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Where to go: continue with oil or go to electric...

WCoulter Member Posts: 1
I'm trying to decide on a new heating system, my HVAC guy said my oil boiler is on it's last legs. I'm thinking of switching to electric heat/hot water and I'm looking for some specific guidance. So I have a small 1100 square foot, 2 story house with a basement. My insulation is pretty decent and right now i spend a out $400 a month, SEP thru APR on oil (150 gal/mt) which runs me about $3200. At about $150 a month on an electric bill that's $1800 for the year. So I guess my question is how will a brand new, high-efficiency oil boiler affect those initial costs, and would it still be a better idea to go with electric?


  • Robert_25
    Robert_25 Member Posts: 452
    150 gallons per month in an 1100 sq. ft house? Sounds to me like you need to tighten up the house.

    In most areas, electric rates are too high for resistance heating to compete with oil, but there are exceptions. Take a look at your last electric bill and divide the total $ by the total kwh to see what the rate is.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,417

    In the many years I have been doing this, electric heat has not been the most cost effective nor has it been very comfortable either.
    I would not go with electric.
    However. If you work with a reputable contractor that installs and services there work, you will more than likely find some choices that will be more to your liking. COMFORT in your home is what is best after all.
    This contractor will do the proper measurements of your home to find the right heating system for you and service that system for you for years to come.
    I would suggest getting a few quotes to see what will work best for you.
    If you like, you can click on the find a contractor section above.
    I would not go with electric. It is not the most comfort for your dollar.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,477
    There are a few areas in the US, and Quebec in Canada, where resistance electric heat is competitive with oil. Very few. In many others the cost of the electricity can be double or triple what you would spend on oil. Check your costs very very carefully.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,977
    edited March 2019
    An EK may be the only way for oil. Everything else has to be massively oversized.


    I'd start walking around with a thermal imaging camera to see what's going on. Tighten up that envelope.

    Don't know what part of the world you are in but I don't burn that much oil in my house in Philly suburbs almost 3x that size.

    I'd have to also guess high oil consumption (if you are using your boiler for domestic hot water) is not helped by a limed/plugged coil, maintaining high boiler temps, and any dripping hot water out of faucets.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,146
    Electric heat works great and very little maintenance.............but your going to pay a lot to run it. If natural gas is not available stay with oil.

    The heating season is almost over. get an energy audit done. Replace windows add insulation etc. When that is done you need an accurate heat loss to size the new boiler.

    Don't size it based on the old boiler or measuring the baseboard or the square footage. It will be oversized if you do that

    Then get a good contractor and change the boiler. Skip a step =make a mistake
  • flat_twin
    flat_twin Member Posts: 331
    New neighbor with 1700 sq ft house and electric boiler with baseboards is spending $600-800 per month at 12.5 cents per Kwh during the heating season. She had sticker shock over the cost of a new nat gas boiler until I told her how much I spent on NG and electricity.
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,856
    I would only go with electric under a few circumstances. First I would have to already have forced air heating. No way am I ripping out a boiler in favour of forced air. Next I would have to have a sufficient photovoltaic system to help with the increased electric usage. I wouldn't install anything other than a variable speed heat pump like the Carrier infinity Greenspeed due to the extreme cold in my area.

    I would also go with an Energy Kinetics boiler, keep the oil tank and hydronic system. Number one priority should be insulating the house from the sound of it.

    Ideally it would be best to have a EK boiler and Greenspeed heat pump, but that will be expensive.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,146
    Sometimes electric is fine to boost the heat in a room that heats poorly or has high heat loss or a space you can't easily get piping into like a concrete slab room