Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

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RobLyons
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Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by RobLyons » Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:31 pm

Has anyone here converted their home heating oil to a natural gas system? If so, I'm interested in what you thought of the process, expense, pros/cons, and have you experienced much savings? Or just general feedback about what path to take here is appreciated.

My situation:

Financially, I have some debt I'm aggressively paying off. So I'd prefer not to spend anything, but looks like I'm forced to here
mid 30s, $7k debt at 5.35%, $19k (2 auto loans) at 1.60% - I'm fine with this debt.
$220k left on mortgage of a $500k house
We make around $100k, family of 4.
6 months emergency fund, about $125k in retirement savings, good pension upon retirement
Boiler is about 6 years old.
Tank is around 35 years old.


I just discovered a very slow oil leak from the tank. Research indicates it may be time for a new oil tank $2500
I will get a couple pros to confirm first..
I've always been interested in converting to natural gas for multiple reasons.
(gas they say is greener, more efficient, its much smaller physically so I can take back a lot of space in basement) - I intend to fully finish the basement in the near future
However, quotes a few years back for the conversion were in the $12k range.


So do I just pony up the $2,500 and stay with dirty, inefficient oil, and an ugly oil tank taking up a chunk of my basement?
Or do I go for the conversion?
Thanks for looking :D
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

shorty313
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by shorty313 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:43 pm

We converted back in 2005, for about $8k st the time (heater and water heater). Oil was almost $4/gal, and our leaking underground tank used a ton! We went from around $3k in annual heating costs to up under $1k. We also did some additional insulation that brought it down more. I am so happy to have gas cooking, plus no more soot smell when the oil water heater nozzle clogged. Couldn't be happier.

Topic Author
RobLyons
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by RobLyons » Wed Jul 24, 2019 4:50 am

shorty313 wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:43 pm
We converted back in 2005, for about $8k st the time (heater and water heater). Oil was almost $4/gal, and our leaking underground tank used a ton! We went from around $3k in annual heating costs to up under $1k. We also did some additional insulation that brought it down more. I am so happy to have gas cooking, plus no more soot smell when the oil water heater nozzle clogged. Couldn't be happier.

Good to hear! Do you recall any bumps along the way, or how the install went?
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

gd
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by gd » Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:26 am

Oil and gas prices are regional, but can't imagine you won't save money per BTU. High efficiency furnaces are now standard with gas, requiring PVC ducting rather than conventional chimneys. We were, unusually, unable to site the ducting properly and had to go with non-HE requiring new chimney flue. Gas burners don't produce as much heat, so the duty cycle will be different-- it'll likely run longer. No burner blower noise. I needed larger gas line in the house and had a bad plumber who did a poor job, installing flex piping for his convenience that leaked a year later and was apparently almost immediately out of code. Went from mandatory burner maintenance every year to essentially no maintenance. Removed oil truck deliveries from my life, and chained to the local NG utility and whatever price they get out of the state utility commission.

phil64
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by phil64 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:06 am

Highly recommend the conversion. Gas has been way cheaper than oil since we converted almost 15 years ago. Best decision I made. No more oil deliveries, negotiating contracts, new more efficient water heater and furnace, save space especially with an indoor oil tank. Outdoor oil tank leaking is extremely bad these days, high cost of environmental cleanup etc. Now you can have a more efficient gas dryer and gas cooking is so much nicer than electric.

Once again I really think this is a worthwhile investment, especially if you need to replace an old oil tank.

flarf
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by flarf » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:36 am

Check with your state, municipality, and natural gas utility for any rebates. Massachusetts, for example, has been aggressively rebating purchases of high-efficiency HVAC and hot water heating equipment.

Topic Author
RobLyons
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by RobLyons » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:54 am

gd wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:26 am
Oil and gas prices are regional, but can't imagine you won't save money per BTU. High efficiency furnaces are now standard with gas, requiring PVC ducting rather than conventional chimneys. We were, unusually, unable to site the ducting properly and had to go with non-HE requiring new chimney flue. Gas burners don't produce as much heat, so the duty cycle will be different-- it'll likely run longer. No burner blower noise. I needed larger gas line in the house and had a bad plumber who did a poor job, installing flex piping for his convenience that leaked a year later and was apparently almost immediately out of code. Went from mandatory burner maintenance every year to essentially no maintenance. Removed oil truck deliveries from my life, and chained to the local NG utility and whatever price they get out of the state utility commission.

