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Old 09-23-2007, 09:25 PM   #1
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


My really old oil burner cracked. the oil company used a sealer last year which allowed the burner to make it through last winter
the oil company said to replace the burner its $5100
I spoke with a plumber who installs natural gas boilers ( which costs a little less). The plumber said that if your going to replace it, you should do
a gas boiler....
Does anyone have any experience with switching from oil to gas
and what is your advice???????????

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Old 09-23-2007, 10:23 PM   #2
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


Natural gas is cleaner,easier,way more efficient, far easier to maintain, no delivery trucks, running out of oil,clogged nozzles,bad filters,gelling.
Hmmmmmmmm what to do what to do. YES i have oil and the reason why? NO DAMN GAS IN MY TOWN
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Old 09-24-2007, 04:29 PM   #3
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


I switched from oil to gas last year and boy am I happy. My oil boiler was an ancient beast that had less that 70% AFUE, had to be repaired twice during first winter since I bought the house, and on several occasions filled entire house with oily, acrid smell. And it was NOISY.
I haven't got rid of the oil tank yet, but will do soon, which will give me lots of storage space in basement.

Some notes:
1. Do you have gas service? If not, check with gas company about hookup. Just to get my business, gas company did all the work - opening up the road, making a new branch, running it up to my house, and putting in a meter - for free.

2. Chimney - your present boiler is likely hooked to a regular masonry chimney. Hooking a gas appliance to a flue that vented oil is not allowed without inspection and certification of the lining. And if your system is old, you will have to re-line, and that is not cheap. There IS a soultion however: get a Class IV condensing high-efficiency boiler. These do not use a masonry chimney - they have two PVC pipes running to outside for intake and exhaust. I, in fact, ran those two pipes inside the chimney. Since I used it as just a chase, no relining was needed.

3. Cost - if you hire someone to do work, it will cost you, and likely quite a bit more than $5k - depending on the equipment installed. I took out permits and did everything myself - gas piping, tearing out old boiler, installing new one, putting in all the new piping, pumps, valves, running PVC vent and intake through chimney, splitting my system into 2 separate zones and installing zone controls. I installed a Weil-McLain Ultra boiler with a Gold Plus indirect water heater. Total cost to me: around $7000 and about five gallons of sweat.
The system is totally quiet, worry free, and my heating bills last winter were half of what I had with the oild boiler.
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Old 09-24-2007, 06:50 PM   #4
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


thanks scorpio !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 09-24-2007, 07:04 PM   #5
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


Check with you local gas company about oil to gas conversion. I got a boiler by switching to gas for $200. Add another $3000 for labor another $700 for a chimney liner and another $300 to get rid of the old tank.
Unfortuneatly, the season that I switched to gas, oil became more favorably priced. Overall it was worth it; I gained a lot of basement space by getting rid of the 275 gal oil tank and I don't have the smell of diesel anymore. Gas burns a lot cleaner as well.
Gas boilers are so simple a cave man could fix it.
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Old 09-25-2007, 10:39 PM   #6
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


Gas is cleaner than oil and that's it. Oil has more heat 140,000 btu's a gallon as opposed to gas at 100,000btu's per therm. Oil does need annual maintenance that you can push to three years with gas. Most people that go from oil to gas with boilers which they hadn't switched. Ask around. Check out oil heat .com
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Old 09-26-2007, 03:24 AM   #7
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


bigmike is 100% correct. Yes,due to cleaner burning, gas furnaces rate higher efficiency than oil,but this is misleading. As bigmike noted oil offers much more BTU per unit than gas.And yes the furnace needs yearly maintenance. However,once properly setup and maintained that way you will have none of the problems stated above. If you take time to notice,all the negative comments were on old behemoth oil furnaces being compared to new state of the art gas furnaces. Not fair,apples to oranges.Try the gas compared to a modern Thermo-Pride oil furnace and lets talk again.
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Old 09-26-2007, 01:31 PM   #8
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


While I agree that comparing an ancient oil unit to a state-of-the-art modern gas is not exactly fair, but there are quite a few other considerations.

First, I see no relevance in the 'oil is more BTU per unit' fact. Ok, so it is. It is not like you'd need a 1.4 times larger tank or have truck come 1.4 times more often for gas. Yes, you multiply therm price by 1.4 before compering, that's all there is. Here's a quick sample of current energy source prices as seen on my Bloomberg:
Prices are per MMBTU, not 'per unit', so it's apples to apples.
New York: Natural Gas $7.00, Heating Oil $15.41, Electrical $18.39
Chicago: NG $6.50, Oil $16.95 Elec $16.41
San Francisco: NG $5.78, Oil $16.66 Elec $17.63.
That's current, but sure, prices may change.

Other considerations: oil has to be delivered and stored on-site. Oil level needs to be monitored. Oil companies estimate when you need a refill, but sometimes they make a mistake. Happened to me on a rather cold weekend - we ran out. It wasn't pleasant.

Tank: aboveground, it takes up space. Belowground, it is a ticking ecological timebomb. In fact, belowground tank means a rather hefty insurance premium. Oh, my neighbor has oiltank sitting outside. This winter, when it was coldest, oil gelled up, leavng them with no heat for several days.

A friend of mine is a real estate agent. According to her, roughly 9 out of 10 buyers consider oil heat (as opposed to gas) a huge negative. More than half dismiss oil-heated houses right away without further consideration. Keep that in mind if you plan to eventually sell. It might be just a common misconception, but it is a rather established misconception and it will work against you.

