View Poll Results: If it was your house, what do you go with? Oil or Propane

Voters
20. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes, Oil burners are more efficient

    9 45.00%
  • No, Propane is the way to go today

    11 55.00%
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Results 1 to 13 of 17
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    18

    New Construction: Oil vs Propane-Pros vs Cons of each

    My boss is building a new home and is considering the pros and cons of both Propane and Oil heat. He would also like to have cental air. He is trying to determine which would be best for him. The house will be in Plymouth MA.

    Anyone want to debate the pros and cons of both? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1,253
    Oil produces about 140,000 BTU's per gallon to propanes 92,000. In my area there is little difference in price so oil is the way to go.

    I'm having the two systems in my home re-done and when complete it will be cooled with heat pumps, primarily heated with heat pumps, and an oil fired boiler will provide supplemental heat to the heat pumps through hydronic coils. The boiler will also provide for domenstic hot water.

    Unlike a duel fuel set up where the heat pump is locked out and not used below a certain point (often about about 35*), with this setup the heat pumps will continue to operate and provide heat with the hot water supplementing just as electric strips would. Heat pumps are far more efficient than any fossil fuel heater. Even down to single digits many heat pumps can still produce twice the energy in heat that they consume in electricity. Of course, the electric rates in your area will be a factor.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Western Suburbs of Philly
    Posts
    430
    not a whole lot of difference between propane or oil from the homeowner's standpoint. Have to deal with local fuel supplier, keep the tank full and get regular service. If building a new house, I would put a high-efficiency electric heat pump at or near the top of the list of options. Carrier Infinity series or Trane XLi series. Properly sized and installed, either one of these systems will heat a home as well as oil or gas, but (in my area anyway) would be significantly cheaper to operate. And the air conditioning is included.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Rochester, NY, USA
    Posts
    14,308
    I personally would go with Propane.

    for a couple of reasons: first LPG is WAAAAY cleaner than oil and second the tank is outside, and you can bury they tank in the ground ( okay, were else you would bury it )

    Oil should be maintained at least twice per year, LPG, because it burns so clean requires less maintenance. But this is really a non-issue for me

    Either way, the price of fuel ain't going to go down anytime soon so I would look at efficiency and the go from there. I have never heard of a 94% efficient oil burner, but I don't see much oil around here.
    The Last four letters


    American = I Can, Republican = I Can, Democrats = Rats


    any questions

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1,253
    I'm not trying to argue with you but here is my rationale.

    While propane may burn cleaner a properly set up oil burner should be clean. A 94% efficient propane burner will give you about 86K of usable BTU’s. An oil burner will give you about 120K BTU’s at about 85% efficiency (can find them as high as 87% - non condensable). That’s about 40% more usable BTU’s per gallon of fuel. I’ll take slightly less clean for that much more output.

    I have propane on my property too and if the price were to shift to the point that the net cost of usage BTU's for propane were to be loswer than oil then I could switch over to it. My oil tank is outside but I'm farther south than the OP.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Rochester, NY, USA
    Posts
    14,308
    no argument here

    I'm a NG & LPG guy, I HATE OIL..........literally, the stuff (smell) makes me ill

    and like someone all ready pointed out, an electric furnace with a Heat Pump maybe a better option? But that would depend on how much the OP's is paying for a Kilowatt of electricity.

    good luck with whatever decision you make
    The Last four letters


    American = I Can, Republican = I Can, Democrats = Rats


    any questions

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,744
    i also HATE oil and will never have it in my house. i would go with a propane/heat pump system.

  8. #8
    As a homeowner who grew up in an oil-heated house, here's another perspective. If you go propane, you most likely will also use a gas (LP) water heater. Plus, LP will be available should the wife prefer a gas cooktop or clothes dryer. With oil, you will mostly likely have to rely on an electric water heater. I know oil water heaters are available, but they are rare and subject to frequent maintenance.

    All of my relatives that initially heated their homes with oil have all switched to propane over the years. My biggest concern with LP is the explosion hazard, if there is ever a leak, as LP is heavier than air and accumulates in low areas like the basement.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Rochester, NY, USA
    Posts
    14,308
    Quote Originally Posted by mark g View Post
    As a homeowner who grew up in an oil-heated house, here's another perspective. If you go propane, you most likely will also use a gas (LP) water heater. Plus, LP will be available should the wife prefer a gas cooktop or clothes dryer. With oil, you will mostly likely have to rely on an electric water heater. I know oil water heaters are available, but they are rare and subject to frequent maintenance.

    All of my relatives that initially heated their homes with oil have all switched to propane over the years. My biggest concern with LP is the explosion hazard, if there is ever a leak, as LP is heavier than air and accumulates in low areas like the basement.
    thats why you should install a LPG water heater at least 18" off the floor.
    The Last four letters


    American = I Can, Republican = I Can, Democrats = Rats


    any questions

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    massachusetts
    Posts
    7

    oil heat is competitive!

    With oil heat you choose who delivers your fuel
    In our area most LP companies own the fuel tank
    which does not permit shopping for fuel.
    In MASS many many oilheat proffessional serviceman
    2 times a year to service is 1950s. Do you really think
    most homeowners would pay to service the burner twice a year?
    Most burners don't even create soot/carbon anymore.
    Trying thinking about hot water heat, nice on a cold
    New england night. good luck

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
    Posts
    18,593
    Quote Originally Posted by rich p View Post
    With oil heat you choose who delivers your fuel
    In our area most LP companies own the fuel tank
    which does not permit shopping for fuel.
    In MASS many many oilheat proffessional serviceman
    2 times a year to service is 1950s. Do you really think
    most homeowners would pay to service the burner twice a year?
    Most burners don't even create soot/carbon anymore.
    Trying thinking about hot water heat, nice on a cold
    New england night. good luck
    Your market will dictate price. Other than that:

    Propane is a cleaner, more efficient system that also allows for gas cooking, preferred by most new home buyers.

    High efficiency gas for this market guy!
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    in my lumpy chair
    Posts
    1,950
    oder is an issue with some of my customers and the cost of propane is another. what ever is decided mybe they need to look into a duelfuel system
    I dont warranty Tinkeritus

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    1,996

    LP has advantages

    if you can put in an in-ground 500 gl (or maybe 2) tanks. Fill up off
    season. I just still prefer oil because of the safety. You get a double wall
    tank in the basement, no issues. Of course a chimney is a must. In ether
    case, I would get a boiler with indirect HWH. Do a bit of radiant flooring in the kitchen and bath with panel rads for the rest of the house. Maybe supliment the air handler with a small hydro coil so I could humidify and do fresh air exchnage.

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