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Propane or Oil?

657 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Martlet
The time has come for me to purchase a new heating/hot water system.

I live in NH and currently have a leaky Burnham V83 forced hot water with an interior hot water coil. I have no chimney and currently have a power vent. My house is approximately 2500 sq ft and 15 years old. Two adults and two children 2 full baths and one 1/2 bath. I have both oil for the furnace and propane for the generator and stove.

My primary goals are to provide adequate hot water (current system isn't close) and quiet the boiler (most of the noise is from the power vent). The current system fires every 15-30 minutes year round for hot water maintenance, which is not only loud, but annoying. I'd prefer to direct vent if possible. The other obvious concern is to make the best choice for annual heating costs as well. Efficiency vs BTU output for oil/propane vs fuel costs is very confusing.

I've had three contractors in. My current fuel provider, a competing fuel provider, and a local HVAC technician. All three have differing suggestions and reasons. Basically, they are:

Weil-McLain WM97+110 High Efficiency with Super Stor SSU45
System 2000 Accel CS with 40 Gallon tank
Sinnai Q175C with on demand water

System 2000 Resolute with 40 gallon tank
Weil-McLain WGO-3 with 40 gallon indirect
Pure Trio P4 High Efficiency with Riello F series and Super Stor SSU45 indirect
Buderus G115WS with Amtrol Boiler Mate

My questions:
Oil or Propane? I know prices are flexible and opinions vary, but is one really better than the other?
I was told by some techs that the oil options with the vent will soot the side of the house. True? My current power vent doesn't.
I was told by some techs that propane boilers only have a 10-12 year life span.
Does anyone have experience or recommendations regarding the options I posted?

My biggest issue is whether it's worth going propane or should I stay with oil. I really want to get things quieter and running less often. Losing that oil tank in the basement would be nice. Switching to propane would automatically do that. I wouldn't want to switch to propane and face drastically increased heating costs down the road or equipment I'm going to be frequently replacing.

One dealer really seems to be pushing propane, the others, and people I've spoken with, suggest sticking with oil.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Propane generally can burn cleaner, and you get higher efficiencies out of the equipment. Nothing is made like it used to be. I have replaced new unit's before the neighboring unit at 3 times the age dies. (some are still going strong at +35 years) It's all relative.

Without looking up the equipment mentioned, most often propane is a better option. However oil delivery may be far cheaper in your neck of the woods then propane. (Economies of scale) Pound for Pound Pricing is usually fairly competitive, excluding delivery. An on demand or high efficiency (condensing) tank converted (or bought already setup for propane) is a very good choice. (again, economies of scale)

1) do you have a large propane tank? Most people don't like running around with 100lbs cylinders when it's -20 outside.

2) does your oil tank have to be replaced soon? Every jurisdiction is different, but locally once they pass a certain age, they have to be inspected, and eventually replaced. (fairly strict environmental regulations here, especially on single wall tanks)

3) How's the price of electricity in your area?

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