No maintenance is a huge plus! Thanks for the info :sharebeer
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Topic Author
RobLyons
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by RobLyons » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:11 am

phil64 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:06 am
Highly recommend the conversion. Gas has been way cheaper than oil since we converted almost 15 years ago. Best decision I made. No more oil deliveries, negotiating contracts, new more efficient water heater and furnace, save space especially with an indoor oil tank. Outdoor oil tank leaking is extremely bad these days, high cost of environmental cleanup etc. Now you can have a more efficient gas dryer and gas cooking is so much nicer than electric.

Once again I really think this is a worthwhile investment, especially if you need to replace an old oil tank.

Excellent !
I've always failed to understand this as an "investment" since it's immediate out of pocket expense but I may have been a penny wise and a dollar short..
And when oil prices fell I thought I was getting a great deal, but we still spend $1500+ per year
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

BeerTooth
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by BeerTooth » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:13 am

I'm surprised you have oil heat if there was a natural gas option when the home was built. Most people in New England with oil heat are suburban/rural and don't have natural gas lines near their house to tie in.

That being said, a lot of progress has been made on cold climate electric heat pumps. You may be able to skip the fossil fuels completely and convert to electric.

Topic Author
RobLyons
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by RobLyons » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:16 am

flarf wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:36 am
Check with your state, municipality, and natural gas utility for any rebates. Massachusetts, for example, has been aggressively rebating purchases of high-efficiency HVAC and hot water heating equipment.

Yes I just did.. Rebates have increased from $1500 to $2700!! :moneybag
And 0% financing for 72 months is available through a state program called Mass Save so that softens the blow
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Topic Author
RobLyons
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by RobLyons » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:19 am

BeerTooth wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:13 am
I'm surprised you have oil heat if there was a natural gas option when the home was built. Most people in New England with oil heat are suburban/rural and don't have natural gas lines near their house to tie in.

That being said, a lot of progress has been made on cold climate electric heat pumps. You may be able to skip the fossil fuels completely and convert to electric.

We checked for a gas line on the street when we moved in (2012) and were told incorrectly that there was no gas line.

Also electric is so damn expensive here from National Grid I'd prefer to avoid at all costs.

Would love solar panels, however the neighbors large tree shades our house too much and it doesn't make financial sense according to multiple companies.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

BeerTooth
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by BeerTooth » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:27 am

yes, we have the same shade limitation for solar panels on our house

Here is the Mass Save estimate on heating costs: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/house ... ting-costs
You're correct that natural gas is currently cheapest source. Air source heat pumps are only a slightly higher on fuel costs, but they also give you air conditioning if you're interested in that aspect.

Mass Save is really generous on incentives - take full advantage and think long term here. I see some massive utility-scale solar panel farms when I drive down the Mass Pike these days. I don't see massive new investment in the gas grid.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:31 am

We eliminated propane (no natural gas on our street) for a number of reasons and went to oil. Back then, a natural gas leak in the center of town, literally right next to the fire station could not be found for some reason. An explosion occurred and 2 little girls in my son's elementary class were killed. The explosion destroyed the house. Sorry, not interested.

More recent was the over-pressurization of low pressure lines around Andover and Lawrence, MA. Hundreds of families were put out of their homes for months. Again, not interested.

If our oil tank leaks, it makes a stain on our basement floor. Big deal.
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Watty
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by Watty » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:41 am

I have never done anything like that but when I have been getting new HVAC systems I have found that September is a great time to get bids on new systems because it is between the cooling and heating seasons so HVAC companies have very little work to do.

When I got my last system I got about six bids and they all came to the house within a day or two to make the bid. When I selected one they asked me if I would like it installed in the next day or two. They apparently had crews with no other work scheduled.

The crew that installed it showed up the first thing in the morning and spent all day installing both a furnace and AC and they did a very good job. Apparently they did not have anything else scheduled after my house so they were under no pressure to do it quickly.

Anyway if you decide to do this then it would be good to time the project around the slowest time of year is in your area.

Valuethinker
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:56 am

RobLyons wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:31 pm
Has anyone here converted their home heating oil to a natural gas system? If so, I'm interested in what you thought of the process, expense, pros/cons, and have you experienced much savings? Or just general feedback about what path to take here is appreciated.

