Burning oil just feels wrong

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Dwig

New Member
Dec 4, 2014
33
New Haven, Connecticut
Yesterday I turned my boiler on for the first time of the season, making sure everything was ok for when I'm gone over Thanksgiving. I have to say, hearing the boiler roar as it heated up to temperature, and listening to the clinking of the baseboards as they warmed up, made me a little upset. I have this feeling that there is something wrong with burning oil to heat the house, even though it's not that expensive anymore. I've never really considered myself an environmentalist, I just think houses should be heated with wood (or geothermal or something like that). Maybe I have turned into a greenie at some point.

Anyone else have this feeling that there's something morally superior to pellets over oil? Or is it all about cost and level of comfort?
 

alternativeheat

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2013
3,797
Cape Cod, Ma.
Any movement taken to the extreme that individuals feel guilty for existing is as evil as the so called oil situation. The Green Movement has turned into a Great Big Huge Industry, period. Oil is not evil, never was, but abuse of it is. So is a movement with a false front, as the top tier get rich off of it. Here is the kicker, there is nothing wrong with being clean ! Ya know, It's the extremism of it all. It's like this from real world experience here: Not so many decades ago you walked a city street and a brown haze was in the air, that stung your lungs and stung your eyes. It was pretty well agreed to be unacceptable and over the decades It Has been cleaned up. Largely that was car and truck exhaust. Ok, good, that's wonderful. Now we chase the remaining 1/10 or 1% that is left. While what is left and plus uncontrolled nations spew crap all year long that can't equal the spewing of one single volcano blast.

No, I would say go away over Thanksgiving , let your oil burner run and enjoy yourself. Give Thanks while you are at it, that's what the day is for !! LOL
 
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Michael6268

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
784
Grafton NH/Upper Valley
If you were an environmentalist, you wouldn't be burning pellets. Pellets that are made partially from clear cutting forest. And using electricity also.
 

Bridgeman

Burning Hunk
Dec 14, 2013
116
Center Barnstead N.H.
I'm a little conflicted but I'm not burning pellets this year because it will 10% to 20% more than oil depending on the brand of pellets.
I'm having a new triple bypass oil boiler installed Friday because the boiler I'm using is a 89' dry back that operates at around 82% efficiently. The new Buderus should run in the 92-93% range. The boiler needed replacement regardless of the pellet burning status. I also getting new zoned hot water tank in place of the boiler coil that will provide better performance and more savings.
I don't miss the scraping and vacuuming and the lugging of pellets one bit. I also don't miss the noisy fans and auger either. I do miss the cheery flames and the nice romantic glow.
The question I have is why doesn't this state of the art energy star oil burner have an OAK? Don't the same principles apply as with pellets or is the fuel to air mix different in some way?
 
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TimfromMA

Minister of Fire
Mar 6, 2014
2,306
Central MA
I'm burning pellets mostly because they are already paid for and require no additional expenditure.
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,792
South Central NH
I'm a little conflicted but I'm not burning pellets this year because it will 10% to 20% more than oil depending on the brand of pellets.
I'm having a new triple bypass oil boiler installed Friday because the boiler I'm using is a 89' dry back that operates at around 82% efficiently. The new Buderus should run in the 92-93% range. The boiler needed replacement regardless of the pellet burning status. I also getting new zoned hot water tank in place of the boiler coil that will provide better performance and more savings.
I don't miss the scraping and vacuuming and the lugging of pellets one bit. I also don't miss the noisy fans and auger either. I do miss the cheery flames and the nice romantic glow.
The question I have is why doesn't this state of the art energy star oil burner have an OAK? Don't the same principles apply as with pellets or is the fuel to air mix different in some way?
You'll love the zoned water tank. At my previous house we had the boiler coil and during summer we were still going thru a fair amount of oil unless we remembered to turn off the boiler before we left for work (then no hot water when we got home until we flipped the switch and the boiler got heated up). With the tank, the boiler fired a lot less frequently and the basement stayed nice and cool in the summer without the extra boiler firings.
 

Ambient

Member
Feb 18, 2015
228
I can see Ontario from NNY
*snip*

Anyone else have this feeling that there's something morally superior to pellets over oil? Or is it all about cost and level of comfort?
Burning of anything to heat doesn't meet the morally superior feeling. For us it's the best choice as the lesser of two evils. We live in a very remote rural area, the price of everything, except real estate is higher than downstate. The idea of Geo Thermal is a wonderful option but the length of time for a payback and lesser efficiency of living in zone three, make it a poor option at our age.
 

jintoreedwine

New Member
Nov 13, 2014
69
Kutztown, PA
I'm probably going to burn both this season. I already paid for the pellets and don't have enough room left over in the budget to buy all the oil I'd need to heat the house for the winter. I don't have any moral issues with burning oil, but I would much rather burn pellets because I enjoy that the pellet stove is much easier to service. I know how to do basic work on the oil burner, but I don't have all the expensive tools needed to calibrate it if anything ever got really out of order, and it tends to be much more messy to service as well.
 
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Wilbur Feral

Minister of Fire
Aug 24, 2014
600
Eastern Pennsylvania
If you were an environmentalist, you wouldn't be burning pellets. Pellets that are made partially from clear cutting forest. And using electricity also.
Re: electricity, yes - but that can be sustainably produced. Re: "clear cutting forest" - maybe not. There are pellets made from sustainable harvesting, using leftovers from furniture or flooring mills, and certified as such. I'm burning Hamer's partly because they have that certification (and have traditionally been a great pellet).

Also, don't confuse the pellets used to fire European energy production / industrial boilers with those we all use for residential heating. They are very different products.
 

Dwig

New Member
Dec 4, 2014
33
New Haven, Connecticut
It's interesting to see how everyone feels about oil/pellets. When I said "morally superior" in my original post, those weren't the right words because I didn't mean that I have a sense of self-righteousness about burning pellets or feel very guilty about burning oil. What I meant to convey is that burning pellets satisfies some primal instinct in me to:

(1) Burn things I can feel in my hands / tend a fire
(2) Work on a machine I can understand and not screw up so badly (going to jintoreedwine's point, I feel like I'm not allowed to work on my oil boiler, and don't know how to)
(3) Have one spot in the house (right in front of the stove) where it is really warm and where I can watch a flame. This brings be back to the sensation of having a real fire.

Of course, (1) and (3) would be even more so if I had a wood burning stove, but that's too much to deal with.

So I feel like running the stove is more natural to me in the sense that I feel hard-wired to heat with wood / from the hearth. In the same sense, heating with oil feels wrong by comparison because it is kind of impersonal (and also non-renewable, etc.)

Does that make sense or am I an odd duck?
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,792
South Central NH
I just love fire and laying on a (cold) concrete floor to watch the flames in the LP boiler just doesn't cut it - watching the pellet stoves is much more convenient and satisfying for me.
 

Ambient

Member
Feb 18, 2015
228
I can see Ontario from NNY
It's interesting to see how everyone feels about oil/pellets. When I said "morally superior" in my original post, those weren't the right words because I didn't mean that I have a sense of self-righteousness about burning pellets or feel very guilty about burning oil. What I meant to convey is that burning pellets satisfies some primal instinct in me to:

(1) Burn things I can feel in my hands / tend a fire
(2) Work on a machine I can understand and not screw up so badly (going to jintoreedwine's point, I feel like I'm not allowed to work on my oil boiler, and don't know how to)
(3) Have one spot in the house (right in front of the stove) where it is really warm and where I can watch a flame. This brings be back to the sensation of having a real fire.

Of course, (1) and (3) would be even more so if I had a wood burning stove, but that's too much to deal with.

So I feel like running the stove is more natural to me in the sense that I feel hard-wired to heat with wood / from the hearth. In the same sense, heating with oil feels wrong by comparison because it is kind of impersonal (and also non-renewable, etc.)

Does that make sense or am I an odd duck?
While burning wood in the cook stove gave me that primal satisfaction as you list above, it also could be even less expensive if we had scrap slab wood from the Amish saw mills trucked in at $75/80 a truck load compared to $75 a face cord for firewood. Yet it also is a huge labor intensive job to keep feeding the stove every 1/2 hour. When burning split logs it may be less labor than slab wood, depending on the type of wood we're burning, yet neither do the job as well as pellets. Pellets can be loaded and the stove not touched for three days, same heat, more evenly distributed and cost effective enough to jump in with both feet.
 
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sportbikerider78

Minister of Fire
Jun 23, 2014
2,493
Saratoga, NY
Yesterday I turned my boiler on for the first time of the season, making sure everything was ok for when I'm gone over Thanksgiving. I have to say, hearing the boiler roar as it heated up to temperature, and listening to the clinking of the baseboards as they warmed up, made me a little upset. I have this feeling that there is something wrong with burning oil to heat the house, even though it's not that expensive anymore. I've never really considered myself an environmentalist, I just think houses should be heated with wood (or geothermal or something like that). Maybe I have turned into a greenie at some point.

Anyone else have this feeling that there's something morally superior to pellets over oil? Or is it all about cost and level of comfort?
Any time you suggest that your free choice in heating solutions is morally superior over another, you have stopped making decisions on reality and instead are leading with your feelings. That is the point when any man of sound mind will stop listening to you and ask for data.

Is there any data to support burning wood has less emissions than oil? Even agreeing on which emissions are harmful could keep scientists locked in discussion for decades.

I would propose that each of us burn what we see fit. That is the great part about America. We can make decisions for ourselves..without the need to push our views on our neighbor. You want to drive a big truck? Go for it. Be happy you can afford one. You want to drive a Prius? Good for you. Go have fun.
 

NYBurner

Burning Hunk
Jan 5, 2015
196
Upstate NY
I have not really figured out whether burning oil is cheaper for me or not....I suspect it would still be more expensive for us. I prefer running the stove though, not only for the ambiance but its just really nice to have at least one room that is really WARM even if the rest of the house is sweater temperature. When we run the furnace the whole house is sweater temp and aside from a hot shower, there is no way to really get comfortable and warm which just makes winter a lot less pleasant.
 
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UpStateNY

Feeling the Heat
May 4, 2008
372
Catskill Mountains
I am very confused. Should I burn oil or pellets.:confused: Not sure really which to burn.

I burned about a bag of pellets this year just to warm things up in the morning. Also burned pellets one cold evening. Burning oil today. Oil tank gauge just above half full. I need to get the oil tank gauge down to 1/4 before calling for a fill up at $1.779 a gallon. I guess I will keep burning oil until I get it down to 1/4 tank and then re-access prices.
 

rowerwet

Minister of Fire
Anything you burn is contributing to the heat death of the universe. None of it will matter in your lifetime.
How much you spend on what you burn has a direct effect on your life.
 

Enigma869

Feeling the Heat
Aug 27, 2011
282
Massachusetts
Given the current price of fossil fuels, burning pellets is what doesn't feel right to me, this Winter! Happy to be sitting this one out.
 

Tonyray

Minister of Fire
Given the current price of fossil fuels, burning pellets is what doesn't feel right to me, this Winter! Happy to be sitting this one out.
my house is poorly insulated so I know that regardless of low oil cost, my furnace will drink oil like a drunken sailor so I will need to fill the tank often. No real savings there.
rather burn pellets as the cost will be similar or less and I like the constant heat as opposed to warm up then cool down all the time.
 
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