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furnace decisions

Posted by rich0372 (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 31, 13 at 16:06

Ok so I'm at the crossroads and not sure which way to go. I currently have an oil forced hot air furnace thats about 26 years old and a oil tank nearing the end of it's life at amost 50 years old.I have been thinking of switching to gas heat as it is on my street but I'm 400 feet from the road and it will cost me around $4000 just to get the gas line to my house besides all the other costs of piping in the house, getting rid of the oil tank and what not. Also I has an oil fired demestic hot water heater that's only about 12 years old and in good condition
I live in Ct so it gets cold but I do pretty good with oil as I average about 400-450 gallons a year at roughy $3.50-$4.00 a gallon. I'm allways looking at ways to save should I make the switch to gas??


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: furnace decisions

What is cost of natural gas? Rate/therm all inclusive?

I will give you a payback estimate on your project.

Post back.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

first 30 cefs $.7897per cef
over 30 cefs $.2997 per cef

plus a deliver charge of $14.00


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RE: furnace decisions

I guess the biggest thing is pay back for converting to gas I have a small house it's a ranch 1000 square feet with another 600 as a finished basement. I have and energy audit scheduled and plan on insulating my exterior walls soon. I have another variable is fo less than the $4000 for run the gas line I could put a pellet stove in to supplement the furance....thoughts


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RE: furnace decisions

These prices don't seem right. Are these charges for 100 cubic feet?


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RE: furnace decisions

Yes a 100 cubic feet sorry


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RE: furnace decisions

Rich,

The way you have stated the rate is misleading. I think the rates are:

$14 service charge plus
First 30CCF is $0.7897 per CCF (CCF = 100 cubic feet)
Above 30CCF is $0.7897 + $0.2997 = $1.0894 per CCF

I am paying about $1.05 per CCF in NJ. I would expect your rate to be $1.00 - $1.15 per CCF. Check the rate schedule to make sure. Once the rate is determined a calculation can be done to determine the expected gas usage based on how much oil you have used in the past. The numbers are going to show this is going to be an easy decision to switch to gas.


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RE: furnace decisions

I agree with Mike. You need to recheck those numbers.

Using Mike's assumption which is probably correct, I made the following comparison.

Nat gas 95% eff at $1.10 therm
Fuel oil 81% eff at $3.50 gal

Nat gas is about 38% of oil.

Extrapolating further, payback on fuel cost comparison would take between 4.5 and 5 yrs.

I really think nat gas service to your home should be pursued.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

So is there any downside to ng besides the up front cost and it being a little less safe? I was reading that gas furnaces don't last as long as oil fired ones. I know there's not much maintance on gas furnaces while oil is every year but if you get 5 plus years more than that's prob works out even.

I guess I couds switch the furnace over now and wait on the hot water heater for a bit cause if I switch that out I would want an ondemand one and that's too much $$$ for me right now.


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RE: furnace decisions

Let's be clear.

Do you currently have a oil fuel boiler or an oil fuel hot air furnace?

You have ductwork in place?

Post back.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

yes hot air furnace I currently have exsisting duct work that also cools the house in the summer with my central air


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RE: furnace decisions

Your decision really is a no brainer.

Have you given any thought as to resale value if and when you sell your home as to oil heat vs nat gas heat?

I really can't think of one good reason why you would stay with oil heat other than the initial outlay to bring nat gas service to your home.

Payback to recover is set at no more than five heating seasons.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

I would not be concerned with gas being less safe than oil.

I don't see why an oil furnace would last longer. Where did you read this?

You need to replace your oil tank. You should add that to the cost of staying with oil. I would also think a new oil burner and furnace would cost more than a new gas furnace. You should do a spread sheet of all the costs of switching and not switching.

If you do go with gas, I recommend you put in place the piping for a hot water heater, gas dryer, and kitchen stove. There is more potential saving when it comes time to replace these appliances. I don't recommend getting a tankless hot water heater. But if you do the gas line has to be made larger. I think a conventional gas hot water is the best value and you will have hot water during a blackout.


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RE: furnace decisions

Ditto to above post!


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RE: furnace decisions

Assuming NG 1/3 cost of oil your $450. Annual cost would be reduced to $150 or a saving of $300.
Cost of new piping would be $4000 plus, lplus new furnace, maybe another $2-3000.
So the payback time is
6000/300= 20 years
Personally, if my numbers are right, I wouldn't do it.


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RE: furnace decisions

Well about 16 years ago when I lived in my condo I had gas and while the heat was fine I always seemed to run out of hot water(not the case with the oil fired 30 gallon I have now which will never run out). It might have been a cheaper unit and I think it was a 30 or 40 gallon tank but it never would keep up. That's why I wanted the on demand gas unit plus I thought it would save money not having to heat water sitting in a tank.


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RE: furnace decisions

What is the age and condition of your A/C unit?

No discussion of a heat pump?

(I'm just a homeowner.)


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RE: furnace decisions

What is the age and condition of your A/C unit?
No discussion of a heat pump?

(I'm just a homeowner.)

I had a rhemm 10 seer installed about 15 years ago.

