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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I wasn't sure what forum to post this under, so I decided to post it here...

I just moved into a house that was built in 1977. It's a split-level home that is heated with an oil furnace. The oil tank is located in the garage.

Both the furnace and the tank are original to the house, however the tank has the year 1970 written on it in black marker.

Tune-ups and verifications have been done yearly by the oil company, however when he came by today to update the billing information with my name, he informed me that the oil furnace had probably 3-5 years of life left to it, and the oil tank had maybe 1-3 years.

He started quoting me options such as:
- Replacing the oil furnace and oil tank with a new model
- Replacing the oil furnace with an electric furnace
- Installing a Bi-Energy unit (oil / electric)

What do you all suggest would be the best route? Cost-wise, the oil furnace and electric furnaces are very similarly priced (the electric being a few hundred $ more). The Bi-Energy unit is a little more expensive as well.

Upon looking at my oil tank tonight, I noticed a discoloration at the bottom of the tank, as you can see here:


I don't see any stains under the tank or in the general vicinity. There is a very light oil smell in the area, but seeing how this is my first house with oil heating, I don't know if this is normal or not... Judging from that picture, should I be worried and look into getting that tank replaced ASAP?

I also don't want to replace the tank if the general recommendation is to move away from oil and go for an electric furnace... What are the pros and cons of each?

Sorry for all the questions...

Thanks,
 

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oil tank

a tank at the age of yours should be replaced as soon as possable as the condensation , water acumalation has ate away at metal . the clean up of tank leakjustifies the job . i would suggest an new oil furnace as the best way too heat your home , most likely the most cost eff . the combination electric and oil gives you peace of mind in case of furnce failure in extrem cold
 

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Get other quotes.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
a tank at the age of yours should be replaced as soon as possable as the condensation , water acumalation has ate away at metal . the clean up of tank leakjustifies the job . i would suggest an new oil furnace as the best way too heat your home , most likely the most cost eff . the combination electric and oil gives you peace of mind in case of furnce failure in extrem cold
Are you basing your recommendation only on the age of the tank? Or the picture I attached? Or both?

Also, with the Bi-energy solution, the Electric solution would only work down to -12c, at which point the oil furnace would kick in.

Are you all saying that oil is cheaper than electricity in terms of heating?


Get other quotes.
oh I absolutely will...
 

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A heat pump is usually more economical to operate then an oil furnace.
But, after the oudoor temp gets so cold. Thee isn't enough heat in the air, for it to maintain temp in the house anymore. So an aux/second heat source is required.
In this case, that heat source would be your oil furnace.
 

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Are you all saying that oil is cheaper than electricity in terms of heating?
Depends. Post your electric rates including taxes, and your current cost of oil/gallon, and I will repost with some operational cost comparisons. Also, what are your typical winter low temps, or what region are you in?

If you are interested in A/C I would consider a heat pump and oil furnace as backup. You will have a backup heat source and hedge against the two fuel costs.
 

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We go thru just over 1 tank of oil a year, usually 1 1/4 tanks
This year was 10% colder then prior years, plus addition of a 250 sq ft sunroom - so we went thru 1.5 tanks of oil
New windows & insulation have helped
I also heat partially with wood
I picked up an oil tank that is 8 years old for free off craiglist
It will either replace the existing tank or be added as a 2nd tank

Our electric around here is over 16 cents per KWH after delivery charges. Its supposed to drop about 2 cents a KWH this month. Oil we filled up at under $2 a gallon, but you also need to figure in the yearly maintenance charge

We had a friend get a Heat pump & his electric went up a lot
He figured (too late) that he would have been better off without the heat pump
I'm not sure of the specifics of the exact system. Do these need to have yearly maintenance?
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Depends. Post your electric rates including taxes, and your current cost of oil/gallon, and I will repost with some operational cost comparisons. Also, what are your typical winter low temps, or what region are you in?

If you are interested in A/C I would consider a heat pump and oil furnace as backup. You will have a backup heat source and hedge against the two fuel costs.
Hi dac122,

I'm located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Winter-time temperatures can reach as low as -30c in the colder months but average around -20 to -25 during the winter. Summer-time temps average around +25 and can reach as high as +32 in the warmer months.
My oil furnace is rated at 96,000 B.T.U. / H.R.

Hydro-Electric costs are as follows:
First 30 kWh per day are charged at 0.054 $
Remaining consumption is charged at 0.0733 $

Oil costs are currently .6290 $ per liter (about $2.38 per gallon).
I just signed a 20month maintenance contract for $149 which includes 2 "tune-ups", and a protection plan that covers many parts including the fan belt blower, blower, fan motor, fuel pump, burner transformer, relay and motor, fuel storage tank (maximum allowance of $100 installed cost) and several other parts...

