Oil to Natural Gas Conversion Costs

Page 6 of 9  
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Good question. There is a government site that I can't recall at the moment (CDC, HHHS, CPSC or something) that had a nice search able database where you could generate reports on reported injuries and deaths sorted all kinds of ways.

I'm afraid it's your bull shit. I've never run out of oil and anyone with half a brain knows to check the gauge on their tank from time to time.
When the power goes out oil is quite useful since #2 fuel out runs a diesel generator perfectly and can even be used in the pump camp stoves.
You're lucky to be in a reliable location, others are not so lucky. A large number of people within 10mi of where I was living had to spend several winter days in a shelter during a gas outage about 4 years ago.

There are a few others in the mix.

Yes, they do. I've regularly seen price differences that amount to 25% of the oil price and this included during a record cold winter price gouging season.

I know a number of people who only have gas for heat.

I said service life, you are indicating service costs and you are also wrong there as well.
On average oil equipment is built more ruggedly and has a longer service life than gas equipment. There are of course some real low end and real high end units in both lines, but the average oil units last longer.
As for service costs, both gas and oil equipment requires annual inspections for safety, both are capable of operating multiple years without requiring actual service. The service performed annually on oil equipment is not really required, but the cost for the parts is so low that it's cheap insurance to just replace them and it's often the case that people only call for service every few years at which point those items should be replaced anyway.

None whatsoever. I work for a bank, the only stock I have is United Technologies and at the moment since my last move I use neither oil or nat. gas.
I do have a dual-fuel range that uses propane for the cook top, but this is fed from a regular 20# BBQ type tank which lasts 8 months or more between changes and I have multiple vendors to choose from.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

Be careful!! That tank and gas line and range could blow at any moment! Look out! :)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John wrote:

I am careful. The tank is located where if it did explode it would be fairly contained and is not located near any windows that could create shrapnel. The range I just have to hope for the best.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

And the average Oil burner in a home that is not serviced properly is JUST as dangerous.
No disrespect intended, Pete.
This whole thread seams to be diminishing the attention due to oil burning equipment.
A delayed ignition that has not left the confines of the combustion chamber may not be an explosion according to some, however it is an unplanned event.
What you learn in a classroom is fine. It prepares you to go into the field. Once you've been in the field for 3-4 years, you realize just how little you knew that first year.
Many things go wrong with oil burners. YOU may know to stop resetting your protectorelay after the third time, however most DO look at it like an elevator button.
Most are filthy. Just have a fly on the wall look-see at most HVAC shops and watch the service techs try to casually avoid the oil service calls.
Oh, by the way, standing in front of a 750 HP boiler (30,131,000 btu's per hour./ 215 gal. per hour) while it huffs itself out for .5 seconds, and then back into high fire with out shutting off the main fuel valve will forever makeup ones mind on weather or not an oil burner can or cannot explode.
-zero

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

That has been my point when people keep claiming that gas burners don't need service. The fact is that any combustion appliance is dangerous if it's not serviced properly.

It also rarely occurs without human intervention not heeding the warnings on the unit. New units take the human factor into account as well with lockout modes.

Right, but that is not the fault of the oil burner and newer oil burners prevent that as well.

Because most do not get their annual service. No annual service for a few years and nozzles begin to clog causing the combustion to go out of adjustment, soot to form and efficiency to plummet until finally someone calls for service. If they were serviced even every other year they would be nice and clean.

Yea, large commercial / industrial boilers of either gas or oil can do interesting things. Recall one story of a fairly small nat. gas commercial boiler on about the 20th floor of a building that had it's own little blowback and blew the boiler door off barely missing the service guys before it went through the wall and fell the 20 stories to the street below.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

Who was claiming that gas burners don't need service, let alone "keeps claiming" that?

Same with a natural gas furnace. Of course I'd rather have a nat gas furnace that hasn't been serviced in years than an oil furnace.

Blowback? Who puts a <boiler> on the 20th floor? (I could understand a furnace).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John wrote:

Someone in this thread.

Oddly enough I'd rather have a furnace that has received proper servicing.

Blowback, delayed ignition, whatever you want to call it. A gas buildup in the combustion chamber prior to ignition. Boilers are commonly located on upper floors in tall buildings. Furnaces tend not to be used in large (tall) commercial buildings in favor of larger boilers serving multiple heat exchanger air handlers.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

Who?
Blowback? Who puts a <boiler> on the 20th floor?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John wrote:

Don't recall and I'm not searching the whole thread to find it either.

