OIL VS. PROPANE

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: anthony7812 On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:18 pm

titleist1 wrote:
anthony7812 wrote:Also look more into the furnace/heater you will be using with propane. Propane throws alot of moisture into the air when burned, and can lead to mold growth without proper cleaning and what not.


Won't that moisture be contained within the burn chamber, and unless the heat exchanger is cracked be exhausted outside the structure?





Depends on the heating unit whether be a fireplace unit or contained unit like a furnace
anthony7812
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: VanWert VA 400
Coal Size/Type: Buck/Nut/Anthracite

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: Berlin On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:33 pm

I think anthony may have been referring to vent-free propane/NG appliances, which, in this discussion of a central heating system won't be applicable.

Samhill, oil requires yearly combustion chamber vacuuming, changing the oil nozzle/fiter and possibly an electrode check in addtion to the yearly maintenance involved (such as changing air filters etc. that you've mentioned) in propane/ng systems. If you do just a little reading, anyone technically inclined can do all oil maintenance themselves (short of air adjustments or possibly pump adjustments which, should you be using the same brand/angle nozzle etc. and have good oil filtering, won't really need to be adjusted once properly set the first time). Oil fired furnaces typically are made MUCH heavier and will easily last 60 years, modern propane and NG furnaces will burn through/crack the firetubes in less than 25 years and often much earlier. The additonal costs of new propane/ng systems involve the replacement of the often expensive and stupidly complex electronic components and the rather frequent replacement of igniters, some of which is more difficult to troubleshoot and replace yourself. Living in a NG area (i have NG myself) I can tell you that regardless of the brand of furnace, igniter and circuit boad replacements are very common in the first few years of ownership sometimes to the tune of over 1K. Bear in mind that, for around $350 you buy your own oil tanks and if they're properly pitched and maintained you'll easily achieve a 50 year+ lifespan. With propane, you either buy a much more expensive tank or pay to rent that tank from someone else (in which case you can't shop around for the best propane price).
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: samhill On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:44 pm

Thanks Berlin, never having oil I really didn`t know much about them. Guess I`ve been lucky in a way always had NG until I moved here 4 years ago & only had to replace one burner valve in my old house & a combustion fan on my propain furnace & I can still get a new furnace at installers cost so if I have too much trouble I just upgrade to a more efficient furnace. Now I`m gonna try & play dumb(easy for me) with suburban propane & try to get them to take my 1,000/gal tank & let me buy a 500, I know sooner or later I`m gonna get screwed over big time for not using enough fuel. My tanks getting low now so I`ll be finding out soon, I still have over an $800 credit with them but I`d rather put that toward a tank than keep stuck with one fuel source.
samhill
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: keystoker 160
Hand Fed Coal Stove: hitzer 75 in garage
Stove/Furnace Make: keystoker/hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: koker 160/ hitzer 75


Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: homecomfort On: Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:36 am

Berlin wrote:I think anthony may have been referring to vent-free propane/NG appliances, which, in this discussion of a central heating system won't be applicable.

Samhill, oil requires yearly combustion chamber vacuuming, changing the oil nozzle/fiter and possibly an electrode check in addtion to the yearly maintenance involved (such as changing air filters etc. that you've mentioned) in propane/ng systems. If you do just a little reading, anyone technically inclined can do all oil maintenance themselves (short of air adjustments or possibly pump adjustments which, should you be using the same brand/angle nozzle etc. and have good oil filtering, won't really need to be adjusted once properly set the first time). Oil fired furnaces typically are made MUCH heavier and will easily last 60 years, modern propane and NG furnaces will burn through/crack the firetubes in less than 25 years and often much earlier. The additonal costs of new propane/ng systems involve the replacement of the often expensive and stupidly complex electronic components and the rather frequent replacement of igniters, some of which is more difficult to troubleshoot and replace yourself. Living in a NG area (i have NG myself) I can tell you that regardless of the brand of furnace, igniter and circuit boad replacements are very common in the first few years of ownership sometimes to the tune of over 1K. Bear in mind that, for around $350 you buy your own oil tanks and if they're properly pitched and maintained you'll easily achieve a 50 year+ lifespan. With propane, you either buy a much more expensive tank or pay to rent that tank from someone else (in which case you can't shop around for the best propane price).
homecomfort
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Franco-Belge,+ Penn Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: Normandie, + Chubby

