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Anyone familar with using Oil heat?

 
 
Linkat
 
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 12:00 pm
We are considering to move in this nice small seaside town next year. We spoke with a realtor in the area to get further information and overall it sounds like a great community.

The one thing is all these homes are oil heat. Now I grew up in a house with oil heat, but being a kid, I didn't care as long as I was warm. And since I was on my own I only had either electric or gas.

Anyone have any insight to this? What should we be aware of?
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 12:03 pm
pm farmerman
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 12:03 pm
@Linkat,
We have oil heat. I dunno - I have never had to pay for gas heat anywhere so I can't really comment on price differentials or anything like that. They deliver every month or so except during the Summer and leave a card showing the amount they delivered. Then we get a bill a few weeks later. I always check the #s to make sure they match. I don't believe there's ever been a mismatch.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 12:08 pm
We used oil in New England. There's usually a large tank outside the house and you can set up a regular delivery plan or just call them when you want them to come and fill the tank. Like jes, we were on the regular plan and they came every month from October through May to top off the tank.

The heat isn't nearly as drying as electric, but more so than gas. I'm very sensitive to dry air and get seasonal bronchitis when it's too dry. I needed a humidifier in the winter with oil heat or electric to help add some humidity. You've had electric and gas heat. If you didn't have a problem with the dryness of the air with electric then you'll be fine with oil.
Region Philbis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 12:14 pm
@JPB,

our tank is down cellar.
we have an oil burner that produces forced-air heat.
the heat comes up a framework of ducts, and enters the rooms through floor/wall vents...
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 12:23 pm
@Region Philbis,
Sounds like my when I was kid. I also seem to remember having the furnance guy come by to clean once in a while. Is there any other maintenance besides having the oil guy come to fill the tank?
Region Philbis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 12:30 pm
@Linkat,

oil burner filters should be replaced periodically.
one winter our's stopped working because the filters were clogged...
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 12:34 pm
@Linkat,
I seem to recall that Farmerman's delivery service inadvertently tried to fill the cellar instead of the tank. Since I recall there was some issue of lingering fuel odor, it might be best to have the filler clearly marked.
Green Witch
 
  2  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 01:14 pm
We have oil along with wood heat and some passive solar. The nice thing is you can use 50% bio-diesel in your oil burner without having to change anything. We make our own BD for pennies, but you might also be able to find a co-op that makes it and you can buy if for less than regular fuel oil. It's best if your tank is in the basement and not outside. Outside lines can freeze up. Also, make sure the house is well insulated and the furnace runs efficiently. A leaky house is very expensive to warm up and an old burner can be costly to run. It's also better if the hot water is not oil heat, but rather an on-demand system or solar. If hot water is a part of the system you always have to leave it on or turn it on in advance for hot water. We shut down our system in warmer months since we no longer have the hot water attached. With the alternative heating systems, and oil as backup, it costs us well a little under $1000 to heat our @1400sq ft house for a full northeast winter .
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 02:47 pm
@roger,
Interesting...
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 02:49 pm
@Green Witch,
thanks - I'll have to make note of these items for things to look for (or not to look for).
0 Replies
 
KiwiChic
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 03:13 pm
@Linkat,
Do you mean oil heaters that you plug in ...or are they already attached to the wall? I have 2 oil heaters but its a slow heat which I only use for the bedrooms in my lounge I use a gas heater and in my kitchen I have an open fire....like you as long as Im warm I dont care what I use, but I would never consider using a bar or fan heater as they use too much power.
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 03:18 pm
@Linkat,
The oil TANK. Hopefully its not buried out back. If it is, old tanks have a habit of corroding and leaking oil that can reach the water table and foul up drinking water.