People who understand commercial construction as you apparently do not.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

Oh course not. You just like to make stuff up and then make whimsical references to whatever suits you.

Yeah they were such geniuses that according to you the gas boiler had "blowback" and a "boiler door" that fell 20 stories.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

There shouldn't be any gas at all outside the furnace or plumbing.

When your house is not inhabitable due to heavy oil contamination and fumes, it *is* a safety issue. "Over hyped" environmental issue? Yeah right, unless you consider oil contaminated earth and pollution as part of your environment.

I guess if your concrete floors are watertight and sealed (so the oil doesn't soak into them) and you don't have any drains or perimeter drains. Oh and if you don't mind everything saturated in #2 oil.

Yeah, technology changes, like inducer motors that shut everything down if there is an exhaust blockage in gas furnaces (very very rare).
So, what oil company do you work for? Typical new high efficency gas furnaces get about 94-96% efficiency (AFUE) My neighbor has the exact same house as I do and he has oil heat. I keep my house a little warmer and last winter's bill was less than 2/3 of his. After comparing numbers, he's very interested in switching too. What is the AFUE of your oil furnace?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John wrote:

There shouldn't, if pipes, regulators, valves and controls were all 100% reliable. As can plainly be seen from all the gas explosions that occur, that is not the case.

First off, uninhabitable meaning you have to leave during cleanup, and uninhabitable because it collapsed after the gas explosion are vastly different things. If you are home when the oil leaks you simply leave, safe and sound. If you are home when the gas leaks you can easily end up dead.
As for the environmental part, yes, it is over hyped. Cleanup of even 300 gal of fuel oil that leaks in a concrete basement is pretty minor if it's done reasonably soon. Cleanup of oil leaked from an underground tank is a different matter since until the advent of the double wall tanks with monitoring you aren't likely to detect the leak for months or years. That is why we replace 50 yr old underground tanks with indoor tanks or new double wall underground tanks.

Concrete floors are fairly water tight if they are in good condition. Oil will eventually soak through, but at a pretty slow rate. Not that many basements actually have drains either.
As for saturated in #2, I'd vastly prefer that over a smoldering crater where my house used to be. The oil can be readily pumped and vacuumed up from the surface and the concrete if it's saturated can be removed and replaced with far less expense than rebuilding the whole house after the gas explosion (if I survived the explosion).

Current oil furnaces have the same feature available.

I work for a bank.
How old are each of your furnaces? Where in the model range is each one? Both make a big difference. New vs. 30yr old isn't a fair comparison and neither is new high end vs. new low end.
Also since both nat. gas costs and oil costs fluctuate it's difficult to make a really valid comparison based on cost, particularly when someone buying their oil off season can get lower prices than someone buying just month to month. Rate lock-ins are also more frequently available for oil service.
The last furnace I just had installed at my mothers house this spring (Weil-McLain WTGO4 with a Becket burner) is 85% AFUE, but it is not a high end unit. If I was going for high end it would be a Buderus boiler with a Riello burner. The house needs a lot more insulation so the burner efficiency is a small factor at present.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

How many explosions is "all the gas explosions?" Or people that awake to find their home and its contents are destroyed by oil or that their basement is now an oil spill site?

Cite? I know it is a lot more than that because a house near me had exactly that happen to it, and the house was condemned during the cleanup last year.

I'm suspicious of underground tanks for residential use. And who is doing all of the required monitoring? If the inner tank breaks, why can't the outer tank break too? If the outer tank is already corroded when the inner tank breaks, what good is it (or the monitoring system?)
Gas station tanks have caused enough horrors (at least 7 spill sites from leaking tanks in my town alone), and they supposedly are tightly regulated and inspected regularly. Recall that the MTBE fiasco is caused primarily from gasoline leaking from underground tanks!

Well just about every house around me has a perimeter drain. Prevents any concerns of water in the basement. I didn't realize that basement floors and walls were supposed to be petroleum spill containment systems.

Gas just doesn't blow up a house unless something goes really wrong, like a backhoe out front hitting a pipe. Even then the smell of the gas is pretty obvious before it reaches an explosive ratio with oxygen. In that case it doesn't matter if your particular house has gas service if the gas follows a water or sewer or electrical conduit into your basment instead of following the outside of a gas line.