My situation:

Financially, I have some debt I'm aggressively paying off. So I'd prefer not to spend anything, but looks like I'm forced to here
mid 30s, $7k debt at 5.35%, $19k (2 auto loans) at 1.60% - I'm fine with this debt.
$220k left on mortgage of a $500k house
We make around $100k, family of 4.
6 months emergency fund, about $125k in retirement savings, good pension upon retirement
Boiler is about 6 years old.
Tank is around 35 years old.


I just discovered a very slow oil leak from the tank. Research indicates it may be time for a new oil tank $2500
I will get a couple pros to confirm first..
I've always been interested in converting to natural gas for multiple reasons.
(gas they say is greener, more efficient, its much smaller physically so I can take back a lot of space in basement) - I intend to fully finish the basement in the near future
However, quotes a few years back for the conversion were in the $12k range.


So do I just pony up the $2,500 and stay with dirty, inefficient oil, and an ugly oil tank taking up a chunk of my basement?
Or do I go for the conversion?
Thanks for looking :D
With the subsidy you will receive it feels like a no-brainer?

I would imagine it would make the house easier to sell, comes the day. People shy away from the contamination of oil and its perceived dirtiness?

NG costs are high in NE (vs the rest of USA) but still per unit energy significantly lower than oil, I believe. And US NG prices will not spike every time something cooks off in the Straits of Hormuz -- the US is an NG exporter not importer (net). But oil prices react immediately to geopolitical events.

(in effect, world oil prices are set like a giant bathtub. All the crude oil produced in the world goes into that bathtub and every buyer pays the same price (with price adjustments for distance to refiner & grade of oil). If you produce more oil domestically, its price is still set with reference to a series of world marker prices - Brent Crude, West Texas Intermediate, Saudi Aramco Light etc. There's never a "made at home" oil price except in a few horribly inefficient cases where its consumption is subsidized.

Natural gas prices by contrast are highly regional. They are on a negotiated basis between producers and consumers in North America, with a pipeline charge. US market is structurally oversupplied for the foreseeable future (fracking, again). In other parts of the world at least part of NG prices are indexed to oil price but others to negotiations between quasi state gas companies (Gazprom, Sonatrach in Algeria) and big consuming utilities in Western Europe. At the high end, LNG becomes a factor - cargoes are literally redirected to the highest prices e.g. if there's a cold snap in Europe - Qatar is the world's largest player in LNG although Australia is significant. US LNG exports are now a market factor and forecast to grow as the terminals get built.

(there is that national security angle. Although US oil production is soaring (fracking of tight oil) the US is still a huge consumer of oil. So it is not self sufficient. By contrast net of Canadian imports it is a net NG exporter, and that's likely to grow and grow in future years, as the US has entered world Liquid NG markets, shipping cargoes into Europe, which would have been unimaginable 15-20 years ago. So saving the US some oil consumption does enhance its national security*

* heating oil is a residual of transport fuel production, so one can argue that its consumption makes little difference to the US import/ export picture).

NG is certainly much cleaner than oil as a fuel in terms of local pollution (NOx & particulates) as well as overall carbon contribution.

Modern NG furnaces are 90%+ efficient. Lots of bang for the buck. (best oil burners are in the low-mid 80s I believe).

TBillT
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by TBillT » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:59 am

We did this in NJ years ago and very happy. Went with high efficiency gas unit.
Due to very high elec costs in NJ in those days, we had switched to oil hot water.
We kept the oil hot water...which is wonderful, fast heating of the water.
So we did not have the tank disposal issue. The tank was in our basement.

Our Va. home was also switched over to nat gas, but from heat pump I guess.

In my Va. house, which I did not own at the conversion, I am not happy with the way they ran the nat gas pipes around the house...very questionable quality job. I've had to have several leaks fixed, and may need to bite the bullet and replace lines at my own nickel. I presume codes are more strict now.

I used to work in R&D lab so I know what good piping looks like, and I do not have it at home.
Last edited by TBillT on Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

jwasilko
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by jwasilko » Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:05 am

We are in MA and converted from Oil to Natural gas 7 years ago when we bought our house. We're really happy we did it as natural gas is nearly the cheapest way to heat a house. Heat pumps can be cheaper, though.

