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Reversing a conversion

Over the years I'm often asked about the option of going back to oil after switching to gas natural or propane for heating. Since there are many good options of boilers that can do this I've been happy to oblige my customers especially steam customers or customers that are using propane in rural areas that do not have natural gas.
Question I have is has anyone ever converted people back to oil?
I know I never have.
Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

cell # 413-841-6726
https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating

Comments

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,506
    I'm curious why anyone would ever consider such a thing?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    They think once they switch to gas the price of gas will skyrocket and oil will drop.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,736
    We haven't. Oil has such a bad reputation in this area that everyone wants to switch to gas. I think it's only a matter of time before the permitting authorities no longer approve the installation of oil-fired heating equipment. All it will take is one badly leaking tank.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    In order to be approved within inspection in my area the oil tank does need to be removed unless a dual-fuel boiler is installed. But at this point they are only very large residential or commercial buildings
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    They think once they switch to gas the price of gas will skyrocket and oil will drop.

    Betting on anything in the energy industry is crazy, but I'll make an exception for this: Liquid fuels carry a significant premium on a per-BTU basis due to their near-monopoly of the transportation industry. That situation is unlikely to change any time soon.
    Rich_49
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    Imagine if they had piped oil to houses through meters instead of using tanks.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,967
    ChrisJ said:

    I'm curious why anyone would ever consider such a thing?

    Buyer's remorse? So many of our comments here sort of implicitly assume that natural gas is already in the building, or at least right near by and thus available. But there are still a few folks -- such as myself -- who are beyond the possibility of natural gas any time in the near future, and there are companies out there who will cheerfully tell us that we will save piles and piles of money if we convert to LP (don't worry, @Charlie from wmass -- I'm not about to!). Then you do the conversion and you find that... um... no... not so much. If any. And LP does have some downsides (so does oil, before someone jumps on me) to consider, which aren't always mentioned by the sales people (or properly taken into account by the installers -- such as tanks way too small in very cold weather).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,506
    edited September 2016
    Come on @Jamie Hall LP has no downsides vs oil.
    Especially when you consider not everyone has a Charles, or a Steamhead or 20 other guys on this forum that will actually service their burner.

    Most are stuck with guys that don't even take the sootvac off the truck or change the filters. This isn't oil it self's fault, but it is reality.

    When it comes down to it, for most people LPG will be superior overall even with an additional cost for fuel.

    I'm not saying people should convert from oil to LPG for no reason, but if the boiler is being replace etc, I would consider it. Natural gas obviously is a no brainer.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,502
    edited September 2016



    Question I have is has anyone ever converted people back to oil?

    I know I never have.

    All the time! With oil heat comes service.

    And MegaSteam!
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    Megasteam afue is less than 1% higher than a Weil Mclain SGO and I can run gas in a SGO. Why burn oil? I also provide service for gas customers as any of us can so still not enough to go back to oil as far as I can see. Note not arguing with you, just not sure how that switch could be justified from a fiscal view point.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,967

    Megasteam afue is less than 1% higher than a Weil Mclain SGO and I can run gas in a SGO. Why burn oil? I also provide service for gas customers as any of us can so still not enough to go back to oil as far as I can see. Note not arguing with you, just not sure how that switch could be justified from a fiscal view point.

    I don't think it can. But that applies either way... of course I have a competent chap to service Cedric, so perhaps I am biased!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    And if gas is ever availible Cedric can be converted.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    b_bzSWEI
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,506



    Question I have is has anyone ever converted people back to oil?

    I know I never have.

    All the time! With oil heat comes service.

    And MegaSteam!
    If all oil guys behaved like you, oil would have a far far better name.

    Sadly, most are not like you.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    EzzyTSWEI
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,457
    Luckily we have just acquired gas here, so have more options. Before it was just oil, propane, or electric. Electric is around 22cents, oil down to about $2.30 or so, and propane is now down to about $3.90. At one time, propane was over $5.00 and I had figured it out to be 8 times the cost of oil. And I had used an 86% oil unit and compared it to a 95% lp unit. Propane is the absolute last option around here, especially now with natural gas..
    That being said, there are people who are not next to a gas line, and because of health concerns can not be around oil. Then they are stuck with lp, or electric.
    On the other side of the coin are my neighbors who would never have any kind of gas because they know they will blow up!
    Something for everyone.
    Rick
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
    It's funny how different things are in different areas. 10 years ago 99% of heat commercial and residential was oil. Even roof top units...now there is something you don't want to service when it's -20F and the gelled oil oil won't pull from the underground tank. Friday evening setback and a couple of hours without a call for heat and bam no oil to the burner. Not fun at all.