If the tank is in the basement, find out when it was last inspected.AND, make sure that the little whistle is working so that you dont have the same problem we did when our oil guy turned our basement into La Brea. (We got rid of the oil and smell by the oil company cleanup and a healthy dose of COFFEE GROUNDS. (Thanks to A2K)

We just converted our house TO gas , from oil heat mostly because oil hot water wastes fuel by just keeping hot water hot even when youre not using it. We also got several rebates and renewable/energy efficiency returns by going to a 90%+ efficient system.

However, its still hot water heat , but weve got a "on demand" gas water heater, so when were away, no hot water is even needed and none is made and stored.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 03:18 pm
@KiwiChic,
It is actually a big tank that is filled with oil and heats the home (and often times hot water) through a furnance. They do not plug in and are not portable - they are main way you heat a home - where I live in New England, we can have very cold bitter winters so we need more than a plug in heater. Oil heat is common in many older homes in New England.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 03:23 pm
@farmerman,
Thanks - I would look for a tank that was in the basement. I don't know if there is an option for gas heat. I know the real estate agent said it is pretty much oil heat in the area - there are very few new homes as this is an older community with limited land to build being right on the ocean. We haven't purchased yet and will not until at the earliest next summer at it is a great distance (over an hours drive) from where we live now - and I've just paid the tuition for the daughter's school for the coming school year.

We just want to be prepared and know what we are looking for once we are ready.

I lied in one way - I did have oil heat in a condo I owned. However, I didn't have to take care of it as the oil tank heated the entire building. It was one buried in the ground. I do not think these are as common any more as the association had to remove it because it was not up to new fire codes. Shortly after that the condo association voted to install gas heat and remove the tank.
KiwiChic
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 03:24 pm
@Linkat,
Thats quite interesting to know, I did not know that tanks like that existed? I assure you it gets pretty cold here, in 2 years we will not be able to use an open fire in the city and we have to go to gas or be council subsidised to have heat pumps installed into our homes...which means bigger power bills.
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 03:32 pm
@Linkat,
When they got done cleaning the oil spill and I applied the coffee grounds, it was odor free soon thereafter. However, recently, a lingering oil odor has been noticed by my wife (our wash machine and dryer are in the basement and she noticed the smell). We called the oil guys and they were reluctant to do another purge until I had our company attorney call them and remind them of certain instances where people can develop sensitivities to ceryain odors and that we werent really happy with the oil spill in our basement.

The thing that keeps an oil tank from overfilling is a mechanical device that sends out a whistle as the air being evacuated from the tank (as oil fills in) reaches a certain cfm that sets off the whistle. The oil guys hears it outside and this tells them to stop. TALK ABOUT Rube Goldberg, next time well attach a canary on top of the vent.

We went to gas because of the hot water option, the increased efficiency, and the fact that gas can be contracted at a much longer term future than oil (Im betting that gas will remain much cheaper (btu to btu value) than oil). ALso, a gas tank buried outside is much more fire safe than a basement full of flammable liquid.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 03:34 pm
@KiwiChic,
My company designs ground water heat sytems (geothermal systems) for commercial establishments and schools. Ive been in places heated by heat pumps of all kinds and Ive never ever felt nice and warm. Its kind of a heat that makes you need a sweater and your always bundling up. I dont like heat pump systems even though our design guys do a number of these systems a year.
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2009 08:05 am
@farmerman,
Your gas tank is buried? We had propane tanks in my last place in the country/rural (last yr) and they're all above ground in our area. Far easier to fill, service and check, I guess. There are two large 150 gal tanks for 2300 sq ft hacienda.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2009 08:22 am
@Ragman,
Yeah - I was wondering the same thing - if it is buried, then how do you know if you have problems with it? You can see anything leaking, etc.

I am not sure why the oil tank at my previous condo was considered not within the new fire code - it could have been something other than it being buried - not sure. I can understand that if it were to catch fire, it would be more dangerous in your basement, but on the other hand if it were in your basement (as opposed to being buried), wouldn't you more likely be able to see if there was a problem or be able to smell, etc a problem sooner?
0 Replies
 
 

 
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