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oil to gas conversion

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soot5bic
soot5bic Member Posts: 9
hi, am thinking of replacing riello oil burner with carlin or riello gas burner on my 8 year old g115 buderus 4 section boiler with r21o7 logmatic control. i have had no issues with the burner or the control but with oil prices approaching 4.00 a gal i'm wondering if it is worth it. i am having trouble finding anyone willing to do it, everybody wants to sell me a new boiler. no one seems to be able to tell me if i would save any money by switching or should i bite the bullet and go all new boiler etc. i am a retired oil burner guy and know my way around oil products but need someone with good gas knowledge to help with install. seems to be in short supply in my area. thanks. soot5bic

Comments

  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,916
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    With oil and NG prices going up NO you're not going to save money.

    If you want to cut your fuel bills,
    tighten the envelope
    get a smaller boiler
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,567
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    Somehow I have a suspicion that natural gas prices may go up too... as always, compare the cost of a BTU from each fuel source. You'll use the same number of BTUs either way, so that will help you decide whether it's worth the money in your specific market.

    Oh. And make sure you can even get a new natural gas service installed. An increasing number of markets restrict or prohibit new services.

    Better yet, as @pecmsg says, spend your money on reducing your heat losses.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • heathead
    heathead Member Posts: 234
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    Look at comments from steamhead or wait for him to coment on this. He knows his stuff on the burner conversion.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,950
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    Thanks, @heathead .

    @soot5bic , your Buderus will run fine with a Carlin or Riello gas burner, as long as the burner is properly selected and installed. It's not worth it to completely replace the boiler, as the usual atmospheric gas boiler would not be as efficient. But- the conversion must be done by someone who knows what they're doing. Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,767
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    @soot5bic A gallon of oil is 140,000 btu/gallon . Natural gas is 1000 btu/cubic foot just so you have somthing to compare numbers too.
  • soot5bic
    soot5bic Member Posts: 9
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    hi appreciate all your comments, am located on cape cod in ma. am trying to put together a consensus of what to do. it seems that people in my area who have switched to gas (and there are many) are spending 30 to40 percent less on their heating bills than i am. i know there a a lot of variables to take into account;insulation, windows, square footage etc. and i don't think i am doing too bad at 500 gals a year for heat and hot water but when i look at mass. yearly averages for gas and oil heating of a standard home, i wonder if converting is a viable option. i realise also that both gas and oil are in flux right now but oil is rising much faster than gas. appreciate all your feedback and i am tightening up my house (new windows soon). thanks. soot5bic
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,906
    edited March 2022
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    Assuming similar efficiency (otherwise just divide by the respective efficiencies).

    Oil $/MMBtu input = $/gallon x (1,000,000/138,000)
    Gas $/MMBtu input = $/therm x (1,000,000/100,000)

    Then multiply that by 69 MMBtu. Obviously, the prices will change constantly.
  • Jon_blaney
    Jon_blaney Member Posts: 321
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    Watched a guy on Youtube just last night do a switch out from oil to gas. He use a Carlin burner. Looked very similar to an oil burner. If you did oil. you can do the switch. How much is it going to cost to get gas in the house? I am in RI and use oil. The only reason I would switch is to get a smaller furnace. Oil furnaces do not come in small sizes like you can get with gas.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,916
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    soot5bic said:
    hi appreciate all your comments, am located on cape cod in ma. am trying to put together a consensus of what to do. it seems that people in my area who have switched to gas (and there are many) are spending 30 to40 percent less on their heating bills than i am. i know there a a lot of variables to take into account;insulation, windows, square footage etc. and i don't think i am doing too bad at 500 gals a year for heat and hot water but when i look at mass. yearly averages for gas and oil heating of a standard home, i wonder if converting is a viable option. i realise also that both gas and oil are in flux right now but oil is rising much faster than gas. appreciate all your feedback and i am tightening up my house (new windows soon). thanks. soot5bic
    So 30% of your total heating bill is ?

    FWIW I find 30% high 10 15% is more realistic. 

    Also Oil and NG ARE both going up. ThankYou Biden and Putin. 
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    pecmsg said:

    ...ThankYou Biden and Putin. 

    Not Biden, just Putin.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,916
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    ...ThankYou Biden and Putin. 
    Not Biden, just Putin.    

    He shut down a pipeline and other things last year. 

    Not getting political just stating facts. 
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    You have no idea what the pipeline is for, and who profits from it. Has nothing to do with the price of gasoline, oil or natural gas.
    US refineries could easily ramp up production, put more product on the market and lower prices. They have the products and capacity. But why do that when they can make record profits thru-putting to the market and the ultimate consumer.
    US refineries and frackers need that pipeline to get the products out of the country, to sell to the highest bidder (market) overseas.
    I’ve never heard a petroleum company say if they get the pipeline, US gets cheaper prices and the rest of the world pays more. It’s only about their own profits.
    Thousands of miles of up to 100 year old inter continental pipelines criss crossing the country, leaking and failing and polluting the environment. No one is fixing them or cleaning them up. Just build more. Kick the environmental can down the road.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    mattmia2
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,950
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    We don't do politics on this site. @Erin Holohan Haskell ?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,767
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    All I know is we are as of today the United States importing Russian oil.

