Oil to Natural Gas Conversion Costs

Page 2 of 9  
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I've never had any reliability problems with oil burners or oil service.

The nozzles also cost about $6 and take 2 minutes to change. Very DIY friendly as are the filter at the tank and the filter screen on the pump. I can do this level of annual service on an oil burner in 15 minutes for >$20 and also inspect the condition of the burner, soot buildup and roughly check the combustion.

Unless a problem is noted with soot buildup or poor combustion I don't need to call in anyone for service. When I see a problem I can get a service call for a hundred dollars or so since I don't have a soot vac or combustion tester and can't really justify spending the money on since a service call every few years is pretty cheap.
I did take (and pass with the highest score in the class) an oil burner service class at a local tech school so I have a pretty good idea of what I'm looking at when I inspect the burner.
Gas furnaces are not immune to problems and indeed some dangerous problems like cracked heat exchangers can go unnoticed readily on a gas furnace and actually kill you from CO buildup where the same problem on an oil furnace would typically choke you out of the house with detectable fumes before the CO would get you.
Annual inspections are an important safety requirement, whether you do them yourself with appropriate training or call someone in. Whether oil or gas the furnace does not necessarily need any actual service each year, but since you have a tech there inspecting the filters and nozzle get changed because they are too inexpensive not to just change regularly. Unless you get really dirty oil the nozzle and filters can easily last several years without problems.

I was in the northeast. I never had gas service, but I recall hearing numerous reports on the news over the years of various areas having gas service interruptions for various causes. In a large city vs. smaller suburban areas it's probably a less frequent occurrence, but when it does occur it probably affects more customers.

Why don't they have generators? Certainly loosing power can be more than an inconvenience since you can have significant losses from frozen pipes in cold weather and lost food in hot weather. A small generator is cheap insurance against those losses.

Because they are not "far more remote" unless you are in a large city.
The much higher safety risk of gas is also another reason for oil. I recall a brief ad campaign by a gas company touting gas as "Clean, Safe, Dependable" which mysteriously changed to "Clean, Dependable" presumably after a false advertising lawsuit.
Thousands of gas explosions every year vs. about zero oil explosions every year certainly calls that "Safe" claim into question. The hundreds of CO deaths each year are heavy on the gas furnace failure end due to the lower detectability of the fumes from a gas furnace vs. oil.
The cleanliness claim is also questionable since a modern properly maintained oil burner is just as clean as a modern properly maintained gas burner. The clean claim is largely based on the bogus comparison between a new gas burner and a 50yr old oil burner.
The efficiency claims you also see are also questionable with the difference between top oil and gas units being only a couple percent. Unless you have already done every possible thing you can with regards to insulating, caulking, high R windows and ERVs, that couple percent is pretty irrelevant and might save you enough to buy a cup of coffee each year.
And again being locked into a monopoly that charges you every month whether you use any product or not is the final nail in the gas coffin for me.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Pete C. wrote:

You may be able to do it, but how about the typical homeowner, who can't? Or how about the vacation house where there is no one ready with another nozzle when it craps out?

And are you suggesting that the typical homeowner should take a class too? Or just use gas and avoid all this?

And you can't have a cracked heat exchanger on an oil furnace? The oil furnace has exactly the same issues, plus more.

I'd say a gas furnace could easily go 3 or 4 years between inspections, while an oil furnace cannot.

You are in dream land. I live in NJ and have neve had a gas interruption. I have had plenty of electric interruptions though. Just last week I was without power for 7 hours. Had gas the whole time. So, why worriy about gas, when electric is already an order of magnitude more prone to outage?

Because it just aint' worth it. Like last week. My power was out from 10pm till 5am. No big deal. And that was one of the longest interruptions in the last 25 years that I've had. And let me see, what's easier? Replacing $150 worth of food in the slim chance that it MIGHT spoil, or putting in a transfer switch, generator, and maintianing a fuel supply for it? BTW, my fuel of choice would be nat gas. But since you don't like that, tell us about how you keep a fresh supply of fuel safely stored? How do you rotate it? Since you're worried about nat gas exploding, how about the gas for a generator?
When you look at the pros and cons, a generator doesn;t make sense for most people. Now, there are exceptions, like those in hurricane areas.