But as you pointed out, CO for oil furnaces isn't a concern for you since you can just smell the dirtier oil furnace fumes.

About five years old. Fine, let's compare it with a four or even a brand new oil furnace. What AFUE rating

What oil furnaces can do 92%-96% AFUE?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John wrote:

Relative to the total number of units? Very few. Relative to each other there is a significant difference.

Yes, well it can be overblown if you let yourself be taken in by the hype. Even then it still pales in comparison to rebuilding from the crater the gas explosion left, or paying for the funeral.

The outer tanks are poly or fiberglass and they have leak detectors between the inner and outer walls that will trigger an alarm mounted in the house. Basically just a smaller version of the tanks they now use at gas stations.
Not particularly cheap, but if you need the capacity and don't have the room for several conventional 300 gal indoor tanks they are a good option.

Old tanks certainly caused problems, new tanks generally do not.
The MTBE fiasco was caused primarily by eco-nuts pressing for something to be done without adequate research. The problem was not just from leaking tanks and those tanks were likely old tanks, not new. The problem that the MTBE lowered mileage enough to cause more gas to be consumed to offset any pollution reduction was an even bigger problem resulting from the knee jerk nonsense. So not only was no pollution reduced from the tailpipe, additional pollution from the additive was generated, all of which could have been avoided with a year of research and testing.

Actually, per building codes, they are. There is supposed to be a concrete or block containment wall around tanks of sufficient height to contain the contents of the largest single tank in the space. I don't have the codes handy, but I think it should have a sealer applied to the wall and floor as well. Fairly recent code.

Well, I keep hearing of people killed in gas explosions in their houses. Many are elderly which may be a result of reduced ability to smell the leaking gas, not remembering warnings to not turn on lights and get out if they smell gas, forgetfulness in having the equipment serviced regularly, very old equipment, or a combination of all of those.

When they are out of adjustment and producing a lot of CO, yes. When they are operating properly they produce little CO and little fumes.

Ones that presently cost too much for residential use.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

In numbers, what is the "significant difference" that you claim?

Yeah an oil spill into the ground causing environmental damage to the ground, not to mention the damage to the house and its contents and/or making the house uninhabitable is just "hype." I don't think there is a difference in funeral costs from people dying in burning houses caused by oil, gas, or whatever. If oil is so much safer, which insurance companies give the oil heat discount or gas heat surcharge?

Great. So this residential detector needs to be working properly in a decade or two or three when the tank starts leaking. How common is this?

What are they putting in your Texas water? The problem with MTBE is that it gets into the water and travels. It travels much farther than the leaking gasoline/petroleum mess in service station leaking tanks disasters.

That's false. MTBE actually did help meet clean air goals, which is the reason it was used. The oil companies weren't buying it for nothing. In the cylinder, this ether is an oxygenate.

Yeah, it's all the "eco-nuts" fault. Like President Bush, who just eliminated federal protections for oil companies for MTBE lawsuits. Funny how all of the oil companies phased out their MBTE faster than they could lift up a price changing pole. The fed government didn't ban MTBE by the way; several states have.

I have never seen that, even in brand spanking new houses finished two months ago. Which building code are you talking about?

Yeah, it's so common now, the news doesn't even bother covering it anymore.

You keep changing your topics. My comment was directed at your complaints that natural gas burns too cleanly for someone to smell the fumes if somehow they come into the house, unlike oil, thus CO would be more likely to kill. Even if that was true, it's moot with CO detectors, which everyone should have anyway.

And which ones are those ? With that huge residential oil market, why would it cost so much to make a high efficient furnace from a such a superior product like oil, when they've been around for years with natural gas? Maybe the natural gas market is just so much larger due to the need to keep replacing the furnaces when the house keeps blowing up.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John wrote:

I don't feel like digging up numbers at the moment.

The idea that an oil spill on the ground automatically is some environmental disaster is exactly the hype I'm talking about. Unless that oil is getting into ground water or heading for a stream there is no environmental damage. Oil getting into ground water takes a good amount of time, after all the ground water isn't 3" under your house or your house would be floating. Have a spill and clean it up promptly and the oil has not had an opportunity to go anywhere and there is no damage despite what some dropout eco-nut might claim. Killing some soil bacteria 3" below my basement slab is not environmental damage.

More like five or six or more decades. I don't know how common it is, probably fairly common with some XL houses in the northeast where a couple 300 gal indoor tanks won't really do.

