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Oil or Propane???

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Oilhater, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Salem NH
    Hello

    Wow, looks like the Harmon HYDROFLEX60 Pellet Boiler is a good way to go! Heck my oil boiler does not have battery backup!!

    List price is $4999.00 so it may be quite a bit cheaper

    Features

    * Patented Pellet Pro Feeder
    * Patented Pellet Pro Burn Pot
    * 120 VAC
    * 90% + Efficiency
    * Small Footprint
    * Faster ignition & recovery for quick response to heat needs.
    * 14 spiral baffled stainless heat exchanger tubes increase efficiency.
    * Electronic Temperature Control
    * Front door with window for easy ash removal, burnpot access and fire viewing.
    * Outside Air Temperature Sensor
    * Dual boiler water temperature and presssure gauge
    * Pressure Relief Valve
    * Refractory-lined firebox
    * Fiberglass insulation surrounding the entire unit
    * 3 inch pellet exhaust
    * 3/4 inch water lines

    Options

    * Wireless Thermostat
    * Direct Vent Wall Passthrough
    * Bulk Hopper (1400+ lb hopper capacity)
    * Outside Air
    * Battery Back Up

    Attached Files:

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  2. Oilhater

    Oilhater Member

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    WOW!!! I am really shocked at the overwhelming majority of people that would choose propane. After calling around a bit it seems that the average cost of propane would be 2.90 to 3.40 per gallon. I'm paying 3.06 per gallon for oil. Every fuel cost calculator i plugged numbers into came out to oil being about $28.50 per million btu and propane being about $42 per million btu. Even if heating oil jumped up $1 gal it would still be less than propane. AM I MISSING SOMETHING HERE???
  3. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hello oilhater

    Yes, those BTU calculators do not factor in the efficiency of the heating appliance. So that is why we must compare how many gallons are used for a year. It looks like Propane for DHW and cooking is approx 190 gallons and Oil for DHW is 200 or so gallons, as I said I do not have the real # in until September. So that brings the price that much closer but if you can get propane for alot less than oil then propane would be cheaper. If propane is only a little less than oil then the price is about the same in a real situation using newer efficient heating appliances!!
  4. ChrisWNY

    ChrisWNY Feeling the Heat

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    True, modern LP gas furnaces have up to a 95% AFUE rating, I'm not aware of any oil furnace/boilers rated much above 85%, so that must be factored in when running the numbers. In my area, Propane isn't nearly as expensive as what some of you other guys are paying for it (which is surprising considering that we pay more for gasoline in WNY than most other areas).

    Pellets are still a good deal cheaper for heating than most of the other fuels, including Natural gas. I can heat my house up to 74° on less than a bag of pellets/day nearly all day long, if I heated that warm on NG, I'd be paying a nice $350 NG bill every month.
  5. Greg M

    Greg M New Member

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    First, remember that we're talking about a new home at about 18,000 sq ft.

    What do you mean, "not even in the ballpark"? A heat pump with 20kw heat strips puts out the same BTUs as a 72,000 BTU 95% gas furnace. I just opened up the file for an older house that I did a load calc on recently. It's 1400 sq ft with good insulation and single pane windows with storm. I lowered the winter temp to -10 and it specs out at 50,000 BTUs. On new construction and only 400 sq ft more 20 kw strip heat should be fine especially if he has a pellet stove.

    My electricity is cheaper then propane and oil. Those that make statements based on facts don't complain. Electric strip heat is much more expensive then NG but that's about it. Right now oil and propane are higher then electric strip heat.

    Half the cars going away isn't realistic but getting away from home heating oil over the next 15 years is very realistic.
  6. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    The problem Greg is that most NE homes are not even close to having good insulation and further they do not get electricity at a reasonable rate.

    I'm aware of exactly what can be done when a house is well constructed and insulated, even so the edge in New England goes to other than electricity.

    My 2688 square foot house specs out at close to 20,000 BTU/hr at 0 and I would never want to use any electrical strip heating.
  7. Greg M

    Greg M New Member

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    I grew up in New England. I know what you're talking about. That's why I stated a conversion to electric would have to include other improvements but all of those improvements would have a fairly short payback timeframe.

    Why not? What is your reasoning for not wanting electric heat? Is it because you're basing your comments on old out of date reasons? I've not heard one factual reason for choosing oil or propane over electric, not one. If there are some logical reasons why electric heat can't be used then I'd like to know.

    Again, this thread is about new construction not old drafty houses with little insulation that need a 120,000 BTU furnace to keep the pipes from freezing.

    Electric heat will keep his house warm and will be cheaper then oil and propane. Can you give me any facts that will dispute my claim?
  8. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Use about 15 cents per KWH and crank the figures.
  9. Pellet-King

    Pellet-King Minister of Fire

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    Your house is 10 yr's YOUNG, why waste the money and build a new one?, 300 more sq ft isnt much, propane is big bucks!!
    If you plan on using your pellet for heat then go electric, no furnace cost's, no duct's or pipes, no maintainance, no NOISE, just flip a switch.
    8.99kwh here in Ct, Deregulation!!
  10. ChrisWNY

    ChrisWNY Feeling the Heat

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    Electric heat is great for once-in-a-blue-moon usage, can't beat the convenience. Plus it's 100% efficient as electricity can be converted directly into heat.
  11. Greg M

    Greg M New Member

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    It then is close to the same as propane ($3) with oil ($3.20) coming in cheaper by about $14 per million BTUs. However, many utilities have a two tear pricing system. After a certain number of kw the price per kw lowers. Do you guys have this?

    I just found a chart that shows the average electricity costs across the country and NE is much higher on average then others. Why is that? Maybe it's time to expel the enviro wackos so that you can finally get that nuclear plant online. I assume that the plant in Maine never came online.
  12. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    The second tier starts at 100 KWH and it is all factored into the rate I gave you. Yes it sucks to buy electricity up here, it always has. Maine had an online nuclear plant, it even set a few records in the power industry.

    ETA: I think there are still operating nuclear plants in New England, I haven't really paid any attention to that in the last 10 or so years. I've lived here for a fairly long time (I'm a geezer) and keep up with a lot of crap, getting the shack heated has always been a priority.
  13. Greg M

    Greg M New Member

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    When I lived there 25 years ago I seem to remember that they had a plant that got finished but never came online.

    I guess I'll have to revise my statement about electric strip heat to, "it's cheaper then oil and propane except for NE". How's that :)
  14. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Greg I think you are referring to this plant:

    The Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, more commonly known as Seabrook Station, is a nuclear power plant located in Seabrook, New Hampshire. Two units (reactors) were planned, but the second unit was never completed due to construction delays, cost overruns and troubles obtaining financing. The construction permit for the plant was granted in 1976 and construction on Unit 1 was completed in 1986. Full power operation of Unit 1 began in 1990. Unit 2 has been canceled and most of its major components sold to other plants.

    The plant was originally owned by more than 10 separate utility companies serving five New England states. In 2002, most sold their shares to FPL Energy (a subsidiary of FPL Group), later known as NextEra Energy Resources. NextEra Energy now owns 88.2% of Seabrook Station. The remaining portion is owned by municipal utilities in Massachusetts.

    Relative fuel costs are all over the map, always have been.
  15. rickwa

    rickwa New Member

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    ohio
    I just went back to the calculator above and at 2.44 and .10/kwh it is a wash. I got propane for 1.64/gal this year plus tax. I own my tank. For me in the midwest propane is much cheaper. kwh rate here is about .12/kwh with all the fees taxes ect figured in. Better yet I am heating with corn, About 100 bushels at 5.00/bu bartered w/ farmer. Keep my home at 73f (1600sq ft 8 yrs old) and have to open doors occasionally to bring temp down if the sun is shining. I guess each area is different I hate having to pay a gas or electric bill!! I plow snow for the guy I buy corn from so I work off my corn bill!!
  16. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

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    Some conflicting information in this thread. It would be nice if folks backed up their claim with fuel calculator numbers. BTU per dollar is the only way to do a fair comparison. Everything else is "apples & oranges" comparisons. Appliance efficiency helps make a decision about an appliance but BTU is the common denominator when comparing fuels. A space is going to require the same amount of BTU no matter what appliance is heating it.
  17. slls

    slls Minister of Fire

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    In my area propane cost the most to heat with, excluding electric.
  18. ChrisWNY

    ChrisWNY Feeling the Heat

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    Here is an online fuel cost calculator that should answer most questions regarding the cost of each fuel per BTU. Note that you must adjust fuel costs accordingly based on fuel costs in YOUR region. Don't assume Propane is the *most* expensive, LP costs me $2.59 per gallon in my area so it's substantially cheaper than electric for heating (I pay over $0.18 per kwh here, go figure since I live within 15 miles of one of the largest producers of Hydro power in the entire world, Niagara Falls). LP is also about $0.60 cheaper PER gallon than fuel oil in my area, probably due to shipping costs to deliver fuel oil to WNY.

    Everyone's region will differ, which is why statements such as "propane is the most expensive" or "oil is the most expensive" will not hold true for many others reading this thread. It's important to call your utility companies or look at the break-down of your utility bills to figure out what you're paying in your area.

    http://www.woodpelletinfo.com/calculator/

    The efficiency assumptions are a bit off especially for NG and LP, but for the most part the numbers are pretty good if you factor in the average efficiency of everyone's furnaces, new (which are near 95% AFUE) and old (which are are low as 70% AFUE).

    One thing does hold true, however, that pellets are substantially less expensive, PER BTU, than *most* other heating fuels. Coal is the exception, but it's dirty and horrible for the environment.
  19. Greg M

    Greg M New Member

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    That calc is one of the least useful ones that I've seen. The excel spreadsheet is the best one that I've come across so far. It allows you to adjust efficiencies and BTU content. Also allows you to use the HSPF for heat pumps.

    One flaw that I've noticed on this site is that most people figure electric heat based solely on strip heat without factoring in the money that a HP saves when the temp is over 30.
  20. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

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  21. signal

    signal New Member

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    Here is what you need to know! I have had my pellet stove for 5 years now and just last year and have saved on heating bills, ( I guess through monitoring my use) the propane company ,first said they were going to charge me a rental fee of $80. yr. on my tank ( 500 gal) ,I was under the impression the tank came with the house seeing its buried in my back yard, when the rental tactic didn't work, the next tactic was initiated, "low use fee" remember this term, they tried to say that seeing I did not use a full tank of propane I would have to pay $500. for a "low use fee" or I could buy my tank for almost $2000. or they would come and remove my tank for their costs ($1500.00) and I could buy a new tank from some other company,, after fighting off the $500 fee, which they said they would wave as long as I bought a full tank by June 2011, If I do not fill the tank (500 gals) by June 1rst they will reinstate the $500 fee...
    My Question : has anyone else experienced these "extorsion tactics" being made by propane companies in order to recoup their loss by people who have saved money burning pellets only to have it extorted by the gas/propane companies???
  22. ChrisWNY

    ChrisWNY Feeling the Heat

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    signal - Yeah, that sounds like extortion to me, unless your tank is just sitting there and you're not using any propane at all. If that was the case, why bother having a propane tank on your property, whether buried or above ground? I'll still use propane for my dryer, range, and water heater at the very least, so I plan on needing a fill at least once per year.

    Most of my neighbors (we're all on propane out where I live) have wood burners, pellet stoves, or other alternative sources of heat, and we all buy our Propane from various LP vendors. I can safely tell you that not one of our Propane vendors have pulled anything like you are describing in your case. My immediate neighbor, who heats 24x7 via pellet stove, has his propane vendor fill his tank ONCE per year during the Summer, he usually calls them when he believes gas/oil prices are at a low point during the season (which typically happens during the Summer), and he's never been hit with any additional charges or fees. This will be my first year running a pellet burner, I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed I guess, but other nearby neighbors using the same LP vendor as I do (who have wood burners or pellet stoves) have never complained about "low usage" fees or rental contracts for the tanks.
  23. Greg M

    Greg M New Member

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    A 500 gallon tank holds a maximum of 400 gallons.

    I have had the same thing happen to me. I dug up the tank by hand and told them I wasn't paying any fees and to come pick up their tank. They backed the truck up to the hole (make sure that the dirt isn't in the way) and they lifted it up onto the truck. Make sure that you dig up under the tank so that they can lift it up without having to do any digging or they might charge you for that. They were going to charge me $500 to dig it up.

    Do you have your original contract? I did and told them that since this low use fee wasn't in my contract I wasn't going to pay it. They also tried to up my yearly rental fee and I used the contract to prevent them from doing that.
  24. signal

    signal New Member

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    where are you located? trying to get enough people that have been through this to fight these kinds of tactics, thanks for your reply,
  25. johnny1720

    johnny1720 Member

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    This same thing happened to my neighbor's father in law. He dug up the tank and sent it packing with a big old FU to the propane company. Then he went and purchased a few 100 lb propane tanks. He linked them together with shut off valves. He can unhook one and take it and have it filled with out bothering the other one.

    He buys his propane from BJ's wholesale club at a significant savings from having it delivered.

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