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Old 01-07-2008, 11:13 AM   #1
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Add electric heat so suppliment fuel oil?


We currently have a fuel oil fired forced air furnace in our 1895 house in upstate NY. We have recently insulated most of the house and had all new windows and doors installed. We basiclly cut our fuel usage in half, but with the rising prices it is not enough. Would it be worth it to add electric heat to the house and not use the furnace unless the price of fuel goes down? Our house is about 2000 sq ft, and is a fairly open floorplan. Currently, we go through about 150-175 gallons of fuel per month dec-mar, and about 150 from sept to dec and about 75-100 april -may.

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Old 01-07-2008, 11:50 AM   #2
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Add electric heat so suppliment fuel oil?


I don't think you would save any money adding electric heat. It's very expensive and the cost will not likely ever go down. Have you considered a modern high efficiency wood stove?

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Old 01-07-2008, 12:53 PM   #3
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Add electric heat so suppliment fuel oil?


You'll never save money replacing oil heat usage with electric heat usage, unless your electric rates are extremely low for some unusual reason.

Wood heat is probably cheaper than oil (that's what we use), but it depends on the price of cordwood in your area, and you have to figure in at least $2500 to buy and install a good stove.

Your fuel usage doesn't sound excessively high for a place your size in Northern NY, but it's still got to hurt with current prices. You should look into pre-buying your fuel now for next year. You can often get significantly lower prices that way.

Do you have a programable thermostat? That can save a lot of money, by keeping the temp at 60 during the night, and turning itself back up an hour before you wake up. Then program it to go down again when people leave the house in the morning.

If you can shut certain areas of the house, you could consider installing separate zones, like one for the second floor that you can keep much lower during hours when that part of the house is not inhabited. That would again have a considerable upfront cost.
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Old 01-07-2008, 01:42 PM   #4
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Add electric heat so suppliment fuel oil?


a dedicated electric hot water heater, pump,and hot water coil into the supply duct might be a way to keep that oil useage down....but the electric useage on the HWH might not be savings in the end.i 'm down here on the south shore on long Island with a gas fired HW baseboard system...and i'm looking at all that wasted flue gas going up the chimmney at 160F..i'm considering having a soft roll of 3/4"copper 50' rolled like a giant spring the diameter of the run of the flue pipe to the chimmney.slide the coil over the flue pipe and pipe the 3/4 copper it into my return to the boiler from the house to cut down on the gas on,and catch some of that heat back into the loop for the house..you might consider this idea but with a coil in the duct and a closed loop(coil,pump,flue pipe roll) and a pump.if you have a laser thermometer or ant type check out that temp going up your chimmney next time,,,something to think about. 30 years HVAC service tech down here ...and i hate wasting those BTUs
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Old 01-07-2008, 01:59 PM   #5
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Add electric heat so suppliment fuel oil?


I've never heard of anyone switching to electric heat. Have you considered converting to propane?

Here's the math that should drive you decision for electric.

Assumptions:
Current oil furnace is running around 80% efficient,
BTUs/Gallon of oil = 139,000 input/111,200 output (139,000*80%)
Electric heat is 100% efficient
BTUs/kilowatt hour = 3400.
Price Gallon of oil = $3.10

To find the equivalent price per kw.
$3.10/111200*3400=$0.0948

So if you're paying less than $0.0948/kw then it might be worth it. If your electric is that cheap then you need to calculate the return on investment to check if it still makes sense. FWIW, electric in the Boston area is about $0.187/Kw.
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:31 PM   #6
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Add electric heat so suppliment fuel oil?


Won't that coil of copper pipe be an excellent radiator for removing heat from the boiler whenever the boiler isn't firing? That would cause the boiler to cool down faster, and then fire sooner than before. I wonder if that would be a net gain or a net loss.
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Old 01-07-2008, 05:19 PM   #7
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Add electric heat so suppliment fuel oil?


Quote:
Originally Posted by NateHanson View Post
You'll never save money replacing oil heat usage with electric heat usage, unless your electric rates are extremely low for some unusual reason.

Wood heat is probably cheaper than oil (that's what we use), but it depends on the price of cordwood in your area, and you have to figure in at least $2500 to buy and install a good stove.