Also just some more info I filled my 275 gallon oil tank in Oct and I still have about a third of a tank left. I use an electrc fireplace to help warm up the house for about 3 hours a day. It riased my electric bill about 20 bucks a month


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RE: furnace decisions

Oh and I also have been recrupping my clothes dryer heat this year which really has been helping keep the furnace from kicking on. I'm on track for my lowest oil use since i've been living here(maybe like under 350 gallons). I also replaced two large windows this last year with new ones


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RE: furnace decisions

Assuming NG 1/3 cost of oil your $450. Annual cost would be reduced to $150 or a saving of $300.
Cost of new piping would be $4000 plus, lplus new furnace, maybe another $2-3000.
So the payback time is
6000/300= 20 years
Personally, if my numbers are right, I wouldn't do it.

umm just sayin I used 400 gallons of oil at $3.50 that's $1400 if gas is say half the price that's a savings of $700 a year. I need a new furnace anyway so that's a wash plus I need a new oil tank at about $1000 so switching to gas looks like a winner...


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RE: furnace decisions

You're payback will be around 15 years at current gas/oil price ratio; by this time your natural gas furnace will be nearing the end of its life.

In that time, Nat gas will rise in price and become closer in price to it's historical ratio with oil = only slightly cheaper.

Of course, if you're looking to spend money that you have sitting around- go for it.

Yes, it's absolutely true that heating oil forced air furnaces tend to last much longer than their modern gas counterparts - about twice as long. A well-made oil furnace (not all are, but most) should last around 40 years (if well maintained and not overfired and a proper combustion chamber is kept intact) before the heat exchanger develops stress cracks.

For resale, nat. gas helps, but Oil is not a big deal in the northeast because it is very common and most homes not located in urban areas use it for heat.


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RE: furnace decisions

With a 15 year old 10 seer A/C unit I would certainly think the option of replacing the A/C with a heat pump miight be attractive. There would be some savings from the higher efficiency cooling and reducing the furnace heating when using the heat pump for heating. It may also tilt the economic payback from opting for gas with a $4K run of new pipe compared with keeping the oil.


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RE: furnace decisions

I stand by my payback period of no more than 5 yrs.

This is strictly based on the fuel cost comparison difference.

This is not about new HVAC. OP has indicated he may be faced with a new oil tank replacement. His current oil forced air furnace is 26 yrs old.

I disagree with a previous post of payback of 15 yrs.

Then there is the marketability and resale of a home with oil heat versus nat gas heat. I certainly would never look at a home with oil heat for many reasons beyond just the cost of oil. The tank, the environmental issues related to potential spill, and then the idea that oil supports America's enemies.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

tiger,

You said this is not about new HVAC.

Fact is it had not even been mentioned. With a 15 year old seer 10 A/C unit, I would submit it SHOULD be part of the discussion.

No one has asked if the oil tank is in the basement or buried outside. That makes the potential for one huge difference in replacement costs. (My basement oil tank is forty years old and I expect it will outlast me. Replacement cost now <$1500.)

The OP said it would take $4K to get gas to the house... a plumber can weigh in, but I suspect the plumber will get a nice piece of change on top of that.


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RE: furnace decisions

15 years plus is real world payback, IF (which it won't) Nat. gas stays at its current retail cost. You can "not look at" certain costs associated with switching to gas, but then, it wouldn't be looking at reality.

An indoor oil tank, pitched properly, with the oil line from the very BOTTOM of the tank should last indefinitely - but real world, the tank should probably be replaced within the next decade if he stays with oil.

His 26 year old furnace, if well maintained, should last another 20 years without a problem.

Marketability of a home with oil heat isn't much of an issue in the northeast. If you have homeowners insurance, they need to know that you have oil heat with an above ground tank, and, you need to make sure they cover any spill, most do. The possiblity of any spill with an obove-ground tank is insignificant, and shouldn't really be in this discussion - if we go there, then what happens when you have a natural gas "spill" ? your house blows up (like many do every year) and you and your neighbors will be lucky if you're left alive, but, as I've said, these extreme possiblities are a waste of time to even bring up.

Irrational fears of oil heat aside (likely from those who've never had oil heat), If the OP has the money to spend, then, sure, do it, but if the OP is looking to "save" money, it's not worth it.


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RE: furnace decisions

FYI the tank is located in the basement, if I keep oil I would replace with a double walled tank so there would no worries of costly spills.


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RE: furnace decisions

To be honest I have no problem with oil heat, I actually prefer the hot heat it produces this switch is purely to save money for the future. So if the payback is 15 years it might not be worth the expense. My wife does want a gas stove when we remodel the kithen but I could always get a propane one.


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RE: furnace decisions

I am not backing down on my statement. I come at this from a totally different direction. OP will be faced sooner or later (probably sooner) about decision on replacing his old oil fuel forced air furnace. He has mentioned the probability of an oil tank replacement which may or may not indicate an existing or possible imminent problem. OP better get his decision right.

There are many decisions that homeowners have to make. Not all have a true payback. Some do with absurd ROI. But you can't always make decisions based on that. Like a car that is over 10 yrs old with a blown motor or failed transmission. It doesn't make sense to repair yet you must have a car.And certainly it would be rare to find a new car that has a reasonable payback. I think payback as fas as HVAC has to have a good dose of commonsense. You get a quote on a mid range HVAC versus a super duper top of line line high eff system. You are forced to get one or the other. So I would want to know can you justify the cost difference between the two with a reasonable payback. Commonsense goes a long way.