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: homecomfort On: Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:43 am

I install dozens of oil fired furnaces every year, and seriously doubt that even the heaviest duty heat exchangers will last 60 years. not that they cant be designed to, they just wont. oil tanks get contaminated with the sulphur in oil and moisture, resulting in a weak sulphuric acid. cut a 30 year old tank with a sawzall around the bottom, see how thin it is. a coal stove and its bunker could last 60 years though.
homecomfort
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Franco-Belge,+ Penn Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: Normandie, + Chubby

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: Berlin On: Sun Apr 03, 2011 2:48 am

sulfur and moisture in the fuel oil has little effect on the tanks if pitched properly. I've taken out many 50 and 60 year old tanks that weren't in a damp area and were pitched properly and had little corrosion inside of them. The only time I've seen old oil furnace heat exchangers cracked or burned through was in poorly maintained/overfired furnaces usually with a burned out combustion chamber. I've removed and worked on many many old mueller/climatrol and oneida royal furnaces that were in great shape because they were properly maintained, fired correctly and the combustion chamber was intact or had been replaced. Combustion chamber failure is one of the biggest killers of oil furnaces; they should be thoroughly checked/replaced (often available for under $50) every 15 years.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:29 am

Berlin wrote:sulfur and moisture in the fuel oil has little effect on the tanks if pitched properly. I've taken out many 50 and 60 year old tanks that weren't in a damp area and were pitched properly and had little corrosion inside of them...8<


Berlin, what pitch is proper for an oil tank. I'm mostly familiar with the 'typical' 275 gallon oval tank. Would the 1/8"/foot pitch toware the valve be sufficient? Are the sludge preventative additives sold at the big box stores effective?
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: crazy4coal On: Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:58 am

I have been around oil heat for more than 20 yrs and have helped remove and install a few oil tanks. The steel tanks that were made in the 50's and 60's were made with a good steel (us made) . Tanks built in the 70's thru present are made with imported steel and we all know how that works. I have helped remove steel 275 tanks that were less than 10 yrs old and some that were less than 7yrs old. When the IRS req'd red dye be put in heating oil within 2 yrs the tank failure rate started up. The dye is acidic and reacts with any water that gets in the tank. I would not put in a steel oil tank. There are double wall tanks out there that are plastic tank inside a galv steel tank. You will pay more for them up front but, you'll never need another one and they take less floor space than a steel tank, nicer looking too. Google Roth ind. to see what one looks like. They are made in Watertown NY.
crazy4coal
 
Stove/Furnace Make: buderus
Stove/Furnace Model: logana

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: coalkirk On: Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:25 am

Great thread! Let's review.

BTU's? Oil gets the win! 140,000 oil vs 90,0000 propane

Efficiency? Propane wins! Average of 10% greater with propane

Maintenance? No contest! Propane wins hands down. While it is true some could do their own maintenance, the vast majority will not. Let's use 30 years as the comparison time frame cause I sure don't see oil equipment lasting 60 years. Not currently produced equipment any way. Over a 30 year period, the annual maintenance required on an oil burner is about $3,500.00 just for cleaning, nozzles, electrodes and oil filters. None of that is required for propane. Now as for replacing parts that break, possibly a couple of igniters and an inducer fan for the propane device. Oil furnace will need a combustion chamber target replaced twice, maybe a pump and a transformer. Propane still wins.

Storage? Other than those damn pesky squirrels, I gotta give the win to propane again. Long term storage? Oil will degrade, propane will not. Spring a leak? Oil will involve huge cleanup costs propane will not. It's non-toxic. Oil tank usually in your basement taking up room, propane is outside. Weather considerations? If your oil tank is outside, the oil line can freeze up, propane will not. Only on the cost of the tank does oil win here.

