Does this sound right?

zeitgastDecember 12, 2012

We are about to embark on a remodel that includes finishing the basement. There are oil tanks and a burner down there and the place stinks. We had planned to move the tanks under the new addition to make more room and assumed that this will take care of the odor problem as well because the location would be outside of the living space.

Our GC suggested that we should convert to propane so we can get rid of the tanks all together as well as the odor. He said the added benefit is that we could pipe the kitchen and grill. We had initially considered adding propane for the stove (hate electric cooking) but got very excited about induction so we dropped that plan.

We are planning to add high velocity a/c (truss roof has very limited room for standard ducts) to cool three levels and considered having supplemental heat in this system as we are going to take out a number of hot water baseboard heaters to make room for sliders to the decks we are adding. Hadn't planned on the additional expenseof a new heating system. He also said that propane is cheaper than oil in our area and we'd recoup the money via lower operating costs and possibly tax incentives for a high efficiency burner.

Nothing wrong with the oil boiler or tanks according to the inspection report. Never noticed the oil smell until it got cold and we turned on the heat. I wonder all this is really necessary. Would appreciate suggestions about what to do/ask from here? Would also appreciate any insights on high velocity a/c esp as it pertains to supplemental heat. Thx

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The tax incentives for high efficiency furnaces ended in 2011.

In most parts of the country the cost for oil and propane are about the same. Find out how much per gallon the propane will cost before you make any decisions.

Have you had an oil burner tech inspect your furnace and burner? You should not have any smell. It sounds like you have a combustion problem which could be a serious hazard. Get someone to inspect this now.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 10:45PM
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Personally, I'd never use propane in a basement.

Propane is heavier than air. If there's a leak, the gas flows downhill (like a liquid) and so would fill a basement space. The first spark or flame it encounters - a pilot or starter on a water heater or furnace, a light switch turned on, etc. - kaboom. Natural gas is safer in this respect because it is lighter than air and so rather than pooling in a low space, it escapes upward.

Get your oil system fixed to eliminate the odors and be happier with the safer alternative.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 2:42PM
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I will add a third to the opinion that there is something wrong with your oil burner. There should not be a smell associated with it's use.

It seems like you are considering a heat pump. Have you considered mini splits?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 3:46PM
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Thanks all. Will definitely have an oil tech check out the boiler and tanks.

We did consider mini splits but my wife just can't get over how ugly they are.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 4:06PM
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not recommending the brand..but there are
not so ugly minisplits.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 6:00PM
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Thanks yes I've seen the LG. Still ugly according to my DW

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:34PM
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