These prices do not include any taxes.

I already have a Ruud AC mounted on the outside of the house which was installed approximately 2 years ago.

Thanks,
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Is there any delivery/service charge on your electricity?
Our delivery charge is about 1/3 of our monthly bill
There is a fixed charge of $22.76 in addition to the consumption.

As an example, one of my bills at my previous condo looked like the following:

For the period of 2009-01-29 to 2009-03-25 (56 days)

$22.76 - Fixed Charge (delivery/service 56 days x 0.4064 $)
$90.72 - Consumption - First 30 kWh per day (1680 kWh x 0.054 $)
$70.37 - Remaining Consumption (960 kWh x 0.0733 $)

$183.85 - Subtotal
$9.19 - GST tax
$14.48 - PST tax

$207.52 - Grand total


Scuba_dave, I noticed your home improvement thread here... and saw your tank. Are you the same Scuba_dave that I've seen on ReefCentral? I used to have a 180gal saltwater tank. I went by the name tang_man_montreal at ReefCentral....
 

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I am familiar with the area, not too far south of you and have a dual fuel setup. I figure your cost per KWH at 7.8¢ (= $207.52 / 2640 KWH)

To compare the cost of 1 million btu's of heat for an oil furnace compared to a heat pump:

Oil furnace with oil at $2.38 per gallon, 80% efficient furnace:
(1,000,000 / 138,500 btu per therm) x 2.38 / .80
= $21.48

16 SEER 3 Ton Goodman Heat pump with electricity at 7.8¢ per KWH, C.O.P. = 3.5 at 35°F (1.6°C):
(1,000,000 / 3413 btu per KHW) x 0.078 / 3.5
= $6.53

Electric resistive heat (always 100% efficiency) with electricity at 7.8¢ per KWH:
(1,000,000 / 3413 btu per KHW) x 0.078
= $22.85

Considering your electric rates, and my guess oil is only going higher, you should seriously consider a heat pump.

I would guess somewhere around 20°F (-6.6°C) your heat pump will not be able to keep up with dwelling heat loss and your furnace will begin to supplement.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
dac122,

Thanks for running those numbers for me. They're quite interesting indeed!

A heat pump looks very interesting right now.

Taking into consideration that my oil furnace dates back to 1977, should I look into getting it replaced anytime soon, or keep it and keep my fingers crossed? I know that a new oil furnace would probably be much more efficient however.

That all being said, what approximate costs would I be looking at in the following scenarios?

- Adding a heat pump to the current oil furnace installation, as well as a new oil tank

- Replacing the old oil furnace for a new one, replacing oil tank, and adding heat pump

I'm trying to determine how soon I would see a ROI (return on investment) given the costs involved.

Thanks for all your help...
 

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I would contact Quebec Hydro or whatever they call themselves. Manitoba Hydro has engineers on staff who will give free advice on the different heating systems and operating costs. You need to have good info for them ie: age/square footage/type and amount of insulation in walls and attic for them to help.

Good Luck eh.:thumbup:
 

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Taking into consideration that my oil furnace dates back to 1977, should I look into getting it replaced anytime soon, or keep it and keep my fingers crossed? I know that a new oil furnace would probably be much more efficient however.

That all being said, what approximate costs would I be looking at in the following scenarios?

- Adding a heat pump to the current oil furnace installation, as well as a new oil tank

- Replacing the old oil furnace for a new one, replacing oil tank, and adding heat pump

I'm trying to determine how soon I would see a ROI (return on investment) given the costs involved.
Installation cost are highly localized. Be sure you investigate all local incentives as well. I would start getting quotes that include all 3 scenarios.

If your tank is at risk of leaking and you think you'll have an oil furnace new or old it might be best to get a new tank swapped in regardless. That will buy you some time to decide.
 

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I used to do oil and your tank is rotting away from the inside out and should be replaced SOON. There are rebates AND the federal gov't has that 15% home improvement grant until November I believe. It covers furnaces so I would jump on it. The new oil furnaces are a lot more efficient and you should have a heat load calculation done to get the correct size. 95% of the older units are oversized.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I would contact Quebec Hydro or whatever they call themselves. Manitoba Hydro has engineers on staff who will give free advice on the different heating systems and operating costs. You need to have good info for them ie: age/square footage/type and amount of insulation in walls and attic for them to help.

