    OK, it won't blow your house up. I'll risk it.
     
  6. Mr Weebles

    Mr Weebles

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    +1

    I recently moved and went from gas to oil heat and I'd do anything to go back. I'll never have oil again if I can help it.
     
  7. codenamepaul

    codenamepaul

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    I have a wood/coal/oil burner. It can be changed to gas burning with the replacement of the burner. Costs about 1200 a year to heat 2800 square feet and 800 square feet of garage. Best thing? Needs no power to work, coal stores for oh, a million years or so before I need to concern myself about shelf life and it comes from PA (the coal) the furnace is from Minnisota Its called an Eagle.

    http://www.yukon-eagle.com/eagle2.htm
     
  8. tele_mark

    tele_mark

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    Thanks! Looks like I'll be looking at gas soon. I just requested a rep to call on Keyspan's website.
     
  9. Chris

    Chris NES Member

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    If I had to do it again, Geothermal.

    No more oil or gas bill. Slightly higher electric bill due to the pumps and compressor, but nothing significant. AND, if you have forced hot air now, a geothermal will give you not only heat, but AC too.
     
  10. icyclefar

    icyclefar NES Member

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    5 years ago I would have said oil. It does offer more BTU's per thermal unit than gas (higher efficiancy) but given the recent volitility of the oil market you have to wonder if the economy is still there at these per gallon prices. Modern oil burning equipment is outstanding today, and if you ar running hot water heat all the better.

    Now for the reality ........... gas is relatively cheap and bought by more customers per square mile for heat and other uses, I think there is more pressure to keep pricing under control, and yes it is CLEAN burning.

    Want the best of both worlds ............ dual burners, dual fuels, gas and oil, then you can burn what happens to be better priced in the market today.
     
  11. drgrant

    drgrant Moderator NES Member

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    One plus with oil heat is..... if there is ever some weird SHTF situation
    that knocks out the gas supply..and you have a generator... you can run
    an oil burner without much difficulty... gas is kinda hard to use "off the grid"
    unless you have like LNG/propane storage tanks onsite. One nice thing
    about a gas setup like that though, is you could have gas for heat and for a
    generator of some sort. Course you're sitting there saying, how often
    does that happen? (I've only had my gas go out once, and that was when
    they had shut off the gas to change out the meter. )

    Price wise they're both not terribly wonderful for operational
    costs, depending on who the gas provider is. And oil, as you know, is
    another fluctuating commodity. I've heard plenty of people whine
    about both oil and gas heating costs, so it might very well be a toss
    up in that regard. (market price of either can get "bad"). One thing
    in the future about gas, though, is the price may be more stable when
    you start counting in the "islam/communsim" factor and the effects of it
    on the oil supply.

    The "blowing up the house" thing is sort of overrated risk. Most of the gas appliances
    made in the past like decade or longer have so many safeties on them it's not really
    a possibility.

    -Mike
     
  12. felonsforguncontrol

    felonsforguncontrol

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    i've had houses with oil or with gas. It costs roughly the same in the end. Both Oli and Gas companies will spread your payments out over the year if you want. Of course, the big gains in saving money come from insulating the house, replacing drafty windows, solar/geothermal hot water heater. In my current situation, NStar wants $25k and 30% of my neighborhood to sign up for gas before they'll bring gas lines into it.

    i'm currently experimenting, with my oil company, using 20-50% biodiesel in my oil burner. The results so far are zero cleanings required of the burner and chimney in over two years. Of course, my biodiesel is soy based, which is about the worst plant you can crush to make oil; because it makes so little per seed. However, none of this has made the oil burner any quieter. That's all I really miss about gas burners.
     
  13. TY43215

    TY43215 NES Member

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    Ok, I will give you my experience.

    I heat my house with Natural gas.

    I install both oil systems and gas systems. If I had allowed room for an oil tank, I would convert to oil in a heart beat.

    Dealing with a utility, you are at their mercy. The coupon you get for the discounted equipment, you are paying for in inflated supply rates. The coupon is also for NEW customers. Those are usually considered residential customers that do not currently have a gas service on their property.

    The gas co does budget payments, but so do oil companies.

    Yes, oil requires yearly maintenance, but really so does gas. Most people don't maintain the gas systems until they break. By having the burner serviced by an independent, that does not sell fuel, you are more apt to get the equipment running at top efficiency.

    I recommend and install high efficiency oil systems. My recommendation is 600 gallons of storage (2 tanks) and an Energy Kinetics System 2000. Same boiler can run on gas or oil with a burner change but I prefer the oil. No smell, very quiet, and very efficient use of the fuel. (One customer called and advised me he burned 400 gallons of oil less during the year after the new system was installed) Watch the video

    The reason I recommend the additional storage is you can buy your oil in August or Sept when the prices are low and usually last through the high price months with no need to fill again until the prices start down. If you need oil during the end of the high price times, you need only buy what you feel you need and wait until they go down again to fill. The prices of oil always go up and down. When gas goes up, it rarely goes down.