We're now looking at refreshing our AC since one of the two is leaking refrigerant. As part of that we're looking to add heat pumps and use the heat pumps in the warmer periods. We are served by a town utility, and have very low electric rates (and solar panels as well). Above 30 degrees, the heat pump costs about 2/3 of natural gas.

There are a number of programs that will help you. Your gas supplier should give you discounts on new gas equipment. Mass Save will help with rebate. There is also a renewable energy credit program that has been adapted to air source heat pumps. You get to pre-mint credits for 10 years and are paid in a lump sum.

Lastly, the DOER has the MVP program that provides additional incentives. Only certain installers are able/willing to do the paperwork from this program (as I understand it): https://www.mass.gov/guides/home-mvp

https://hvac-talk.com/ is a good forum to get advice, but don't post pricing as it's not allowed.

shorty313
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by shorty313 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:06 am

RobLyons wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 4:50 am
shorty313 wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:43 pm
We converted back in 2005, for about $8k st the time (heater and water heater). Oil was almost $4/gal, and our leaking underground tank used a ton! We went from around $3k in annual heating costs to up under $1k. We also did some additional insulation that brought it down more. I am so happy to have gas cooking, plus no more soot smell when the oil water heater nozzle clogged. Couldn't be happier.

Good to hear! Do you recall any bumps along the way, or how the install went?
Well, our journey to gas was a bit circuitous. Our underground tank leaked but was insured. For the insurance to cover remediation, we had to remain oil customers for an additional year. So, we installed an indoor tank first, then did the conversion a year later. Later sold the tank on craigslist for half of what we paid.

Install was easy. Utility extended at no cost from street to house (had to sign that we would become customers for heat). Picked a HE furnace and water heater, both have exhausts that have to be piped out. No issues with that or extending the gas line in the house. Also converted out dryer (found used cheap). We already had duct work so that was a non issue. I would have liked to move the location of the units but that would have meant reworking ducts and money was tight.

No more deliveries or yearly maintenance. I sort of miss the old oil company though....they had the best customer service of any company I have ever worked with. They were truly the best and I felt bad removing my business!

The new unit is nice a quiet and super efficient.

WS1
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by WS1 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:44 am

Don't forget to investigate Geothermal and Air Source Heat Pumps. Depending on local climate and potential rebates, these could pair really well with an investment in rooftop solar. Electrify Everything, as the kids say

Hockey10
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by Hockey10 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:14 pm

I have been a homeowner for over 30 years and have done countless home improvement projects. Converting from oil to natural gas was the single best project. I did this about 8 years ago and this cut my heating bill by 50%. I just wish I had done it sooner.

mancich
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by mancich » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:21 am

if your tank is in-ground make sure you get it legally abandoned. We had to have our local building inspector come out after the in-ground tank was cleaned out and filled with pea gravel, to ensure the tank contractor did it properly and that there were no leaks. The building inspector gave us something in writing, so in case we ever sell the house, we won't have any issue. We put a new oil tank in the basement, as natural gas is not available in our area. I wish it was :(

mpnret
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by mpnret » Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:03 am

Oil to natural gas, best money I have ever spent for all the reasons previously mentioned in this thread. One more advantage that often gets overlooked is slightly reduced electric cost. An oil burner has what's called a gun. It looks like a big industrial sized blow dryer. This is running and using electricity whenever your burner is on. It is necessary to take the oil from it's liquid state and atomize it so it can be burned. Being gas is already pressurized and in a burnable state right from the pipe this whole gun is eliminated.

Topic Author
RobLyons
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by RobLyons » Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:16 am

WS1 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:44 am
Don't forget to investigate Geothermal and Air Source Heat Pumps. Depending on local climate and potential rebates, these could pair really well with an investment in rooftop solar. Electrify Everything, as the kids say