I can recall many times in my business career of having to make sizable capital expenditures. You always wanted to know if therecwas a payback and ROI. But there were some purchases you just didn't bother to make this calculation. You might ask why? Simply because the federal govt said it must be done.

One could debate this all day long. I won't because I am set in my ways. I believe practicality and commonsense go a long way.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

If the tank should last indefinitely, then why replace it in 10 years? If it is going to need replacement, wouldn't it be a lot cheaper to remove it?

How long does an oil burner last? What is cost of maintaining it for another 20 years?

If there are two similar homes for sale at the same price, and one has gas and the other has oil, then I would buy the one with gas.

How many houses in the U.S. blow up every year because of a gas leak?

I also think this is a no brainer. I would also being considering replacing the AC at the same time if the funds are available.

I am happy to help you build the spread sheet to compare to costs.


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RE: furnace decisions

Mike,

Re "If there are two similar homes for sale at the same price, and one has gas and the other has oil, then I would buy the one with gas."

While I would prefer gas to oil, I would never base a house purchase on fuel type only.

I live in Rockville, MD, a suburb of DC. My development was built in the 1972-1974 time frame. The first half of the development were built with gas heat. When a moratorium on new gas hookups occurred in 1973 no new gas hookups were permitted and oil was the fuel of choice.

There is absolutely no perceived difference in value in home prices in this development based on location (read heating fuel) within the development. (The houses range from $480K to $600K.)

I went house hunting in Simsbury, CT, last Feb and saw not one single house with gas heat - all oil fueled. This is the norm in that area and certainly would not have caused us to not buy due to oil.

In my travels with the Navy Submarine force I owned houses with gas heat. oil heat, resistive electric heat, no A/C, with A/C, forced air, baseboard only, and for the last two years a heat pump.

My first choice would be a heat pump with a gas furnace for virtually any place I would see us living. That said, we'd not eliminate any house because of a HVAC setup other than that.

This post was edited by saltidawg on Sun, Jun 1, 14 at 17:54


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RE: furnace decisions

I would not base a house purchase on fuel type only either. I said given a choice of two similar houses for the same price I would favor the one with gas heat. The operating costs at current prices are lower, maintenance is cheaper, and the potential problems are less.


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RE: furnace decisions

Have to agree with Mike.

It would be interesting to know the number of oil to nat gas conversions that take place each year in residential marketplace.

Obviously there are still many locations especially in Northeast US dependent upon fuel oil for home heating.

Perhaps there are fuel oil jobbers who read this forum and could comment on whether their business is growing or declining.

Right or wrong, I suspect most homeowners who have oil heating would love to convert if they could because of the operating cost not because of the comfort that one gets from fuel oil heating. Too bad propane prices tend to track fuel oil prices.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

Ok so I have a HVAC guy coming out friday to discuss some options. After doing some research online what do you all think of a HP with a High E propane furnace back up? I knoe propane is not much if at all cheaper than oil but I think it would match better with a h.e. HP.
Gas is def cheaper but having to spend at least $4000 just to get it to the house besides the cost of equipment i might do better investing in HP which would replace my 15 year old 10 seer AC unit so I would save in summer months too.

Thoughts?


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RE: furnace decisions

What rate do you pay for electricity?

There is little savings by switching from oil to propane. You might as well keep your oil furnace and replace the oil tank in the future.

The heat pump will cost at least $500 more than the AC. There are some extra costs with installing a propane tank.

If you plan to live in the house for another 10 years your best investment is to switch to natural gas.


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RE: furnace decisions

Again I agree with Mike. Very shortsighted and wrong decision.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

The problem is being 400 feet off the road isn't the only issue, I have a very narrow property all the way up my driveway..(I have a porkchop lot) and there are large oak treesa hedge line and my driveway so i could see it costing more than $4000 a lot more as that was just a ballpark figure the guy from the gas company gave me over the phone.
So what is the cut off, at what dollar amount does it not make sense?? Also that's just getting the line to the house then I have the cost of pipng up my house. I just can't see paying 6 or 8 grand or more just to get the gas to the house besides another 10k or more on equipment.
Your right I could just keep oil but, I read that with an oil furnace you couldn't have H.E. heat pump, you could have one just not the super effiecent ones.
As far as electricty rates go the generation charge was $.087276 not sure if that the right number but i used 519kwh last month and my bill was $110.
On a side note this winter since Oct when I filled my oil tank I've used about 200 gallons at this rate how long would it take to get a payback if i made the switch?? I might use 375 gallons for the whole year since last March at an average of $3.60 a gallon that's $1350
I did also get an energy audit and I am insulating my exsisting wall and attic so I will be super tight.

So that's why I came up with the HP idea with propane back up (also my wife would be able to get her gas stove she's been wanting) I figured if you took the money that I would spend just on getting the NG to my house I could get half or more of a very effiecent system.


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RE: furnace decisions

You can add a heat pump to your oil furnace. I think Saltidawg has this set up.

If you really paid $110 for 519kwh then your average rate is $0.21/kwh. That is very expensive, even more expensive than what I pay in NJ.

