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Convince me to go gas instead of oil

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by jzinckgra, Nov 18, 2009.

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  1. jzinckgra

    jzinckgra Member

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    Loc:
    Raymond, Maine
    Here's the thing. We have a 3300sqft house. We live upstairs most of the time where the big (28x32') family room is. Bedrooms are upstairs as well. When we bought our house last Spring, there was a VC LP fireplace in the great room. I've always loved wood and my wife and I decided to get a woodstove put in as well. The backup heat source is baseboard hotwater (oil burner). The woodstove will be the primary heatsource this winter upstairs.

    The downstairs only has baseboard heat and we generally sit down there for breakfast/dinner and prepare food in the kitchen. I have the baseboard heat set to 62F an we never touch it, although it kicks on quite a bit given the size house and it's not even that cold yet. I hate bb heat though. Seems so inefficient and almost artificially warm. My thought was to maybe put in a small DV gas stove downstairs. I have seen quite a few used LP stoves online for under $1K, but not sure on the install cost of such a stove. Also, I would have to get another 100G LP tank installed outside, which is not a problem. I figured if I put the gas stove on a thermostat, I would have good control over the downstairs heat and it would be more comfortable. My only thought is the price of LP in my area. I called yesterday and the cost is $2.90/g, while our last oil fill up was around $2.29/g. I am not trying to calculate everything down to the penny, but rather trying to justify spending the money for such an install. I ask myself "do I need it"? and the answer is "no", but it would be nice to have. More of a quality of life decision.

    The other thing pushing me towards doing it is the fact we will eventually upgrade to a gas cook stove, which is currently electric. My wife prefers gas and we figured once we went LP, we could run a line from the new LP tank to the stove. So after this little ramble, I guess I am just looking for feedback/suggestions to help steer my decision.

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  2. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    5,125
    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    You hafta look at a gas stove as a space heater...
    It won't heat your whole living area, but it'll do a good job
    heating the area(s) where you spend most of your time.
    If you can lower the BB & only heat a smaller portion of your house,
    in the BIG scheme of things, you can save energy.
    It may take a while (years?) to reclaim the installation costs,
    but the gas unit will work in a power outage, where your boiler
    probably won't...
    Guess it's your call. Gas is a NICE convenience...
    LP has 91.5K BTU per gallon...A 30K (input) BTU unit will burn that gallon
    in about 3 hours (on HIGH)...Cost is about a buck an hour...
    LESS if you turn down the regulator or run it on a T-Stat...
    I made the switch from wood to gas a couple of years ago, when I built my A-Frame...
    In order to burn wood, I'd need 40 FEET of SS Class A chimney...
    Even working for a hearth shop, I couldn't afford it...
    I will admit that the Tax Incentive has me re-considering my options, tho...
  3. jzinckgra

    jzinckgra Member

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    Loc:
    Raymond, Maine
    Is that based on LP prices in your area, cause it is around $2.90 in my neck of the woods. Thanks for the input.
  4. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    No. That's based on the costs where you are...
  5. jzinckgra

    jzinckgra Member

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    Loc:
    Raymond, Maine
    ah yes, simple math. I missed your point about 1G/3 hrs. Never was good at math:)
  6. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Propane is expensive, and probably always will be. I would consider some other type of space heater for that lower area. Heating it with wood (maybe a BKP that could efficiently burn low and long, plus it has the thermostat on it) would be the cheapest way to go. I'm not crazy about pellets recently, but a pellet stove can be DV and it would likely be cheaper than propane as well.

    Here's a basic fuel price calculator, put some basic numbers in it for the cost in your area and I think you'll see LP is an expensive route to go. But I do think a space heater is the way to go...

    http://www.pelletheat.org/3/residential/compareFuel.cfm
  7. jzinckgra

    jzinckgra Member

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    Loc:
    Raymond, Maine
    Sorry, but what is a BKP? I used to have a pellet stove in another house and yes, it worked quite well, but I'd rather not have to deal with cleaning the dust, ashes, and filling it, hence the simplicity of the LP stove. But I understand your point about cost.

    I should also mention that when the power goes out (i'm sure it will) at least I'll still be able to get heat from the LP stove unlike the pellet. Although I know you can get 12V batteries for them.
  8. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    i believe BKP is blaze king princess (wood stove)
    before you spend all the money take a look at your furnace is it eff? meaning what is the temp? could it be adjusted higher or lower? is the house zoned? could you save money by using a programmable thermostat as to heat up when you are there cool off later so it doesnt run as much?

    a lot of people run out and buy things when there can be a cheaper way with wht you have....spending 1500 on lp setup which is more expensive may really cost you in the end.... the 1500 on possbily your setup is 600+ gallons of oil........
  9. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    If you can save money by not heating a section of your downstairs with baseboard I'd say it may make sense, but propane is 50% more expensive per btu than oil. I bet you'll find you're burning more upstairs once you stop heating the entire downstairs. You may get 90% with a space heater but you're paying for it with a serious premium over oil. Oil and propane are the same racket. Pellets are getting there too, but at least they're made locally.

    Personally I'm not too keen on pellets because of the motors and cleaning that can go wrong with them AFTER YOU'VE SPENT $3000.00! Cord wood is a PITA but at least I know I can rip down a tree and stay warm. I don't need a truck to feed me.
  10. jzinckgra

    jzinckgra Member

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    Loc:
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    That's part of the problem. The downstairs is all on one zone. This includes the breezeway, kitchen, bathroom, dining room, eat-in room and the finished basement. I am not sure why the previous owners did not at least put the basement on a separate zone when they built the house. I have a programmable thermostat for the downstairs, but just leave it set to 62F. Another woodstove downstairs is not an option.
  11. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
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    call a hvac guy to see how much it would cost to make another zone..... it could end up a lot less than 1500 you are planning on spending..
  12. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    You may not even need to split the zone up/add relays and what not. My last house I reversed the flow of the baseboards so I would get the hottest water where I wanted it (the bathroom, which was alway cold before this). You can also throttle back the zone (depending on your piping setup) to dump a majority of heat in the front of the loop. I don't know about a circulator however, that may be asking for trouble.
  13. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    +1 good suggestion....if you rarely use that area, why heat the entire area.
  14. Long Burn

    Long Burn New Member

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    Loc:
    Northeasrern Pa.
    In my opinion, if your looking to sit back and relax, the LP stove is the way to go, but you will not enjoy the same type of heat like you would with a wood or a pellet stove,(dry warm heat). Bottom line, you will bust your hump with either a wood stove or a pellet stove.
    As far as operating costs, no matter what you install, pelllets, gas,etc.,you will be subject to fluctuations in fuel type prices and supply unless you have your own wood supply.o
    You can't beat the system.
    Propane is $2.43 in my area.

    Long Burn
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