    Now, how old is that Weil boiler and what is wrong with it that makes it need replacing. Is it leaking?? If no, it can be fixed. Send me an e mail and I can tell you whether your boiler can be fixed or if they are just trying to sell you a boiler.

    Regards,
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2007
  14. TY43215

    TY43215 NES Member

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    One thing I am adding:

    Regarding gas explosions: Most gas explosions are caused by leaks in the main outside the building. The gas leaks, follows a water service line or sewer line into the house and it is ignited. It is very rare for a gas explosion to occur from failure inside a residence that is not caused by the utility (over pressure of a regulator).
     
  15. blueleader

    blueleader

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    a fireman told me he would never have gas!!----the gas (natural) follows the pipe into your house from leaks or breaks in the line on the street. maybe a long shot but that's (his) 2 cents.

    when the endtimes come it will be a lot easier to get oil to you house than
    natural gas. the oil for your house is the same as diesal oil for trucks.
    my 2 cents

    blueleader over and out
     
  16. icyclefar

    icyclefar NES Member

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    +1 ........... if you absolutely can't be without AC
     
  17. Executive

    Executive NES Member

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    I do the control wiring for heating systems of all types. Gas can be more efficient but that efficiency comes with a technology cost. To get the most from gas you need to install a system that brings in "make-up" air from the outside and exhausts the combustion gas. This adds complexity and requires a reservoir and pump for the inevitable condensation. More complexity equals more chances for problems. The next step down is a power vented unit. Again more potential for problems. Next is the power vent-damper type unit which approaches the efficiency of oil.

    Gas is marginally cleaner and is quieter to run, but I'd say go with oil in the long run. Check with Round Gun for more info. I'd also recommend an indirect type water heater rather than a tankless or separate oil fired water heater. This will save even more...
     
  18. tele_mark

    tele_mark

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    PM sent
     
  19. TY43215

    TY43215 NES Member

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    I do not trust the opinion of anyone that will run into a burning building [wink]
     
  20. Martlet

    Martlet

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    Don't forget the great deals from Kennedy and our good friends in Venezuela.
     
  21. matt

    matt

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    Well, I can't comment on gas vs. oil, but I'm glad I'm not the only one who measure the cost of things in terms of firearms!!

    I just spent ~22 well equiped AR15's on a new Ford Escape today for my wife.

    Matt
     
  22. felonsforguncontrol

    felonsforguncontrol

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    A minor technicality, the diesel oil in your tank/burner is called "#2 diesel" this is more crude than that pumped at the station into on-road vehicles. It can be used for "off-road" vehicles. On-road diesel can be referred to as #1 diesel.
     
  23. felonsforguncontrol

    felonsforguncontrol

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    A good site to track the historical and spot-price differences in heating oil vs. natural gas is the NYMEX trading site. You'd be surprised how volatile the daily/weekly pricing is of each commodity.
     
  24. TY43215

    TY43215 NES Member

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    Only difference between on road fuel and home heating oil is the color. One is taxed the other is not. #1 diesel is Kerosene
     
  25. Chris

    Chris NES Member

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    We had to replace the system in our house as the original developer didn't build even enough capacity for the existing house, let alone the expansion we wanted. (the whole house was 1 zone and the bedrooms on the second floor could be as much as 15 degrees different than the first floor, and at the time we didn't have any basement heating)

    In the end (after a LOT of research at the time) we ended up keeping the oil based setup. Here is what we installed:

    Buderus boiler with a Carlin burner controlled by the Buderus Logamatic system (automatically controls the boiler temp based on outdoor temperature sensors as well as demand)

    Dual Hydro-air exchangers. One to link to the first floor ducts and a second in the attic to drive the upper floor's two zones. Both have AC coils. (second zone upstairs is mainly for cooling the new area, but can be used for heat if needed)

    The new space uses radiant floor heat also controlled by the Logamatic. A separate controller mixes the boiler water to the loop so that the in-floor circuit isn't superheated. As we refinish rooms in the house (especially bathrooms) we will be expanding the radiant as it is a much more effective way to heat. Let me tell you, stepping into a shower in the winter and feeling warm tile on the floor is something I don't ever want to give up.

    The basement uses a Buderus hot water radiator panel on the finished side. This was cheap and VERY effective.

    Our Hot Water is now also produced by the boiler using a Super-Stor tank. Basically, the tank should last forever as it is just a storage tank and has no heating elements. And yes, it does come with a lifetime warranty.

    Yes, this means we are running the boiler 365 days a year, but because of the efficiency of the system and the 'smart' systems controlling it, we used less than 700 gallons of oil in 2006 (and that included a fill-up in early January which is really usage in 2005, but that would offset the mild Dec lat year.) We have roughly 2600 sqft of living space.

    We also installed a whole house air exchanger so that we got fresh air even with the house closed up.

    Even with the added heated space, our oil bill dropped a lot with this change and the temps are a lot more consistent now.

