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Convert to Nat. Gas or keep Oil??

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by kingston73, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    I used MASSSAVE too. The company I work for is doing several energy saving projects with them and we have liked them very much. At my house, I had insulation blown in a few walls and attic that I had not finished renovating. After the job was done, an auditor came out and re-estimated what was done and he discovered a simple error in their first estimate. I received a check back for over $150.00 in a few days with a nice apology.

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  2. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I can't be certain because I don't have a list of your proposals, but an oil install is always going to be more expensive than a gas install.

    How old is your oil tank? If its over 30 years it should go as well. Replacing an oil tank for $850 would be considered a real bargain.
    Oil boilers of medium grade are more expensive than comparable gas boilers. I don't think your proposals are comparing apples to apples. More than likely oil guys like to put in oil boilers, because they like the service work oil boilers provide. My oil boiler was over 600lbs, and it was tiny compared to what I took out! Compare that to what it would take to get a modulating gas boiler into a bulkhead, when two guys could carry it with one hand a piece, while talking on the cell phone. Oil guys like oil because its their business. Its kind of like an arborist who's learned that cutting down trees doesn't pay in the long run.
    When I did my own install, the boiler was $1500, and the supporting parts were $1200. That's not including a bunch of other stuff. Match the supporting parts. An atmospheric gas boiler is a low-cost option compared to an entry-level oil boiler. I bet you could get the gas boiler for the close to the cost of the oil burner!


    If you're worried about debt:
    The cost of gas vs oil in Mass has to be close to 20%, so if your fuel cost is close to 3k/year you can either spend an extra $600/year on fuel or on the debt service to a loan that will eventually be paid off.
    An oil system must be serviced every year, which will add another $150/year to the cost of the oil system.
    Just the increase in efficiency can pay for itself. I've got oil, but I'd be willing to pay 5k for a natural gas hook-up.
  3. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I just re-read the original post. If you are indeed talking about a furnace and not a boiler the difference in price is MUCH higher for an oil furnace. Get the gas burner if your appliance is rated for it. If you've got 100 gallons of oil in your tank, someone will take your tank for free. Please, please, please put in the natural gas line.

    8k for a gas furnace should include central air, and resealing/reworking every scrap of duct in the home. 8k is a new home install price, not a retro.
  4. kingston73

    kingston73 Member

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    It's been a while since I first posted but I've gotten a few other estimates since then, could you all take a look and tell me what you think of these? Best estimate for converting to a 95% efficient nat. gas furnace and water heater is $7500, plus about $900 to connect our house to the street, so a total of $8400. That includes a direct vent water heater and removing all the old oil equipment.
    Option 2 estimate is basically the same but with an 80% efficient nat.gas furnace and using our chimney to vent (relined with metal liner) for $5600

    With this last company their estimate for new oil equipment was $6800, so it really doesn't make any sense to stay with oil at all. Do these seem like reasonable figures, and is there anything else I should ask or find out?
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Is the oil furnace now inoperative? If it works, and you have other debts then I would just keep using the oil. The deal you are getting for the gas line (900$) is worth doing now since it will add at least that much value to your home and since to do that work in the future will cost much much more.

    Don't make this a 9000$ problem, make it a 900$ problem and put additional money to better use.
  6. kingston73

    kingston73 Member

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    SE MA
    Part of my problem is things work for now but it's a 30 year old system so I don't know how much longer it will keep working. I'm also looking at the tax rebates that I can get if I do this before the end of 2011.
  7. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Take the estimate on the gas furnace and have two other quotes done for the identical equipment and removal of the old unit and tank. I would get 3 estimates from different plumbers. That is where you will see the savings. Each will have their mark-up on the job. This way if there is one company you would like over the others and their price is higher, show them the cheaper estimate and see if they will price match.

    I would definitely replace the 30 year old unit. Go for the rebates. I would be concerned with the heat exchanger cracking on the old one, could be a bad situation down the road.
  8. kalevi

    kalevi Member

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    I had a gas furnace put in 3 years ago. I was paying close to $2000 every year for oil. With my gas furnace, I'm averaging about $700 a year. I'm in Ontario so prices will be different but it cost me about $5000 for them to take out the old furnace+ oil tank and put in the new furnace. The new one is 97% efficient with a DC motor. It ramps up slowly so you never even notice the heat come on. I strongly recommend you go with the gas furnace.
  9. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    Gas bill today $44.38 for 33 therms basically $1.33 a therm everything included...
    Oil is 1/3 more btus per gallon than therms...
    So equal in heat and price gas is $1.76 to price of oil per gallon
    On a good winter, I would use 700 gallons of oil at whatever price ... In comparison it would be $1238.38 for gas and $2303 for oil
    So as you can see it will pay back to switch ...
    Also I am in western mass I believe your gas prices are the same but oil maybe higher
    That was at $3.29 a gallon
  10. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    The install of oil to gas was completed yesterday for me. Another benefit I don't see listed is the burner is quieter!

    Can you have a conversion burner installed? Have you kept an eye open on Craigslist for an appropriately sized gas furnace? My oil boiler was only installed a few years ago so I was reluctant to change.

    Matt

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