What not have the gas company come out an give you an actual estimate on what it would cost to run the pipe to your house? Ask them if the price would be lower if your next door neighbors wanted to participate. Ask what incentives they can offer you and if you can pay the cost over a period of time.

In a prior post it was stated the cost of heating your home with natural gas was 38% that of fuel oil. So if you are paying $1350 now, you will be saving about $837 per year. After 5 years you will have saved $4185, and after 10 years you will have saved $8370 assuming fuel oil and gas prices stay the same.

It would be helpful if you create a spreadsheet of all the costs of switching and not switching if you want to calculate the break even point.


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I do plan on having them come out after the 3 feet of snow melts...lol. but there are no neighbors to switch with me to help costs and I'm just using common sense. It's gonna be a pain in the a$@# to dig a line up to my house and my house is small so looking at it from the gas companies point of view it's not a great deal for them.
I guess I'm just tryin for a back up plan if switching to gas is to costly...I mean i only have so much money and I don't want to go broke trying to get a gas line to my house.
Even though gas might be the cheapest way sometimes the up front cost may make the switch not possible.
So just saying I can't get ng what's the next best set up for me any input is greatly appreciated.


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RE: furnace decisions

Listen to what these guys are saying........."If you are going to be there for more than 10 years, then ng is the way to go." If you feel otherwise, then stick with oil and the hp.

You'll get about 10-15 years on average for any brand or type of equipment. With proper 2x per year maintenance, then a bit more more usuable time. So, consider those long term costs.

You also have nothing to lose by getting a true quote from the gas company...snow shouldn't matter.


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RE: furnace decisions

OK I got a true quote from the gas company and they want $9000 to run the gas line to my house so this is my thinking

I used about 250 gallons of oil this winter at about $3.70 a gallon that's $925 so far so lets say $1100 for the whole heating season.
I plan on getting my insulation upgraded to r49 from r19 in the attic and r15 in the walls plus my sill plate to r21 with spray foam this spring.
I would think I would save maybe 20% from this year so that would save me 50 gallons or $185 bucks next year. So now I'm down to $915 for the winter next year.
If I save say 50% switching to natural gas that's $455 a year.
$9000 divided by $455 is almost 20 yearsfor payback.
If I switch to propane I think I would save may 10% to 20% to oil, I will say 10% to be on the safe side 10% of $915 is $91.5 so if I take $91 offof $455 that's a net savings of $364 a year I would save if I went with NG.
So lets do the math again $9000 divided by $364 is almost 25 years can someone please explain how swtching to NG makes sense in my case


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RE: furnace decisions

Rich

$9 K is a big difference from $4 K. Forget the gas line.

If the choice between fossil fuels, I probably would go with new high eff propane furnace paired with high eff HP over a new oil furnace. One thing also that might be worth considering, the new propane furnace could be converted back to NG if your area ever did get the nat gas service.

However, I think you would be doing yourself a disservice not investigating either geothermal HP or even the new Carrier low temp Greenspeed HP.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

Again, I'd not likely convert from oil to propane because of renting the tank expense, paying for the install, paying to remove your oil infrastructure, etc.

When I replaced my A/C with a heat pump, my oil heating bill here in Maryland went to just a few hundred dollars a year. I think we sometimes forget that even if a fuel has a very expensive RATE, that if we don't use much that the fuel COST is not necessarily high. The other energy saving steps that you are taking will drive this point home even more!

This post was edited by saltidawg on Sat, Mar 16, 13 at 16:51


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I agree I was shocked when the guy from the gas company said 9k I said you told me around 4k on the phone and he said it was a ballpark?????? 5k ballpark ok whatever.
saltidawg Like I said in earlier post my oil tank is 50+ years old and needs replacing also my furnace is 26 years old and is time to replace also. The one propane company I had come out said there would be no charge for the tanks and it would be $2.60 a gallon with no contract or I could buy the two 100 gallon tanks for $395 each.
I dont think a heat pump would be cheaper due to my high electrcity rate and don't really have the room for GT since i have a secptic and drywell system in the back yard plus the cost for installing it


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RE: furnace decisions

Ok so I narrowed it down to two contractors what do you guys think
first quote
We will install a Trane 80,000 btu XV95 2 stage gas furnace with variable speed. We will also install a Trane 2 ton XR15 a/c unit and a 2.5 ton evaporator coil. Installation includes old equipment removal and disposal, duct work retrofit, pvc vent piping, condensate drain removal, refrigeration piping, gas piping to meter or outside tank, low and high voltage wiring, new digital thermostat, start ,test, tax and permit. Price$8675.00 Options 1. Price with XL15 A/C $9125.00 2. Price with 2 speed XL16 $9725.00 3. 40 gallon gas water heater (chimney vent) $995.00 4. On demand gas hot water heater. 2975.00 5. April Air small bypass humidifer. $550.00 6. Add extra return in the hallway $400.00 7. Honeywell touchscreen programable thermostat $150.00

second quote

Remove existing oil furnace and air conditioning system
Install new Trane XC95m gas furnace and Trane XL16i air conditioning system
Provide and install:
1 ��" Trane (M# TUHMB060ACV3) modulating gas furnace
1 ��" Trane (M# 4TTX6024) condenser having 16 SEER rating
1 ��" Trane (M# 4TXCB003CC3HCA) A-coil
new thermostat
condenser pad
interconnecting refrigeration lines
condenser pad
condensate drain, condensate pump with safety switch and piping
gas piping and flue piping
add return ductwork
reconnect to existing duct system
reconnect to existing electrical wiring
start and check operation of systems
Warranty: 1 year labor on furnace - 2 year labor on air conditioning
Limited Mfg Warranty: 10 yr parts ��" 12 yr compressor - lifetime heat exchanger
Price: $12,718.00

