Which one is the lowest price to heat a home in New England this week? Say
oil is at 2.50 a gallon. Assume identical efficiency of 90 percent on each
boiler. And say a therm of gas 100 CCF is $1.25
We are replacing a boiler and of course each side says something different.
Currently My gass bill in Massachusetts is 1.65 per therm DELIVERED.
(1.21 gas itself). its definitely gonna go up.
I gotta get cooking on ways to save, I have crazy gas bills (close to
400 therms in feb).
Some menu items:
1. seal up every gap. Every one.
2. insulate as accessible. What's in the walls & elsewhere?
3. vapor barrier to seal entire of insulation if/when inner skin is
4. turn it down (t-stat) and off when possible (clock t-stat)
5. not all rooms same temp. Close off heat (e.g. cardboard over
baseboard) to rooms that don't need it.
6. more efficient heating unit. Vent damper will help lots, right now.
Set fan switch/aquastat lower now- as low as possible. Replace filters.
7. alternative sources. Wood/pellet/gas stoves worth consideration.
8. lots more where these came from.
Really.? Oil is not as efficient? Didn't know that one. Then too would
efficiency matter assuming the boilers each were the same?
Does this sound about right?
For oil to make 100k btus that would be 100/140 = .71 gal of oil. Times
say 2.50 per gallon is $1.78
And for gas company its 1 therm. From the past bills I found it seemed to be
around 1.20 and 1.41 in another example.
Does that sound the correct way to figure it out?
Each salesman is telling us more and more :-(
If you really want to save money don't heat as much of your house as
If you want to save money and be warm you might be able to cut your
heating bills in half using coal and an incinerator. (I don't know
where you live). If you have a kid you can make it their chore (it is
a chore). I love my incinerator and it loves old boots and used motor
Hope this helps,
PS: Natural gas is in fact cheaper. Oil probably was for a time but
that time has passed.
Oil boilers efficiencies are in the low 80% range. You can buy gas boilers
that run in the high 90% range. Buderus for example, has one, depending on
its use, that runs 98-99% efficient!
Another negative for oil is you really need to do a though cleaning of the
heat exchanger every year or two to maintain efficiency, (pretty nobody
keeps up with this!). Natural gas boilers burn relatively clean compared to
oil, so the heat exchanger never gets dirty so you save $$ on service. In my
area oil has always been higher to use, 2-3 times higher when you figure
I think I am on the same page as you, Greg.
Buderus makes a great oil boiler, too. If you want to pay a premium price
for it! But I think it's only rated at 89% (if THAT much). Even with the
efficiency ratings at 85% for oil and 95% for gas (propane. We don't have
natural gas in these parts), I think that you still get more heat for the
money out of oil. Even our local electric co-op says that. It's close, but I
think oil still edges out. I don't say that because I work for an oil
company (I do!). I just go by what the reports say (and, no, I don't have
any of those reports right here in front of me).
Even though I work for an oil company, I will say this: We have commercial
(on radio and TV) saying "Today's oil furnaces burn 99% clean!" BULLSH*T!!
They may burn clean when they are first tuned up, but there are so many
variables that can CHANGE that over time. Sure, there are ones that burn
good all year long and you have no problem with them. But if you let them go
and don't have them service at least annually, you are just asking for
I moved from a house with a forced-air oil furnace to a house with a heat
pump and I couldn't be happier. Now, I don't know if i would want one in New
England. But where I live, it works and I am happy with it.
I have customers ask me all the time: "If you were going to build a house,
what kind of heat would you put in it?"
To which I reply: "I would build a house where I wouldn't NEED heat!!"
Our house had an oil furnace in it when we bought it. I asked the seller
when the last time it was served, last season was his answer. I pulled the
gun out of it, opened the heat exchanger and removed darned near a five
gallon pail of sot from the heat exchanger. Then I pulled the blower and
removed the extra dog that was lost in the blower wheel. The inside of the
blower wheel looked like it was wrapped with felt it was so full of dog
hair! Not just the cups, but covered on the inside! I found a couple small
cracks in the heat exchanger so it was due for replacement anyway. I ran it
until January and put in a 90+ natural gas unit. My heated bills dropped by
40% a year after that!
That was fifteen years ago before I got into HVAC. Today I am pulling out
the old 90+ York, and replacing it with a Ruud modulating furnace. The York
was a bit oversized, (2 times over!), so I hope to drop the gas usage a bit
more, also the mod should trim a bit off the electric bill as we run the
blower pretty much 24/7. The Ruud is a 60K and on low fire it will run 24K
BTU instead of the 80K BTU of the York.
If I was going to build new and plan on staying I would go super insulated,
and geothermal heat pump. Cheap to run, but installation will bite you! in
this old rambler I live in it don't pay to get too crazy.
This, using your numbers, shows gas being far cheaper, but the price of gas
is going to go much higher soon. If it his $1.75 to $1.90 as predicted, it
would be about even. BTW, it makes coal look like a good option.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.