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Author Topic: Gas vs. oil heat  (Read 702 times)
Finnegans Wake
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« on: Mar 07, 2012 at 10:14 »

Background:  Mrs. and I live in a ~1940 Cape Cod, oil-fired steam heat and hot water.  Due to some recent issues with a fuel valve, we discovered the oil tanks are developing pinhole leaks and need replaced.  To do so entails removing (and replacing) the furnace (boiler).  Tanks may even be original to the house, guessing the boiler was replaced sometime in the 1980s, probably bigger and less efficient than what is required.  Getting estimates to switch out the tanks and boiler to (1) new tank and a new oil burner OR switching to gas furnace and replacing hot water heater.

Approx. cost:  Oil system ~$6,800; gas ~$9,400.

Sucks, but what are you gonna do.  It's something you have to deal with as a homeowner.

Query:  Is going back to oil penny-wise and pound foolish?  What it comes down to is a best guess of savings to be afforded if we were to switch to gas, but this is predicated on the unknown - prices for natural gas and fuel oil over the foreseeable future.  Spikes in the price of oil have made me lean toward gas, but there are also some data suggesting that domestic and Canadian production might reel in some of the recent fluctuations.  (Good piece on the NPR site today about this.)  I suspect the Marcellus production will keep natural gas prices somewhat flat, and that oil (even with increased domestic prices) will rise faster, but I have no crystal ball.

Just curious if anyone has made the switch, or has any good sites to recommend on fuel price forecasts.  Leaning towards gas, but not there yet.
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pensodyssey
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« Reply #1 on: Mar 07, 2012 at 10:19 »

Go with gas.  My family has land in the Marcellus region. Wink
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otismalibu
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« Reply #2 on: Mar 07, 2012 at 10:30 »

Look into the incentives being offered...tax credit, power company, manufacturer. We just replaced the upstairs furnace/AC and saved about $2500 between those three I mentioned. Also had the attic sealed and doubled the insulation up there. The $400 monthly summer bill was kinda getting old.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #3 on: Mar 07, 2012 at 10:57 »

Don't think tax credits are avail. since steam boilers can't go high-efficientcy (90%+), they're mired around 85%.  Too costly to yank the radiators and replace; besides, steam/radiators provide a very nice heat.

Will look into the other incentives, thanks!  Penso, your $37 check will be in the mail...



Also insulated the attic space a few years back, seems to have helped some.  Nearly fell through the ceiling because my MiL came over unannounced and scared the shit outta me.
« Last Edit: Mar 07, 2012 at 11:01 by Finnegans Wake » Logged

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otismalibu
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« Reply #4 on: Mar 07, 2012 at 11:59 »

My mistake...I thought you were switching out the system. Our rebate from the power company was based on the improvement in efficiency over the last unit.

You're so fucking old, you can't even handle new heat. Give me my radiator warmth...and my homemade cider!
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #5 on: Mar 07, 2012 at 12:29 »

My mistake...I thought you were switching out the system. Our rebate from the power company was based on the improvement in efficiency over the last unit.

You're so fucking old, you can't even handle new heat. Give me my radiator warmth...and my homemade cider!

All you dad-gum whiffersnaffers tryin' to sell me all your fancy solar panels and heat pumps and attic insulation and indoor plumbing, you can all go to hell!
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aj_law
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« Reply #6 on: Mar 07, 2012 at 12:34 »

Don't care for either, but if I'm pickin' between the two, gas > oil.
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jonzr
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Have a cup o' joe.


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« Reply #7 on: Mar 07, 2012 at 14:25 »

What's a boiler?
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #8 on: Mar 07, 2012 at 15:58 »

What's a boiler?

Well, gas, oil or other fuels are the heat source, but then you also have the medium of convection.  A lot of older homes in the NE especially were built with large iron radiators and a system of piping that would convey either hot water or steam to the radiators.  Ours uses steam, which is nice because the radiators release a slow, steady heat; they introduce moisture into the dry winter air; and no ducts means no mold or allergens.

The boiler basically makes the steam that heats the house. 
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aj_law
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« Reply #9 on: Mar 07, 2012 at 17:43 »

What's a boiler?


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