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Oil or Propane???

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

  1. rickwa

    rickwa New Member

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    I had a similar issue as far as a rental/ low use fee on a underground tank. When i put my tank in it was a lease with a one time lease fee of about $200. after a few years when we got our price lock contract for gas we sent it in and shortly after we got a statement for a rental. I called and they said that was built in to price lock contract. When u sign for price lock u are also agreeing to a rental fee. I called and they said you can buy your tank? They gave me a price of $600 so i bought it. Now no 50-75 a tr rental and i get gas for .25-.50 / gal cheaper. Gas supplier said the extra price is built in for the maintance of you gas system. The "free" service calls i guess like if your regulator goes bad or something. My payback should be 4 yrs or so. I shopped and got propane for $1.69/ gal

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  2. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hi Signal

    Yes, After I got my pellet stove, I use very little propane. Heck it is only for my fireplace and I only have a 100 gal. propane tank. Well last summer I got socked with a $75.00 rental charge. It would cost $650.00 to buy my own tank!

    Besides the rental fee, they charge more per gal. for the propane because I do not own my own tank

    Also because Amerigas has their sticker on it, I cannot buy LP gas anywhere else cheaper. By law noone else will fill a different gas companies tank!!!

    So Amerigas is holding my Tank hostage and I am forced to pay their higher rental price!!
  3. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Hells bells Don, will a nice little grill propane tank provide enough gas to run that things considering how you use it?

    If so tell Amerigas to come and get their tank. Make sure they pay you for the remaining propane and that you present them with a rental bill for occupying some of your land.
  4. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hello kinglew

    That is a good article. Since the oil and LP prices here and now are much closer, oil maybe slightly cheaper now.

    However since No expensive chimney or Oil Tank or Gas Rental Tank is needed for a Wood Pellet Boiler and pellets now are way cheaper, looks like a pellet boiler is a good way to go!!!!
  5. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Good point Smokey!!

    A 20 pound gas grill LP tank is a little small, but a 100 lb tank instead of a 100 gal (400 lb) tank may work quite nicely. Also the local Grain dealer will refill a 100 lb tank. That is their limit. So if I bring the 100 lb tank in to them, the LP gas is even cheaper than having it delivered!!!!
  6. ChrisWNY

    ChrisWNY Feeling the Heat

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    I agree, and I think this is why most (reasonable) LP Gas companies won't try to go after their customers in this manner. Their tank occupies space, and technically a land owner would be within their rights to take this angle. It always amazes me how the cost of LP gas can vary so much from one vendor to another, my closest neighbor's bills were always a lot higher than mine, and he used similar amounts of LP monthly. He buys from AmeriGas, I buy from a locally-owned LP vendor. I've heard bad things about AmeriGas from a lot of people, glad I didn't choose them as my LP provider, seems like I would've been paying for my tank had I gone that route.
  7. rickwa

    rickwa New Member

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    u can buy a #100er at TSC for about $100 I think
  8. skidozer

    skidozer Member

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    One thing with propane.
    It is in my area price dependent on usage.
    My propane usage was under 100 gal. per month so I was paying $1.25 more per gallon than a coworker who had the same company. My propane was over $4 per gallon a couple years ago.
    They own the tank and it took me 2 years to get away from them. They also charged me $200 when I switched companys to pickup the tank.
    Oil you can call whoever is cheaper.

    Thats the main reason I wanted a pellet stove even know I pay $1.69 this year.
  9. skidozer

    skidozer Member

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    I should have read a little better but I was extorted also.
    Low use fee.
    I called multiple times and told them to take me off auto fill. Every time the tank would get low they would fill it or fill it in May then I was stuck with a full tank.
    They wouldnt credit you for the propane they wanted to charge me like $1.25 per gallon to pump out the tank. Scum bags.
  10. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    After dealing with my last propane company I have no doubt they will be my LAST propane company. I had a pool heater when we first moved in and wouldn't use it, so they threatened to charge me. I asked them if I could buy the tanks and they said "no, we don't sell our tanks". So I told them to come get them. They still sent me a bill however, telling me I had the tanks for a year and didn't make a purchase, so I still owed them the rental fee. They also stiffed me on the credit in the tanks. The two tanks were full @ 80 gallons each and they only credited me 80% of that, telling me that tanks only hold 80% of their volume to which I said "yeah, 100 gallon tanks hold 80 FRIGGIN GALLONS!". I'm sure heating oil companies have their schemes as well. I do know that gas companies are allowed to mix air into their lines during Winter to avoid freezing or something like that. So there are months when you think you're using a lot of gas and you are, as well as trying to burn air.

    If its forced air I would go propane. If its a boiler I'd go with oil. Don't get too hung up on the efficiency AFUE ratings. What you want is system efficiency not just combustion efficiency. Low 90s for a hot air furnace is pretty darn good. Your duct work is going to be much more important. I like the idea of having 1000 gallons of storage, but that's going to be a lot of money just for the tank. Also, whenever I check the price of oil and propane in my area are very close per gallon. That may change if I'm filling a 500 gallon tank but here in the NorthEast oil is almost always cheaper than propane, even when you factor the additional maint. that you should be doing anyway.

    You could use hydro air handlers and eliminate the ductwork (unless its for central ac), go with a boiler and then be ready for a wood/pellet boiler if you choose that later.
  11. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    btuser,

    If that gas company was obeying the law they can only put 80% of capacity in the tank. Yup, that's correct, they legally can only fill those propane tanks to 80% of rated capacity.
  12. TboneMan

    TboneMan Member

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    Central NY
    Mine sneaks in 85% sometimes. Especially if they've stopped and I don't need much. In fact they did it last month. I was home when the truck stopped last week. I walked out and we looked at the tank together....78% full. He said, well you're pretty full, I guess you don't need any." The think is, I use propane for HW, cooking, clothes drier and my furnace still runs on occasion. I know I used more that 2%.

    I bet if hadn't been home he would have pushed it up to 85% again, to put 30 gallons in just to justify his stopping.

    I'm using less than 200 gal/year now. I could go almost 2 years without a fill.
  13. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

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    The dollar cost of a gallon of propane and the cost of a gallon of oil may be the same but the BTU heat generated from them is very different. So the resulting cost to heat a space is very different.
    A gallon of propane generates approximately 91,333 BTU per gallon.
    A gallon of furnace oil generates approximately 138,690 BTU per gallon.

    Check out this table of BTU vs Cost for different fuels. This is a table from the Department Of Energy calculator. It is old data but gives a good comparison of the real cost per BTU of burning the different fuels.

    [​IMG]
  14. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    I got a bag of Green Team Wood Pellets for $3.74 at Lowe's yesterday. that is $187.00 per ton. Wood Pellet Heat is Cheap!!

    Well my neighbor just got an oil fill today.

    Due to the pending onslaught of sub zero temps in the next few days the price is now

    The current Oil price is $3.60 per gallon !!!

    The oil man said some people are now paying between $800 - $900 for a fill up. Is that price gouging??? Does that change the calc in the chart much ????

    See temp forcast below (-14 Sunday morning Brrrrrrrrrr!!!!!)

    Attached Files:

  15. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Must be special NH prices. They see ya coming.
  16. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    How much is oil and pellets today in down east ME Smokey ??
  17. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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  18. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    Choosing between propane and oil is like choosing between syphilis and gonorrhea for heaven's sake! Insulate the living crap out of the house if you have to use either one and get the highest efficient unit you can. What about geothermal heat pump? That makes a lot more sense.
    Even a coal stoker would be a better bet. Use this cost comparison calculator which takes into account your hot air distribution system if you decide to go that way. it's the only one I've found that does. Even if you had to pay $275 a ton for coal, you're still ahead. Geothermal heat pump will let you plug in 300% efficient (3 COP).

    http://www.buildinggreen.com/calc/fuel_cost.cfm
  19. ChrisWNY

    ChrisWNY Feeling the Heat

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    Propane vs. Oil is a much easier choice where I live - fuel oil is nearly $3.50 per gallon while LP is $2.49 per gallon. Even with the most efficient oil burner, Propane is the less expensive option. I can't complain though because my house is only 3 yrs old (I general contracted the build) and is very well insulated, a little bit of pellet heat certainly goes a long way.
  20. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

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    Those prices changed the last right hand column in the calculator chart to:
    OIL = $33.28
    PELLETS = $16.67
  21. Greg M

    Greg M New Member

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    Actually that's not true. At those prices if you have an 80% oil furnace and a 93% LP furnace the oil would still be 2 cents cheaper per million BTUs output.
  22. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

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    Was wondering if someone would catch that. The calculator I used came up with the same thing. Oil was actually slightly cheaper at those efficiency ratings.
  23. ChrisWNY

    ChrisWNY Feeling the Heat

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    Correction - oil is over $3.50/gallon in my area right now, just spoke with a coworker of mine who runs on fuel oil, over $1/gallon more than LP gas. His oil bills were always more expensive than my LP bills annually, and he lives in a smaller house, though it was built in the 1950's.
  24. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

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    Where do you work?

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