OIL VS. PROPANE

OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: bdawson On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:27 pm

We live in Ohio and will be doing an additon this summer. As part of it we plan on updating the furnace and adding central a/c. Currently the house is being heated with oil. We looked into the cost of having natural gas run down the street and that is going to cost $12,000 to just bring it down 900 feet. At this point we are trying to decide to stay with oil or change to propane. We know that the oil furnace is quite a bit more than the propane. Any thoughts on this is appreciated.
bdawson
 

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: freetown fred On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:31 pm

Yes, go coal. It is delivered to your door step & buy some fans for the summer ;) By the way, welcome to the Forum
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: Rob R. On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:46 pm

Unless you work for a propane company and get it at a wholesale cost, fuel oil is probably more economical. Number 2 fuel oil has roughly 50% more btu's per gallon than propane, so be sure to factor that in when you compare prices.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy


Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: titleist1 On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:55 pm

We went through the same process a few years ago. Built an addition and did the comparison between lp & oil since natural gas wasn't available. For us lp was the better long term investment since we also used it for our dryer, stovetop and HW. We also bought our tank at that time so we can shop for lp prices.

The furnace is just a backup for heat to our coal stove however.

edited to add a little more complete answer....
lp made $ sense for us, not saying that it does for everyone. one of the biggest factors for us is that i am burning coal for primary heat so the lp vs oil btu comparison wasn't as important as it would be for others.

things that tipped the scales for us...

1000 gal lp tank is buried outside, not taking up space inside, (watch out for those pesky squirrels, though),
able to buy enough at one time to last two years and can schedule purchase for summer time when prices are usually lower,
owning the tank vs paying leased tank lp prices saves at least $1 price per gallon and usually more (save your tank receipt, the lp companies ask for a fax copy of ours all the time)
my preference for lp cooktop & wifes preference for gas dryer, apparently having an lp heater also gets us a better price (all the lp companies ask that when i call, although i never asked the price difference)
lp DHW was easier than oil boiler or replacing my hand fed with a coal boiler for DHW,
yearly maintenance on oil vs lp units,
Last edited by titleist1 on Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: whistlenut On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:24 pm

As always, it is the 'total package' that is the ultimate factor. If you have a gas dryer, gas range, gas water heater, AND you can buy your own storage tank, it might make sense to stay with propane. However, the btu/dollar still favors oil, and always will. If you had a boiler, the hot water issue is gone, the range and dryer still figure in. Many cooks really like a gas cooking device, and if you only want one source, then LP wins. No matter how you arrange it, it all costs something. Coal is cheapest, but involves some work on your part. If you like to be active, and enjoy effortless warmth, then coal is KING.

LP always seems to be a 'secret sales society' with some paying 1.25/gal, others pay 4.65/gal........Oil is more straightforward. I think they now issue foam padded tie-wraps when you sign on so that the chafing of the ' wrist to ankle' attachment is less painful.....in the short term. Also the personal lubricant is free with each order over 250 gallons.

If your 'envelop' is tight, you can use any fuel effectively, but if it is an older home with 180 windows, 60 doors and plank siding, it is gonna use lots of btu's, no matter what the heating source.
A local guy has just rebuilt an 1885 home, still with a dirt basement, part crawl space, and has gone with a 97% efficient propane condensing boiler and spray foam insulation. 15K for the insulation alone, 13,500 for the heating system. I smile and think of how many TT loads of coal he could have purchased for the insulation cost alone. If you want to go that far on the 'Nuts' scale, why not use the ICF insulated forms and build the whole damned house out of them. They do work, and your insulation is all done with the forming. I'll send some pics of a new project nearby that is about 180 by 240, 24 and 28 ft high walls. :shock:
whistlenut
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ&VanWert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks Boiler,Itasca415,NYer130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska-4,Keystoker-2,
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska,Gibraltor,Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Van Wert, NYer's, Ford,Jensen.
Coal Size/Type: Rice,Buck,Pea,Nut&Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: anthony7812 On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:34 pm

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.
anthony7812
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: VanWert VA 400
Coal Size/Type: Buck/Nut/Anthracite

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: jim d On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:44 pm

propane =96% oil= 83% effys
jim d
 
Stove/Furnace Make: alaska//coaljck
Stove/Furnace Model: liberty// cj3

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: whistlenut On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:02 pm

What happens to all these 'latest and greatest' Mod-Con's 5 years down the road? The oil burners themselves are getting pretty fussy too. Then we go back 60 to 80 years just to see just how smart the folks were who designed, built and marketed coal boilers, stoker boilers, furnaces and stoker furnaces.

