Oil to Natural Gas Conversion Costs

Page 5 of 9  

"Pete C." wrote:

Oh, I thought you knew what you are talking about. Now you want me to go on an egghunt for your claims.

Oh you know the numbers are out there. Since you know, which sites did you find them on?

Zero oil burner explosions? Here's a recent one in New Jersey (nobody was killed in this case, thank goodness!)
On March 21, 2005 at 8:44 p.m., the Teaneck Fire Department (TFD) responded to a report of a loud explosion and smoke in the house at 501 Rutland Avenue. Upon arrival, responding firefighters were guided into the basement to investigate a problem with the boiler; however they could not find an odor or smoke. The firefighters, who combined have more than 100 years of experience, began investigating the area. They found that the emergency switch of the boiler had been shut off and later learned that the mother living in the home had turned it off. The basement of the home was sectioned off to provide for various uses of the area. There was a large portion that was used for a recreation/family room, an area that contained two beds that were usually used by the house keeper and one of the children, and two small rooms; one containing the oil fired boiler, the other utilized as a laundry room. After investigating the basement area, the responding firefighters determined that a “blowback” of the oil burner had caused the reported explosion and smoke. “Blowback” occurs when an accumulation of vaporized fuel oil in the combustion chamber suddenly ignites due to a delayed ignition. This causes too much pressure, which results in a loud bang and the release of smoke. The firefighters found multiple problems with the boiler, including closed water valves, a low water level, a non-functional low-water cut-off and a dirty flue pipe. Fire personnel made the necessary adjustments to restore the boiler to a safe and operable condition and advised the owner of the problems that were found. The owner was also directed to have the boiler serviced as soon as possible.

The best numbers I have are the US produced 539 cubic meters in 2003, (exported 24.19 cubic meters) and imported 114.1 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Compare those ratios.

No it's not, nevertheless middle east oil production has a huge impact on our foreign policy and national spending.

On their web page, I noticed that it is "What can Natural Gas offer over my existing fuel? Dependability. Versatility. Affordability. Convenience. Efficiency. Plus, it is also environmentally friendly! "

So oil heat is not "safe" under your definition.
http://www.newburyfd.org/responding_to_oil_burner_emergen.htm

Well yeah the reason not to use natural gas is to save a few bucks in non usage charges (similar to what you get with electric service) to save far more in higher efficiency. Besides even in those "zero use" periods, I'm still making hot water, and if I'm home there is a good chance I'm eating (using the grill, stove) or doing laundry (dryer.)

Oh I see. Good thing that same furnace wouldn't be needed for a/c in those climates.

You made the claim. Which gas company(ies) did you check with?

I'm sorry, I thought we were discussing natural gas lines, not huge storm drains, which often have to be buried much deeper for gravity flow reasons anyway.
So if I could find an area in Texas where blasting WAS required, and some other area in Connecticut where blasting was NOT required, that would pretty much "proove" the opposite, wouldn't it? :)

Well there you go. Irrefutable proof that installing gas lines is always more expensive in Connecticut than Texas.

So why does that no-colluding oil heat lobby advertise about "today's oil heat" and how hot it is, blah blah blah. Keep in mind this is not one dealer advertising against other oil dealers, but an obligarchy of many/all oil dealers.

If you say so.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John wrote:

frequently only a few feet below the top soil.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert Gammon wrote:

Right. Is that where the big housing boom is? The DFW area sure is growing fast.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

I thought it was where all of those natural gas heated houses going up in flames were.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John wrote:

No, they do that all over the country.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

Well, don't tell that to the insurance companies that write fire policies. They'd hate to know your "facts!" Ha, ha.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Pete C. wrote:

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

<trimmed>
Spend some time there, you might learn something.
<trimmed>

I'm not sure at the moment, I have too many bookmarks to find it easily. Suppose that rather defeats the purpose of bookmarks.

That is / was *not* an explosion, not even close. I don't think a blowback on a residential boiler has ever injured anyone, much less killed them. Certainly it will scare the shit out of them and perhaps teach them not to keep messing with the thing if they don't know what they are doing.
Oil burners do *not* have blowbacks on their own, they have had the safety devices to prevent that for decades. Blowbacks occur when someone keeps pressing the reset button ignoring the warning not to press it more than once. Oil burner controls from the last couple decades have incorporated a "three strikes and you're out" lockout to prevent this.