Was just quoted approx $50-$60k for geothermal.. Bit steep even with rebates and grants
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BeerTooth
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by BeerTooth » Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:19 am

yeah the extra marginal efficiency of geothermal is not worth the huge upfront cost. Air source heat pumps get you 90% of the way there for a lot lower initial investment

brianH
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by brianH » Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:36 am

mpnret wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:03 am
slightly reduced electric cost. An oil burner has what's called a gun. It looks like a big industrial sized blow dryer. This is running and using electricity whenever your burner is on. It is necessary to take the oil from it's liquid state and atomize it so it can be burned. Being gas is already pressurized and in a burnable state right from the pipe this whole gun is eliminated.
This might end up being somewhat of a wash, because the new high-efficiency gas furnaces have a draft-inducer blower motor to force the hot combustion gases through different heat exchangers. Less efficient gas furnaces (or water heaters) usually just relied on the heat to induce a draft up a vertical chimney, but the new ones try to extract so much of the heat that they need help exhausting the gases.
BeerTooth wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:19 am
yeah the extra marginal efficiency of geothermal is not worth the huge upfront cost. Air source heat pumps get you 90% of the way there for a lot lower initial investment
Agreed, and these air-source heat pumps keep getting more and more efficient at low temperatures (look at some of the Japanese mini-splits.) Even my 8 year old, 16 SEER (non-minisplit) has a COP of almost 2.0 at 0F and still outputs about half of its rated BTUs at that temp.

batpot
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by batpot » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:09 pm

shorty313 wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:43 pm
We converted back in 2005, for about $8k st the time (heater and water heater).
How much of that was environmentally dismantling the oil tank?
Did you dig it up and convert it to a smoker? :mrgreen:

shorty313
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by shorty313 » Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:28 am

batpot wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:09 pm
shorty313 wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:43 pm
We converted back in 2005, for about $8k st the time (heater and water heater).
How much of that was environmentally dismantling the oil tank?
Did you dig it up and convert it to a smoker? :mrgreen:
That cost is purely the HVAC cost. We had an interesting insurance situation for the tank. At the time, our homeowners insurance would cover leaks that made it to water table. We also had private insurance from our oil company on the tank and above the water table. We needed full remediation, used both policies, and only spent $500 in deductibles out of pocket. I have no idea how much the actual remediation cost! Our homeowners no longer covers the oil leaks within the typical plan, I think now you need a rider. Glad we got in under the gun.

It took about a year and we got a No Further Action letter from the state DEP, which is kept in our safe. :D

Couldn't be used as a smoker, full of pin holes :P

jharkin
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by jharkin » Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:38 am

Ive never converted, but I have lived in homes with oil, propane and natural gas.

If natural gas is available on your street.. convert. period. end of discussion.

- Where I live right now gas costs about $1-$1.40 a therm delivered and oil $3.50 a gallon. A therm of gas is 100,000 BTU and a gallon of oil is 140,000. So dollar for dollar gas is about half the cost for fuel to start.

- In addition to the raw fuel cost savings, gas heating equipment is more efficient. WIth oil about the best AFUE you can get is 85-87%. Switching to gas you have the option to install condensing furnaces and boilers that can reach 95%

- Oil fired equipment also has more maintenance cost . Yearly cleanings to get all the soot out of hte heat exhancger and change nozzles/filters are mandatory. When I have lived with gas we have gone years without professional service with no ill effect.

- Once you switch you no longer have that oil tank taking up space in your basement

- If you are environmentally minded, gas has a lower carbon footprint and none of the particualte pollution of oil

- And to top it all off, many utilites provide rebates and incentives to help finance the cost of conversion.

gd
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by gd » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:36 am

RobLyons wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:54 am
gd wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:26 am
...Went from mandatory burner maintenance every year to essentially no maintenance....
No maintenance is a huge plus! Thanks for the info :sharebeer
"Essentially no". Oil burners are filthy and require yearly maintenance, probably regular flue servicing as well. NG doesn't. We've had a service check once in a decade. But oil misfunctions burn your house down. NG misfunctions explode it.

BTW, have your oil filler pipe physically removed. Years ago a house near us converted & left filler port outside, oil company mistakenly made a delivery (I think when owners were on vacation), dumped oil on the basement floor, ignited, end of house. Sounds like an urban myth, but pretty clear recollection it happened.
Last edited by gd on Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

gd
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by gd » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:47 am

brianH wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:36 am
This might end up being somewhat of a wash, because the new high-efficiency gas furnaces have a draft-inducer blower motor to force the hot combustion gases through different heat exchangers. Less efficient gas furnaces (or water heaters) usually just relied on the heat to induce a draft up a vertical chimney, but the new ones try to extract so much of the heat that they need help exhausting the gases.
Our non-HE gas also has a small flue blower. I doubt it's significant compared to heat distribution motors, but also smaller than a HE setup.