BS. Gas outages are very few. If you never had it, how would you even know? By reading the newspaper about the rare occurance where a construction crew hits a line? Even then, it;s likely out for a few hours, not days. Compare that to electric, where a summer storm can put it out.

Yeah, oil just brings things like $100K environmental disasters when the tank rots out. Or the insurance company denying coverage. If nat gas is so unsafe, why do insurance companies that have to pay claims not have any issue writing policies, while it you have oil they want ot know how old the tank is, where it's located, etc?

You can say MONOPOLY all you want, but all the data say nat gas and oil are competitive in price. And they have to be, otherwise people would switch. The utilities are regulated in terms of prices they can charge,. just like the water company.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

The typical homeowner *should* be able to do it, however we have as a whole lost more and more skills over the years. It used to be that the bulk of people changed the oil in their cars themselves, now most don't even know how to open the hood, much less check the oil.

If you're having an annual service done they get replaced well before they would crap out unless you are buying the low grade, nearly crude fuel oil they run cargo ships on. With most any #2 fuel oil the nozzles and filters can easily last several years without failure so annual replacement keeps them well within their life expectancy.

I'm suggesting that the typical homeowner should have at least *some* knowledge of those hulking monsters in their basement, not total ignorance. If you want to be ignorant you should be a renter.
Using gas avoids nothing at all and indeed using gas can allow your ignorance to kill you if you don't have annual inspections. You can just as readily run an oil burner for years without inspections or service, but in either case, oil or gas, the inspections are necessary for safety.
I once saw a gas water heater that had the chimney connection completely fall apart. The homeowner had not noticed it at all while it was pumping out CO, where if it had been oil fired they would have noticed it in minutes. They were lucky that it was in a service closet off the garage and fairly well isolated from the house or they could well have been killed by CO.

Apparently you didn't read what I wrote.
A cracked heat exchanger on a gas furnace is far more likely to go unnoticed than a cracked heat exchanged on an oil furnace due to the far more noticeable fumes from an oil burner. Both can pump out CO which can kill you, but the oil burner has the added safety of being readily detected. It's the same concept as the odorant they have to add to gas so you can detect a leak.
Oil furnaces are also less likely to have a cracked heat exchange since they are generally built more ruggedly than their gas counterparts, though you can of course find both crap and very high quality in both types.

I'd say you are absolutely incorrect. I know of several examples of oil furnaces that have gone that length of time or longer with no issues and these include some pretty old units.
As I said the annual inspection is primarily for safety, not out of need for service. The service is done as a preventative measure since the parts replaced are very inexpensive and the tech is on-site anyway.

First off, it is not "dream land", you can check the news archives to see the frequency of gas outages in most areas. Second off, *I* have backup for the electricity so it is not an issue for me. With oil I have backup for heat and hot water as well.

Diesel generator. Share the fuel supply with the nice safe reliable oil furnace. #2 fuel oil and #2 diesel are exactly the same, the only difference is transportation fuel taxes and a generator is not a transportation use.
I had a near 72 hour outage during a winter ice storm in the northeast a few years back. I ran on my diesel generator the whole time and went about my life normally while people around me had freezing pipes and freezing butts. At least their food didn't spoil since it was cold.

Hurricane areas, ice storm / snow areas, tornado areas, flood areas, basically almost every area. Since power plants are few and far between relative to consumers, a problem a good distance away can leave you without power even if everything else is ok locally.

I heard of dozens of gas outages in my immediate area over the years when I had not a single oil outage. As I noted, I am well prepared for an electric outage, with gas you don't have the option of being prepared for a gas outage.

Politics pure and simple. Large gas monopolies have more lobbyists than the smaller competitive oil dealers. The big energy companies don't care much either way since they sell both NG and oil.

Regulated means little. The fact remains that the gas monopolies are allowed to charge you even when you are not using any of their product, which is not the case with oil. That and the other problems with gas provide solid reasons *not* to use gas.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

The typical homeowner *should* be screwing around with her oil burner innards? Yeesh.

Monster? Our gas furnace isn't much bigger than a small filing cabinet. Just about as noisy as a filing cabinet too.

"Less likely?" My average gas furnace has a transferable Lifetime Warranty on its Stainless Steel heat exchanger.

At the very least, it's good to check the fan motor and clean the blower and/or a/c coil as some amount of dust will inevitably get past a filter and very slowly accumulate over a season.

Please explain what the frequency is, since you are claiming this is relevant.