    Whatever is causing that I could care less but THAT should not be happening.

    Not politics just morality
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,335
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    Steamhead said:

    We don't do politics on this site. @Erin Holohan Haskell ?

    No, we don't. Let's get back on topic. Thanks.

    President
    HeatingHelp.com

  • nde
    nde Member Posts: 86
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    My area has high NG prices due to supply issues but even so I have saved enough over the last 10+ years that it paid for the conversion plus half towards a new boiler. Not to mention the peace of mind not having a super fund oil spill disaster waiting to happen in the basement. Also increases home resale value.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,157
    edited March 2022
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    Back to the topic.
    OP has a Buderus boiler that uses #2 oil at a specific efficiency. Chances are that a different fuel like, #1 fuel, kerosene, LP gas or Natural gas will have a similar efficiency. To calculate the savings or additional cost based on the different fuel is a very easy mathematical calculation, based on the purchase price of the fuel the BTU content of the fuel and the applicable operating efficiency of the appliance. I believe that after the calculation is completed you will find the fuel will make little difference in the operating cost.

    OFF TOPIC: The Public Utility Commission (or whet ever organization regulates the utility in your area) will slow the price increase in the natural gas to the final consumer. However, it will not stop the price increase to the final consumer. Fossil fuels cost what they cost and the consumer will pay for that cost sooner or later.

    Fuel oil prices react faster to market changes because they are regulated less. Competition between independent fuel dealers keep that price in check... the price may go up quickly, but it also can drop just as quickly as market conditions change. Natural gas utilities provide the cost of doing business to the "PUC" when the company requests a rate increase. The PUC reviews the documents and approves the rate increase to the consumer. (or a portion of the requested increase... so they always ask for more than they need) But in the overall time tested long run, the saving usually don't justify the cost to change appliances.


    BACT TO TOPIC: To realize a savings, you must get more efficient equipment. So the Buderus G115 at best can get to about 85% combustion efficiency but more likely operates at an average of 82% over a season. To get a higher efficiency the OP should consider a modulating condensing boiler that operates over 92% and closer to 96% combustion efficiency (depending on the system return water temperature). That is (in my opinion) is the only real way to switch to Gas and save on operating cost. That money may be better spent on insulation, windows, weatherstripping and the like. Hold that heat you generated inside longer. Also consider fresh air heat exchangers if the house gets too tight.

    In my over 40 years of oil heat and general HVAC work, I have taken 40% and 50% efficient coal converted furnaces and boilers and made them operate more efficient with "Modernizing" them with new flame retention burners and a complete refurbish of the appliance including combustion chamber, Barometric draft control, sealing up the seams between the sections, and redesigning the control logic to make it better that it was. When appropriate, a new furnace or boiler was installed to replace the old equipment. By going from 40% efficiency to 75% efficiency (or more) at a reasonable price did in fact lower operating cost. but changing from oil to gas when using the same appliance, almost never realized a significant savings.

    I hope this helps.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • soot5bic
    soot5bic Member Posts: 9
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    thanks to all especially edtheheaterman. the last sentence of your post was exactly the kind of information i was looking for. it seems like the only way to achieve significant savings is to upgrade to high efficiency condensing equipment and get rid of my current boiler and 45 year old oil tank. the only problem i have is who will service the new high efficiency equipment should something go wrong. i have always been able to do all my own repair work and am not sure there are enough competent gas techs in my area to competently work on all the new equipment. thanks guys i will do more research and really do appreciate your real world experiences. i agree, keep politics out of what should be honest give and take between craftsmen on trade subjects. be cordial.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,950
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    You don't want to replace that Buderus. It will outlast at least two condensing boilers.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    STEVEusaPAHVACNUT
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,916
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    soot5bic said:

    thanks to all especially edtheheaterman. the last sentence of your post was exactly the kind of information i was looking for. it seems like the only way to achieve significant savings is to upgrade to high efficiency condensing equipment and get rid of my current boiler and 45 year old oil tank. the only problem i have is who will service the new high efficiency equipment should something go wrong. i have always been able to do all my own repair work and am not sure there are enough competent gas techs in my area to competently work on all the new equipment. thanks guys i will do more research and really do appreciate your real world experiences. i agree, keep politics out of what should be honest give and take between craftsmen on trade subjects. be cordial.

    You'll see savings while running that boiler below 140° supply water. That will be 15% of the time the other 85% the supply water will be ABOVE condensing temperature and little if any savings.


    Now if you an increase the size of your emitters then savings are there. But like you said now you have to pay someone to repair and maintain that unit.................?
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,906
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    You'll see savings while running that boiler below 140° supply water. That will be 15% of the time the other 85% the supply water will be ABOVE condensing temperature and little if any savings.


