11:49AM | 12/20/02
Member Since: 12/19/02
3 lifetime posts
Any ideas on what's better to use to heat your house (forced air) and hot water? We are about to start a renovation and need to make a descion on a new furnace and hot water heater. What are the arguments for and against? We do not have Natural Gas in the neighborhood.

Thanks and Merry Christmas


03:24AM | 12/21/02
Member Since: 12/19/02
3 lifetime posts
LP as expensive as electric? Really? That's surprising to hear. I've been told it was actually more effient than oil...and just not by LP salesmen :-).

Is there a spot on the web that would have an independent comparion of costs?


03:54PM | 01/01/03
Member Since: 12/19/02
3 lifetime posts
Thanks for the calculator. Wow. It is almost twice as expensive!

What then is the appeal of propane? Is it cleaner burning? Easier to maintain?

Thanks and Happy New Year!


10:07AM | 01/07/03
Member Since: 12/19/01
29 lifetime posts
Is the unit for electric Kw/hour? I put in the $.09 we pay per Kw/hour here for electric. In my case propane costs me about $250 more per year over oil, electric is $1700.00 more than propane assuming I put the right unit cost in.

I suppose oil would have been better financially (it actually had oil when I bought the place but the system had a huge hole in the exchanger). Problem I had was the fuel tank was in the basement. Was told I would have to put the tank very close to the house if outside which I didn't want. Put the propane tank about 200' away from the house, behind my barn. Probably worth $250 just for astetics.


09:02AM | 02/02/03
Member Since: 02/01/03
5 lifetime posts
One thing to consider with bottled gas is where you live. If you are in the southern US you might be getting Butane instead of Propane. Butane has less BTU per than Propane. If you are worried about the line freezing with oil you must be in the cold country. Evaporation of the bottled gas might present a problem as well in real cold weather.


07:37AM | 05/23/07
Member Since: 05/22/07
1 lifetime posts
I worked as an oil burner service technician in the 70's. I guess now I'd be called a HVAC Tech.

Most of what I'm about to say was true then and is generally true now.

The cost each type of system has maintenace factors that you must look at too.

Electric: By far the most espensive in regards to KWH. Most people are spending way over %.09 an hour. Here in NY the average is $.14 a KWH which puts the winter time heating bill in the $500+ per month range. The plus side of electric heat is that there is no annyal maintenance of the sytem for many years.

Gas heat: it costs less than electric but more than oil due to the BTU output of all gas products. Maintenace is lower than oil BUT it should be checked for combustion chamber leaks due to the safety issue of carbon monoxide. All gas manufacturers recommend having a monoxide monitor/alarm system for safety reasons. It is very clean heat in regards to maintenance. Most gas system manufacturers say to clean and maintain the system every year.

Oil heat: even though oil prices have increased, it is still the least expensive of all of the fuels addressed here. Rule of thumb used to be that it took three gallons of oil to produce the same KWs of power to heat the same space with oil. I can see this for myself as we have a oil fired hot air furnace which cost us two 250 gallons tanks of oil in six months which is about $1200 compared to an electricly heated house around here that costs $3000+ for that six months! YIKES! ANY OIL FIRED EQUIPMENT MUST BE SERVICE EVERY YEAR which adds to the expense of any oil fired system.

Now as to the type of system that I consider to be the best investment.

Hydonic system: usually called baseborard hot water heat. It's my least favorite because you usually can only do one thing with it (more on that later): heat water which heats the house and the domestic hot water. The drawback to usein the boiler to heat the domestic hot water is that the boiler has to run all year long which is a large expense. The beauty of it is any idiot can install the system since the manufacturers went to plastic supply and return lines.

Forced air system: my favorite for many reasons. You can cool, heat, dry, add moisture, remove dust, do just about anything with it. The draw back is that the installer has to be intelligent enough to size the duct work so that each room properly sized supply and return duct work. The other draw back is that the designer and installer have to make room for the ducts so they flow properly and dont' interfere with the homeowners floor plan. I cannot emphasize how much better a properly forced hot air system is over any other system but that's my opinion.

Hot water heaters: electric is the most expensive to operate. Gas HWH's are next least expensive. If you have a large family that take many showers a day, a dishwasher that runs every day, etc, then the ONLY way to go is an oil fired HWH. The typical 80 gallon oil fired HWH can take spring water temperature water from 38 degrees F to 125 degrees F in SEVEN to EIGHT minutes! In order for a electric or GAS HWH to do that the electric would spin the dial off the meter and the gas line would take up the whole house! LOL! The drawback to (any) oil fired unit is maintence: IT HAS TO BE SERVICED EVERY YEAR! New nozzle, clean & adjust and/or replace the electrodes, new oil pump strainer, new oil filter, and clean the combustion area up to and including the chimmney.
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