Our furnace needs (a little with the ECM motor) electricity to operate, but our water heater and range do not. They operate just as normal without caring if power is lost, except I have to find matches to light my stove and might have to reset the clock later.

Huh? Do you think the "smaller competitive" oil dealers are manufacturing oil somehow? Or do they participate in the global oil market? They can charge whatever they like, and the only thing the competition does is keep the costs similar, but the costs will all go up with the price of crude and/or refined product. By the way, we can now "choose" our gas supplier, so if that was really a concern that issue is moot. Gas distribution is a regulated monopoly and as such they cannot raise their prices unless their costs increase, and the price they charge must by law be in line with their costs.

So you forget to mention that you have solid reasons *not* to use an electric company.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John wrote:

They *should* have the minimal skills necessary to change an oil burner nozzle by following instructions. Recall this requires only the skill to operate two wrenches and is little different from the skill to change a faucet aerator, couple a garden hose or connect a propane tank to a grill. Changing a nozzle does not require any knowledge of burner controls, combustion adjustments or anything else technical.

Monster as in the unknown which historically has scared people. Oil and gas furnaces are about the same size for the same capacity unit. They both used to be huge and both have steadily shrunk over the years as technology (and home insulation) improved.
Noise levels for modern gas or oil furnaces of comparable capacity are comparable as well. Older units of both types were noisier.

Yes and average oil furnaces are cast iron with similar warrantees. Many low end gas furnaces are not stainless steel and have much shorter life expectancies. Only a very few bottom of the barrel oil furnaces use plain steel heat exchangers.

Quite correct and with either oil or gas, if there is an A/C unit incorporated there is a significantly greater need for service since air (and dirt) is circulated all year instead of just during the heating season. Without A/C both oil and gas are also comparable in cleaning and service requirements.

In the town I was in and the adjacent towns during the past couple decades I recall hearing of a gas outage of some duration at least every few months. This is also an area with relatively sparse gas service, probably less than 50% coverage of residences in the area. I recall several times there were multi day outages during the winter where people had to go to shelters.

Your point is? With oil heat / hot water and a generator (it doesn't have to be a very big generator either) I have heat, hot water, range, oven, clocks, TV, etc. with little more than a few minutes interruption. With a diesel generator and the typical 275-300 gal oil tank even at half full I have enough fuel for heat and generator for at least a week without outside utilities.

The costs of nat. gas also go up with the cost of other energy commodities and also with the growth of nat. gas fueled electric generation "peaking" power plants. Nat. gas is not some fixed cheap energy source unaffected by the rest of the energy market.

My concern is that they are allowed to charge you even when you do not use gas. This has no parallel with oil. If I don't use any oil I don't pay anything. With oil you also have the option of having a larger tank and purchasing off season to get better prices something you can not do with gas.

Excuse me? I have solid reasons to have a generator as backup for the electric companies outages. Outside of that the electric company can provide me power at a lower effective rate than I can generate it myself for since they can keep their generators fully loaded and therefore at optimum efficiency.
A generator loaded to 25% of it's rated capacity as it would by much of the time supplying a single home will still consume far more than 25% of it's full load fuel consumption. If you could maintain a steady load from the house so that you could match the generator size perfectly then you could generate at close to utility rates.
So it is most economical to use an electric utility because of the lower cost and the fact that it is practical and economical to have backup for that utility. Electricity (like oil) also does not present the hazards of gas. If the insulation on an electric line fails it does not fill your home with explosive gas. If an electric line is shorted a circuit breaker or fuse interrupts the power. Gas services generally do not have comparable protective devices other than very recent seismic valves in earthquake areas and those provide no protection from any other faults.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

So since this is so easy, safe, and common, which oil equipment manufacturers recommend this service as a customer done item, like changing light bulbs? (and lighting pilot lights in the old days)

I've never heard an oil furnace, even brand new top of the line, that was even close to silent. Even thirty years ago natural gas was nearly silent (except the ho hum blower motor and maybe the click of a relay and gas valve opening).

Cast iron would rust in a high efficiency (condensing) furnace.

What town was that in? If natural gas service was really that unreliable, I'd be looking at propane.

And gee, why is so much electric production being shifted away from oil and to natural gas?

