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diannemelt Member Posts: 1
Can any one address my concerns for the best heating source for a mobile home located in PA. Over the years it has been heated with propane and propane is very expensive. I though I would ask about a conversion to oil. Oil has always been an excellent heating source. I thought the viscosity of the oil might make it a better hearing source. Perhaps it allows for more btu's than the propane. All i see is people converting the other way though. What do you think?


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,958
    The best choice is a matter of both convenience and money. LP (propane) has the real advantage that one can also use if for a gas stove or gas clothes dryer or gas water heater. Otherwise, for use as a fuel for a furnace, it really is a cost thing. An oil burner is a little more expensive to maintain than a gas burner. Other than that, one needs to consider the relative cost of the two fuels. Oil has about 140,000 BTU per gallon. Propane is about 92,000 -- so it will take half again as many gallons of propane to heat your home than it will oil. That will help you figure the price difference (LP should be about two thirds the price of oil, for break even).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,869
    Since Propane is a byproduct of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, its price will go up or down as crude oil does. Obviously so will fuel oil.

    A gallon of propane will produce about 92k btus while a gallon of #2 fuel oil will produce about 138k btus. On the surface, it may seem like fuel oil would be the better choice, but that may not be the best choice once everything is considered.

    Oil requires more maintenance, costs more per gallon and the highest efficiency for a trailer oil furnace is about 83%. You could have a gas furnace that's 95% efficient. Multiply the caloric value of the fuel x the efficiency of the furnace to get the actual amount of heat you would get per gallon. Divide that by the cost per gallon and you'll see how many btus you get per dollar.

    There's also the issue of an external oil tank which you would have to purchase with the furnace. Propane tanks can be provided by the supplier with little or no monthly charge or bought outright by the customer. If the Propane company owns the tank, then you're obligated to purchase gas from them; if you own it, you can price shop and purchase gas from any supplier.

    These are all things you must consider and investigate before deciding. In the end, if the costs are similar (probably will be), I'd go with propane because it's relatively maintenance free and much cleaner. An oil burner REQUIRES maintenance every year which, if you neglect, could cost a lot more.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Timothy77
    Timothy77 Member Posts: 15
    I agree all are good points. People with mobile homes by me use oil fired hot air furnaces and cut the oil with kerosene 50-50. Burns fairly clean. I have a few customers that due this and pull the burner apart it's always clean. You should have your heat checked every year anyway regardless of what type you have.
  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
    I would keep your Propane unit and look into swapping out your out door condenser if you have air conditioning to a heat pump. This would be considered a duel fuel heating system. You would run the heat pump down to say 35-40f out side and then run propane under those temps.

    This video should help you understand how the system works.

    Paul S_3
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Just ignore anything about economics there, especially the first two minutes.

    The point where you switch from the heatpump to oil will vary quite a bit depending on local energy costs and the type of heatpump used.