I'm assuming you forgot a billion on the US numbers. So importing something like 18% nat. gas vs. 50% oil. Not that drastic a difference and given the current trends the gap is likely to close further.

Our perpetually inept middle east foreign policy has less to do with oil than the anti war folks claim. There are serious issues there that we need to deal with that have nothing to do with oil. Those issues did come largely as a result of oil, but not directly from US actions.
The sudden appearance of the oil wealth in the middle east contributed to the downfall of their other economic sectors and the rise of their corrupt / oppressive governments and the resulting collapse of most of their civilization.
If we had not been in the market for oil when it was discovered there, if there culture had advanced more and stabilized before oil was discovered there, or if the Brits hadn't been meddling over there the problems would likely have been avoided.

That campaign was a while back. Notice that safety is not included in their current campaign either. Their claim that it is environmentally friendly is more or less true, the implication that other options are not is however untrue.

That is an interesting link however you probably didn't read it thoroughly:
"There are many possible causes of oil burner emergencies and fires. Fortunately, despite human error and poor maintenance practices, the millions of oil burners in use today function without a mishap year after year. When they do malfunction, the fire department is called and usually remedies the situation with little effort. But never forget that these seemingly harmless emergencies can and sometimes do turn deadly, whether it be from fire, explosion, or carbon monoxide poisoning, and you must be ever on guard against such instances."
Additionally most of the failure modes they indicate are all but impossible with burners and controls manufactured in the last couple decades. Most are very unlikely with burners or controls even older. Due to the longevity of oil equipment there are however some really old units out there.
This other bit:
"Fuel oil comes in several grades, number 1 to 5 grade oil, and has the following general fire hazard properties: a flashpoint of 1007F to 1507F, a flammable (explosive) range of 0.7 to 5 percent when mixed with air, and an ignition temperature of 4947F."
should give a bit of a reminder on just how difficult it is to get oil to burn and the near impossibility of igniting oil spilled from a tank leak.

A 10% efficiency difference during a period when you were only heating hot water (to keep the comparison fair) would amount to about $5 with today's high prices.

A/C operation only affects the blower. There is no stress on the burner or heat exchanger. Unless of course the POS unit leaks condensate into the heat exchanger and it's rusted out by the time heating season rolls around.

I didn't because I don't use gas. I base that on construction knowledge.

This was a small storm drain on a road with a significant grade. No issues with gravity flow, no excessively deep installation.

No, not really. An individual town may be an anomaly, but the regions in general have notably different underground utility construction costs. This is changing a bit with some scary new trenchers able to cut through granite without blasting and leave nice cuttings to back fill with.

Find me any part of CT away from the shore where you don't have significant boulders and ledge to deal with.

A cooperative advertising arrangement is not in any was a monopoly and indeed it's the only way many of the small oil dealers could get advertising outside local newspapers and direct mail. They little local oil dealers don't have the deep pockets of the big state wide nat. gas monopolies.

I do.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

WHERE is this "THERE" you speak of?

Yes, how convenient.

Yet it didn't work in this one case.

Yes all numbers are in billions sq meters. It's a huge difference in terms of energy, as total gas imports was estimated at 114.1 billion cubic meters total for the year. Oil imports were 13.15 million barrels per DAY average or 4.790 billion barrels .
To compare, 1 cubic meter of natural gas contains about 36 409.2241 BTUs, 1 barrel of oil contains about 5 800 000 BTUs.
(calculations by the Department of Energy website http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/science/energy_calculator.html)
4154293 billion BTUs natural gas imports 27782000 billion BTUs oil imports
Or to put it in another way, natural gas was about 1/7 of oil imports.

Please. I'm not an "anti war folk" but get real. The United States will spare no expense to keep the Straits of Hormuz open and flowing.

Which civilization was "collapsed" by oil? Saudi Arabia (formerly wandering nomads?)

Uh huh.

Natural gas burns much cleaner than oil. Don't take my word for it, super efficient condensing furnaces are common with natural gas but oil doesn't even burn clean enough for a condensing application, all the soot and sulfur and crap makes it a show-stopper. New electric plants are favored to be gas because it burns cleaner and has lower emissions, which is now important. Transit agencies are even starting to buy clean "natural gas" buses for the simple reason that they have so much less emissions than #2 oil (aka Diesel fuel)

No oil will generally not go boom, unless it is atomized, but that doesn't mean that an oil burner malfunction can't fill your house with soot or burn it down.
In Eastern Massachusetts last winter, a home had to be abandoned due to an oil leak causing heavy fumes and making the home uninhabitable. The family wasn't going home anytime soon, and the last I heard about it they were talking of demolishing the structure.

