Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    100

    oil-gas conversion

    Short form:

    Is it possible and advisable to install a natural gas burner in a boiler that is currently equipped with an oil burner?

    Long form:

    I used to read a lot here and post occasionally when I was getting into how air conditioning works in a humid environment. Thanks to everyone who contributed to my education. I have not owned a home since Katrina flooded mine, but I hope to be back with renewed interest when I get out of a rental with window shakers and into my own home again.

    My parents have a 50 YO oil-fired boiler on its second burner. It’s had top-notch care (annual service under contract with the same company the whole time) and runs all year as a water heater which my father likes to speculate kept the boiler in good shape. My parents are at an age where a large capital outlay for a new boiler would not make economic sense for them.

    If the numbers crunch correctly and indicate that gas is going to be lot cheaper than fuel oil this winter, would it make sense to try and install a gas burner in the existing boiler?

    One thing that my dad thinks about is, what if fuel oil then becomes less expensive than gas? Could he switch back?

    I don’t know what brand the boiler is, but I know I have seen a few of them, Sunnyside, Sunnydale or something like that, maybe. I can find out. The oil tank is in the basement. There is gas service connected only to a dryer. They had that done when gas lines were extended into their rural area. (There was a good deal for that at the time.) They are in upstate NY (Chenango county) in a pretty tight home.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,880
    It would be possible for gas to become more expensive then gas sometime down the road.

    Remind your dad that one of the other advantages nat gas has over oil, is that with gas, you pay for what you used, not what you will use.

    But, its not worth it to put a bas burnrein that boiler. If it cracks a year from now, your not going to be using that burner in a new boiler desgned for gas. Next, it probably holds 80 gallions of water. You don't need to heat up all that extra water every heat call, just to let it cool back down during the off cycle.

    A new boiler will cost more, but will save far more.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    100
    Thanks, just to clarify, the boiler does not have much water in it. It is probably what you would call an "on-demand" unit if it were just a water heater. It has "coils", IIRC, one each for hot water and for heat. They get very good feedback from service personnel about the condition of the boiler.

    My parents are both 78. I don't think that they want to look much beyond 3 years for a payback on an investment in new equipment.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,880
    Ok..
    Thats understandable.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    100
    Thanks, It looks like this is possible. Deciding if it is advisable is the next challenge since it might require some assumptions.

    Will someone direct me to a web site that will either make the conversions for me or tell me how to make the conversions between therms and BTU and gallons and BTU for gas and oil respectively?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,880
    1.4 therms of gas, has the same heat as 1 gallion of oil.
    14 therms equals 10 gallions of oil.
    140,000 BTUs per gal of #2 oil.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    100
    Thanks, I guess that is all at 100% efficiency and I correct for that difference separately?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,880
    Yes, thats the theroretic BTU value.
    then you have to correct for the different efficiencies of the equipment your are comparing.

    80,90, 95%, what ever it is.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Comfortech Show Promo Image

Related Forums

Plumbing Talks | Contractor Magazine
Forums | Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) Magazine
Comfortech365 Virtual Event