Oil to Natural Gas Conversion Costs

Page 4 of 9  

AZ Nomad wrote:

Outside via sealed PVC pipes that are right next to the pipe bringing in outside air for sealed combustion.

No. A chimney is a vertical structure by definition and implies a natural draft is at least partially responsible. http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/chimney
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John wrote:

Correct and older furnaces, both oil and gas required chimneys. New furnaces both oil and gas have the option of direct venting though oil furnaces use metal pipes for their vents, not PVC. That difference is of no relevance to cost or operation though.
Pete C.
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AZ Nomad wrote:

When we use the word chimney, it brings negative connotations of a brick lined rectangular box 24 ore more inches wide, 6 or more inches deep.
With a house that is tight, below 4 ACH, yes you need a separate pipe to bring in fresh combustion air. This pipe is usually PVC.
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John wrote:

The same applies to modern efficient oil furnaces though they do not use PVC pipe for those vents.
Pete C.
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"Pete C." wrote:

What is the efficiency rating (AFUE) for these "modern efficient oil furnaces?" My natural gas furnace is about 96% efficient (AFUE), meaning that about 96% of the energy in the gas becomes actual heat in my house. How does your "efficient oil furnace" compare?
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John wrote:

Well, no, it means that the furnace sends 96% of the energy in the gas to it's output as heat, whether that actually becomes heat in your home is dependent on other factors. A good oil fired boiler I looked at was 86.8%, I don't have numbers handy for oil furnaces at the moment. Again, there are multiple reasons to choose oil over nat. gas.
Pete C.
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"Pete C." wrote:

Not true. Heat that goes up the chimney or out the exhaust is not included in AFUE. It would make AFUE pretty pointless if the heat being measured in its rating wasn't used to go into the distribution system. (I am assuming that all heat in the duct system goes to the house and that you aren't running ducts outside, through an ice cellar, or through a cold attic).
"The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) measures the amount of fuel converted to space heat in proportion to the amount of fuel entering the furnace. This is commonly expressed as a percentage. Energy Star labeled furnaces must meet or exceed 90% AFUE energy-efficiency ratings." http://www.waptac.org/sp.asp?idh41
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John wrote:

<trimmed>
I was referring to the losses after the furnaces heat output, not the stack.
Bad assumptions as well since a large percentage of furnaces and related duct work travel through unconditioned space. Horizontal configuration gas furnaces in particular often end up in cold attics.

Yes? And? As I said there are a lot of losses after the furnace output and gas furnaces often end up in icy attics where oil furnaces almost never do.
Pete C.
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"Pete C." wrote:

So what? You keep claiming that oil is so efficient. I say again, my average condensing furnace is about 96 AFUE. Which oil furnaces come close to that again?

So if you need to put a furnace unit in an attic, you are out of luck with oil again. Oh yeah, insulate those ducts.
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John wrote:

The bulk of them are in the single digit difference range, 85%+.

No, you are not out of luck, it is just rather uncommon.
Pete C.
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"Pete C." wrote:

Uh huh.

And why would that be?
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Pete C. wrote:

codes do NOT permit the exhaust gas from the natural gas furnace to share a common flue with a fireplace, and such installations, in almost cases REQUIRE a cap.
Fireplace chimney is NOT the same as gas furnace chimney, DANGEROUS to put the two together.
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Robert Gammon wrote:

Who said anything about a fireplace chimney? There are a tremendous number of multi flue chimneys out there that do not have screen caps on any of the flues. Separate flues for fireplace and furnace.
Pete C.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Again the fact that oil combustion products other than CO are far more human detectable than those of gas means that that incident may not have resulted in deaths had it been an oil furnace. The nasty building fumes would have very likely driven the occupants out before a lethal CO exposure could occur.
Pete C.
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"Pete C." wrote:

In other words the oil furnace burns dirtier and pollutes more.

Cite?
You *DO* have carbon monoxide detectors, don't you?
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John wrote:

False. Modern oil and gas furnaces produce comparable amounts of emissions. The exact composition is different, but the overall pollution is the same (the EPA and DOE have studies that confirm this if you want to look).
Different emission components have different levels of human detectability and oil emissions are more detectable than gas emissions. In the case of both oil and gas, they don't produce a lot of CO unless the combustion adjustments are quite a bit off. When the adjustments are off the oil becomes even more detectable than the gas when the adjustments are off.

None handy, just personal experience with the exhaust of both under both proper combustion and improper combustion conditions. Neither is very detectable under proper combustion, but neither produces much CO then either. Under improper combustion the oil exhaust is far more noticeable as it produces both fine particulates (soot) and vaporized hydrocarbons.

