Vermont Clean Heat Bill

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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Hearth Supporter
Jul 11, 2008
8,903
Northern NH
Looks like VT is going to be the guinea pig for getting rid of fossil fueled heating.

Essentially the fossil suppliers have to pay a surcharge on fossil fuels that they can offset by reducing their clients fossil fuel demand. VT has already bet big on cold climate heat pumps, there is independent entity called Efficiency Vermont funded by a surcharge on power bills so they are all in. Lots of predictions on what eventually happens but most indications are the small local heating oil dealers will go away replaced by larger regional firms that have the resources. There will be a large demand for currently limited HVAC techs to install heat pumps. Initially dealers can swap in biodiesel blends but it sells at a major premium. It also acts as a solvent for the built up sludge in the system from possibly decades of use of fossil based oil. Generally, that means lots of service calls for no heat due to plugged nozzles and filters for months or years as the sludge redisolves into the system. In many cases previously biodiesel sellers got sick of the calls for fuel conversions and required tank replacements. I also think a lot of Tiger Loops with finer filters than the standard felt filters get installed.

The big issue in VT is that the people who use the most heating oil (natural gas is very limited) are the ones living in old rural housing stock that are the least able to afford system upgrades. Propane is available most of the time but deliveries can be choked off for weeks during mud season and even active winter weather as VT rural roads are marginal at best.

Many of the rural towns also have marginal small electric suppliers that have frequent and extended outages particularly in winter, oil furnaces can be run with pretty small generator but it stakes a much larger generator to run cold climate heat pumps whose COP is approaching straight resistance heat in cold winter temps. The statewide power grid has been underinvested in for decades and would require billions to upgrade and require politically unpopular new or expanded transmission lines. They do have connections to the Canadian grid so they should be able to get the power at least in the short term. There are current predictions that Hydro Quebec will run out of surplus power for sale in about 5 years unless they build new hydro capacity and that typically takes decades and provincial support. VT was an early advocate of WindPower but once a couple of big farms went in, most Vermonters do not want them in their backyards, so new farm development has stalled.

Wood heat does not appear to directly addressed, butVT government is very uncomfortable with advocating it for new installations.

It will be interesting to see how the experiment works out from afar.
 
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Your biodiesel comments, to what percentage biostock does that pertain? Or is it pure bio?
 

I have heard people complain who switched to B-10. I think many firms put some small percentage in as it its lubicity additive to replace the sulfur in the fuel that is no longer allowed and its acts as detergent. A little bit of detergent is good too much too quick is another problem.

I heard in VT that a couple of the early sellers of biodiesel would not sell high blends or even pure biodiesel without the customer changing out their tank to a new tank which is good idea for most home that have the old single wall steel tanks. Most replacement tanks are double wall plastic tanks to it "kills two birds with one stone". I bought a used Roth plastic tank that had been in use for several years and the amount of sludge in the bottom was minimal compared to what I have seen come out of old heating oil tanks. It was from VT so maybe the prior owner had been using a blend?.

The other aspect is pour point, biodiesel can have a varying pour point depending on its processing and base stock. A broad statement is vegetable based oils tend to have lower pour point than animal based oils. If a heating oil tank is in a poorly heated area it may be okay with fossil based fuel but when switched to a biodiesel blend it may gel up and cease to pump. A heated oil set and fuel preheaters will solve this issue but few homes have them. Note there are ways of further refining biodiesel to get it more uniform but it requires oil refinery grade equipment.

Home brew biodiesel made in batches also can have issues, since the feedstock is waste oil its quality varies. Even batch needs to be tested to tweak the amount of lye and methanol used to break it down, get lazy or screw up the percentages and the resulting biodiesel can have impurities that cause problems.
 
Ok. I've been running 20 pct bio thru my system for 5.5 years without any trouble with sludge. I'm just wondering if I'm lucky or it is a low enough blend to not be an issue.
 
My guess is it would be more an issue in houses that use a lot of oil and since you burn wood, you probably do not got through a lot of oil?.

I ran into one tech who made the argument that the worst thing you could do if heating with oil is run the tank way down low. His idea was that filling a tank from near empty tends to stir up the sludge on the bottom of the tank making it more likely it would get pulled into the outlet. He advocated keeping it minimum of half full as that means the oil pouring in that tank would act as buffer from stirring up the bottom.

BTW a lot of plans out there to make biodiesel blends mandatory in some New England states. Keep an eye out on used Roth Oil tanks, they seem to appear on Craiglist and Facebook marketplace frequently when peopl are switching to natural gas. The biggest issue is many still have oil in them and few folks have the capability of emptying out tanks. It takes a portable oil pump, a bunch of tubing and 55 gallon drums on trailer or in truck. I bought my tank from a guy who got paid to empty and remove it from a house. Selling the tank was a bonus for him. The one thing with a Roth type tank is the fuel system needs to be swapped to a overhead system and most people install a TIger loop to avoid running two lines.
 
