Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.

If you've found help here, check back in to let us know how everything worked out.
It's a great way to thank those who helped you.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.

Oil to Propane

new_explorernew_explorer Member Posts: 11
edited January 9 in THE MAIN WALL
Bought house 5 wks ago, 1900+ ft² constructed in 1965, hydronic heat w/ oil boiler has cracked. Replacement advised. Located in CT. Comparing replacing with Propane boiler vs another oil boiler. Have 2 fireplaces & would like to convert to gas logs in future & install gas stove in kitchen with future (in 5 yrs?) kitchen remodel. Appreciate any advice on this. Currently running on borrowed time w/ patched crack, water leak increasing while we wait for contractor quotes. Input much appreciated.
Also: Oil tank needs replacing & chimney needs liner if we go with another oil boiler (vents up chimney). I did basic homework on BTUs of oil vs propane but finding mixed info on changing fuel sources otherwise. And natural gas not available.

Comments

  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,218
    May want to ask around about availability of propane when it's extremely cold, or weather is bad.
    I personally think oil is better than propane for availability, price, btu output, almost no chance of explosion, etc.
    Gas stove, 2 fireplaces, heater, is alot of propane.

    You could do both. Keep the oil, get an Energy Kinetics super efficient boiler. Do everything else in propane.
    The EK can be converted to gas (propane) if you find propane somehow becomes very inexpensive.
    steve
    new_explorer
  • pecmsgpecmsg Member Posts: 1,450
    LP is going to cost a lot more $ every year

    https://coalpail.com/fuel-comparison-calculator-home-heating
  • CondomanCondoman Member Posts: 66
    I am in SE CT and have fireplace & stove on propane with oil fired baseboard. Moved in 9 years ago and boiler was new so I added indirect for DHW.

    Since I don't heat LP is expensive for me. Ordered a fill up yesterday at $3.16 per gal. There are plenty of LP & oil dealers in this part of CT so I easily could switch if needed.

    My plan now is to add more mini-splits and use the heat pimp to off load some of my heating needs to them, plus better zoning of comfort as needed.
  • PRRPRR Member Posts: 39
    edited January 9
    *Old* oil versus 94% propane, fuel costs will be level or lower.

    I replaced a 17 year old oil furnace (claimed high 85% efficiency) with a 94% propane furnace. Not kept strict records but I am paying less, not more, for fuel. The new propane is clearly more efficient: the smoke pipe is hardly warm, that oil burner's pipe would sear your face. The 94% propane exhausts in plastic pipe through the wall, no messing with ancient masonry. (Above cellar wall in rimjoist, then up and out to clear snow.)

    Residential propane in CT should not be a supply problem. Yes the supply system favors oil and there are spot propane shortages. This winter a big problem in upper midwest farm country where a wet fall and a pipeline shutdown makes it hard to get the huge deliveries needed to dry corn for storage. A small part of that is that the propane suppliers (and farmers) understand that residential heat is more urgent than corn drying. There was a local problem here, some railway muck-up, where deliveries were running a week late. But generally residential propane in the northeast is not a problem.
    new_explorer
  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 13,528
    One thing I noticed being a propane customer for 25 years, the price moves around from summer to winter. I bought my own tanks, two 500 gallon and load up in summer. Here in Missouri I got 1.25 per gallon in August, missed the $1.05, it's closer to $2.00 now.

    We have dozens of LP dealers only a few oil. it's maybe the opposite around you?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
    Solid_Fuel_Mannew_explorer
  • pecmsgpecmsg Member Posts: 1,450
    PRR said:

    *Old* oil versus 94% propane, fuel costs will be level or lower.

    I replaced a 17 year old oil furnace (claimed high 85% efficiency) with a 94% propane furnace. Not kept strict records but I am paying less, not more, for fuel. The new propane is clearly more efficient: the smoke pipe is hardly warm, that oil burner's pipe would sear your face. The 94% propane exhausts in plastic pipe through the wall, no messing with ancient masonry. (Above cellar wall in rimjoist, then up and out to clear snow.)

    Residential propane in CT should not be a supply problem. Yes the supply system favors oil and there are spot propane shortages. This winter a big problem in upper midwest farm country where a wet fall and a pipeline shutdown makes it hard to get the huge deliveries needed to dry corn for storage. A small part of that is that the propane suppliers (and farmers) understand that residential heat is more urgent than corn drying. There was a local problem here, some railway muck-up, where deliveries were running a week late. But generally residential propane in the northeast is not a problem.