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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:28 am

RobLyons wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:16 am
WS1 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:44 am
Don't forget to investigate Geothermal and Air Source Heat Pumps. Depending on local climate and potential rebates, these could pair really well with an investment in rooftop solar. Electrify Everything, as the kids say
Was just quoted approx $50-$60k for geothermal.. Bit steep even with rebates and grants
It is pricey, but I find that the comfort and low running costs are worth it. It’s quiet. It doesn’t smell bad (you don’t realize how bad oil smells until it’s gone). It keeps a constant temperature. It won’t require replacement for decades (that’s for geothermal which isn’t subjected to environmental stresses as air sourced heat pumps (ASHP)). It makes you impervious to the oil company delivery and pricing.

It is true that ASHP get you 90% of the benefit for much less cost, but you’d still have to have a fall back oil/propane/gas burner.p for exceptionally cold days in some locations. I LOVE no longer having combustion taking place in my utility room (I still have a gas stove and a wood fireplace, so keep some CO detectors).
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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RobLyons
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by RobLyons » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:36 am

jharkin wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:38 am


If natural gas is available on your street.. convert. period. end of discussion.


Even considering my financial situation? (debt, middle income, not a lot of free cash)
Yesterday's quote was around $17,500 for the conversion, plus we want to add another zone in basement to make it livable in winter $4500
$22k - $23k

It's a lot of money..
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

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RobLyons
Posts: 498
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by RobLyons » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:37 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:28 am
RobLyons wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:16 am
WS1 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:44 am
Don't forget to investigate Geothermal and Air Source Heat Pumps. Depending on local climate and potential rebates, these could pair really well with an investment in rooftop solar. Electrify Everything, as the kids say
Was just quoted approx $50-$60k for geothermal.. Bit steep even with rebates and grants
It is pricey, but I find that the comfort and low running costs are worth it. It’s quiet. It doesn’t smell bad (you don’t realize how bad oil smells until it’s gone). It keeps a constant temperature. It won’t require replacement for decades (that’s for geothermal which isn’t subjected to environmental stresses as air sourced heat pumps (ASHP)). It makes you impervious to the oil company delivery and pricing.

It is true that ASHP get you 90% of the benefit for much less cost, but you’d still have to have a fall back oil/propane/gas burner.p for exceptionally cold days in some locations. I LOVE no longer having combustion taking place in my utility room (I still have a gas stove and a wood fireplace, so keep some CO detectors).

It sounds nice to have.
Can I borrow $60k :happy :D
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

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mapleosb
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:48 pm
Location: CT

Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by mapleosb » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:47 am

RobLyons wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:31 pm
Has anyone here converted their home heating oil to a natural gas system? If so, I'm interested in what you thought of the process, expense, pros/cons, and have you experienced much savings? Or just general feedback about what path to take here is appreciated.
Our home had two units, a very old oil furnace for the lower level using forced air heat and a heat pump for the upper. We have been in this house for 25 years and for at least 20 of them I had been requesting the gas main be extended from 1/4 mile away.

In 2016 it was time to replace the oil furnace. As we were shopping for replacements, the gas company announced that it was extending the main by two miles. I installed two 95% efficient gas furnaces and two ultra efficient AC condensers, and, a high efficiency hot water tank. Electric is very expense in our state and the greatest savings we get is electric first due to eliminating the heat pump. Secondly, as mentioned in prior posts, the savings on maintenance and worse, maintenance contracts, for the oil units really adds up quickly. Just the convenience alone of direct delivery of the gas is an added benefit. At that time also, the state and federal government offered sizable rebate/credit for the installations.

IMHO, if it is available, I would definitely give it serious consideration.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:18 am

RobLyons wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:36 am
jharkin wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:38 am
If natural gas is available on your street.. convert. period. end of discussion.
Even considering my financial situation? (debt, middle income, not a lot of free cash)
Yesterday's quote was around $17,500 for the conversion, plus we want to add another zone in basement to make it livable in winter $4500
$22k - $23k
It's a lot of money..
Well, you already are in $2500 for an oil tank replacement. Is it an indoors tank without EPA issues? What are the costs of decommission and removal?