Nothing in my water, I've got rather good water here. Nice and soft too, I don't miss the hard water in the northeast at all.
What do the characteristics of the MTBE problem have to do with why we have the MTBE problem? The fact is that loud moth eco-nuts badgered the government into requiring MTBE without adequate research and the MTBE problems are the result of that knee jerk reaction.

Oil companies bought it because it was required by the feds, not because it did anything productive. MTBE looked like it helped meet clean air goals based on the emissions from combustion of a gal of gas with MTBE vs. without MTBE. The reality that was discovered later was that the MTBE reduced the mileage of vehicles using the gas with it so they used more gas with the MTBE in order to travel the necessary distances thereby producing pretty much the same emissions as they did burning less gas without MTBE.
There are other technologies available to get extra oxygen into the engine without resorting to chemical additives in the gas by the way. These of course require changes to the engine so if they were introduced in new cars they it would take some time to achieve any significant vehicle turnover.

Why should the oil companies by liable for problems from an additive that the federal government required them to put in their product? Want to blame someone for the MTBE problem blame those who pushed for it and those that pushed it on the refiners.

Last reference to it was in CT, but I believe it is in the IRC codes. I was researching when looking at building a house in CT and the oil tank room required a short concrete containment wall around it. There was also a limit of I believe 600 gal in a single fire rated space.

There was someone killed in a gas explosion at a motel somewhere within the past month. Collapsed the whole corner of the two story building. It was on the news and I think CNN. Certainly a search on CNN.com for "gas explosion" produces quite a few valid results including some doosies like one that ripped up a mall parking lot.

You're the one who keeps claiming that nat. gas burns cleanly and oil is dirty which is false. Both are pretty clean with proper combustion adjustments. Improperly adjusted, oil is more detectable than improperly adjusted gas. It's not a function of cleanliness, its a function of different detection thresholds for different chemicals.

I've already noted why the nat. gas market is larger.
A few gas explosions:
http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/08/13/house.explosion/index.html http://cbs4boston.com/local/local_story_313162110.html http://cbs4denver.com/local/local_story_089161935.html http://wcbstv.com/topstories/topstories_story_347103431.html http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/01/24/172m_settlement_in_gas_explosion / http://wboy.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid 207 http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2005/04/27_ap_gas / http://ksdk.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid 827 http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060307/NEWS05/603070325 http://www.11alive.com/news/usnews_article.aspx?storyidt159 http://cbs2chicago.com/topstories/local_story_087114934.html http://www.wutc.wa.gov/webimage.nsf/f6e9874228c3b20988256f1d008209b4/03ce08dd5f91b436882570e70075f317 !OpenDocument http://cbs4.com/topstories/local_story_105231940.html http://www.texnews.com/1998/2003/texas/texas_Natural_g220.html
Just a sample, plenty more to be found. Some doosies too.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Pete C. wrote:

Well there is the environmental cleanup issue with the soil that is contaminated. Any such leak to the soil ANYWHERE on your property, if detected by others MAY make the property UNSALEABLE!!!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert Gammon wrote:

Unsaleable to the uninformed perhaps. To those who understand that removing a few yards of soil and giving it to a construction company for use under a road (where there is plenty of petroleum contamination anyway) is pretty simple it should not affect saleability.
Too much uninformed and irrational hysteria in this country.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Pete C." wrote:

Oh yeah. Unsaleable to the informed dolts who don't want an oil mess and environmental liability on their property. How stupid they are! Thank goodness we have 'smart' people like you around.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'm not sure I understand all the details and I really don't want to ask for clarification because my friends are reluctant to discuss it further. I believe their insurance company covered most (but not all) of their legal and restoration costs. However, shortly after the initial restoration work was completed their policy was cancelled. Now they can't obtain coverage elsewhere and they can't sell this home because the Department of Environment won't sign off on the work (the trace contamination might be from the church next door but how do you prove that?). Any additional clean-up that is required will thus be at their expense.
I do know a considerable amount of earth was removed and I believe they drilled a number of wells and injected a water/fluid mix containing some sort of microbe that was suppose to "eat" or breakdown this oil. I don't believe it worked as well as they had hoped (possibly due to colder ground temperatures?). I'm not sure if their neighbours can resume using their wells at this point (several were contaminated and rendered unfit for consumption).
In any event, through no fault of their own, they're left holding the bag and it has caused them a tremendous amount of anguish.
Cheers, Paul
wrote:

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.