So yes, I did quite a bit of weighing of pros and cons when considering my overhaul. Only real 'pro' for oil I found at the time was that in case "something" happened, I'd have a stash of fuel to last me through. Assuming it didn't gel up. Of course, statistics dictate that if emergency strikes, I'll be only half-full. And Murphy says I'll be about bottomed out. And if "something" happens to be an extra-heavy snowstorm, said oil truck might have a hard time reaching me. Not so with gas.

I simply listed my reasons for the switch. YMMV.
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Old 10-01-2007, 12:29 PM   #9
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


Quote:
Originally Posted by scorrpio View Post
I installed a Weil-McLain Ultra boiler with a Gold Plus indirect water heater. Total cost to me: around $7000 and about five gallons of sweat.
The system is totally quiet, worry free, and my heating bills last winter were half of what I had with the oild boiler.
Where did you get your boiler? I have been thinking of doing something similar.
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Old 10-01-2007, 04:01 PM   #10
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


I bought my boiler and heater via eBay, seller id c-square-d-com. (Concept Creative Home Design). They are in Brooklyn, NY, so I was able to save on shipping by picking up in person. Both items completely new, factory packaged. At $3200, the boiler is not cheap.

If you decide to go ahead, be sure to follow instructions to the letter, concerning pipe sizes, pump capacities, venting, etc. I specifically confirmed with WM that it is in fact ok to employ an otherwise unused masonry chimney as a vent chase. Be sure to get all the requisite permits (I needed plumbing, electrical and fire safety for this)
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Old 10-01-2007, 06:28 PM   #11
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


Thanks! I have been mulling this over for some time now and have had 6 different plumbing/heating guys come in and have had very little confidence in any of them. I have put in one other heating system and piped in the natural gas line, had it inspected etc., but this is a much bigger job. My current boiler is ancient. It was coal, and converted to oil and is problaby similar to what you had, it probably weighs 1500lbs. It is a gravity fed hot water system with 3 inch inner diameter pipe in the basement and crawl spaces, the vertical spans size down to 1 inch pipe. So, now I am wondering if I can just keep the existing pipe and size down off the 3 inch pipe to fit the new boiler without it being a major issue. The house is an 1880 Victorian with very little insulation in the walls (another project), 3200 square feet and when I calculated heat loss it came to around 130,000 BTUs. I burned about 2000 gallons of oil last winter (1st winter in this house), and had the boiler temp set low at 140 degrees during what was a mild winter here in New Hampshire. Any advice on what would be my best option for a boiler; I was thinking of going with a WM Ultra 155?

Last edited by bpnatmed; 10-02-2007 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 10-02-2007, 03:26 PM   #12
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


With current loss of 130, you really should be ok with a 105. Especially once you add some insulation to the house.

One question though: are you sure this is not a steam system?
http://www.hoffmanspecialty.com/pdf/...ls/hs-901a.pdf

See single pipe systems. That 3" iron main with 1" verticals you describe sounds mighty like a steam configuration. If so, you need a steam type boiler, and Ultra will not work - unless you replace the whole thing.
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Old 10-02-2007, 06:46 PM   #13
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


Thanks for the link. Yeah, I know, it looks very similar to steam, doesn't it?The larger pipes are also standard with the gravity fed systems, bigger pipe less water resistance from what I read, but I am no expert on them. Last year I was having problems with a lot of banging in the pipes. I came to find out the asbestos removal people I had come in, knocked the hydrostat off of the pipe and the boiler went up to 270 degrees and almost started a fire in my daughter's room. It wasn't totally their fault, it was only held on with a piece of 12 gauge copper wire wrapped around it!! Regardless, the water was turned to steam and the system definitely wasn't happy with it. There are no steam release valves on any of the upright radiators either.
The other big problem with the system is that some of the pipe exits the main basement through a stone wall into a crawlspace area which is little better than being outside temperature-wise, and it is wrapped in asbestos. Because of that I think regardless of what system I put in I will have to use antifreeze in the system if I keep this pipe or run it into that crawlspace area. Now it isn't as much of a problem because the gravity fed system is open and the water is constantly circulating. I am trying to do this as cheaply as possible with quality components, and am fighting ripping out the existing pipework and upright radiators, but that is probably what most would do.
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Old 10-04-2007, 11:06 AM   #14
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


There is a lot of good information here! Thank you! I am waiting for a couple of quotes to convert our very ineffecient boiler to gas AND I've just been told the liner in the chimney absolutely needs to be removed and replaced. So I'm trying identify the right set up for our needs (4 family brownstone, owner occupied in NY) and a company who can do this at an affordable price. Recommendations are appreciated!
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:06 AM   #15
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Switch from Oil to Gas Heat???


While oil may leak and cause environmental issues, when natural gas leaks it can take down the house. I have 2 oil systems. The forced air stinks, but the boiler system does not. I hate forced air, and love the radiators. We only have 3 months of cold, and only use about a 275 gal. tank per house each year. They make additives to keep fuel oil fresh and eliminate problems with gelling if the tank is outside.

But that extra storage space in the basement. Hmmm. Maybe it's better I don't have more "storage" space.

If I had the money I would get an outdoor wood burning furnace to hook into the system. But that's another story.

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