    I'm not promoting a mod-con here, but c'mon. Only 15% of the time under 140? There's no way to know that right now. It could be 100% condensing or 0% but I'd bet it's likely >50% even with baseboard.

    The other problem with fuel switching is the low heat loss of this home. 500 gallons/year with 5000 HDD/year narrows how much you can save.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,850
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    You really need to look at your current emitters and heat loss to figure out if a mod con makes sense efficiency wise. There are other reasons it could make sense like you would otherwise have to make expensive repairs to a chimney or you want some of the space that the current boiler and chimney take up but just efficiency isn't likely to ever pay back.
  • JR3_Home_Performance
    JR3_Home_Performance Member Posts: 23
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    Everyone is assuming natural gas. In case you’re talking about propane…in that case it almost never makes sense to make a change strictly for the sake of saving money. 
  • LudgerHentschel
    LudgerHentschel Member Posts: 22
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    It seems relatively straightforward to work out whether a conversion would pay for itself if prices for oil and natural gas remained at their current levels. The real problem is that both prices will fluctuate in the future and won't move in lockstep with each other. That makes it inherently uncertain whether a conversion will pay for itself.

    An interesting aspect of natural gas prices is that they have been systematically low during east coast winters. They appear to peak in summer, when gas-fired power plants are called into service to supply electricity for air conditioning. (See https://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/n3010ny3m.htm.)

    In contrast, heating oil does not appear to have a strong seasonal price pattern.

    In very round values:
    heating oil recently cost $4/gal or $29/MMBTU (using 140,000BTU per gallon)
    natural gas recently cost $15/1,000cf or $15/MMBTU (using 1,000BTU per cubic foot)

    There is no guarantee that prices will remain in this relation. At recent prices, however, heating with natural gas during east coast winters appears to have been cheaper than heating with oil.

    If 300 of the 500 annual gallons are for winter heat, they may attract the kinds of saving suggested above, maybe $600 for gas heat instead of $1,200 for oil heat per year.

    During the summer, natural gas is often twice as expensive as during the winter. Hence, the savings for hot water are likely to be much smaller.

    If, in fact, a burner conversion can save $500 in fuel costs per year, then you can work out how many years it would take to recoup the cost of a new burner installation. (If your oil burner is about to die, you should focus on the difference in price between a new gas burner and a new oil burner.)

    In our neighborhood, most of the costs for burner conversions come from things other than the burner. The old houses around here often require new chimney liners that cost more than a new gas burner. Our local regulations also require decommissioning of disused oil tanks. That can cost several times as much as a new gas burner. These costs clearly depend on the current condition of the chimney, the location of the oil tank, and the requirements for dealing with both. But other costs can dwarf the incremental cost of a new gas burner, especially if you don't have a brand new oil burner.

    Clearly, we can work out the cost savings from heating with gas versus oil at current prices for each fuel. I think gas has been noticeably cheaper in the Northeastern US. With some additional investigation, we can work out the full cost of conversion. Then, we can think about whether the conversion is worthwhile at current prices. After that, we can only wait to find out whether future prices turn out to favor oil or gas.

    After all that, you might think we heat with natural gas. In fact, we have persisted with oil. I am fairly certain that has cost more than heating with natural gas. But it took years to get a gas line to the house. Then we had the same struggle finding someone willing to install a gas burner in an oil-fired boiler. As a result, I continue to prepare for a switch from oil to gas when the existing oil equipment fails. Fortunately, that has not happened yet. I finally thought we were prepared for a smooth conversion. Unfortunately, we are now subject to gas service change restrictions. As a result, it is not clear that we can have the gas meter bumped up (the pipes are plenty big). You never know ...
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,458
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    My two cents. In my area, almost all my customers who did a burner conversion are seeing about a 70% reduction in their bill. I haven't asked anyone in the last year or so, so with the current prices, that might have changed. Gas prices around here seem to be a lot more stable here than on the East coast though, at least for now.
    Also, I have done a lot of Buderus conversions with the Riello burner, and have not had good luck with them. Random shutdowns, and I never could figure out why, so I changed to Carlin and have not had any issues.
    Rick
  • soot5bic
    soot5bic Member Posts: 9
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    great comments. have been doing some research and unless i am way off base on my numbers 100 gals of oil in my area cost $390. this is equal to apx 150 therms. at the current price of $1.80 per therm (for the sake of argument) lets say $2.00 per therm nat gas would cost $300 given apx same efficiences. this would equate to about a 25% savings all things being equal. i think natural gas has been cheaper in my area for awhile but it is hard to figure out by how much. don't get me wrong, i love my buderus boiler with the logmatic indoor outdoor reset and troublefree riello burner and would not consider switching to gas at all if not for the age of my oil tank. as to rick in alaska , buderus told me to go with the carlin burner as i have heard of problems with the riello also. am still researching and trying to figure out best path forward. thanks for all pertinent comments. soot5bic