    LP 91,333 BTU's per gal minus 6% = 85,853 BTU output

    Oil 138,690 BTU's per gal minus 15% = 118,736 BTU output

    At $2 per gal for both
    1Mil BTU output
    LP $2329.56
    Oil $1696.55

    and don't forget the added cost of maintenance and service on that High Efficient LP Furnace.
    new_explorerSTEVEusaPA
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 11,078
    edited January 9
    pecmsg said:

    PRR said:

    *Old* oil versus 94% propane, fuel costs will be level or lower.

    I replaced a 17 year old oil furnace (claimed high 85% efficiency) with a 94% propane furnace. Not kept strict records but I am paying less, not more, for fuel. The new propane is clearly more efficient: the smoke pipe is hardly warm, that oil burner's pipe would sear your face. The 94% propane exhausts in plastic pipe through the wall, no messing with ancient masonry. (Above cellar wall in rimjoist, then up and out to clear snow.)

    Residential propane in CT should not be a supply problem. Yes the supply system favors oil and there are spot propane shortages. This winter a big problem in upper midwest farm country where a wet fall and a pipeline shutdown makes it hard to get the huge deliveries needed to dry corn for storage. A small part of that is that the propane suppliers (and farmers) understand that residential heat is more urgent than corn drying. There was a local problem here, some railway muck-up, where deliveries were running a week late. But generally residential propane in the northeast is not a problem.

    LP 91,333 BTU's per gal minus 6% = 85,853 BTU output

    Oil 138,690 BTU's per gal minus 15% = 118,736 BTU output

    At $2 per gal for both
    1Mil BTU output
    LP $2329.56
    Oil $1696.55

    and don't forget the added cost of maintenance and service on that High Efficient LP Furnace.
    The oil burner needs to be cleaned and serviced at least once a year. How is occasional maintenance on an LP furnace an "added cost" ?

    My dad's 2006 92% LP furnace has never been cleaned and his fuel consumption has remained about the same. Not saying it's right, but I am betting it's how most behave and the performance continues.
    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
    ethicalpaul
  • PRRPRR Member Posts: 39
    edited January 9
    @pecmsg - I follow your math until "$2 per gal for both". On contract I pay, this year, $2.15/gal for propane. The local cash oil price today is $2.80/gal.

    Propane is less weight and less BTU per gallon than oil. They are similar BTU/$, most of the time. Yes, spot-price in a bad month propane can be very much more expensive. But over the 5 years I have had no regret about the cost.

    The "85%" on the old oil burner nameplate was IMHO bogus. When I got it, I don't think it ever did 80%. It was also over-sized, short-cycled, with significant shut-down loss.

    A *new* oil burner could be a whole lot better. But the OP's burner is old (unknown) and dying. And tank is old. And he likes gas fire and stove. IMHO this could go either way: good new oil burner+tank with gas logs later, or just go all-propane.

    Tuneups on my gas burner have been far less than the constant calls to keep the old oil burner going. (I now think my oil-guy just stopped caring; a better tech would have had key parts on his truck.)

    Yes, propane has dangers different from oil. Yesterday a guy drove through a fence, into a propane tank, then a shed. Nothing happened, this time. But you rarely hear of a car hitting an oil tank. And a smashed oil tank outdoors is a mess not a disaster.
    new_explorer
  • lchmblchmb Member Posts: 2,992
    I've done a number of oil to gas conversions. If sized properly and installed per manufacturer spec's, you can heat your house happily for many years to come. Personally I like the Weil Mclain GV-90. It's a bit more expensive than some (boiler cost), takes up a bit more room but overall a nice package. Simple to maintain, easy to vent and quiet. I'm on the fence with wall hung boiler's due to temps needed and cost of maintenance. If you opt to stay with oil, I am a fan of System 2000. But as the case with anything, proper size and installation are the biggest part. If not done properly it will haunt you for years to come.. IMHO... best of luck and make sure to post pictures when your done!!
    new_explorer
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 1,978
    I'm in the same boat as hot rod. Get a propane cost if you own the tank. I bought my own 500 gallon tank as I only burn a few hundred gallons a year and they hose you on price with small usage. I call in the summer when propane is cheaper and get a cash price to fill my near empty tank. Works out to be about 70% of the cost per/btu vs. oil.

    I also figured the cost to operate a propane clothes dryer to be 35% of electric. That's just about 3 loads of clothes dried for the cost of 1 load of electricity.

    What are your costs for oil and propane?

    Also, I'm going to go out on a limb and say oil isnt 85% efficient....ever. Stack temps dont lie.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    new_explorer
  • new_explorernew_explorer Member Posts: 11
    Propane $3.29/gal & $50 annual tank rental (any size tank, above ground or buried)

    Oil $2.79/gal

    Oil: Peerless WBV-03 with riello burner recommended by 2 contractors. One says 40 gal indirect water, other quoted for coil.