Efficiency difference? Read again, I was referring to your complaints about "service charges" during non-use periods (summer).

Yeah, except the main consumption of natural gas and reason for using it is heating the HOUSE.

Yeah it only affects that "cheap" blower, remember???

But you're making claims about gas, which is what we're discussing.

What construction knowledge? And using that construction knowledge of yours, please show the numbers.

Uh huh. So what does that have to do with natural gas?

Good thing natural gas is the only underground utility, right? And natural gas is so expensive that nobody can afford to install it, right? Good thing sending huge heavy trucks with people driving them around to everyone's house is so cheap and efficient.

If you're talking about new construction on an apples to apples comparison, it is possible you might need to do some blasting to install some utilities. However that also includes sewer pipe (which is generally a lot more deep than nat gas), water, maybe electric, telephone in newer subdivisions, etc. Big deal.

So to rectify that they collude together. Big deal.

But you don't provide any reference for you claim, so it is just rambling.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John wrote:

www.epa.gov? www.doe.gov?

Not really.

What didn't work? The lockout? There is no mention of the boiler being new enough to have the lockout controls. Indeed from the long list of problems mentioned it appears likely it was a pretty old unit.

Not really a valid comparison. Compare US oil production to oil imports and US gas production to gas imports. In both cases we are importing sizable amounts because we do not produce enough domestically.

I don't know about that. It's a different world and different US from the 70s oil embargo days. I'd be rather interested to see what effect another embargo would have. I also seriously doubt that any of the OPEC folks would consider an embargo and indeed would fight one since they have learned that it would not be in their interest and could do them long term damage if people once again get serious about alternatives. Why do you thing the 70s embargo ended? Couldn't have had anything to do with people starting to look seriously at alternatives could it?

The whole islamic world which used to be a seat of learning and knowledge but has now degenerated into a cesspool of violence and hatred.

Yea, that hindsight thing. A bit late now to undo the mistakes of many decades ago.

Not really, there are a number of available technologies that make oil / diesel burn cleaner however they are being largely overlooked due to the political / emotional stigma of the word "oil" due to the middle east issues.

What they do in the People's Republic of Taxachusets is hardly a model for the rest of the world. Look at their big dig disaster.

I don't know about you, but during the summer months I am not heating my house, I am only heating water.

The main problem with those low end gas furnaces is not the blower, it's the thin, non SS heat exchangers. Rather like the couple very low end oil furnaces out there with steel heat exchangers, not cast iron.

A lot. whether you are installing storm drains of gas mains you have to get through the horrendous amount of rock and ledge in the northeast.

In those areas nat. gas, city water and city sewers are very sparse due to the huge installation costs. Oil heat, wells and septic systems are the norm.

Generally it is a big deal.
In new subdivisions the developers are required to do all that work and that is one of the reasons that new housing is more expensive in the northeast. If the developer has to shell out the money to install all those utilities they add it to the sales prices.
In all the existing neighborhoods where it is individual houses filling in, not large developments, those utilities are not installed by the builder and generally remain unavailable for a long time.

Cooperative advertising is not collusion by any stretch of the imagination. I guess you think the various commercials from the egg board, dairy council, etc. all represent collusion between all those little dairies and egg producers eh?

Find some online prices for furnaces. They aren't out there online (rather anticompetative) so it's not really possible to provide references.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

Those are home pages. There is nothing on those home pages that support your claims. So you don't even read the pages you say proves your claim.

Oh, I'm sure you have all of those sites on natural gas deaths versus oil deaths all bookmarked. I really am.

Ok.
Are you serious? Earlier you just made the claim to wit, "So importing something like 18% nat. gas vs. 50% oil." I give you the ACTUAL figures and now you say, oh that's "not really a valid comparison."
You'd make a helluva football official. Keep moving those goal markers around until your guys could a ball in the endzone. Or just keep changing your mind about what you are asking.
US Oil production 2.77 Billion barrels per year US Net Oil imports 4.412 Billion barrels per yeyar
US Nat Gas production 539 billion cubic meters per year US Nat Gas net imports 89.91 billion cubic meters per year

Embargo? If the USA was so dependent on middle east oil, it could get the hell out of the Persian golf. Instead we make pals with our "friends" the Saudis, sail nuclear carriers up and down the persian golf, and spend much of our foreign policy trying to "stabilize" that minefield as much as possible.