Regardless of how big a fan of heat pumps (ground and air) as I am, given your situation, you should try to stretch for gas if possible. I consider an oIl tank leak an emergency, and (depending on job stability) you could tap at least some of the EF without feeling like it’s a misuse of the funds. In MA, they give interest free loans for oil to heat pump conversions, maybe natural gas also; check your state’s incentives.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 498
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by RobLyons » Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:38 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:18 am
RobLyons wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:36 am
jharkin wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:38 am
If natural gas is available on your street.. convert. period. end of discussion.
Even considering my financial situation? (debt, middle income, not a lot of free cash)
Yesterday's quote was around $17,500 for the conversion, plus we want to add another zone in basement to make it livable in winter $4500
$22k - $23k
It's a lot of money..
Well, you already are in $2500 for an oil tank replacement. Is it an indoors tank without EPA issues? What are the costs of decommission and removal?

Regardless of how big a fan of heat pumps (ground and air) as I am, given your situation, you should try to stretch for gas if possible. I consider an oIl tank leak an emergency, and (depending on job stability) you could tap at least some of the EF without feeling like it’s a misuse of the funds. In MA, they give interest free loans for oil to heat pump conversions, maybe natural gas also; check your state’s incentives.

$2800 for new oil tank including removal of old unit
$450 for removal if I convert to gas

I think I will convert to gas.
I am obtaining 2-3 more quotes then will pull trigger to get gas in here, with a future heat zone available for future expansion..

Mass Saves has 0% financing for 72 months and also rebates of up to $2750 softens the blow!
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

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TomatoTomahto
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:56 am

I’m new to Massachusetts and have to say that Mass Saves is awesome! They are shouldering a bunch of my conversion costs as well.

I am sure you won’t miss oil one bit. :D

I don’t know your house, but doing the conversion with an eye to eventually adding a zone should be possible.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

Wellfleet
Posts: 540
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:18 pm

Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by Wellfleet » Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:03 am

RobLyons wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:38 am

$2800 for new oil tank including removal of old unit
$450 for removal if I convert to gas

I think I will convert to gas.
I am obtaining 2-3 more quotes then will pull trigger to get gas in here, with a future heat zone available for future expansion..

Mass Saves has 0% financing for 72 months and also rebates of up to $2750 softens the blow!
Not a bad price. I paid $2000 for a Roth 275 gallon oil tank install a couple years ago along with a boiler install in Mass.. Was converting from baseboard electric so no old tank removal.

Edit: go for gas conversion. Price for new tank isn't bad but go for gas.

gmc4h232
Posts: 354
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:11 am

Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by gmc4h232 » Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:14 am

My inlaws did this a few yrs ago in VA after they ran out of oil during an extended absence and pipes froze and burst.

I want to say they spent about $8-$9k. A coworker and I were the ones who pulled the tank out of the basement (because he wanted it) and I patched the hole in the wall from the fill pipe.

They went with a combo gas boiler/instant water heater and just reused the existing radiators in the house. I dont know if the water heater is undersized, or just too far from the points of use, but it takes quite a while to get hot water from most taps in the house. I was not impressed with that part.

So in theory they removed the need to schedule heating oil deliveries, saved on heating costs (havent run any numbers), increased efficiency, and freed up space in the basement for more junk.

The other benefit to switching to gas is that they can now use gas appliances if they want to in the future.

Valuethinker
Posts: 39069
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:54 am

RobLyons wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:31 pm
Has anyone here converted their home heating oil to a natural gas system? If so, I'm interested in what you thought of the process, expense, pros/cons, and have you experienced much savings? Or just general feedback about what path to take here is appreciated.

My situation:

Financially, I have some debt I'm aggressively paying off. So I'd prefer not to spend anything, but looks like I'm forced to here
mid 30s, $7k debt at 5.35%, $19k (2 auto loans) at 1.60% - I'm fine with this debt.
$220k left on mortgage of a $500k house
We make around $100k, family of 4.
6 months emergency fund, about $125k in retirement savings, good pension upon retirement
Boiler is about 6 years old.
Tank is around 35 years old.


I just discovered a very slow oil leak from the tank. Research indicates it may be time for a new oil tank $2500
I will get a couple pros to confirm first..
I've always been interested in converting to natural gas for multiple reasons.
(gas they say is greener, more efficient, its much smaller physically so I can take back a lot of space in basement) - I intend to fully finish the basement in the near future
However, quotes a few years back for the conversion were in the $12k range.