    Propane: viessmann vitodens 100 B1KA, Extrol tank

    All options are 3 zones (that's the current set up)

    Was told the space configuration favors Peerless.
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,415
    > @PRR said:
    > *Old* oil versus 94% propane, fuel costs will be level or lower.
    >
    > I replaced a 17 year old oil furnace (claimed high 85% efficiency) with a 94% propane furnace. Not kept strict records but I am paying less, not more, for fuel. The new propane is clearly more efficient: the smoke pipe is hardly warm, that oil burner's pipe would sear your face. The 94% propane exhausts in plastic pipe through the wall, no messing with ancient masonry. (Above cellar wall in rimjoist, then up and out to clear snow.)
    >
    > Residential propane in CT should not be a supply problem. Yes the supply system favors oil and there are spot propane shortages. This winter a big problem in upper midwest farm country where a wet fall and a pipeline shutdown makes it hard to get the huge deliveries needed to dry corn for storage. A small part of that is that the propane suppliers (and farmers) understand that residential heat is more urgent than corn drying. There was a local problem here, some railway muck-up, where deliveries were running a week late. But generally residential propane in the northeast is not a problem.

    Furnace vs boiler is not a fair comparison.
    STEVEusaPAnew_explorer
  • NoFroNoFro Member Posts: 2
    We switched to propane with a new modcon for hot water radiators last winter.
    If you're considering propane for heat, price buying your own tank and shop around on gas costs for that. Huge difference.
    In Maryland we were paying about $2.80 for oil. If we leased a tank LP would have been about the same price. We bought our own, had it buried, and pay around $1.50 per gallon. Cost of the tank will be made up in no time - especially for us burning 1500 gallons a year.
    new_explorer
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,624
    edited January 10
    For an interesting other option, have a look at a vertical well closed-loop ground-source heat pump.

    It's not going to be the cheapest solution, but I loved taking my oil tank out of service in suburban coastal CT (bizarrely, there was no NG available on my street).

    I had a small LP tank for the stove.

    Heat pumps are great, and even an air-to-air heat pumps are starting to make sense in New England I think.

    Also consider wood or gas inserts in your fireplaces. I can't think of a better way to suck heat out of your house than a traditional fireplace, gas or wood. OK, maybe an attic fan would do it better, but barely.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 1,978
    At $3.29 for propane you are getting hosed.

    Should be in the $1.50/gal or less range.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 13,528
    edited January 10

    At $3.29 for propane you are getting hosed.



    Should be in the $1.50/gal or less range.

    Plenty of websites where you can search current prices and data back 10 years or more. For all fuels at the EIA.

    Here is a NY example.

    Where did oil sit when LP spiked to 4 bucks a gallon a few years back?

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,218
    Wrong attachment @hot_rod
    steve
  • ced48ced48 Member Posts: 462
    Yes, in the northeast, propane is expensive. But if you have the right equipment, you can still save a lot of money. I switched from oil to propane, and I spend about half of what I use to spend on oil, and picked up having a gas stove to boot.
    Solid_Fuel_Mannew_explorer
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 1,978
    There is a huge markup in propane for those who burn less than 100 gallons a year. Then 500 gallons a year, 1000....10,000 you get the idea.

    Owning your tank gets the ball in your court in my experience.

    Wholesale cost of LP is less than a dollar a gallon right now. But the cost of the tank farm, truck, insurance etc all add to the cost we pay.

    Oil has more competition, and the truck tank etc are all less expensive.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    STEVEusaPAnew_explorer
  • GWGW Member Posts: 3,766
    Buying your own tanks: if a regulator hangs up or freezes or fails, homeowner is in the doghouse.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    www.wilsonph.com
    [email protected]
  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 13,528
    GW said:

    Buying your own tanks: if a regulator hangs up or freezes or fails, homeowner is in the doghouse.

    My LP delivery guys have always been helpful with regulator issues or swaps, gauge malfunctions, etc. Most are trained for delivery and service work. Same as oil delivery I suppose.

    Another option is to lock in with a program, my supplier offered several different pre-buy at even low prices, trying to lock you to their brand. Paying upfront usually gets the lowest $$ if you have some cash

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
    new_explorer
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 1,978
    Regualtor issues.

    I've owned the same regualtor for 11 years, intregal twin stage and it has yet to freeze or hang up. They can be had for 50 bucks online.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • rick in Alaskarick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,086

    At $3.29 for propane you are getting hosed.



    Should be in the $1.50/gal or less range.

    I wish! Currently lp is $3.89 in bulk, but if you lease your tank from the propane company, then it goes up to $6.25. Last I looked , oil is running around $3.25
    So, around here, there is no way propane can compete with oil.
    And I would bet that PRR's old boiler was way oversized and out of adjustment.
    Bottom line is to check your local prices and find out what you would incur for cost to go either way, and how much potential savings you could expect in the years to come.
    Rick
    Solid_Fuel_ManSTEVEusaPAnew_explorer
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 1,978
    So I'm guessing you dont see much if any propane boilers/furnaces, ranges, dryers in Alaska!

    I go with what is least expensive in the long run.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    new_explorer
  • GWGW Member Posts: 3,766
    Regulators- may never have an issue, but if you do, you’re done, and fewer people to work on them. If you have a guy (I think we all recall we are trades guys here), great. If not, could be a big problem.

    If you’re gonna buy your own tanks you may or may not be buying propane from a full service provider. And the full service people charge more. A classic ying and yang thing
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    www.wilsonph.com
    [email protected]
    Solid_Fuel_Mannew_explorer
  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 13,528
    GW said:

    Regulators- may never have an issue, but if you do, you’re done, and fewer people to work on them. If you have a guy (I think we all recall we are trades guys here), great. If not, could be a big problem.



    If you’re gonna buy your own tanks you may or may not be buying propane from a full service provider. And the full service people charge more. A classic ying and yang thing

    As I travel the country more and more I see oil companies also offering LP. So service should not be an issue.

    In Missouri you need to take a class every two years to work on or deliver LP. They have a serviceman class as well as a deliveryman session. I would guess other states require LP certification?

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
    new_explorer
  • rick in Alaskarick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,086
    There are actually quite a few propane systems here. There are some of my customers who can not have oil in their house due to health problems. Almost all the people who do have propane, own their tanks.
    Ranges are very common to have propane hooked up to them. My wife would leave me if I tried to take her gas stove away!
    Like everything else up here, we just get used to the prices.
    Rick
    Solid_Fuel_Mannew_explorer
  • DZoroDZoro Member Posts: 1,035
    Gas prices are very regional. This spring I filled my 1000 gal lp tank for .89 in Wisconsin. Oil doesn't compare.
    D
    new_explorer
  • GWGW Member Posts: 3,766
    89 cents that’s wild
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    www.wilsonph.com
    [email protected]
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 1,978
    Most of my commercial/industrial customers (10,000+ gal/year) are at or just around $1 a gallon right now. That's with them owning the tanks. Oil is over $2 a gallon for that same type of consumption. So all of my large customers are LP.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    new_explorer
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,956
    Right at the moment LP and oil are just about the same price for me, on a per BTU basis. LP is a lot more volatile as to price, though. I've seen it at three quarters of what it is now. I've also see it at close to triple. Oil hasn't changed more than about 5 percent either way over the last five or ten years.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    new_explorer
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 1,978
    Definatly a regional thing.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    new_explorer
  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 13,528
    LP can swing low also, when I moved to Missouri we were paying mid .60 per gallon. A weird spike in 2014 to over 3 bucks. usually hovers under 2.00 per gallon.

    Currently they seem to be flaring a lot of gas in Texas.

    I could heat my home for a lifetime with the gas they are burning off :)


    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/energy/flaring-or-why-so-much-gas-is-going-up-in-flames/2019/09/04/f3db2166-cf1b-11e9-a620-0a91656d7db6_story.html
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • new_explorernew_explorer Member Posts: 11
    Somewhere in this thread there was a request to update when I finally made a decision. Chose System2000 so I can stick with oil but still have option to easily convert to LPG down the road. Never thought I'd be so excited about a boiler! Many thanks for your insights.
    SuperTechszwedjRoger
  • SuperTechSuperTech Member Posts: 1,345
    In my opinion you made the best possible choice. Energy Kinetics makes a fine boiler.
    new_explorerRoger
  • MainiacMainiac Member Posts: 12
    Awesome! I think you'll be very happy with your System 2000. We've had ours for 2 months and are loving it.
    szwedjRogernew_explorer
  • RogerRoger Member Posts: 130
    @new_explorer , thank you for placing your confidence in Energy Kinetics and your heating professional and selecting system 2000! And thank you to so many people for such fine compliments about our company and products on this thread.
    Best,
    Roger
    President
    Energy Kinetics, Inc.
    Robert O'Brien
  • new_explorernew_explorer Member Posts: 11
    @Roger Thank you for such a fine product. I was sorry to miss the installation due to work. My husband was the lucky one home that day, so I spent this morning identifying everything I could see by the installation guide. Not because I don't trust our contractor (they did a great job in tight quarters), but because I've been fascinated by how all this works. And your reputation for excellent customer service is well deserved! A rare find, thanks again.
    Robert O'Brien
  • RogerRoger Member Posts: 130
    Thank you for such nice comments and compliments,@new_explorer! I look forward to you having many years of Happy Heating!
    President
    Energy Kinetics, Inc.
    Robert O'Briennew_explorerSuperTechErin Holohan Haskell
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!