Oh ok.. The "whole islamic world," right?

Yeah just blame it on the Brits running around almost a hundred years ago. US oil dependence TODAY has nothing to do with our foreign policy expenditures in the region. No siree bob.

The cleanest oil or sweet light crude comes from the Middle East.

And what is the Sales Tax in Texas again?

What does the big dig have to do with an abandoned house due to an oil heating system? Please explain your fancy comparison.

Irrelevant to the comments about "service charges" which is what I was directly responding to. Another non-sequitur.

Uh huh.

Well? Can you show any information at all or do you just make your stuff up??

Yeah that just explains why there isn't any gas service in "the northeast." Sure. I'll bet that ledge you complain of only affects gas lines too. Good thing there is no sewers, water service, underground utilities, etc. "in the northeast."

Oh who can afford to blast through all that ledge to build their leach field "in the northeast?"

So what? Doesn't make oil a better fuel than gas, which is what your only thesis is.

You mean like the interstate Dairly Compact, a sort of OPEC for milk? No, no collusion at all, sir. No gambling in this casino either.

How convenient for your claims.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Ok, that's not the case. You can reset ANY oil flame safeguard relay control as many times as you like.
The nucleus of gas vs. oil residential heating safety lies in the control methodology of the times.
Oil burners are direct fired. The full fuel output is ignited by a strong arc. There is no pilot light. If it does not ignite, there is approximately 10 seconds worth of atomized oil spray inside of the combustion chamber. Flame detection is performed by a Cad Cell.
Until recently, most all gas furnaces used a small pilot light to achieve combustion, which in turn ignites the main burners. More of today's furnaces are direct light off such as the oil burner, however modern flame safeguards strategies are applied to bring an acceptable level of safety to the gas burner.
There are better controls available for domestic oil burners however they have not found their way into the residential product lines.
Proportionally, there are many more instances of delayed ignition in oil, then fuel gas.

Oh it won't burn pretty, but it WILL burn under far less stringent conditions as these.
-zero
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
zero wrote:

One of many examples:
http://www.carlincombustion.com/products/50200.htm
"Serviceman Reset Protection ( Latch-up after three consecutive lockouts)"

Right, but what does that have to do with the three strike lockout?

If you're indicating that gas burners until very recently have had very minimal controls with limited safeties you are correct. Many had no electronics at all and relied on a thermocouple heated by the pilot as the only safety for pilot loss. Most had no detection if the main burner actually lit off properly. Most had no easily accessible emergency off switch, you had to find the gas valve, etc.

Huh? Those features are on nearly every residential oil burner manufactured in the last decade. They are certainly on the oil burner I had installed this spring.

For pilot units probably. And for delayed ignition on an oil burner rarely anything of consequence without human intervention overriding the safety.

Yea if you get it on a wick and apply direct flame to it to get it started ala oil lamp. An inch of oil across the basement floor has little chance of ignition even if there were a burning pilot light nearby. In the very unlikely event the oil level to make it to the pilot light there is near 100% probability it would simply extinguish the pilot. Nat. gas (or propane) if they leak and build until they are in proximity of a pilot have a near 100% probability of exploding.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

You don't know what you are talking about.

For the last couple of decades THIS is what came on a domestic oil burners; http://customer.honeywell.com/techlit/PDF/69-0000s/69-0618.pdf
and before that, it was THIS; http://www.partsguy.com/cgi-bin/PartsGuy/RA117A1047.html
As soon as you purge yourself of the "three strike/ decades" sales blurb, only then can you move forward.

Many examples? I know you are greenhorn, thats OK, however now your a greenhorn know-it-all. This will be my last post responding to you.

Yes, this is one of the better controls NOW available. I referred to this below.*

Read it again slowly and carefully starting from; "The nucleus of gas...."

Read it again slowly and carefully starting from; "Until recently, most all gas furnaces..."
There is less risk involved in lighting off main gas fuel with a supervised established ignition (a pilot), then there is lighting off main oil fuel with a spark , unsupervised. This is probably beyond you. Never mind.
* There are better controls available for domestic oil burners

Yes, you're new to this. So are the Carlin programmed controls.