Versatility? Oil can heat your home and your hot water. Propane can do that plus dry your clothes and cook your food. Win propane.

Starting from scratch? Oil is gonna need a chimney, propane will not.

Water in the air? WTF. I guess he was talking about what are called vent free fireplaces which isn't really part of this debate. Besides they are not vent free. They are room vented, lung filtered. Wouldn't allow one in my home. But don't even think about a vent free oil burner.

Propane go boom? Yes it could but very rare unless you've got "uncle billy" doing the piping. Oil isn't gonna blow up.

Greenie weinie considerations? Propane burns much cleaner.

Anyone think of any other comparisons?
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: lsayre On: Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:29 am

Other considerations:

Safety: Oil wins hands down.
Cost: Oil wins again.

In the UK they have ranges and ovens that run on heating oil. I wonder why these are not available here?
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (It has been fixed!)

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:00 am

The only time I've seen old oil furnace heat exchangers cracked or burned through was in poorly maintained/overfired furnaces usually with a burned out combustion chamber.


Here's the heat exchanger from the Heil hot air furnace I removed in 2007. It was installed in December 1989, just before I bought the house. Usage was moderate, before coal most of the heating was firewood. I'm not saying you are wrong, just that some equipment is poorly designed and constructed.
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I'm not worrying about the heat exchanger in the Lennox furnace, unless it can fail from not being used. :D
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: Yanche On: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:02 am

Oil - Fuel source at no road tax prices for generators, tractors, zero turn mowers, etc.

Propane - Fuel source for whole house generators but a reduced capacity compared to gasoline fueled generators.

I'm not sure the steel quality is the cause of tank longevity decline. The standard tank of a generation ago was heavier gauge steel. You can still but heavier gauge tanks but the cost more. So few buy them. I had to special order mine.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: HanSoSlow On: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:41 am

What if N. Gas was available at only the cost of running it inside the house? Assuming the same situation as originally stated, needing to purchase a furnace and instal (propane, N. Gas or Oil).

I'm in a situation with an old farm house running an sf150 in my living space, an oil boiler and a pellet stove. Now I can get N. Gas run for only the cost of trenching 53' on my own (no big deal) and the cost of the piping inside. However, I think that switching the burner of my coal boiler to a N. Gas burner would not benefit me in the long run, because of the higher burn temp of oil. Now, I was thinking I can go with a N. Gas furnace and duct it into the house easy enough. This would also give me the chance to get central air, which I do not have today (running a boiler).

What does everyone think about N. Gas vs. Propane or oil?

I like the idea of a furnace as it would easily allow me to connect my sf150 into it (in the basement) vs. having the dust in my living area.
HanSoSlow
 

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: Berlin On: Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:07 pm

Woodn'coal you're right, there are exceptions to what i've usually seen and even well-designed heat exchangers can develop small cracks in areas of stress over time. Small stress cracks that don't separate in an otherwise well-built and heavy heat exchanger are not a safety concern, burnthrough and large separated cracks that develop in a poorly designed heat exchanger with light gauge steel can be.

If you service gas or propane furnaces however, this is something that you'll see every day:
http://www.city-data.com/forum/house/19 ... e-you.html
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: titleist1 On: Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:07 pm

whistlenut wrote:LP always seems to be a 'secret sales society' with some paying 1.25/gal, others pay 4.65/gal........


I called around today to get lp pricing for our church. The place that was cheapest about 2 months ago at $1.99 came in at $3.49... :shock: Called a few more places and the cheapest price was $2.09, that is who we went with. I am just scratching my head at the $3.49 price, how could they be so out of whack with their pricing this time around after being the cheapest two months ago? They weren't the most expensive, though, $3.89 was the highest and that was who we used to lease our tanks from. I always call them just to see what the ROI will turn out to be for the money spent on the tanks and install.
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite