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Energy Kinetics: Oil vs Propane?

hughbucks Member Posts: 9
Looking at replacing my 30+ oil boiler with an Energy Kinetics system. I also have a 500 gallon propane tank on my property.

I'm contemplating switching to propane as I'd have to replace my oil tank anyway, but Energy Kinetics seems to throw a wrinkle into it. My understanding is that if oil and propane were the same cost per unit, oil would be cheaper to operate as it generates more BTUs / $. The Energy Kinetics boilers don't seem to differentiate between efficiencies of oil boiler vs propane boiler. Is that true? (The Accel is the only want you can't use an oil burner). If true, would there be any benefit to propane over oil?

In my area, oil is currently around $2.8/gallon and propane around $3.1/gallon at least as of today.


  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,132
    Personally I would stick with the oil. Nat gas & propane have some volatility coming, and propane is more prone to supply issues of heating oil.
    That's just my opinion. Where you are may not have that issue.
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,032
    I'm an oil guy too but you cant go wrong with either. The Carlin EZ gas burner in the EK-1 Frontier is as perfect a match as the Beckett AFG is the for the EK oil.
    I use LP for cooking and the clothes dryer but it's not cost effective by me to use it for my heating system. Turns out it wasn't cost effective for my dryer either.
    The Accel CS being a mod con might offset higher LP costs but you have to do the math. Most here know that's not my strong point.
  • hughbucks
    hughbucks Member Posts: 9
    Argh, my original question got cut off.

    The Ascent, System 2000, and the Resolute can all be equipped with either propane or oil burner. EK lists the efficiencies as 87/88/91%. Are those the same efficiencies for oil or propane or both?

    If so, and if oil is the same or cheaper per unit -- which it is where I live in southeast PA -- why not go oil? Everyone seems to want me to go propane (I wouldn't mind getting my oil tank out of my basement) but I'm trying to figure out which is the most efficient cost-wise. Only thing against oil cost-wise is I've heard 1) tune-ups are a bit more and 2) you really can't afford to skip a tune-up where propane doesn't require it.

    I could go to the Accel CS at 98% which is only propane/nat gas but that is more upfront cost.
  • JayMcCay
    JayMcCay Member Posts: 21
    edited January 2019
    As you mentioned, @hughbucks ,the multi-fuel models (oilheat, natural gas, or propane) are the System 2000 Frontier, the 90+ Resolute, and the Ascent Combi, and the Accel CS is natural gas or propane. For the multi-fuel models, the efficiency is just about the same for oil vs gas, with oil performing about 1% to 2% higher than propane or natural gas – either is difficult to see on your fuel bill for energy consumed.
    If you want to compare fuel costs, you may want to look at a page we have dedicated to that here:

    For reference, Energy Kinetics and all oil and gas boiler manufacturers we know will have a statement requiring an annual tune-up – some gas combi boiler manufacturers actually require annual tune ups twice per year. An interesting development is that as of 2018, oilheat has ultra-low sulfur content in most states and essentially burns as clean as gas when properly tuned (which should be easy with a combustion test kit and a well-designed combustion area and chamber like our models). Pennsylvania is 500 ppm sulfur (which is low sulfur) and very clean burning, and Philadelphia is 15ppm (ultra-low sulfur) which is just like gas for particulates.
    Jay McCay
    National Sales Manager
    Energy Kinetics
    908 328-7154 cell
  • GBart
    GBart Member Posts: 746
    edited January 2019
    Just a FYI, consumers and some in the field think you can skip an annual maintenance on a gas unit, NOTHING is further from the truth. Gas units rarely need to be vac'd and this is becoming true with oil if the tech set it up correctly and especially with the System 2000, a System 2000 is not to be opened unless the draft test says otherwise.

    There is this thing called a Factory Manual and it not only lists the frequency of maintenance but what must be done and tested. If only people followed and read them.

    Pretty sure most people that have been sickened or died from CO in their home that was caused by a gas fired heating appliance was due to a lack of maintenance.