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oil vs. propane vs. combi boiler

Sable1416Sable1416 Posts: 2Member
edited August 2019 in Gas Heating
We downsized to a modular ranch, 1500 ft, last winter. Oil furnace is 27 years old, and working, however, we are looking at replacement. We also need a new chimney, water heater if we stay with oil. 3 companies have presented us with combi boiler units with a switch to propane. We already heat the garage with propane. We are wondering why the companies seem to prefer the combi units over the oil (except we know the maintenance, cleaning, etc) ? Thoughts on how these combi units work? It is just the two of us with an occasional guest visit from our adult son, we are retired, and we don't run dishwasher, shower, washing machine at the same time.


  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,563Member
    First off: We do NOT discuss pricing on this forum. You need to read this:

    Use the Edit function to take the pricing out.

    With regard to oil vs. propane, oil is the better deal on a cost-per-BTU basis in most areas. And the combi boiler will require annual maintenance, just like an oil-fired one.

    Propane is less safe than natural gas or oil, since it is heavier than air and will collect on the floor if there is a leak, waiting for an ignition source.

    If the present oil-fired unit has a tankless coil (stays hot all the time to provide hot faucet water) switching to an indirect tank or an aquabooster tank will save a lot of fuel. With one of these, the unit only fires the boiler if the tank calls for heat. You could make this upgrade now and replace the boiler later.

    What make and model is the present boiler? What burner is on it? Post pics so we can see. And where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 3,796Member
    I’m assuming you have a boiler when you said furnace. If so Id consider an EK, oil or propane, depending on what works for you. Endless hot water, can be direct vented.
  • Sable1416Sable1416 Posts: 2Member
    edited August 2019
    It is Peerless, from 1992. It is a boiler. My camera is broke, so I can't get a pic today. It seems like all the companies are steering away from oil, but none will give a specific reason. Is the industry moving away from oil in general? We have an indirect hot water tank now. Everything works fine, however, the chimney, we just found out, needs work. We don't need a chimney with the propane combi. We live in New York State, about the middle of the state. Cold winters, but not as cold as the Adirondacks/Canada line. Do folks like the combis? Thanks for thoughts!
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,563Member
    Post pics when you can. Peerless makes a good boiler and always has, so I wouldn't be so hot (I know, bad pun) on replacing it. Meanwhile, can you post the make and model?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 2,824Member
    In '92 the JOT was the predecessor to the WBV. I wouldn't use a JOT as a boat anchor as to not insult anchors. Those '84 and '85 blocks gave me fits. You couldn't thread a needle between the sections.
    You're probably getting turned away from oil because the contractors you're getting probably make most of there business through conversions and dont know the first thing about oil fired equipment.
    As mentioned above, the EK-1 Frontier is an excellent system and can be used with oil or gas. But the contractor must be a certified dealer. Contact oil dealers in your area.
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