    Last spring I installed another layer of insulation in the attic to bring our R value up there to a minimum of R55 (many places are even better) and it was noticeable these past few weeks with the temps so low.

    We use 7 day programmable thermostats in each zone (except the basement where it is a manual thermostat on the radiator) and the Logamatic to control the system. For example, at night we allow the system to use an efficiency curve some 18 degrees higher than the ambient temperature so that a call for heat might run a little longer at night, but overall boiler efficiency is better as it doesn't have to keep the water in the system as high. We don't produce hot water from 10pm until 5am or weekdays during work hours. The tank holds plenty of water for an occasional shower in those times, but we are not wasting any energy to keep the water warm for no reason. Hot water laundry (whites) has to be done carefully, but that is really the only change we had to make in our lifestyle. If we go away, I can set the system to a 'vacation' mode that is optimized to save energy, but keep the house from freezing.

    Overall, I can't help but be satisfied with what we have. It does the job well, is very programmable, and has been fairly simple to maintain compared to the furnace that we had. And the electric savings not having an electric hot water heater has been dramatic.

    Like I said above, I think I would go Geothermal if I were to do this today. The recent spike in fuel costs makes it much more attractive. While your use may vary, 1 million BTUs (roughly a day's usage when its REALLY cold like the last few weeks) cost us about $18 in fuel oil right now. That does not include the burner, circulator pumps and blowers that use electricity. The same BTUs from a modern Geothermal system would be roughly $14 a day in electric costs to run the pumps and compressor needed in the geothermal system.

    Maintenance is roughly equal as the cost of the annual cleaning and the replacement of the circulation fluids equal out for the most part.

    The geothermal system is a little more expensive to install due to the installation of the loop needed to tap the geothermal energy, but overall life expectancy is greater. If you are installing AC at the same time, it could actually be less expensive as there is little added equipment. (And AC via geothermal is MUCH more efficient than traditional methods, so operating savings is better too)

    Best of all, since the system is basically only electricity dependent, the installation of a solar or wind producer can counter costs via net metering and the entire system can be run on a generator if needed for power outages or SHTF.

    It is certainly something to consider. I would certainly bring someone out to quote me on it at the very least.

    Also keep in mind that insulation, replacement windows and doors, and Energy Star rated equipment have all kinds of Tax incentive programs you could claim as well.
     
  26. Chris

    Chris NES Member

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    Home Heating oil is red. Getting caught with red in your truck's tank (unless you are a farmer with certain qualifications) is a good way to get a BIG fine.

    There are some differences between Home Heating oil and Diesel, but it's generally in the additives and not in the refining. For example, anti-gelling additives are put in the diesel in the cold climates during winter to keep the diesel flowing properly.

    However, you could very easily replace one with the other and the systems would not care.

    What really sucks is that since most refineries are designed for gasoline production and prefer light sweet crude, using different grades of oil isn't very viable. However, diesel and home heating oil can be made with the heavier and sour crudes very easily and these types of oils are FAR more common around the world. If the country had a higher demand for diesel instead of gasoline we'd actually see prices fall as the basestocks could be cheaper. This is particularly true now with the mandatory sulfur reduction in diesel as the same equipment used to meet the law makes the processing of the lesser crudes less of an issue than it was when the sulfur levels were higher.

    Another way we could produce diesel fuels is from bio-waste. Unfortunately the cost of doing this uses more energy than the fuel produced has. HOWEVER, if the new technologies into deep drilling using lasers and such pan out as expected, tapping deep geothermal HOT sources could easily provide a much more efficient way to produce a renewable fuel. (as well as electric power)

    There is so much that CAN be done to make existing infrastructure work that isn't even being talked about. We hear all about hybrids waiting for better batteries and hydrogen waiting for better distribution, but where are the "lets make better use of what we have" ideas?
     
  27. felonsforguncontrol

    felonsforguncontrol

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    Not exactly, but it's not worth hijacking the thread to argue about what makes up #1 and #2 diesel and kerosene. Otherwise we'll start arguing about naptha's, coal oil, and other old petrochemical arguments.

    Yes, #1 diesel is dyed red whereas #2 is not. This is for tax purposes as you said.
     
  28. felonsforguncontrol

    felonsforguncontrol

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    wait, common sense invading the political arena? Surely you jest! Glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks about going off-grid, surviving SHTF for weeks, and diesel-love.
     
  29. Cptn5spd

    Cptn5spd

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    Gas here, I have a condo 1200sqft. I keep my house at 71 F all the time and it is about $130 a month, in the winter.
     
  30. Though I heat much of the time with free wood, I'd go with oil before gas. Oil can be purchased when the price is low and stored on site. If the gas main in the area breaks, you're out of heat, not so with oil....its in your tank. If you have a gas leak, you are far more likely to have an explosion. The old saying is, Go Gas, Go Boom.
    The fewer piped utilities I have, the better I feel. Someday in the not too distant future, even the elctricity(the last incoming utility here) is going to be removed and I'll be running my own generation system. Independence is a good feeling.
     

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