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Oil Heat vs. Gas Heat

Jim_64 Member Posts: 253
perks with gas.Forget about cost and patriotism for a minute.
1. Very clean burning
2. You pay for it after you use it and then only for what you used.
3.Gas boilers reach much higher efficiencies
4.No need to store a tank of toxic material on your property
5.With gas in the house there are many things you can do with it..heat, domestic,stove, oven, vent free fireplace that works when there is a power outage, standby generator that doesnt suffer from aged fuel.
Now make a list for oil, I hate to garbage it up with the facts but you get my drift.


  • Neatra
    Neatra Member Posts: 6

    My heat keeps breaking down and I've been told my oil boiler is obsolete. I've gotten quotes from $3,000 to $7,000 for a new oil boiler, and $4,000 to $11,000 for conversion to gas heat. One technician says staying with oil is cheaper and another says gas is cheaper. Which one is telling me the truth???????
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,537
    It depends

    On the cost per BTU going forward,the type of new system you choose etc. Since no one can predict energy prices(And if they could,they'd be trading futures and not posting here)I would invest in the most efficient system available. A triple pass oil boiler with ODR or a Mod/Con gas boiler.
    I'll make a huge leap of faith and assume they are both properly installed.The Mod/Con will use less BTU's on a an annual basis.Now if only you knew how much those BTU's would cost in 2019......
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  • I dont know

    if you watch the news much. But they are having a little trouble in a place called Gaza and those people get their rockets from a place called Iran, and Iran has about 5000 exocet missiles pointed at the oil tankers in the strait of Hormuz, that is the place that decides the price of your oil. Natural Gas comes from The US and Canada. LP comes from 60% extracted from natural gas before they compress it in the pipeline(along witrh butane) the rest comes from DOMESTIC OIL PRODUCTION.
    Now you probably expect 20 years life out of your new boiler..and you might even get it. That enough time to have a kid and see him or her all the way to college.That a long time. Now if you figure in history and human nature, the cost of oil and gas right now shouldnt even come into your decision. You can present these facts to a 2nd grade classroom and you will get your answer.
    I remember having these discusions when Dan first started this page years ago. Every week there was a oil vs. gas argument(that was before the wars and the death of thousands of US kids ) Now that Im back I have been pleased to see this question is hardly ever ask. It is just one simple thing you can do to make your country stronger even if you dont separate your trash or participate in earth day.
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,537

    Tony,accepting everything you state as fact.How do you explain the drop in oil prices from $147 to $40 in 4 months?Do you really think people who heat with oil are unpatriotic?
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  • Two reasons I see

    1. worldwide depression
    2. Everytime(AFTER THEY RAPE US)they have to lower the price to effectively halt any reserch or consumer interest in solar, wind, biofuels,electric cars ect.
    I feel bad for the people who are locked in right now at 3.50 a gallon but im sure they will be switching soon too.
    And in answer to your question...All things being equal such as they are going to change the boiler anyway,gas is available, I dont know about unpatriotic, I get called that because my Harley is half Porche but foolish would be a better word.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Neatra, do you have

    a steam or a hot-water system?

    Whichever you have, there are boilers that can burn EITHER fuel. You change fuels by having a pro change the burner and a few trim items, not the entire boiler. Of course, you still need an oil tank and a gas line. But such a system would let you burn whichever fuel was cheapest per BTU.

    Also,depending on which system you have, there are probably some things we can do to make the job of moving the heat from the boiler to the radiators more efficient.

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    We have a couple of customers

    who are in the financial industry. They both commented that prices are down partly because the energy speculators are no longer able to borrow money to speculate any more. This was driving prices up a lot more than most of us thought.

    It wouldn't surprise me to learn that gas companies were using this process to drive up oil prices so they could get more people to switch to gas-fired heating systems.

    This is one reason we install boilers that can be fired by oil or gas.

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  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    are you sure ?

    maybe your old boiler can be revived. why not post a description of the problems you were having, and get some other opinions, before making the decision on a new boiler?--nbc
  • Neatra
    Neatra Member Posts: 6

    60 year old Honeywell. Needs a new burner which costs approximately $1,000.
  • Neatra
    Neatra Member Posts: 6

    It's a hot water system.
  • Charlie Masone
    Charlie Masone Member Posts: 66

    "Natural Gas comes from The US and Canada."