You said you are dislike gas because it is a regulated monopoly utility. You said you dislike gas because it has nominal fees for minimum usage per month. Electric service has both of these qualities. Therefore, your arguments are also in opposition to electric service.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John wrote:

<trimmed>
None that I know of since as I indicated the population as a whole has lost a lot of skills and common sense over the years.
<trimmed>

Perhaps the comparison is better between gas and oil boilers which I have more experience with. Even so, with current oil furnaces the difference isn't that significant. Old units were certainly louder.
<trimmed>

Yes, it would. Oil furnaces don't do the condensing thing (yet) due to cost factors mostly. If a fair increase in upfront cost would be tolerated by the market they could bump the efficiency up further that way with more expensive materials.
<trimmed>

Look to the northwest corner of CT.
<trimmed>

Because it hasn't? Very little electric production was ever oil. It's gone to nat. gas from coal and of course nuclear because of both political and economic reasons. Nat. gas used to be a lot cheaper before those peaking plants were built, which is one reason they were built to begin with. The siting and permitting for the relatively small nat. gas peaking plants was also easier which also led to the increase.
<trimmed>

I *also* said nat. gas is less safe and less reliable than oil. All those factors combine to give more than adequate reason to avoid nat. gas.
You are also incorrect with your electric service analogy. I have more than a dozen electric suppliers I can choose from, only the distribution is a monopoly. Electric also is practical to provide backup for during outages where nat. gas is not.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

And what is causing the aforementioned "cost factors???"
(dirty exhaust, sulfer, soot, acids....)

Where should I look there?

Nope.
Oh really?
"At the time of the 1973 oil embargo, about 17 percent of U.S. electricity was generated by burning oil, and about five percent from nuclear energy. But, twenty-five years later, oil represents only about three percent of U.S. electricity production, while nuclear energy supplies almost twenty percent." http://www.house.gov/science/ee_charter_072500.htm

By the way, a number of larger power plants have been outfitted to burn either oil OR gas. Yet they are burning gas predominantly nowadays. Why?
And why would permitting and siting be so much easier for those natural gas plants? Seems that it would be lot more harder. You know, they must be blowing up and exploding on a regular basis.

And I *also* said that I disagree with your hypothesis.

Too bad you snipped it out, because you missed the point. You were all hot and bothered about gas because a gas bill contains a minimum billing charge. I pointed out that electricity utilities have the same deal, and also the savings from gas makes up for that nominal fee in spades.

gas utility "monopoly" so I pointed out that electricity is a monopoly too. Both for the distribution portions. You appear to be located in Texas with a incumbent distributor of TXU and "choice" options range from about 13.4 cents to 16 cents per kW/hr. So some "choice" but a very minor spread between the highest and lowest, with most options very close together in between, all with varying terms.

Absolutely false. Natural gas generators are a wonderful thing, and do not require tanks, fuel storage, deliveries, etc. They also burn much cleaner than say, a diesel fuel. Extremely practical.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John wrote:

Acids primarily.

Most anywhere. You'll find some small cities with gas service surrounded by many miles of moderately dense semi-rural area with no minimal gas service. Check the CT DPUC site or the sites of the gas utilities covering the area and you should find reports of service interruptions. I know the CL&P / Northeast utilities site has such reports for electric outages, I expect the gas utilities have the same.

Really.
17% = Very little.

Cost. And gas turbines are pretty multi-fuel to begin with.

Hardly. Industrial settings are the one place that gas is fairly safe as they generally get serviced and maintained properly, particularly power plants.

You can disagree all you want. I still won't use gas any time soon.
If I were currently using oil, if the pricing was to get too high I'd install a geothermal heat pump long before I'd consider nat. gas.

I'm afraid I don't make long term decisions like heating fuel choice based solely on price.

The effective spread is a bit larger than those numbers appear since it's multiplied by a couple thousand KWH / month as opposed to a couple hundred gallons / month.