Your fuel usage doesn't sound excessively high for a place your size in Northern NY, but it's still got to hurt with current prices. You should look into pre-buying your fuel now for next year. You can often get significantly lower prices that way.

Do you have a programable thermostat? That can save a lot of money, by keeping the temp at 60 during the night, and turning itself back up an hour before you wake up. Then program it to go down again when people leave the house in the morning.

If you can shut certain areas of the house, you could consider installing separate zones, like one for the second floor that you can keep much lower during hours when that part of the house is not inhabited. That would again have a considerable upfront cost.
well, part of the problem is there is no heat upstairs, as in no ductwork running up there. that rules out seperate zones. in order to tolerate it at night, we keep the thermostat at 65, which keeps most of the upstairs at about 60-61.

I have not thought about a wood stove. I may look into it, but what worries me is we have a toddler. can it be used with forced air?
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:57 PM   #8
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Add electric heat so suppliment fuel oil?


the circulator would be tied into the burner controls so when the oil lights off the circ. would catch the flue heat and heat the coil prior to the fan coming on.if the boiler is a cold start and doesn't maintain the tank no loss.the owner has no heat up on the 2nd floor install baseboard and run it up stairs off the flue pipe heat with a stat up on 2 that will run the pump.120F-140F water thru a baseboard will satisfy the entire 2nd floor with the baseboard size right.
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Old 01-09-2008, 06:45 PM   #9
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Add electric heat so suppliment fuel oil?


Quote:
Originally Posted by biggles View Post
the circulator would be tied into the burner controls so when the oil lights off the circ. would catch the flue heat and heat the coil prior to the fan coming on.if the boiler is a cold start and doesn't maintain the tank no loss.the owner has no heat up on the 2nd floor install baseboard and run it up stairs off the flue pipe heat with a stat up on 2 that will run the pump.120F-140F water thru a baseboard will satisfy the entire 2nd floor with the baseboard size right.

What type of hvac did you do for 30 years? Never saw a real heat exchanger for flue gas?
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:00 PM   #10
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Add electric heat so suppliment fuel oil?


arichard21
Location: Northern NY

Ayuh,.......... Where abouts,..??..??.....

I've got 3 piecs of electric baseboard radiation I'll Give you,.........
I believe they're 3', 4',+ 6'......sitting in Chaumont........
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:44 PM   #11
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Add electric heat so suppliment fuel oil?


WOW! 150-175 gallons of fuel oil per month? I too live in rural upstate NY and the house is about 2200 sq.ft. It's very windy were I live.I too have insulated, caulked,replaced doors and windows,etc. I dont consume anywhere near the oil you are. We have a setback thermostat that is 68 degrees when we're home,62 during the day when we're not and 58 at night.I supplement with a free standing gas stove(real nice,looks like woodburning w/o the mess or work) and yes we also have added some electric baseboard units in our third fllor attic/converted to master bedroom. Yes, electric heat is expensive,but as mentioned before it's 100% efficient.When used in a zone heating manner it can be quite effective.By this I mean keeping your forced air off in a given area not needed and using the electric as a space heater only when needed. That and look for leaks around your foundation,you'll be surprised what you might find."Great Stuff" foam works well here.Using that much fuel oil tells me you are losing somewhere. Last thought; when did you last have your furnace serviced.Generally an oil burner should be cleaned and tuned up yearly.Also,dont let those who dont like oil heat fool you.There is higher btu per therm in oil than gas.Those gas furnace efficiency ratings are misleading.
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Old 01-12-2008, 03:40 PM   #12
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Add electric heat so suppliment fuel oil?


Here in Nebraska. I have a heat pump which gives me half price on electric from 7.8 cents per kwh to 3.9 cents per kwh. So we are installing an electric fireplace with with electric baseboard heaters for our "SUPPLEMENTAL" heat in our basement that we are now finishing. The half price is from OCT 1st to May 31st every year. I have a 4000 sq ft house and my electric bill for dec was $106. My gas water and sewer are combined and that bill was $127 for december.
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:23 AM   #13
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Add electric heat so suppliment fuel oil?


2200 sq ft in NJ, close to the ocean: electric $80, gas $161, water $30, and sewer $70.

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