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Who's using all the heating oil?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by begreen, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  2. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    I have seen this statistic before, and always thought...Wow. What I think is sort of odd is that Manchester NH was one of the first cities to have underground gas lines (not NG, but gas from coal burn off) to power the giant mills and lighting. I do think gas lamps are cool. The house I used to rent in Nashua, NH was a pastoral manor in the historic district. House was originally gas. SOmetime in the 40's they changed over to oil heat and ran all the electrical along the moldings and then installed the electric light fixtures right into the old gas lamps. Every room has 4-5 lamps all along the walls, but none were connected to any wall switches. You had to feel around blindly until you found the wall and then search for the lights. good times. all the electrical outlets were in the floor, and usually closer to the center of the room than near the walls.

    I assume prices will rise with low sulfur. We do have the bio-blended oil available around here, I do think that is pricey stuff.
  3. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I use about 1100 gallons myself, I'm ashamed to admit. Heating oil will become low sulfur because of the refinery chain, not because its good for the enviroment. I think its a great idea, because there's some great burners that use it. You can actually get a clean blue flame from low sulfur heating oil, without the CO problems. Condensing oil boilers have always had problems because of the quality of heating oil.

    I read that low sulfur heating oil (500 ppm) is only about $.02 more expensive than regular heating oil (2000-2500 ppm), and that gains in equipment efficiency more than compensate for the extra cost of refining. Less problems with the condensate and a better burn.

    Here's another good link: http://www.cecarf.org/publications/CECA Low Sulfur White Paper 9-12-03.pdf
  4. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The refineries have been streaming low sulfur diesel for a while now. De-sulfuring the heavier fraction shouldn't be that big of a deal. Hell, selling the sulfur is a big business for them. You should see the piles of the stuff out back of a refinery.

    Refiners know how to get everything out of the pig but the squeal.
  5. Wallyworld

    Wallyworld Member

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    Maine is the king of 2oil. I burned about 75 gallons last year in the shoulder seasons. Plan to do the same this year. Lots of folks burn 500 to 1000 gallons though and alot burn oil for DHW.
  6. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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    Its not me! I only used 40 gallons last winter! Cut my consumption from over 600 gallons the winter before.

    Im not surprised by NJ's low #s on the chart...most of the houses ive been to in NJ are gas heat. The funny thing is when I needed an oil fill up I bought it from NJ because it was about .30 cents cheaper per gallon than PA....plus the PA supplier gave me stinky oil (smelled like sewage) and then basically told me it was my problem, not his. He no longer gets my business or referrals.
  7. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    Certainly not me anymore! I'm in the NE and I used to use about 800-1000 gallons per year for 2 zone FHW heat and Tankless Hotwater in a 2000 sq/ft Colonial. Now with Stove, Oil usage is around 300-350 gallons a year for Hotwater. My burner has a Aquastat and the LO settting (for hotwater) was kicking on at 180. I turned that down to 140. There's no need to have hot water on tap at 180 degrees. I figure the oil tech (who i purchase oil from) had it there to use more oil.
  8. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

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    I use about 300 gal per year in the shoulder seasons, in the mid winter the furnace never runs. I cut it in half in the last 2 years, I have been burning since day one in this house but mostly only on colder weekends, now when the cold comes it is 7X24 until winter is over.
  9. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    I use none (zero). Wood heat only!
  10. rowerwet

    rowerwet Minister of Fire

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    I burned about 600 gal a year in my 100+ yr old new englander with blown in insulation, now I burn about 6 tons of pellets for my heat, the oil beast still runs during the shoulder season on Jet A from work. I haven't bought any oil for about 3 years.
    two big things about why we use so much oil-
    Old houses, most converted from coal back in the 50's and 60's, I lived in one as a kid that still had the coal boiler fired by an oil "log", you could see into the firebox though a window and see the fire. My current house has the circle in the floor from the coal boiler, the oil beast sits in the same spot now, at least someone converted from the steam radiators to FHW baseboards. I had to cut out the steam pipes, bury the insulation, and then plug the holes in the floor. Thanks to that you have a large distribution network for oil which has high BTU content compared to gas, when it is below 20* and you have a big old leaky house that can make the difference. The fact that most grew up on oil means most new houses get oil as well.
    NG requires you to live in dense population areas and even then some areas charge big bucks to connect or don't allow new connections. Propain is expensive off the truck, compared to oil, even with the new higher efficiency gas heaters, oil is a better bet.

    I think we also have longer and colder winters compared to most of the country.
  11. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Here in the Granite State underground utillities are a last resort. Also, most new construction is in suburbs/bedroom towns that have a 2 acre lot minimum that makes it very expensive for NG because of the low number of houses passed. A lot of homeowners are opting for propane over oil because of the rebates for the high efficiency appliances. Oil companies don't care if its more expensive in the long run because of the cost of propane vs oil, as long as they keep a customer. The efficiency ratings are pretty much bogus, not factoring seasonal efficiencies.

    Besides, how much of your bill for NG (or electric for that matter) is acutal fuel and not just the service?
  12. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I was surprised when we move up to Mass just how many people burned oil. I just is what it is - I'm sure there are good reasons (historically if nothing else) for it. For my part although we live in a fairly dense area we just don't have a natural gas line available and the thought of giving up the space outside for a propane tank didn't make sense to me... and now how much space to I have used up by my cords of wood? ok, the logic didn't make sense, but whatever eh?

    We switched our DHW over to oil from electric about a year or so before deciding to burn wood. Still economically it is a better option for us but it means that from a practical sense it is unlikely we'll ever get down to no oil burned in any given year. I'd like to get a solar DHW solution in place but I imagine that won't be able to cover 100%.

    So we've gone from 6-800 gallons of heating oil per year to about 200 which is not too bad really. Having a very high efficiency oil heating system in place has helped to keep the totals down as well (we replaced the heating system at the same time we increased house side and didn't increase our total burn of oil noticeably).
  13. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    It's the one thing that scares me the most. What if I can't get it? I ask people that and they laugh, saying the price will just go up. Seriously, what if you can't even get it?
  14. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    That would be a frightening scenario if it were to happen suddenly and one that few want to imagine.

    My best _guess_ is that it would take something like a significant and somewhat protracted regional (or wider) war with US involvement to disrupt things enough to actually reduce supplies to the point where home heating oil was unavailable at any price (other than black market). I'm sure there are other scenarios out there that could disrupt the supply chains but all are highly unlikely (not impossible as some folks would like to believe).

    Even some sort of panic induced supply blip where 'everyone' goes crazy buying oil/gas/etc to stock up in fear of xyz would likely be temporary as most folks have limited ability to stockpile significant reserves (although as a collective we do have amazing capacity - just try to calculate the total volume required to fill up every tank in every car in the USA with gas). As long as no genius in our government decides to meddle with the markets and put in price controls to limit increases in prices then likely this sort of sudden demand surge could be self limiting by a corresponding price spike as the demand increases proportionate to the supply. However, don't underestimate the ability of well meaning (or otherwise) individuals in positions of power to screw up markets and give us good examples of "the law of unintended consequences" eh?

    "Some day" it may not be possible to buy fossil fuels due to either an exhaustion of supply or (more likely) a regulatory action, but I'll guess that is quite some time away - not likely in my lifetime. In either of those scenarios I have confidence that alternative energy sources will be there - perhaps not at the same relative cost, but there will be some energy source available to fill the gap and for either of these paths to happen we as a collective will have time to figure it and transition.
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Home heating oil is the same as diesel fuel. If they run out of this type of distillate oil then your transportation system will also come to a screeching halt. No truck traffic= no freight = no food on the shelves at the supermarket.

    Now you are cold but you are also hungry and your life is at risk even if you live in the warm parts of the country.
  16. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Last Summer my family took a trip to Strawberry Bank in Portsmouth NH. We stopped at one of the larger houses, once owned by a whaling captain over 200 years ago. This was one rich dude. The house was about 1200 sqft total. One of the small bedrooms had a closet and I asked if that was indeed what it was. The response from the guide was that it wasn't just a closet, but a pie chest. In the fall extra pies were made whenever the oven was hot and then placed in the cubbord to freeze untill Christmas. THIS WAS A CLOSET ON AN INSIDE WALL OF A BEDROOM AND IT WAS COLD ENOUGH TO FREEZE PIES!

    People were tougher back then. After that trip I came home and turned my thermostats to 60 degrees. If I (or we) want it warmer than that, there's a big ol' pile of wood right there!
  17. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    In 2002 i changed my heating system completely away from oil to 2 domestic fuels coal and wood. Iv saved $20,000 on heat since then and my money stays in my hometown and not going to fund hookers(saw that on the news) for some arab sheik.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Nice. That is quite some change.
  19. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Its a shame people are actually still buying NEW oil burners for their Homes when so many alternatives are available for home heat. DO they really think with a life expectancy of a new oil burner of 15-25 years they will be able to afford Heating oil even 10 years from now? Oil is NOT i repeat NOT sustainable. Iv been getting away from heating oil for about 10 years now in my real estate business, and i have just 1 Property burning Oil still. Eventually i hope to eliminate all oil use for home heat as well as tronsportation.
  20. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    With regards to Trump's comment. There arent a lot of alternatives in the Northeast to heating oil. Wood is great for supplemental heat but when someone goes on vacation (or the bank ends up the with building), there has to be a heating system that can run reliably unattended for weeks at a time. Natural Gas infrastructure is too costly to install due to deep frost and lots of ledge. Until the new gas lines were installed from New Brunswick and Quebec 15 years ago, northern NE was at the end of the gas line and everytime the southern NE got cold, the northern NE utilities had to run peak storage plants (very costly ) to keep the line from running out. LP gas is made from oil so that isnt a good standby. The automated wood pellet systems are still proving themselves to be reliable for unattended service and costs double that of a heating oil system. Ground source heat pumps have some potential, but in most areas the cost is 4 to 5 times that of heating oil and even though they dont use a lot of electric power, the yearly maintenance bills are a big cost of owning as there are few firms that will service them and many parts that can and do go wrong.

    So barring electric resistance baseboard, I dont see a lot of choices, given that in cold weather, a house can cool down to the point where pipes start freezing in less than 24 hours.
  21. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    That's just silly. I fully expect that in ten years I will be filling up my diesel truck's fuel tank at a similar price to today. Look back in time. Fuel has always (last 60 years at least) been available and always at about the same price, don't forget inflation. There is nothing wrong with oil heat until something better comes along. I actually like electric heat as a backup due to low intitial cost, almost zero maintenance, and no CO leak possibilities.

    Don't be fooled into thinking that petroleum will just go away. There's plenty of waste that will be reigned in before we are unable to fill our tanks or heat our homes.

    It's like when they told us that the metric system would take over way back in the 60s.
  22. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    OK, you tell me what else the hospitals/ commercial institutes and old folks can use around here. All the transport trucks that will deliver our magic fuel here will be solar? If you are driving a car and its not electric then you are burning OIL. Look outside out of your shell and there is actually a world out there.
  23. Tom Pencil

    Tom Pencil New Member

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    We burn only 325-350 gallons of fuel oil per year down from 950 since putting in our pellet stove. I did call my fuel supplier and asked about home heating price and was given the price of $2.749 per gallon. Now add the sales tax of 7.0% on top of that and that makes the heating oil more than diesel fuel ($2.89) around here. Normally its about 15-20 cents/gallon less than diesel.
  24. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Get me a natural gas pipe to my house and I'll throw out my 1yr old oil burner. Till then there isn't another serious alternative for me. Geothermal would be about 50k, and at $.18/KW it would take $7.00 oil to pay for it. Propane sucks, even worse than oil. Wood pellets are a racket, as anyone buying $219/ton pellets can attest when in 2008 they were closer to $350/ton. They're not an alterantive for central heat. Not everyone can use wood either, and unless you get wood for free its doesn't come cheap.
  25. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    This forum is about green alternatives ,doesn't seem like your interested in alternatives ,or at least an open mind about them.
    SInce i saved $20,000 in 8 years by changing to Coal from oil ,imaging what commercial institutions and Hospitals could save ,and even old folks (im not so young myself)unless they are completely helpless could use alternatives.Friend of mine is in his 80s ,says he wouldnt know what to do with himself in winter if he could not fiddle with his coal stove. I install as well as maintain heating systems in several dozen properties so im not talking from inexperience. I dont know what YOUR alternatives are but i know what
    mine are,and all in my area are cheaper than oil except electric and NG is probably a bit less and less likely to spike overnight like oil can. My alternatives are Coal,cord wood,waste wood, corn,pellet stove, NG, & LP Gas. I used to use oil to heat my home and kerosene to heat homes under renovation, now i use coal to heat my home and waste wood to heat homes under renovation,im saving a fortune plus saving the oil for all you who are willing to pay the price for it.

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