    Propane has the distinction that you need many tanks to get enough vaporization on those below zero days. Oil can be drawn from a tank at as fast as rate as needed. We have installed quite a few power flame dual fuel burners for customers who have underground tanks that are still in good shape. Also have direct vaporizers, indirect, and electric vaporizers out there.

    Taylor
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    Imagine if they had piped oil to houses through meters instead of using tanks.

    Yikes!
    Charlie from wmass
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,538
    ChrisJ said:

    Come on @Jamie Hall LP has no downsides vs oil.
    Especially when you consider not everyone has a Charles, or a Steamhead or 20 other guys on this forum that will actually service their burner.

    Most are stuck with guys that don't even take the sootvac off the truck or change the filters. This isn't oil it self's fault, but it is reality.

    When it comes down to it, for most people LPG will be superior overall even with an additional cost for fuel.

    I'm not saying people should convert from oil to LPG for no reason, but if the boiler is being replace etc, I would consider it. Natural gas obviously is a no brainer.

    If you need a "sootvac" the burner wasn't set up properly
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    Charlie from wmassChrisJ
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    @Robert O'Brien am I allowed a cup or cup and a half in a Weil Mclain 580? If not I will pm you to learn to do it better. Note sincere, not sarcastic.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    ChrisJ
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,208
    CNG is available for properties with enough room for a trailer.State & local authorities have to suck it up on account of federal DOT approval.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,506

    ChrisJ said:

    Come on @Jamie Hall LP has no downsides vs oil.
    Especially when you consider not everyone has a Charles, or a Steamhead or 20 other guys on this forum that will actually service their burner.

    Most are stuck with guys that don't even take the sootvac off the truck or change the filters. This isn't oil it self's fault, but it is reality.

    When it comes down to it, for most people LPG will be superior overall even with an additional cost for fuel.

    I'm not saying people should convert from oil to LPG for no reason, but if the boiler is being replace etc, I would consider it. Natural gas obviously is a no brainer.

    If you need a "sootvac" the burner wasn't set up properly
    That's a properly running burner that's been maintained.
    If it's like most out there, you'll need a sootvac and a 50 gallon garbage can to empty the vacuum into multiple times. :)
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,608
    Way back when I was with the gas company and was putting in hundreds of gas conversions we always left the old oil burner on the job. Back then the oil tank did not have to be removed. Rarely we would go back and reinstall the old oil burner. I can count maybe 5 or six that I did. What usually happened was a new gas boiler was installed once the boiler was no longer repairable.

    In those days we rented the conversion burner to the customer for $5.00 a month and gave them a rental storage water heater for $2.50 a month. We maintained them, repaired them at no charge and replaced parts and if the tanks went or the burners we replaced them. The whole idea was to SELL GAS!
    SWEI
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,473
    They did a similar thing in the early 20th century with electricity. Light bulbs were given to consumers so they would use more of it. In some areas you could buy a unit of electricity by putting a coin in the meter.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,506
    BobC said:

    They did a similar thing in the early 20th century with electricity. Light bulbs were given to consumers so they would use more of it. In some areas you could buy a unit of electricity by putting a coin in the meter.

    Bob

    Fans were rented as well early on.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    Coin electric meters were in use recently in Ireland. If they are not still used.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,608
    Many years ago gas meters used for strictly gas lights had a coin operation that needed quarters to be installed to get gas. Folks got very creative and would freeze ice the same size as a quarter which would make the meter work. We would find this out when the meter finally filled up with water and would not work.
    Charlie from wmass
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,605
    Ah, the good old days.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,506

    Many years ago gas meters used for strictly gas lights had a coin operation that needed quarters to be installed to get gas. Folks got very creative and would freeze ice the same size as a quarter which would make the meter work. We would find this out when the meter finally filled up with water and would not work.

    Wonder how much money was spent freezing the water?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    If it was winter time not much
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,208
    I was surprised and gas company was disappointed by how long it took residences to convert. Why not take away old burners to sell to junk dealer?
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    Because the burner is the owners property not ours.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating