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Gas versus Oil for Steam Heat in very large house

Raphael
Raphael Member Posts: 4
I own a very large (11000 square feet altogether) brick house built in 1929. The house is heated with steam radiators. The boilers failed this summer and have been removed. We have received widely varying quotes for replacing the old oil burners with new oil burners. Recently a gas burner installer has strongly recommended that we install a gas burner. He says that we will have to fix or replace the oil tank one day or fill it with foam. That gas is more efficient. That gas burners are powerful enough to supply the heat we need for stream radiators. It is a three story house, with full finished basement. We have had trouble getting an independent, unbiased HVAC person to help us assess the difference between oil and gas. Should we be worried about gas if the dealer has a good reputation and the cost is reasonable? The house is in New York, near NYC. Thanks for your help.

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,834
    Either fuel will work well

    if the boiler is properly selected, installed and tuned.



    Which fuel you go with depends on whether the extra cost of decommissioning the oil tank balances out the risk that it will leak. I'm assuming the tank is underground, correct?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Raphael
    Raphael Member Posts: 4
    Reply to gas versus oil

    Yes, there is an underground storage tank. I don't know its condition but it is quite old. We bought the house in 1960.
  • Raphael
    Raphael Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for responding

    Forgot to say thanks for responding.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    I bought a house in 1976.

    My house was built in about 1950 and I bought it in 1976. Within a year or two, I had to replace the in-ground oil tank because it leaked: water leaked in pretty fast. The oil company pumped it out and refilled the tank, but by the next day the boiler quit because there was too much water in the tank again. Assuming it was the original tank, it lasted 26 years.



    I replaced the tank with a nominal 1000 gallon in-ground tank and removed it in early 2009. It was leaking a little.  No water got into the oil, but oil leaked into the ground. So that tank lasted at most 30 years. I am told that 1000 gallon tanks are built with heavier steel than the smaller sizes were. I do not know if this is true. It was only a small hole, but I do not know how long it was leaking. Long enough that my DEP wants me to remediate the leakage. We do not discuss prices here, but the remediation cost is about twice my yearly pension.



    My guess is that, if your soil conditions are about the same as mine, your  tank is surely leaking. If you are not experiencing trouble, it is leaking oil out, not water in. And if it is not leaking, it will soon. I am not a pro, so take my opinion with that in mind.
  • John Mills_5
    John Mills_5 Member Posts: 935
    $$

    What's the typical cost of a gallon of oil in your area? Cost per therm of natural gas? 
  • Raphael
    Raphael Member Posts: 4
    Cost of oil versus gas

    The cost per therm in my area for gas is 1.307. The cost for oil is 3.989.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,834
    Does the cost per therm

    include all the taxes and fees that usually appear in VERY small print on your bill? 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
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