I did, before I moved. I do not at present because I have no combustion appliances at present (electric).
Pete C.
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Pete C. wrote:

Now, I'd love to see the supporting data for the claim that modern gas and oil furnaces produce the same amount of pollution. Why do you think many cities have replaced diesel bus fleets with ones that run natural gas if burning oil is just as clean? Natural gas produces only water and CO2. And nat gas even produces a third less CO2 than burning oil. Burning oil, in addition to the above, produces particulates, nitrous oxide, and sulfates.
http://www.tevisoil.com/fuel/compare.asp http://www.cecarf.org/Programs/Fuels/CECA%20Low%20Sulfur%20White%20Paper%209-12-03.pdf
The poster is right. First, you proclaim the smell produced by burning oil to be a virtue, because it may save you from dying from CO. . Then you claim oil heat is as clean as nat gas. Did you ever see an oil based appliance of any kind vented into a home? Yet millions of nat gas kitchen stoves work exactly that way. Gee, I wonder why?
A whopping total of 28 people a year die in the US from CO from natural gas heat systems period. I'd like to see any real world evidence that oil heat systems are any safer overall. Nat gas continues to increase in market share, while oil heat is now down to 4% of new homes. If it's so unsafe and unreliable, why is that?
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

http://www.cecarf.org/Programs/Fuels/CECA%20Low%20Sulfur%20White%20Paper%209-12-03.pdf Try looking at the EPA and DOE sites.

You don't read well do you? I indicated that both are not very detectable when combustion adjustments are proper and neither produces much CO under those conditions either. It is when combustion adjustments are out of whack that a lot of CO is produced and it is also under those abnormal conditions that oil exhaust is much more detectable than gas exhaust.

Not for the reasons you apparently think.

Indeed they are. CO is not the only way a nat. gas heating system can kill you. Add in the number of deaths from gas explosions to the CO deaths and then compare to oil. Then compare the number of injuries from gas explosions to the number of injuries from oil explosions. Then tell me which is safer.

1) Consumer ignorance - Believing nat. gas somehow avoids buying foreign energy. They apparently are not aware of the LNG super tankers delivering foreign LNG just like oil tankers delivering foreign oil. Both nat. gas and oil are produced in the US and both are also imported from foreign sources.
2) Marketing - Some deceptive as in the case of the short lived "safe" in one gas suppliers advertising. Deceptive price comparisons that do not account for service charges during periods of no use. Deceptive claims of reliability of oil fired equipment. Deceptive claims about the cleanliness of oil burners. Deceptive comparisons of "upgrade" costs to low end gas equipment with service lives in single digit years.
I'll also note that that market share is rather slanted to southern states where:
1) There are minimal heating requirements which means consumers can get low end gas systems to last longer.
2) Gas companies cover larger service areas in large part due to lower installation costs vs. the northern states with more rock to cut and blast through.
3) Gas companies market more since they generate more profits from service charges during the long hot months where they have to supply minimal gas.
4) The southern states have been having a huge housing boom as a whole due to lower construction costs and most tract housing gets gas systems not because they are better in any way, but simply because the cheapest low service life units available are in gas which means more profits for the developers and replacement costs for the consumer a short time down the road.
Pete C.
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"Pete C." wrote:

Ok. What pages on these sites should we look at?

What is the number of deaths from natural gas versus oil? Can you show us the numbers or is this just a FUD campaign?

The amount and proportion of natural gas that is imported to the USA is tiny compared to oil. Much of the imported natural gas comes from right here in North America, not hostile areas of the world like the Middle East.

Which supplier are you talking about? What is the definition of "safe?"

Service charges? Like the $4/month minimum billing fee that I pay for my natural gas service? My electric company charges more than that so your argument is opposing electric service too. Even including that fee (which includes service for my hot water heater, gas grill, stove, and dryer) I'm still way ahead with gas, and I have a very efficient furnace too.

How so?

Huh? What is your source of this claim?

You said they are a monopoly. Why would they need to market? I hear a lot of advertising by oil dealers, or the collective oil dealers, operating as one.

What are your numbers for your cost comparison?
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John wrote:

I don't have specifics handy, but I'm sure you can find them with a search.

They are out there on one of the government sites. Certainly the ratio of hundreds of gas explosions to zero oil explosions should be pretty obvious. Someone was killed in a gas explosion at a motel just a month ago, and no, I don't count the deliberate gas explosion suicide in NYC.

How does it compare to the 50% or so of oil that we import? The general public seems to think we get 99% of our oil from the middle east which certainly isn't true.

It was Connecticut Natural Gas as I recall. I don't know the details exactly, but their "Clean, Safe, Dependable Natural Gas" campaign only lasted like six months before mysteriously becoming the "Clean, Dependable Natural Gas" campaign.
My definition of safe would be free from threat of catastrophic and potentially fatal failures i.e. explosions.

Electric service is rarely without some usage. With gas service it is not uncommon to have periods of zero use. Certainly this is not true in every case, but again, this is only one of many reasons to not use nat. gas, not the sole reason.

When the low end gas furnace is only required to operate from November - February it will clearly have a longer service life than the same unit required to operate from September to April.

Check with any gas company for the cost of extending gas service to your street in say CT vs. OK for comparable distances.
When I was in CT I watched the town blast for three days just in the few hundred foot stretch in front of my house to install storm drains. I also watched weeks of blasting when widening the main road down the street. I've watched major construction in my new location in TX as well and there was no blasting required.
I've also dug a 650' trench in CT for conduit and an 80' trench in TX for conduit and I can assure you the TX trench went far faster and easier per foot and required much smaller equipment than the CT trench.

They market to get you locked into their nat. gas monopoly. They market to those that use other energy sources.

No handy online reference, but a low end gas furnace installation is at least a thousand dollars less than a low end oil furnace installation. The low end gas unit will also have a service life expectancy about half of the oil unit. Both will be blow the service life of the average units in each class, but the oil still last longer there as well though the ratio is not as extreme.
Pete C.
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