My 84 year old neighbor is blown away seeing a stoker after 40 years with a hand fed unit. He went to oil in 1965, still has it.
His wife grew up with coal and still says the coal was the most uniform warmth in an old country house. They still have some old Reading signs from the train days. Trains were gone here in 1960. The tracks are now part of the NH Rails and Trails complex. Rails are gone, ties gone, regraded, now walking, horseback riding, snowmobile groomed trails for hundreds of miles.
whistlenut
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ&VanWert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks Boiler,Itasca415,NYer130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska-4,Keystoker-2,
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska,Gibraltor,Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Van Wert, NYer's, Ford,Jensen.
Coal Size/Type: Rice,Buck,Pea,Nut&Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: steamup On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:47 pm

I currently have wood for primary heat, but am going to coal due to back problems. I use propane for hot water, cooking and the dryer. I have oil for backup heat. Minimum delivery for oil is 150 gallons and lasts two years. May last more with my latest upgrades.

My Propane is on auto delivery. I plan in the future to get rid of the oil as it is a pain to maintain and go with all propane for backup.

Propane with a high efficiency furnace or boiler may be more cost effective when you factor in maintenance and intial cost of installation.

You will just have to look at all aspects of you options and do some number crunching.
steamup
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: Berlin On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:10 pm

Oil is and will be significantly less $$ per btu than propane. Don't be fooled by the price per gallon, propane is 90,000btu's gallon and #2 oil is 140,000btu's/gallon - Always take that into consideration when comparing costs. Using propane for heat is probably the worst heating decision you could make. It's more expensive, there are more significant costs associated with storage, the heating equiptment won't last as long, is more complex, and often requires expensive repairs less than 10 yrs. into ownership. yes, you have to do yearly maintenance on a heating oil system, but this is relatively cheap, and, if he spends some time understanding his system, he will likely be able to do everything himself in 30 minutes or so.
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: Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:49 pm

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?
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

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: lsayre On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:56 pm

The Monitor FCX Condensing Boiler is a 93+% efficient oil boiler. Some output sizes apparently hit 95% efficiency.


http://www.blueridgecompany.com/documents/fcxbrochure.pdf
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.



http://www.monitorproducts.com/pdf/manuals/fcx.pdf
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Stockton Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13 KW)

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: Berlin On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:08 pm

yup, they're out there, EFM makes one as well. I personally wouldn't put any oil-fired condensing boiler in my home for two reasons, I like to keep things simple and I'd like to see more people using them long-term before I'd invest in something that I have my doubts about. They use lots of stainless steels in those boilers and the stainless steels used in those boilers won't react to the products of oil combustion as kindly as NG or LP. A decent non-condensing oil boiler/furnace can be plumbed and tuned to run very high overall efficiencies and very low stack temps vented conventionally without a problem if the dew point is kept low enough among other things. With oil there's a smaller gap between what's possible with a non-condensing appliance and a condensing appliance. Oil equiptment can achieve higher efficiencies without condensation problems (with a non-condensing appliance) than NG or Propane.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: whistlenut On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:27 pm

Well stated, Berlin. It won't go BOOM either.
whistlenut
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ&VanWert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks Boiler,Itasca415,NYer130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska-4,Keystoker-2,
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska,Gibraltor,Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Van Wert, NYer's, Ford,Jensen.
Coal Size/Type: Rice,Buck,Pea,Nut&Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

Re: OIL VS. PROPANE

PostBy: samhill On: Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:15 pm

Never had oil heat but with both natural gas & now propain (as I prefer to spell it) I don`t know what all these high maintenance costs are, I`m talking forced air heat, why wouldn`t the up keep be basically the same, change filters & a spring clean up oil the motors if they have a port. Have I been neglecting something & I also don`t understand where the moisture would come from, as titleist mentioned its part of the combustion/exhaust cycle.
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