    Here on Long Island there are plans to build a Liquefied Natural Gas re-gasification plant on Long Island Sound. I asked where this Gas will come from and was told that it wil come from the US and Canada as well as other parts of the world including the middle east ... go figure.
  • No way Steamhead

    I believe gas companies should be heavily regulated and under constant scrutiny. I believe they should in no way be able to compete with private companies for anything other than gas, no boilers, no water heaters, no heating department or side venture with another heating company. Im not happy the way be sell gas but natral gas is the best thing we have in the short term to offset foreign oil consumption.
  • RonWHC
    RonWHC Member Posts: 232
    Why not electric?

    Generated by good ol' USofA coal. Or Hydro? Or even (don't really mean this) wind/solar? How about wood? Or coal? Or corn? Maybe peat? Or drill those wells - - for geothermal? Why not cover your roof w/ solar panels, or evac tubes, & use that craft table space for storage tanks?

    And. While you're unpacking all the components required to heat w/ what you choose - - check all the labels. It ain't just the fuel you have to specify - if you really want to buy American.

    Robert & Frank are right. No one really knows. Do you have a dart board?
  • Mark Custis
    Mark Custis Member Posts: 539
    What is broken?

    Do you have a service company who does not know how your system works, so they want to replace it?
  • Out of curiousity

    "Everytime(AFTER THEY RAPE US)"

    Who is this 'they'?

    * Canada- the largest supplier to the US?

    * Mexico- the third largest supplier to the US?

    * Any Arab country?

    * The domestic producers and suppliers that sell at the same prices?

    The US has the consumption problem and you don't have to stop any research, no one is holding the gun. Maybe it is the lack of leadership in DC and the lack of a real energy policy. The country runs energy management like a pinball machine going bing bing clunk clunk from bumper to bumper. Sometimes going tilt and sometimes getting a free game.

  • Mark Custis
    Mark Custis Member Posts: 539
    Listen to

    Nick. He has a nose for hydronics.
  • Mark Custis
    Mark Custis Member Posts: 539
    self edit

    A burner is a burner. Cheaper than a boiler. Why change fuels? (Note to self: Stop typing in the dark). If the system does not leak water and only needs a burner, buy a burner.

    I might shop around.

    The alarmist may not be the best price.

    Oil techs take years to train. Gas techs take years to train.

    Ask how many times they have had to regrow their eyebrows, either fuel.

    It sounds to me as if you are being scared into buying something you may not need.

    my $00.02.
  • Actually Ron

    I did switch to Geothermal this year. My heating bill for the month of November was 50 bucks. I would have mentioned this but the lady ask for either gas or oil.
  • Mark Custis
    Mark Custis Member Posts: 539


    I love geo, but she did say gas or oil. $4.30 in heat for a bucks worth of watts.
  • Thats what I said

    Mark. Lets just list the benefits of oil.
  • Mark Custis
    Mark Custis Member Posts: 539

    It burns hot, is easy to hoard, and propely set is very efficiant.

    A grand sound high for a burner, I think she is being frightened by a salesman.
  • Leo_21
    Leo_21 Member Posts: 3
    Tony said

    Tony said," I feel bad for the people who are locked in right now at 3.50 a gallon but im sure they will be switching soon too."

    No one twisted the arms of these people. They took a chance hoping to beat big oil and lost. What would the reaction be had it gone the other way?

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    repair or replace

    what about this solution: thoroughly examine the honeywell boiler, and replace the burner with a new one [fuel of choice]. in a few years if the old boiler dies, maybe the [nearly-new] burner could be used in a new boiler, at that time. the original occupants of the house were just as interested in fuel ecconomy in the as present day.
    perhaps the addition of outdoor reset to the old boiler and new burner, will give you good results for quite a few more years.


  • Hey Leo

    Looking at a young single mother with two kids, 3.50 oil, of course I feel bad. Of course she made a bad call, several of them the way I see it. Maybe we should just round them up and dispose of em ..huh, the worthless cant afford oil bums they are!
  • It burns HOT

    What does that mean?? "VERY Efficient" as compared to what?
  • Some good points Tony , but ........

    " 3.Gas boilers reach much higher efficiencies "

    A recent BNL study debunks that claim ( at least for one boiler ) . The oil fired EK System 2000 was the highest rated in the study that put it head to head with gas fired mod-cons , as well as other types of boilers . The EK can be fired with gas too , but I don't know how it stacks up against the rest .
  • Jim Franklin
    Jim Franklin Member Posts: 170

    Mark, while I don't disagree with you, I think it would only be prudent to actually see this boiler.

    I think everyone who has been in this business knows that most HO's get it wrong... I said most, not all.

    Certainly new higher efficient systems could easily pay back the investment in only a few years.

    Is anyone saying a 60 years old 50 gallon boiler is as efficient, as one that only has 2 1/2 gallons in it and comes up to working temp in 90 seconds?

    Am I missing something.

    I think we all have a responsibility to educate the public on reducing our our fossil fuel addiction, the best way is upgrading systems to higher efficiency, but it starting to appear that now that fuel prices have stabilized and dropped, it's no longer an issue.

    I think everyone needs to read this...

  • Nice looking job

    But I looked under the energy star tax credit list and your boiler isnt listed for tax credit, not a good selling point with an educated consumer.
  • Leo_21
    Leo_21 Member Posts: 3

    My statment wasn't to insult the less fortunate. Sorry you are so sensitive.

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    present condition

    it would certainly help all of us here to know the details of your heating system breaking down, as well as other information such as the model no. and ratings of the boiler and burner.

    maybe the problem is still something which can be fixed enough to get you through the winter reliably. motors and gas valves can often be replaced. i would be concerned that a winter time replacement of the whole shootin' match could be more expensive than a repair now + later replacement.

    has anyone done the necessary "heat loss" study for your house in connection with the several replacement estimates?there are several programs available online to do the study yourself.--nbc
  • Jim Franklin
    Jim Franklin Member Posts: 170

    That's because AFUE is not true efficiency .


    This isn't something the boiler manufacturer want you to read.
  • Im not Leo

    I just say they stuff so you look at it from another angle. Im a third generation plumber Leo and my father always told me never to expect sympathy from a plumber.Hes right and I dont.
  • I Know

    But these people today have a little saying..Perception is reality. Obviously they have never flown aircraft where perception kills. But since it is those people that buy alot of things its just easier for me to say..See the goverment is going to give you back 150 bucks because its so efficient, rather than explain to them all the studies. Besides its still oil!
  • Jim Franklin
    Jim Franklin Member Posts: 170

    Tony I hope your kidding.

    Tell the truth and let them make the decision.

    I'm sure the only reason why the government offers the rebate is that the gas industry has better lobbyists than the oil.
  • Perry_5
    Perry_5 Member Posts: 141
    I'd like you to demonstrate this.

    "Certainly new higher efficient systems could easily pay back the investment in only a few years."

    What is the average cost of your last 10 home heating installations for the System 2000?

    What is the average reduction in fuel usage?

    What is the actual payback period?

    I am personally skeptical that paybacks on the order of a "few years" are normally possible.

    I achieved a fuel use reduction on the order of 40% by replacing both my boiler and my hot water heater - which saved about $700 per year. Payback did not really go into this - as I did what I did for other reasons (and if I had looked solely at payback I never would have installed what I installed).

    Lets see the data.
  • Are you sure

    they aren't listed ? All of the EK1 and all but the largest input EK2 are rated above 85% AFUE . Most of the gas versions rate high also . The charts are on their website .

    SW is right . AFUE does not reflect true efiiciency . The BNL study is not perfect in my opinion , but it does take AFUE ratings a step or 2 further to compare different systems . Does anyone have the link to the BNL study ? I know our salesmen carry the printed main part with them to show our customers .
  • Jim Franklin
    Jim Franklin Member Posts: 170

    Check this out ...


    I think you'll find alot of interesting stuff.

    And this...

  • Jim Franklin
    Jim Franklin Member Posts: 170

    Perry, this is Brookhavens conclusion in regards to their independent efficiency testing.


    Results of this study have shown that the input/output method, as is being developed by ASHRAE Technical Committee 155, can be applied to residential integrated appliances and that these results can be used to draw conclusions about energy use under a wide range of load and oversize scenarios. The ideal case would be where the only testing required is idle loss and steady state thermal efficiency. For some systems, however, the results are not quite linear and at least one intermediate point would improve the characterization of the unit.
    The units tested have a broad range of thermal efficiency levels and idle loss. The impact of thermal efficiency on annual performance is expected. The idle loss is shown to also have a very large impact on annual performance.
    The energy savings that can be realized by upgrading old equipment is shown to be large – in the 25% range, based on specific units tested under this program.

    25% savings per years at $4 per gallon could add up pretty fast, especially if your using 1000 gallons or more.
    ( I understand that oil is currently cheaper but I would expect it to rise in the near future)

    This example would save $1000 per year, if the cost of installation was $8000 and oil did not change in price, wouldn't the full cost of the istallation take 8 years to break even.

    That would not take into any concideration of repairs for either system, but I could only conclude that the older system would require repairs sooner due to age.
This discussion has been closed.