Good Luck eh.:thumbup:
Hi Yuri,
Yes, I will look into what incentives Hydro-Quebec has to offer. I do know that they have a preferential rate for customers who have Dual energy installations.


Installation cost are highly localized. Be sure you investigate all local incentives as well. I would start getting quotes that include all 3 scenarios.

If your tank is at risk of leaking and you think you'll have an oil furnace new or old it might be best to get a new tank swapped in regardless. That will buy you some time to decide.
Great, thanks for all your guidance. I'll start getting quotes.
 

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Scuba_dave, I noticed your home improvement thread here... and saw your tank. Are you the same Scuba_dave that I've seen on ReefCentral? I used to have a 180gal saltwater tank. I went by the name tang_man_montreal at ReefCentral....
Yup, that's me on Reef Central
I have a 125g tank (240g setup) & a 300g tank waiting on completion of the addition

To compare the cost of 1 million btu's of heat for an oil furnace compared to a heat pump:

Oil furnace with oil at $2.38 per gallon, 86% efficient furnace:
(1,000,000 / 138,500 btu per therm) x 2.38 / .86
= $19.98
At $4 a gallon (last year) = $24.84

16 SEER 3 Ton Goodman Heat pump with electricity at 14.6¢ per KWH, C.O.P. = 3.5 at 35°F (1.6°C):
(1,000,000 / 3413 btu per KHW) x 0.146 / 3.5
= $12.21
At 16.6 per KWH = $13.90 still pretty good

Electric resistive heat (always 100% efficiency) with electricity at 14.6¢ per KWH:
(1,000,000 / 3413 btu per KHW) x 0.146
= $42.78 ??

I would guess somewhere around 20°F (-6.6°C) your heat pump will not be able to keep up with dwelling heat loss and your furnace will begin to supplement.
I adjusted the figures for my numbers
I guess full time electric heat is defintely out for me
Heat Pump is cost effective, I wonder what my friends problem is with his setup. Maybe his electric is higher
Interesting & Thanks for the figures & information
We need a new boiler too
But we only use just over a tank of oil a year
That will change once the addition is completed

Can a heat pump turn on an oiler boiler instead of electric heat as a backup? That would be much better
Of course then we would need a new boiler
I'm not sure how both systems could interact & heat the house

Any info on Gas heat?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Update on the situation:

I had my oil company come take a look at the discoloration of my oil tank, pictured in the first post of this thread... He said that it was nothing to worry about, _it's not a leak_, however being that the tank is now 32 yrs old, it should be replaced ASAP.

I have since sourced 3 quotes.

COMPANY A - (who is currently my oil provider, and whom i have a maintenance contract with)
Oil furnace:
- Brock MBP-1 with Riello Burner
$2925
- New Oil tank
$1285
- Optionally a heat pump would be about $2500 more.

Electric furnace:
- ICP - Supreme
$3295
- Oil tank removal
$300
- Relocation of inner A/C coil
$450

COMPANY B
Electric Furnace
$4065 (forgot brand, and model)

COMPANY C
Electric Furnace
- Carrier
$2800
(includes removal of old oil furnace and oil tank, and pumping old oil, as well as closing holes in foundation)


Looking at the above prices, you'll see that I've decided to go with an electric heating source seeing how it is necessary to replace (or remove in my case) the oil tank anyways. I'll be going with Company C. This will also allow me to win back some lost space in the garage that was previously occupied by the oil tank. Taking into account that oil prices and electric prices are just about even in my area, and that oil prices are only bound to go up, the decision was easy.

Unfortunately, since the tank is 3/4 full, I'll lose all that oil when it's pumped out. Apparently nobody offers a credit towards the used oil since it has to be filtered before it can be put back to use. Also unfortunate is the fact that I just signed a maintenance contract a few weeks ago for my current oil furnace, which I most probably won't be able to cancel...

So that's where I currently stand... The work will probably be done sometime in August.
 

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Ask Company C say about waiting until you draw off some of that oil in the fall - perhaps when you get under the hundred gallon mark, or less. With a deposit and signed acceptance they may be fine with waiting, especially if that is a slower time of the year for them. Plus that's less oil for them to deal with.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Ask Company C say about waiting until you draw off some of that oil in the fall - perhaps when you get under the hundred gallon mark, or less. With a deposit and signed acceptance they may be fine with waiting, especially if that is a slower time of the year for them. Plus that's less oil for them to deal with.
They probably wouldn't have any issues with that... however I'd rather do the work sooner than later so that I no longer would have to worry about a 32yr old oil tank that may decide to spring a leak at an inconvenient time...
 
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