So do I just pony up the $2,500 and stay with dirty, inefficient oil, and an ugly oil tank taking up a chunk of my basement?
Or do I go for the conversion?
Thanks for looking :D
My guess is the return from switching to gas will approximate the 5.35% after tax of your personal debt. Thus it is a very low risk investment. Since you have a pension (Defined Benefit) you will continue saving for retirement even if you borrow to do this.

I think you will get the value of conversion to gas back in the sale price of the house. Or put it another way, a buyer will cut their valuation of the house by the cost of the conversion to gas.

If the price of oil spikes due to geopolitical circumstances (like interference with the Straits of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf) you will benefit from the much more predictable gas price (basically - because gas supply is a residual of tight oil fracking, and at $60+/ bl the US fracking industry has proven it will continue to search for and produce oil - there will not be a shortage of natural gas in the US for the foreseeable future. New England for reasons of pipeline access may be an exception to this).

wmackey
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 9:38 pm

Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by wmackey » Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:59 pm

Moved from Oil to Natural Gas last summer. Went from $350 to $92 per month on budget plan. Conversion was ~12k, but included taking care of a few nagging problems with radiators.

shorty313
Posts: 123
Joined: Mon May 16, 2016 8:43 am

Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by shorty313 » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:16 pm

I would do the conversion. Skip the extra zone for now if cost is a concern. You may not need it. We partially finished our basement (incl insulation) and it is comfortable all year round. We installed a few electric in wall heaters just in case but rarely use them.

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 498
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by RobLyons » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:20 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:54 am
RobLyons wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:31 pm
Has anyone here converted their home heating oil to a natural gas system? If so, I'm interested in what you thought of the process, expense, pros/cons, and have you experienced much savings? Or just general feedback about what path to take here is appreciated.

My situation:

Financially, I have some debt I'm aggressively paying off. So I'd prefer not to spend anything, but looks like I'm forced to here
mid 30s, $7k debt at 5.35%, $19k (2 auto loans) at 1.60% - I'm fine with this debt.
$220k left on mortgage of a $500k house
We make around $100k, family of 4.
6 months emergency fund, about $125k in retirement savings, good pension upon retirement
Boiler is about 6 years old.
Tank is around 35 years old.


I just discovered a very slow oil leak from the tank. Research indicates it may be time for a new oil tank $2500
I will get a couple pros to confirm first..
I've always been interested in converting to natural gas for multiple reasons.
(gas they say is greener, more efficient, its much smaller physically so I can take back a lot of space in basement) - I intend to fully finish the basement in the near future
However, quotes a few years back for the conversion were in the $12k range.


So do I just pony up the $2,500 and stay with dirty, inefficient oil, and an ugly oil tank taking up a chunk of my basement?
Or do I go for the conversion?
Thanks for looking :D
My guess is the return from switching to gas will approximate the 5.35% after tax of your personal debt. Thus it is a very low risk investment. Since you have a pension (Defined Benefit) you will continue saving for retirement even if you borrow to do this.

I think you will get the value of conversion to gas back in the sale price of the house. Or put it another way, a buyer will cut their valuation of the house by the cost of the conversion to gas.

If the price of oil spikes due to geopolitical circumstances (like interference with the Straits of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf) you will benefit from the much more predictable gas price (basically - because gas supply is a residual of tight oil fracking, and at $60+/ bl the US fracking industry has proven it will continue to search for and produce oil - there will not be a shortage of natural gas in the US for the foreseeable future. New England for reasons of pipeline access may be an exception to this).

Thank you!

I'm literally shocked that every reply has been in favor of the conversion, given my somewhat weak financial situation. Thanks for your input!
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 498
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Post by RobLyons » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:22 pm

shorty313 wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:16 pm
I would do the conversion. Skip the extra zone for now if cost is a concern. You may not need it. We partially finished our basement (incl insulation) and it is comfortable all year round. We installed a few electric in wall heaters just in case but rarely use them.

Did exactly this, but informed plumbers of our future need for another zone (just in case)
An extra zone of heat would be $4-$6k which may not be much for some here but adds about 50% on the quote.

Found a reputable plumber that quoted us about $7k after rebates!
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

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