There are no pilots on little oil burners Read it again..

You don't know what you are talking about regarding oil burners/combustion and safety. All you know is what you installed this spring. There's more to learn. Good luck.
-zero

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

Note that what you just mentioned re: pilots and igniters relates to gas explosions (and possible resulting deaths), not CO.
CO deaths are a result of poor combustion adjustment combined with flue leakage, both of which have a higher probability with a gas furnace due to:
1) People believing that a gas furnace does not require annual inspections / service. This creates a greater probability of the furnace falling into disrepair and the poor adjustment and leakage forming.
2) The fact that while CO has no small and is therefore not detectable by humans, the other combustion byproducts produced by a burner sufficiently out of adjustment that it produces significant CO are much more human detectable with oil than with nat. gas.
People can and do die from CO poisoning from both gas and oil appliances, but gas is a greater risk both from it's characteristics and from the larger number of potential appliances (ever hear of an oil stove or dryer?).
When you look at deaths due to non CO cause i.e. fires and explosions, gas is by far the greater risk as there is essentially no such thing as an oil explosion and oil spills rarely find a suitable ignition source unlike gas leaks.
And I'm quite aware that the risk of death from either gas or oil is vastly lower than that from driving a car. I'm not so sure about the airplane though as there are more gas explosions each year in the US than plane crashes. The total deaths numbers will be higher with each airplane crash of course being in the 100+ range per incident vs. 1 or 2.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Pete C. wrote:

of annual inspections. The heat exchanger walls rust thru, then combustion products fill the house, and CO death results. I expect that THIS is the SINGLE largest cause of gas heat deaths in the US. Worker leaving a rag in the flue is a very low probability event.
The issue for lots of folks is that replacing the furnace is the solution to a heat exchanger leak and that is HORRIBLY expensive. Many simply do not have the money to make it happen, so they die of CO poisoning.
My parents had an oil burner most of their lives. I remember the smell.
Natural gas or Propane for me.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert Gammon wrote:

I have never found any smell at all associated with either gas or oil *inside* the living area with quality equipment. In the same service room with the furnace I can readily detect either gas (more specifically the odorant) or oil. If you smell it in the living area you have a problem that needs investigation and repair.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Pete C. wrote:

I'd like to see the data that shows that home nat gas heating systems actually cause far greater fires than oil heating systems. Does the insurance company charge higher rates for gas furnaces based on payout on fires and explosions? Again, you are making wild assumptions, without any supporting data.
Sure there is a small additional risk from nat gas due to the possibility of an explosion that you do not have with oil. But you blow all this way out of proportion to the real risk. How many people die each year in auto accidents compared to furnace systems of any kind? It's 2 orders of magnitude or more higher. There are 40K people killed every year in US auto accidents. 17K die in falls. Only 3K die from ALL sources of building fire/explosion. While I couldn't find actual data on accidental nat gas fire deaths, by the time you seperate those out of the 3K, you will surely be down around the level of deaths due to lightning or commercial aviation. So, who besides you cares?
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Find me a single case of an oil explosion of a home oil furnace in the last 50 years.

It's not a small risk to the people who are killed in them or are lucky enough to just come home to a crater.

Anyone looking at the complete picture:
Oil *is* safer than gas.
Oil *is* more reliable than gas (on site fuel).
Oil *is* more competitive than gas (multiple suppliers).
Oil does *not* have service charges when you aren't using it.
Oil equipment *does* on average have a much longer service life than gas equipment.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Bull Shit. I've run out of oil, I've NEVER run out of gas. When power goes out, oil is useless but if you have a gas stove, you can use the burners to cook. I've never experinenced a gas outage in 60 years.

Sure, you have Exxon, BP, Shell. Wow, what a great selection. Do the local dealers vary in price by more than a penny or two? Nope, they don't. One huge cartel.

If you cook with gas, you use it all the time. Same with hot water. Not much of an agrument there.

Really? I've not seen any big difference. Gas burners are pretty much maintenance free. Once in a while a thermocouple or valve will need replacing, sort of like an oil burner that needs a new motor, pump or nozzle at time. Mechanical things break. In all my years of gas service, I"ve only had two, maybe three service calls, but with oil, I must have $125 service and cleaning every year.
Do you happen to have ties to an oil dealer?
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.