You clearly don't read very well.
It is practical to provide backup for electric service outages with a generator (gasoline, diesel, propane, nat. gas.)
It is not practical to provide backup for nat. gas service outages. There is no practical way to provide on-site storage for a useable quantity of nat. gas, gas appliances other than generators are particular to the gas type (different burner orifices) so you can't switch on the fly to a "hot dog" propane tank in the back yard either. The only way to provide backup for nat. gas service is with redundant appliances for an alternate fuel.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Pete C. wrote:

geothermal heat pump for radiant heat, or would you go with forced air? What drives your decision in this case?
I am not going to try to convince you that nat gas is safe and reliable in residential use as you are clearly so frightened by the risks that you will go to almost any lengths to avoid using natural gas.
As it stands presently in Texas with the electricity and natural gas prices we have now, geothermal heat pumps make enormous financial sense as they are 4-5X more efficient than electric resistance heat, and in dual speed compressor models, run at EERs above 20 in low speed and at EERs of 15-17 in high speed. A properly sized geothermal heat pump would rarely run at high speed in the winter in south texas, and would run in high speed mode only when outdoor temps exceed 90-95F in a properly insulated and sealed home. OK, they are NOT cheap to install as the wells or ground loops are very expensive to install.

interruption in many many decades of service. We just don't worry about it, we don't worry about the need for a backup.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In misc.consumers.house snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

But when natural gas does go out, its a big pain in the rear. Its out for longer and requires someone to come inside your home to get it turned back on.

I have a generator. I don't have a transfer switch but I have my furnace on a twist lock plug I can plug into an alternate outlet powered by my generator. I also have generator powered plugs near my fridge and sump pump. Fuel supply maintenance means dumping the generator gas cans in the cars twice a year and filling the cans again. I found that the generator didn't do any good powering the furnace when the gas was out.

I live in MA. A few months after moving into my house I called the gas company (Keyspan) to report an outage. I was rudely told "the gas company doesn't have outages, you want to call the electric company because your power must be out." I informed them I was talking to them on a cordless phone, I was well aware that my lights were on and I'd like to speak to a supervisor. I was finally told someone would arrive between 8am and 4pm and I had to be home because they wouldn't touch anything without me being home. Two calls later and a guy shows up at 6:30pm thinking my gas valve had been shut off and padlocked for non-payment. Even with the help of someone back in the office he couldn't locate the street side shutoff to see if someone had shut it off. After 20 minutes he finally unscrewed my meter from the house and got nothing. He unscrewed the street side and got blasted by high pressure gas. He used the house side shutoff valve just before the meter and then replaced the meter. He then came into my house and lit the pilot light on the furnace and water heater because I was obviously too incompetent to light them although I had to tell him how to light the furnace because he couldn't follow the little stick diagram. He also had to verify that my dryer and stove were electronic ignition because I was obviously too incompetent to know that either. I wasn't too impressed.
Last winter a large section of a town in eastern MA (Lexington, Concord, or Acton I think) lost gas for 3-4 days of single digit temperatures. Lots of people had to drain their pipes as best they could as they were forced to evacuate their homes.
Luckily I haven't had any gas issues in the last 5 years and I now have a wood stove that will keep the important rooms of the house 60 degrees warmer than the outside temperature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gas being lighter than air normally dissapates if it leaks.
Oil pools and settles , causing a possible safety clean up issue with guys in moon suits hauling away contaminated soil:(
Thats why homeownerts insurance is requiring oil tank replacement based on age of tank.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
" snipped-for-privacy@aol.com" wrote:

That only works to a limited extent and less and less as homes get "tighter". If windows and doors are closed well nat. gas will just accumulate from the ceiling down. LP gas is heavier and will accumulate from the floor up. In either case unless the home is quite drafty / leaky it will continue to accumulate until it finds an ignition source.

This is *not* a safety issue, it is an over hyped environmental issue. Fuel oil has a strong smell and is very likely to be noticed before much leaks. Even when a lot leaks, most undamaged concrete floors contain it pretty well if it's discovered and cleaned in a day or two.

And that is why new underground oil tanks are double wall construction, just like new tanks at gas stations. Some new indoor tanks are double wall as well though most are still single wall since there is minimal risk. Just because a 50 year old single wall underground tank is no longer viable in no way means that oil heat is no longer viable. Technology changes and advances and the current high velocity flame retention burners and controls with pre and post purge cycles are a far cry from the old burners as well.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Pete. let me summarize for you:
1 - I've lived in homes with both oil heat and nat gas heat. In over 40 years experience, I've found nat gas to be consistently more reliable. I've never had to make a single call for service where a natural gas furnace stopped working. On the other hand, I have made many emergency sevice calls for oil heat due to clogged nozzles and failed pumps.
2 - In 40 years, I have never had nat gas service go out. I'd like to know where you live that you think nat gas is so unreliable and what exactly makes that nat gas system unreliable. IMO, for just about all, the very small chance of losing nat gas service pales in comparison to electric outages that most of us routinely live with.
3 - Most people do not have backup generators, which come with their own set of new problems. And they obviously have made the judgement that their needs, probablilities, etc don't justify having one.
4 - As to the risk of dying from carbon monoxide from nat gas, vs oil heat, here is some data:
How great is the risk of carbon monoxide in my home from natural gas?

deaths). This is an average of 50 deaths per year. You are more likely to die from a lightning strike (approximately 80 deaths per year).
http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/a/accidental_death/deaths.htm Estimated 130 people die each year from non-fire carbon monoxide poisoning in the US 2001 ((US Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, 2003) Estimated 58% (75) people die each year from non-fire carbon monoxide poisoning caused by heating systems in the US 2001 (US Consumer Product Safety) Estimated 36.4% (28) people die each year from non-fire carbon monoxide poisoning caused by natural gas heating systems in the US 2001 (US Consumer Product Safety)
So, of the whopping 130 people who die each year from non-fire CO, 75 are caused by all heating systems, and of those 28 are attributable to a natural gas system. That should put to rest the notion that natural gas systems are more prone to CO problems. Compare this to the 50K people killed on our roads each year to put it in perspective.
5 - If nat gas were unsafe compared to other heating system, insurance companies would charge higher rates or not insure buildings that use it, yet this is not an issue.
6 - Your suggestion that most homeowners should know how to change nozzles in a furnace that stops working in the middle of the night is bizarre for 2 reasons. First, clearly most homeowners do not have that level of experience and knowledge. Second, it's very strange for someone so concerned about the safety of nat gas vs oil to be recommending that most homeowners start fooling around with their own oil burner. IMO, that is far more likely to result in injury or a fire than having a nat gas furnace ever would.
7 - People can make their own choices based on their needs and priorities. But to suggest that nat gas is unsafe or unreliable compared to oil heat is bogus.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Carbon monoxide deaths related to natural gas furnaces at 28 per year, I wonder what the break down is with age of the furnace.
Used to be we had pilot lights. Pilot lights came equipped with thermometer that kept the gas off unless the pilot was on. Point of use failure causing death was then attributable to a thermometer failure that allowed gas to flow with out a pilot. This was the design in place 30 years ago, I do not know what preceeded it. I had gas valves fail, but then it just got cold, no excess gas flowed. I had a termometer fail, but again it just got cold, no excess gas flowed
Now we have hot surface igniters, much like gas ovens do. No pilot, but the hot surface MUST reach a proscribed temperature, measured by a thermometer before the gas will flow. I had an igniter fail in a stove. Stove stayed cold, no excess gas flowed. Replace the igniter and all works well.
Natural gas has been safely piped to millions of homes nationwide for decades. The risk of injury or death due to natural gas incidents is far far lower than the risks you take every day to drive your car, ride in an airplane, eat out at a fast food restaurant........
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert Gammon wrote:

And it's 28 CO deaths per year for gas heating SYSTEMS. I'm sure if you look at the incidents in more depth you would see that most of them have nothing to do with the furnace. For example, a very common CO situation is a blocked chimney. That would be counted as an incident with gas heat, even though the furnace wasn't the real problem. We had a family here in NJ where people died a couple years ago because a contractor had temporarily put something in the chimney opening during work in warm weather to block it, then forgot to remove it. Come heating season, the CO killed them.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Are you referring to the chimney for the furnace? Why would anyone put something in there. Sounds like a good way to murder someone! Luckily we have 2 CO detectors.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Birds have a nasty habbit of not informing homeowners of their nesting plans. If only the birds would follow the permit process, by god, lives would be saved.
--
--
Todd H.
http://www.toddh.net /
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Todd H. wrote:

DIFFICULT, but not impossible for small birds to get in there. The gap to my fireplace is a bit larger than my furnace flue, and small birds do find their way to the fireplace from time to time. In 28 years, never such an incident in either gas water heater or gas furnace.
A maintenance worker sticking a rag down the flue and forgetting to take it out seems to be a more likely scenario. such an action is more likely to occur at the bottom of the stack, at the furnace, rather than on top of the roof.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
writes:

Is there a sensor to detect lack of free flow thru the chimney that would shut off the gas?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

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.