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  1. #1

    Are complete systems just better for gas than oil these days?

    Replacing the oil furnace and A/C in my CT house. Weighing a propane furnace/heat pump setup vs. oil furnace/heat pump setup. I think it's a tough call on oil vs. propane:

    For oil:
    - Oil seems cheaper historically, though it's close right now in this area (though the heat pump will mitigate this difference).
    - I already have an oil tank.
    - Safety.

    For propane:
    - Cleaner and quieter.
    - Slightly cheaper system.
    - Can changeover to NG if/when they pipe it to my street.
    - Can eventually use it for grill, generator, hot water, appliances, etc.

    Considering a Carrier Infinity system, because my contractor of choice sells that line. But it seems like they don't offer an oil furnace for that line, only gas. Does that mean the system (Carrier 16 SEER Infinity heat pump) won't really interact properly with their non-Infinity OVL oil furnace? Can you use the Infinity control properly with this? I want to enable a control via phone/pc but the oil system quote includes Honeywell wireless (Truezone/Red Link?), while the propane uses Carrier Infinity control. I called Carrier but they were no help at all. Despite the slightly "lower level" furnace and my existing oil setup, the propane system is 10% cheaper (though I will have to install a new tank).

    Are gas furnace systems just better these days because oil is so unpopular in most of the country? How does the Infinity control compare with the Honeywell control? Which direction would you go?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    SW Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,975
    With an oil furnace, if the indoor coil is not installed at least 6" above the furnace using a transition there will usually be severe air flow problems.
    I personally would even do that transition height with a propane or NG - heat pump system.

    1. Fuel oil will likely go up in cost faster than propane.
    2. Propane is more versatile.
    3. Natural gas will be a lot less costly than oil.
    4. Efficiency levels are usually much higher with propane; though U may not go for it.
    5. IMO, it's no contest


    I had oil, switched to propane; were it me, it'd be propane...
    Last edited by udarrell; 09-02-2012 at 11:45 AM. Reason: I'd do that transition height with a propane or NG system

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Upper Michigan
    Posts
    3,588
    If you go propane it's a simple switch to nat gas since all the gas lines are done. In my area oil is very expensive, like 3.50 a gallon for heating oil, propane is a dollar cheaper.

  4. #4
    Thanks for both of your replies. Do you like the Infinity system -- is it worth the premium to make these components work together smarter? Do you think the Infinity thermostat is better than a Honeywell (really want to have remote phone or pc access)?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Upper Michigan
    Posts
    3,588
    We don't have a Carrier dealer in my area so I'm not familiar sorry.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,086
    While Carrier doesn't have a Infinity control oil furnace, they do have models over 86% AFUE and variable speed which is nice.

    There's a little more to comparing fuel than cost of a gallon. In Joe's area, that expensive $3.50 a gallon oil with an 86% Carrier furnace would have the same operating costs as propane at $2.50 a gallon and a 95% furnace.

  7. #7
    Thank you. I figured in the BTU diff, and oil seems a bit cheaper but not much.

    Does the 86% AFUE oil furnace work as well with their Infinity Heat Pump and Thermostat for controlling the system? I assumed the non-Infinity oil furnace wasn't compatible with the Infinity thermostat because the contractor quoted the system out with Honeywell Truezone and Redlink, rather than Carrier Infinity thermostats. (On the other hand, he quoted the propane Infinity system using Infinity Thermostats, not Honeywell). (And -- the propane setup was cheaper as well.)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Upper Michigan
    Posts
    3,588
    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    While Carrier doesn't have a Infinity control oil furnace, they do have models over 86% AFUE and variable speed which is nice.

    There's a little more to comparing fuel than cost of a gallon. In Joe's area, that expensive $3.50 a gallon oil with an 86% Carrier furnace would have the same operating costs as propane at $2.50 a gallon and a 95% furnace.
    You do get more BTU out of oil right? 86% is pretty good for oil, I'm not as in tune with oil products because the norm here is to change over, I have learned a lot about the advances in oil technology on this site. I think if you expect natural gas in the future I would still go with propane.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Upper Michigan
    Posts
    3,588
    Baldloonie do you have the info about the price of fuels and the eff, that shows the operation costs? I don't think I explained that correct but I used to have a reference sheet on that.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,086
    I used http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index...on_calculator/

    I agree, if natural gas will be available soon, that's the way to go. If not, harder choice. You may be able to use the Infinity control with the oil furnace but there will not be all the features of an Infinity furnace.

  11. #11
    Thanks for the advice. Never gone back and forth so much over a decision like this -- too many variables. Neglected to mention that if I go propane, I have to put in concrete supports (at about $800) to protect new propane tanks from erosion. Operating costs and versatility aside, do you have any other comments on the quality of the propane vs the oil systems or (Carrier vs Honeywell) thermostats?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Upper Michigan
    Posts
    3,588
    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    I used http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index...on_calculator/

    I agree, if natural gas will be available soon, that's the way to go. If not, harder choice. You may be able to use the Infinity control with the oil furnace but there will not be all the features of an Infinity furnace.
    Thanks that's nice.

  13. #13
    Anyone out there who has strong feelings about sticking with iol, either Carrier Infinity or Honeywell Redlink t-stats?

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