Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.

Lp vs Oil

willasdad
willasdad Member Posts: 23
Presently I am trying to make the long term decision/investment of a new boiler and DHW source for my home with CI baseboards. Natural Gas is not available in my area. Propane is. Oil is also. The home has a brand new double bottom 275 oil tank with new lines.
I thought that I had made my decision to install a Viessmann oil boiler and 300 indirect. I feel confident that this is a reliable and efficient setup. But I do find myself questioning if it is worth the extra investment to get propane tank/Tanks to go with a mod/cod boiler instead. The Viessmann oil is a cold start which helps and with an outside reset it will likely be very efficient. I have not yet been convinced that, though the Lp boiler is of greater efficiency, that the fuel itself is. “Pound for pound” the oil we know delivers greater btus. I looked into the on demand benefits of Lp DHW units, and I’m just not convinced of their longevity, not to mention the added maintenance required. So then I said to myself, self ;) wouldn’t an LP mod/cod boiler with indirect be the most efficient? And thus my question, or almost one. With the cost of leasing propane tanks, or burying my own, be worth the roi of the greater efficiency over the same setup with oil. Seems to me if the Lp is still firing to heat up DHW, is it really that much more efficient than oil cold start that does the same with a “richer” fuel. Say the tank lease for two 250 above ground is 100 a year. Burying my own (1000 gal), which I’m told is really the way to go, would be about a 3g outlay. As I said, I already have an oil tank in near perfect condition. The LP companies in my area seem to be becoming fewer and fewer, which makes me quite leery about becoming slave to their pricing. So I guess the question here, if there is one! Is am I really giving up that much to go with a Viessmann oil boiler with indirect, from a Viessmann mod/con with indirect? Therefore making it worth the switch in fuel source? I’m leaning towards staying with oil, can anybody convince why I shouldn’t? I know maintenance is a factor, but considering the buried tank, there is eventually some with that too. Fortunately venting is not an issue in either case. And while I know enough to get myself into, and out of some trouble, The install being the key to any success of any degree, I’ll be letting the pro handle it.
No longer in the field, I now work in municipal water supply, but I was real happy to remember this site and get my tongue wet with all the heat talk again, really enjoy it! Thanks in advance for any and all responses!

Comments

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,552
    The question comes across the board often, crunching numbers is one way to answer your question.

    As I travel around I see LP being sold by oil delivery companies also. It would seem to be more available not less?

    Being a LP user for 25 years now, the $$ fluctuation is my pet peeve, and the price doesn't vary from dealer to dealer, which seem suspicious.

    Pre buy plans help keep the cost stable throughout season.
    Get several tanks and load up by August!

    Also with LP you can cook, dry laundry, barbecue.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    willasdad
  • Leonard
    Leonard Member Posts: 903
    edited February 2018
    Got to run the numbers and make estimates for fuel costs.

    Propane is ~ 100k BTU/gal, #2 oil ~ 138k I think. With propane likely can go condensing, for higher efficientcy. Don't think you can do that with oil.

    Cost of fuel varies over the years. Before fracking the ground for crude oil became popular , propane was ~ most expensive on raw BTU basis. Now it's cheaper , who knows what future will bring. As a kid dad said oil and nat gas sea-sawed for lowest cost.

    Nice side benifit of propane is it can run a generator provide power during outages. But generators are thirsty, a 7kw might draw ~ 1.5 gal/ hour at full load ( ~ .5 at no load). So generator demand at full load may exceed your furnace demand, needs larger tank. Smaller kw rated gens have proportionately lower no-load demands.(sort of a stand by loss)

    I hear with propane have to own your tank if you want to randomly buy from various propane suppliers, (cost).
  • Brewbeer
    Brewbeer Member Posts: 612
    How much per year do you spend on fuel now?
    Hydronics inspired homeowner with self-designed high efficiency low temperature baseboard system and professionally installed mod-con boiler with indirect DHW. My system design thread: http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/154385
    System Photo: https://us.v-cdn.net/5021738/uploads/FileUpload/79/451e1f19a1e5b345e0951fbe1ff6ca.jpg
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,826
    Many boilers will fire oil and gas (with a gas burner). You could start off with the oil (you already have the new tank), and if it looks like prices are going up and staying up, pop in and set up the gas burner for LP.
    Overall, efficiency wise, gas will do a little better than oil-sized properly, set up properly and piped properly.
    You could even go with an EK, which easily switches from oil to gas.
    http://energykinetics.com/Efficient-Boiler-Technology-Whisper-Quiet-Made-In-USA/
    steve
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,582
    You could have a high efficiency Energy Kinetics boiler installed. Then if you want to switch fuel type all you need to do is change the burner.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 3,996
    I only vote for LP when it's a warm air furnace or there's a power venter needed on the oil. Oil is just lest costly in most cases.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    newagedawn
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 3,996
    Leonard said:



    I hear with propane have to own your tank if you want to randomly buy from various propane suppliers, (cost).

    You can say that again- I've heard of some nasty stories; when you rent, they got ya!
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    Robert O'Brien
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,582
    I agree. Not a fan of LP boilers or power venters either
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,552
    Around here used lp tanks sell for around a buck a gallon. They are always on Craigslist as HO switch to NG when available.

    I've accumulated 6 tanks that I own and I can shop any supplier. 500 gallon are the most common, watch the date code on the used tanks.

    I've yet to find more than a few cents difference between a dozen LP suppliers around here. My only complaint is the wide and un-predictable $$ spread.

    I've paid from .39 to over 3.50 in the 25 years I've lived in SW Missouri!

    Currently we are at $2.10 per gallon.

    There are all sorts of pre buys and lease options, free first fill to switch companies, etc. With so many dealers in my area, they are always looking to switch you over, and cut a deal.

    Mid summer I could have tied in to $1.79 for the season, I waited to long speculating. During mild winters prices can drop mid season as the local dealers need to commit to their suppliers. Either they sell their pre-order or pay storage fees at the bulk plants.

    In my area LP is a predominate fuel source used in Ag, poultry barns, school districts, etc. I'm sure it is an area specific issue as to cost and wheeling and dealing.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Robert O'Brien
  • Leonard
    Leonard Member Posts: 903
    edited February 2018
    Was either last winter or year before that propane was selling for ~ $1 /gallon and some shortage happened. Some people paid ~ $5.50/gallon in midwest? I think it was. But only for few weeks. One old poor woman was found frozen in her house, couldn't afford propane.

    Few years ago #2 oil slowly creeped up to ~ $4.00 /gal for a year during some war in middle east but never hit $5.50.
    ---------------------------------------

    As far as generators I suppose you could fuel a diesel gen with #2 heating oil and fuel consumption would be ~ 1/2 that of propane (assumes equal kw size gens). But in cold climates might be hard to start , maybe have to start it on diesel, #2 is heavier/waxier than diesel. Also in cold climates #2 will gell.
  • Oil is the way to go. Propane was a reaction to $4/gallon oil 4 or 6 years ago. It is not ready for prime time.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
    newagedawn
Sign In or Register to comment.

Welcome

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!