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The first half year I went thru three tanks. Then I insulated and air sealed, cut to to 1.5 the next season. Now I only use it for hot water.

Problem is the oil line comes out of the bottom of the tank, but the tank is situated angled down, not away from the exit line but towards... So the worst of the worst (I heard the same from a tech).

No issues tho and my filter is fine everitiime I replace it.
 
The house we bought last fall heats with oil and I hate it. If I could I would rip it all out and heat with almost anything else. Already paying a lot for it and it’s dirty, smelly, and the tanks eventually need replacing, no redeeming qualities at all. Hopefully I can get some decent dry wood by this fall and the new wood stove will reduce oil consumption by half or more (hopefully). Biggest challenge I have is size and design of house at 2800 sq ft and a cathedral ceiling in the living room. Ceiling fans are there but I wish I could just seal up the whole upstairs as we don’t use it anyways. May look at mini-splits but CMP here in ME seems to be gouging with electricity rates. Good on VT for moving forward as there will be challenges when be bolder but they may reap huge rewards.
 
The house we bought last fall heats with oil and I hate it. If I could I would rip it all out and heat with almost anything else. Already paying a lot for it and it’s dirty, smelly, and the tanks eventually need replacing, no redeeming qualities at all. Hopefully I can get some decent dry wood by this fall and the new wood stove will reduce oil consumption by half or more (hopefully). Biggest challenge I have is size and design of house at 2800 sq ft and a cathedral ceiling in the living room. Ceiling fans are there but I wish I could just seal up the whole upstairs as we don’t use it anyways. May look at mini-splits but CMP here in ME seems to be gouging with electricity rates. Good on VT for moving forward as there will be challenges when be bolder but they may reap huge rewards.
Well there is always propane as long as you dont mind having a "submarine" in back yard to cover a cold snap.
 
If you tank is more than 20 years old it’s probably worth replacing. Anyone with an underground tank should have already removed or decommissioned.

I don’t see anything wrong with installing a mini split and keeping the oil system. I do think the price of oil will fluctuate more than electricity in the next 5 years. The Saudi’s just offered Messi a 300 million a year contract. A you know the black hood is paying that and much much more.

I want to see an air to water dual fuel system with h options cassettes. To me that seems perfect. They have dual fuel air to air package units.

I would really like to see states require an energy rating for every building that’s sold. A house just isn’t wall windows rooms and a roof on a lot. But I think when we buy houses that’s all people look at. I just spent 15k on ductwork and a whole house dehumidifier. No one looking at the house if we sold it would notice. And fewer would care even if they did notice. But it’s critical infrastructure for the house. If I ever buy a house again I will hire a licensed electrician, hvac tech, and chimney professional to inspect in addition to Having an energy audit with a blower door test.
 
Yes, oil will fluctuate more than electricity - because electricity only will go up. (I have literally never seen electric bills go down.)
Hence, I put PV on my home.and partly heat with electrons.
 
Well there is always propane as long as you dont mind having a "submarine" in back yard to cover a cold snap.
Not true. Had propane at the previous place and had installed a 500g underground tank. The best way to go in this type of climate and looks a whole lot better.
 
If you tank is more than 20 years old it’s probably worth replacing. Anyone with an underground tank should have already removed or decommissioned.

I don’t see anything wrong with installing a mini split and keeping the oil system. I do think the price of oil will fluctuate more than electricity in the next 5 years. The Saudi’s just offered Messi a 300 million a year contract. A you know the black hood is paying that and much much more.

I want to see an air to water dual fuel system with h options cassettes. To me that seems perfect. They have dual fuel air to air package units.

I would really like to see states require an energy rating for every building that’s sold. A house just isn’t wall windows rooms and a roof on a lot. But I think when we buy houses that’s all people look at. I just spent 15k on ductwork and a whole house dehumidifier. No one looking at the house if we sold it would notice. And fewer would care even if they did notice. But it’s critical infrastructure for the house. If I ever buy a house again I will hire a licensed electrician, hvac tech, and chimney professional to inspect in addition to Having an energy audit with a blower door test.
Yes a lot of buyers don’t realize the value of these types of “upgrades”.
Yes, oil will fluctuate more than electricity - because electricity only will go up. (I have literally never seen electric bills go down.)
Hence, I put PV on my home.and partly heat with electrons.
Agreed and why Inhad installed the same on our previous place and they power our mini-splits plus all other electrical needs.