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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    6

    Default Propane or Fuel oil?

    I live in New England,(Massachusetts)and will be needing a new boiler soon.
    * the house is 110 years old and very small (800 sq ft)
    * I'm about to retire and it's only me in the house
    * It's in a very rural area,no natural gas available
    * currently using fuel oil & Weil Mclain boiler (with a
    tankless coil for the hot water)
    *House is in decent shape,new roof,new insulation in attic

    My question is which fuel to choose.My oil man has recently got into the propane business as well as oil.He's a small company and great to work with.
    He told me that propane is is less per gallon than oil(about $2.70 propane vs $3.70 oil),but would need more propane to get the same btu's as oil.
    Also said that with my small house and only one person,I could get by with a couple of 120 pound tanks.

    Would the very high effiency of some of the gas boilers and less cleaning charges as compared to oil offset the extra gallons needed to heat the house,and would there be a savings?
    I hate being a captive to the seemingly never ending escalation of fuel oil prices.
    I also wonder how either would affect the resale if I decideed to sell the house.

    Any thoughts or comments either positive or negative would be apprecaited. Thanks all

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,804

    Default Re: Propane or Fuel oil?

    I switched many years ago from oil to propane. Less maintenance, less smell, and cleaner.

    In rural areas it is often that bad weather can delay deliveries and an empty tank does you no good, it is best to have a switch over connection rather than running on dual tanks. That way when one is empty you have time to get it replaced and heat while you are waiting.

    As far as resale, I think it would be better, people don't like the constant up and down prices with oil, if some one comes from the city they would be more familiar and more comfortable with gas furnaces.

    Another consideration is the rampant expansion of gas supplies and lower prices due to fracking. It is possible that NG will eventually be available in your area and converting from propane to NG is very easy.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Washington state
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: Propane or Fuel oil?

    Propane has less ups and downs than oil? It's been nothing but 'ups' in my experience. We use a propane heating stove as a backup for our electric heat pump. My delivery a month ago was over $5 a gallon. Oh, and don't forget the fuel surcharge for having the truck drive out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,750

    Default Re: Propane or Fuel oil?

    You have more options with propane. If you ever want to go to a separate hot water heater, you can get a propane model. You can also get a propane stove, most gas stoves (NG) can be converted. If you decide to get an emergency generator for power outages, there are propane powered models available. One fuel, many uses.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,629

    Default Re: Propane or Fuel oil?

    One BIG advantage of propane is that when the tank leaks, you don't have an underground environmental disaster on your hands.

    The town where my church is located has among the cheapest electric rates in the nation. Our oil-burning furnace at the church recently died and we replaced it with an electric furnace. (Not a heat pump.) We expect our fuel bill to be between 1/3 and 1/2 of the cost of heating with oil. The utility has a long history of maintaining low rates.

    Of course, it's a gamble that electric rates (as with any fuel source) will remain low. The biggest threat to electric rates here is the "green" legislation demanding that power producers use "renewable" resources (for some reason, the enviros don't consider hydro a renewable resource) which generally means expensive wind or solar generation. Columbia River hydro is the cheapest power there is in this country, and it's the most reliable.

    From what I've heard, electric heat isn't a reasonable option in New England.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Propane or Fuel oil?

    propane is surely a better alternative. only thing is that i guess the calorific value is less

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Propane or Fuel oil?

    Thanks for the help everyone.I think I'm going to have my oil guy give me a quote on each.I'm kind of leaning to the propane.
    Electric is out of the question in my area,much to expensive to use.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,804

    Default Re: Propane or Fuel oil?

    Quote Originally Posted by queen60 View Post
    Propane has less ups and downs than oil? It's been nothing but 'ups' in my experience. We use a propane heating stove as a backup for our electric heat pump. My delivery a month ago was over $5 a gallon. Oh, and don't forget the fuel surcharge for having the truck drive out.
    Sounds like you need a different supplier. We just had a delivery $1.97/gal.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Washington state
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: Propane or Fuel oil?

    It's a national company. I already told them not to schedule another delivery (we only get it two times a year) as we plan to switch.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,629

    Default Re: Propane or Fuel oil?

    If you go with propane, buy your tank. Don't lease it. A leased tank can only be filled by the company you're leasing it from, and they typically charge a hefty premium to fill a leased tank. Kind of like a cell phone. Owning your tank gives you the option of shopping the marketplace for the lowest price.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

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