Install propane conversion kit Additional $250.00
Install Trane XV95 gas furnace and Trane XL16I air conditioning system
1 ��" Trane (M# TUH2B060A9V3) variable speed gas furnace
1 ��" Trane (M# 4TTX6024) condenser having 17.25 SEER rating
1 - Trane (M# 4TXCB003CC3HCA) coil
Warranty: 1 year labor on furnace ��" 2 year labor on air conditioning system
Limited Mfg Warranty: 10 yr parts ��" 12 yr compressor ��" lifetime heat exchanger
Price: $11,783.00

Install propane conversion kit Additional $100.00


Install AO Smith gas water heater with chimney liner Price: $1,397.00

Install Navien on demand water heater Price: $3,250.00

Now let me say option two is the only one to do a load test and is recomeneding a 60k btu furnace the other guy just eyeballed it I guess when I asked him how he came up with his sizing he said he gave me a little bigger incase i wanted to expand my house on day option one for furnace and AC is about $1600 less not sure why tho


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RE: furnace decisions

"saltidawg Like I said in earlier post my oil tank is 50+ years old and needs replacing also my furnace is 26 years old and is time to replace also."

Fine. I replaced my nearly forty year old oil furnace two yearsa ago. So replace the oil tank for say $1500-$2000 and instead of replacing the A/C get a Heat Pump for like $500 more... you'll then have the FLEXIBILITY of using EITHER electricity OR oil to heat.

Want to save a bunch more $$$$ ? Get a heat pump hot water heater to replace your current electric hot water heater. Saves my wife and I about $50 EACH month!!!


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saltidawg with my electric rate being so high I don't think it would benifit me as much as others and correct me if I'm wrong but with a heat pump it wants to stay at a certain temp and maintain it well me and my wife are at work most days and we turn the heat way down to 58 or so then turn it up when we get home. I also still think a propane furnace at $2.60 a gallon at 96% eff is more efficient than a 82% eff oil cfurnae paying $3.70 a gallon Plus i could use it for cooking and fireplace if I want
Oh and BTW right now I have an oil fired demestic hot water heater that is super cheap to run....I would never have an electric HW heater with my high electric rates

This post was edited by rich0372 on Sun, Mar 17, 13 at 8:02


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RE: furnace decisions

Rich

80 K BTU furnace for a 1000 sq ft home with 600 sq ft basement?

The furnace model numbers quoted indicate a 60 KBTU furnace which on the surface seems correct.

Here are my fuel calc comparison based on the numbers you provided. I used a 2.5 COP for HP which may be conservative. Still a nice savings. You should recheck your electric rate. I used $.20 KWH.

What thermostat was quoted? You need a true two stage thermostat or else you will be on high stage all the time whether needed or not. This is a big deal especially with expensive propane heat.

I see no reason for a two stage condenser. I would stick with the XR15 or XL15i. Even at $.20 electric, I still think a case can be made for the HP version of either of those models.

Cost per 100,000 btu of useable heat

Electric baseboard: $5.27
Heat pump: $2.34
Oil: $3.27
Propane: $2.99

Above numbers to be used as a guide only.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

Rich,

With my heat pump I have the thermostat set to 60 during the day, 64 from 4:00PM to 10:00PM and then back to 60 until 6:00AM.

When I said electric hot water heater I did say a Heat Pump hot water heater. I have no knowledge nor experience with oil hot water heaters, however if you do ignore the advice here and go to propane will you not need to go to an electric hot water heater in some form?


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RE: furnace decisions

"When I said electric hot water heater I did say a Heat Pump hot water heater. I have no knowledge nor experience with oil hot water heaters, however if you do ignore the advice here and go to propane will you not need to go to an electric hot water heater in some form?"

for Salti

Why?


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RE: furnace decisions

yes tigerdunes one HVAC guy said 80k btu and the other said 60k and he's the one that did the load test. Wow I'm surprised that a heat pump would still be more economical than the furnace considering my electric rate. BTW my rate is $.21 is that comparision based on a propane rate od $2.60 a gallon??


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RE: furnace decisions

My fuel comparison calcs were based on following:

HP at $.20 KWH assuming 2.50 COP

Propane at $2.60 gal at 95% eff

Fuel oil at $3.70 gal at 82% eff

I do suggest you dbl check electric rate and ask if utility offers any rate incentive for HP heating. Some do, some don't.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

The electric rate seems unusually high and the propane rate seems unusually low. This is influencing the fuel comparison calculations. I find the rates a little hard to believe, but Rich says this he what he believes are the current rates.

My advice would be to spend the extra money to upgrade the AC to a heat pump. Think of it as insurance in case the price of propane goes up. There are no price controls on propane. The prices are determined by supply in demand. You never will know how much your next delivery will cost until you get it.

I also suggest piping the propane lines so that in the future it would be easy and inexpensive to hook up to the natural gas line. Some day the gas company may offer you an incentive to hook up to their line. Even if you don't do it yourself, you can use it as a selling point to a buyer of your house. This will mean you need to follow all the codes required to pipe natural gas.


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RE: furnace decisions

Mike good point but can you have a HP but choose not to use it and use just the furnace?? Also $2.60 a gallon is what I got quoted by a local propane company with no contract. My last electric bill was $105.26 and I used 502kwh which works out to basiclly .$21.
tigerdunes what would the cut off temp be at when the HP would be less eff than the furnace given your calculation.

This post was edited by rich0372 on Sun, Mar 17, 13 at 19:51


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RE: furnace decisions

Rich,

" .,.. can you have a HP but choose not to use it and use just the furnace?"

I don't see how you can be asking this question when you long ago )in this thread) decided against a heat pump.

I apologize for posting in this thread, I think I'll just listen to the pros... it has helped me immeasurably over the past few years.

This post was edited by saltidawg on Sun, Mar 17, 13 at 21:43


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RE: furnace decisions

Rich

Since your backup fuel would be the more expensive fuel, I would run the HP as low as possible until it could not keep up with your inside comfort thermostat setting. All conventional air source HPs see their BTUs begin to drop off sharply at and below freezing. I do not like to see HPs run continuously for any period of time.

Of course you will need a good dual fuel thermostat with outdoor temp sensor. You could adjust the changeover setting at the thermostat and I would recommend 32 deg fah as your starting point.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

Another vote for NG. Oil is only going to continue rising, while NG will be stable, if not fall in price in the coming years. If you tie in your other appliances as well, your return on investment will only be that much quicker.


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RE: furnace decisions

"My fuel comparison calcs were based on following:
HP at $.20 KWH assuming 2.50 COP

Propane at $2.60 gal at 95% eff

Fuel oil at $3.70 gal at 82% eff"

tigerdunes can you run these numbers again I got quoted today from a local propane company $2.15 a gallon if I buy my own tanks and the furnace is 96% eff also my eletric rate is $.21. Reason for this is I got quoted $1000 for me to upgrade to a heat pump vs just AC and i want to see if there's a payback and how long

thanks


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RE: furnace decisions

Run the numbers using this fuel cost calculator:
http://nepacrossroads.com/fuel-comparison-calculator.php


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RE: furnace decisions

If I did it right at $2.15 a gallon of propane at 96% eff it's coming out to $2.45 Cost per 100,000 btu of useable heat that's only $.11cents more than the heat pump at $.20 electric rate notthe actual rate of $.21.


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RE: furnace decisions

Yes, but I don't think that you'll be paying $2.15/gallon for propane very often. Historically propane in your area is much more expensive than that. Many dealers will also quote you a low initial rate to entice you to switch to that fuel or fuel supplier and then raise it to an appropriate, profitable level thereafter.

In your area, this is basically how it's going to go from least to most expensive: Nat. Gas, heat pump, oil, propane/electric resistance. (not wasting time w/ geo, coal, wood etc. in this comparison).

Averaged over a few years propane will be substantially more expensive than heatpump or oil per btu delivered even considering the greater efficiency possibility of a propane furnace. Your tank may be nearing the end of it's life but the oil furnace is not. I'm very surprised that you are so interested in spending a significant amount of money for little to potentially negative gain.


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RE: furnace decisions

Well berlin I called 6 local propane dealers I told them all that I owned my own tanks and how much to fill them . This is what I my results were

They ranged from $1.99-$2.74 a gallon. I didn't tell them I was switching from oil so there would be no enticing to make me switch. I do plan on buying my tanks so I could shop around.

Also every HVAC company I've talked to all push gas to oil and not just NG. I asked each company that quoted me also a friend in the buisness if I should make the switch from oil to propane and all of them said YES and all said I would save money. Also one of my neighbors switched two years ago and said the are saving $800 a year

There also has to be some gain from having a two stage furnace to a single stage right? You would be using less gas to heat your house. Oil only has on and off so I could see some savings that's never talked about in comparisions


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RE: furnace decisions

Propane must be low at this point in time in your area. That has not been the case and, unfortunately, will not be the case going forward either.

It is fairly common for even well-meaning techs and hvac guys to recommend propane. I've heard this all too often with most never having "crunched the numbers", and some that do, do so incorrectly. They are, unfortunately, simply wrong about it being a less expensive fuel compared to fuel oil. I have no stake in heating oil - this is just a extremely common misconception that I've seen too many people buy into, only to find out that it just isn't so.

When people switch from an ancient, poorly maintained oil system to a modern, high efficiency propane system, their bills may be comparable or slightly less, but, it's not comparing apples to apples. A modulating or multi-speed furnace will improve the seasonal system efficiency, but not enough to tip the economic scales in its favor. A well-maintained, fairly modern oil system, cleaned, tuned, and fired at the proper rate will beat even high efficiency propane in dollars per btu delivered to your home. A temporary low price doesn't change the long-term reality of increased heating costs - and that's not including the large initial cost of conversion that will never pay for itself.

Look, if you want propane, go with propane, all I'm recommending against is the thinking that this is an "investment" that will somehow save you money. This fuel switch won't, and the additional up-front costs of new equipment will make this a significant loss for you, nothing about this fuel switch to propane will save you money over the next 15-20 years.


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RE: furnace decisions

There's a safety issue with propane that would bother me.

Propane gas is heavier than air. If your furnace is in a basement, if there's a gas leak, propane will collect in the basement and explode from any flame or spark (like a light switch). Natural gas is lighter than air and normally will rise and dissipate (unless it's a really large leak).

I know someone whose vacation house literally blew up from a propane leak.


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RE: furnace decisions

Berlin,

I agree that the fuel costs between oil and propane are going to be about the same. Propane has a small advantage since the equipment is more efficient. But what about the maintenance costs? What would you estimate it will cost to maintain the oil burner for the next 10 years? At what point will the oil burner have to be replaced?


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RE: furnace decisions

You said 'the additional up-front costs of new equipment will make this a significant loss for you",
Well berlin if I was to replace my exsisting 26 year oil furnace with a new oil 86% eff, new oil tank (a good double walled one) and a new AC of equal comp eff it would cost the same or more than propane wouldn't it? looking at it this way it's not a loss because I need to replace either way .So I think now is the time to pick my fuel. Also propane is cleaner requires less maintanance and doesn't have that oil smell. I also get more room in my basement with the .oil tank removed and I could have a stove, fireplace and whole house generator.

When you look at it this way it's a no brainer that propane is the best choice

I think propane gets a bad rap because to many people rent the tanks instead of buying them. A perfect example is I was talking to a friend of mine that rents his tanks and he is paying $3.99 a gallon which is crazy. buying the tanks will pay itself back in one year.


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RE: furnace decisions

rich0372,

The idea of replacing your A/C with a HP and retaining oil was suggested to you in this thread in the first week of February. You had your mind made up then - before any meaningful cost calculations had been discussed.

While the pros here have suggested a different path, I think you should just do what you want to do and come back in a year and lets us know how it worked out.

I see a dead horse being beaten!


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RE: furnace decisions

" see a dead horse being beaten!"
I'm sorry saltidawg I like to keep all options open. I take everyones advise then do my own research to come up with the best decision for me. In Feb I was still thinking I would be able to get NG not propane so why would I get a HP with NG? Why everytime I have a rebutle or question for a poster or want to discuss my point on this forum you feel the need to comment????. Of course some of the posters on the forum have more knowledge than me about this topic, that's why I'm here to discuss and figure out the best route.
I appreciate everyones help on this forum as it helped me a lot


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RE: furnace decisions

rich0372,

"In Feb I was still thinking I would be able to get NG not propane so why would I get a HP with NG?"

Did you not read any of the great posts doing the arithmetic that you still don't seem to grasp.

I believe my posts were helpful - for example, I believe I was the first to suggest that you do the math and see if a heat pump for heating made economical sense. I also suggested what the costs might be to retain oil, including replacing your tank. (Many oil furnaces last for 50 years, BTW.) I don't see that you've priced that out...

But as I said, you've made up your mind so I certainly would hope you'll make it happen. Again, I'd love to hear back in a year or two.

Best of luck!

This post was edited by saltidawg on Thu, Mar 21, 13 at 16:26


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RE: furnace decisions

As anyone knows,the data shows propane tracking oil prices. That's always the case. And while the recent euphoria about the US becoming self sufficient in oil in the not distant future, oil will still be priced to the world market. The good thing is fuel oil consumers will keep more dollars inside the US rather than exporting them to thieves and Middle East enemies.

I still believe a high eff propane furnace is best choice and paired with high eff HP. If dealer wants the business, he should charge you his wholesale cost
difference to the AC model plus 10-20 % profit. No need to be greedy.

The comment about the safety issue with propane is way overblown.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

I still believe a high eff propane furnace is best choice and paired with high eff HP. If dealer wants the business, he should charge you his wholesale cost
difference to the AC model plus 10-20 % profit. No need to be greedy"

OK my HVAC guy wanted $1000 more for HP vs AC but it qualifie for another $500 rebate so for only $500 more I wll take your advice and get the HP. I guess it would be stupid not to. thanks everyone for your help.


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RE: furnace decisions

Rich

What exactly have you even quoted-brand, model, size, etc...

Furnace, evap coil, condenser, thermostat, filter cabinet, etc.

Post back.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

tigerdunes here's the quote I was going to go with not sure on what thermostat to go with, do they have ones that you can control what temp you want the heat pump to swtch over to furnace?? I was thinking if I got the propane cheap I would want to mybe set the HP temp higher and if it was more I could drop it back down again....what do you recommend?

Remove existing oil furnace and air conditioning system
Install new Trane XV95 propane furnace and Trane XL16i heat pump air conditioning system
Provide and install:
1 ��" Trane (M# TUH2B060A9V3) variable speed propane furnace
1 ��" Trane (M# 4TWX6024) heat pump condenser having 17.25 SEER rating
1 ��" Trane (M# 4TXCB003CC3HCA) coil
1 ��" Space Guard Filtering System
condenser pad
install propane conversion kit
interconnecting refrigeration lines
condensate drain, condensate pump with safety switch and piping
gas piping and flue piping
add return ductwork
change two flex runs in basement to hard pipe
reconnect to existing duct system
reconnect to existing electrical wiring
start and check operation of systems
Warranty: 1 year labor on furnace - 2 year labor on air conditioning
Limited Mfg Warranty: 10 yr parts ��" 12 yr compressor - lifetime heat exchanger
Price: $12,833.00
Page 1


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RE: furnace decisions

tigerdunes is this a good thermostat match for my system I like the fact I could have remote access though the web

Honeywell Prestige IAQ Comfort System - YTHX9421R5051

FEATURES:
•Control heating, cooling and IAQ equipment with only 2 wires at the thermostat. Heating, cooling and IAQ equipment wires to the Equipment Interface Module.
•Patented interview based programming and installer setup.
•RedLINK wireless communication.
•Configurable for residential and light commercial applications. Meets commercial code and is title 24 compliant.
•Light commercial - commercial language (occupied and unoccupied), schedule holidays and custom events, remote setback, economizer and time of day.
•Delta T Alerts and Diagnostics informs customers when their system is not operating as expected with instructions to contact the dealer. Provides a sense of security and greater comfort while generating repeat business.
•All Prestige® IAQ 2.0 systems come standard with a return and discharge air temperature sensor to measure Delta T.
•Alerts and User Interactions Log - Keeps a searchable history of alerts and setting changes to the thermostat to determine if there is a system malfunction or if the issue was caused by user error.
•Customizable Service Reminders allow dealers to remind their customers when its time to call for service, when their warranty is expiring and to provide customized alerts.
•USB port for transferring Installer Setup, Customizable Reminders, Custom Events and Holidays to multiple thermostats.
•USB port for adding the dealer's full color business logo on the screen.
•3 assignable outputs to control humidification, dehumidification, ventilation and a stage of heating or cooling.

SPECIFICATIONS:
Application Up to 4 Heat/2 Cool Heat Pumps
Application Up to 3 Heat/2 Cool Conventional Systems
Programmability 7-Day Multiple Day Programming or Non-Programmable
Changeover Auto or Manual
Color Arctic White
Switch Positions (System) HEAT-OFF-COOL-AUTO-EM.HEAT
Switch Positions (Fan) AUTO-ON-CIRC
Power Method Hardwired
Terminal Designations R, C then RedLINK to Equipment Interface Module
Electrical Ratings 18 to 30 Vac
Frequency 60 Hz
Frequency 50 Hz
Electrical Connections Screw terminals
Operating Temperature Range (F) 32 F to 120 F
Operating Temperature Range (C) 0 C to 48.9 C
Setting Temperature Range (F) Heat: 40 F to 90 F; Cool 50 F to 99F
Setting Temperature Range (C) Heat: 4.5 C to 32.0 C; Cool: 10 C to 37.0 C
Humidity Setting Range Cooling: 40 to 80% RH. Heating: 10 to 60% RH.
Stages Up to 4 Heat / 2 Cool Heat Pump or Up to 3 Heat / 2 Cool Conventional
Outdoor Sensor N/A
Remote Sensor N/A
Operating Humidity Range (% RH) 5 to 90% RH, non-condensing
Includes THX9421R5013 Thermostat, THM5421R1013 Equipment Interface Module and two C7735A1000 Duct Sensors
Comments Tri-Lingual Display (selectable for English, French or Spanish)
Used With RedLINKT enabled thermostats and accessories
Display Size 8.06 sq in.
Humidification Setting Range 10 to 60% RH.
Dehumidification Setting Range 40 to 80% RH.
Voltage 18 to 30 Vac


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RE: furnace decisions

Rich

That is an excellent thermostat choice.

It is dual fuel, two stage, has DOD for summer AC cooling and accepts auxiliary equipment like humidifiers. You will need a connecting outdoor sensor.

Several other suggestions.

I don't care for two stage condensers for small zones like yours. And not a fan of the XL16i model. I would go with the single stage XL15i two ton model.

I will look up the AHRI HP directory performance/efficiency numbers for each condenser when I have time.

I also prefer Trane's Perfect Fit Media cabinet to the space guard quoted. It fits the Trane furnace like a hand should fit the glove. No need for a transition. Changeout of filter is quick and easy. Generic aftermarket filters are available. This is the filter that I have on my 8 yr old XV90 dual fuel system.

IMO


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RE: furnace decisions

tiger, why don't you like the xl16i and why don't you lie a two stage for a smaller zone? just curious. Also I haggled them to give me the spacgard is there a differance in price between the two so when I go back and tell them. Does the perfect fit do a better job of of filtering as theydidn't even suggest it.
One more thing some things make me seem this company might be suspect as they didn't even know or could recommend a thermostat...the only one he did was a nest. I told him I wanted a stat to be able to set the crossover temp from inside the house he said no other costomer has ever asked him that question and ussually they just set the temp outside and let do it's thing. He also was very adamant about pushing for the xl16i over the xl15.
This was the only company that did a load test and recommended a 60k btu furance all other either eyeballed it or didn' even get to me this is a very frustrating experiance to say the least.


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