Need advice on converting from oil to natural gas.....combis?

Discussion in 'Boiler Forum' started by Edgeman, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Jan 14, 2009
    Thanks for the kind words Don.

    My freshman roommate back in the day told me that I had...

    "A mind like a steel... garbage can!"

    ...and needed to write an encylopedia of trivia.

    Guess I've yet to be cured of that, affliction eh? ;-)
  2. charlie p

    charlie p New Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    New Jersey
    Thanks Dana , Jim
    I was to nervous about returning the155 and getting an 80k.Was actually going to go with the 105 just to be safe.
    After reading your last post I had NO FEAR of ordering the 80
    With the help the Internet and your knowledge I have placed my order for the 80k. And am confident in the choice. Should be here by Monday.
  3. Handymaner

    Handymaner New Member

    Sep 11, 2008
    Dana and this board saved me from a 110 to 150k boiler when that was what everyone recommended. I installed a Lochinvar Knight 85K and it's worked terrifically this winter, and I live in Anchorage AK! I'm just working on tweaking my delta t to get the return water as low as possible for max condensing efficiency. It's already cut my bills by 50-70%!

    By the way, I don't know about the other brands but the Lochinvar has a max time for DHW heating-if something happens (as is suggested above) it automatically switches back to space heating after a certain amount of time, even if the DHW demand is not satisfied. It's one of the programmable parameters, if I recall the default setting is 30 min. So there are no worries of it getting "stuck" on DHW and the house going without heat.
  4. charlie p

    charlie p New Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    New Jersey
    Dana,Jad and everyone else that shares their knowledge
    I just wanted to thank everyone for all the knowledge that you so willingly share.
    Without you I would have been running a WM ultra 155 instead of the 80.
    I'm quite happy with the results of the 80

    Heres the $$ bottom line
    On 11-28-12 125 gallons of oil for $457
    On 1-4-2013 I took 208 gallons for $736
    to 3-13-2013 I took 100 gallons for $398
    By the time the new boiler was up and running the tank had may 10-20 gallons left in it
    As everyone knows, this has been a brutal cold winter.
    11-29-13 I paid $64
    1-7-14 = $126
    1-24-14 + $159
    3-4-14 + $158
    With these numbers, This boiler will pay for itself in 2 years or less

  5. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Mar 30, 2011
    Rocket Scientist
    Houston, TX

    That is great.

  6. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Jan 14, 2009
    But... but... but...

    ... aren't you concerned that the -80 is still too big? :rolleyes:

    Getting off the oil habit is definitely worth it. There's no credible scenario where heating oil will be cheaper than natural gas for any sustained period in the next 20 years.

    Heating oil tracks the crude price fairly proportionally:


    The current ~$100/bbl trading price for crude translates into $3.50-$4 at the truck backed up to your house. The price floor for crude is about $75/bbl, the price at which they they can't cook oil-sand or frack shale profitably, and all of that new-oil supply dries up. At $75/bbl crude retail heating oil would be in the $2.75-$3 gallon range. The source-fuel heat equivalent of $2.75 oil is the same as $2/therm or $20/MMBTU gas- a price more than 1.5-2x what most of the US is paying, and more than 3x the residential retail price in some gas-producing states.

    The current spot market near term futures wholesale price for gas at the well head is $5/MMBTU. The residential retail cost includes the distribution/pipelining charges, which are roughly half the cost of the gas bill, and doesn't change with the wholesale cost of gas. It would take a sustained well head price well north of $10/MMBTU (2x current spot-market, and 2.5x typical long-term contract rates) for retail natural gas to reach the absolute price floor for heating oil.

    At the gas-price bottom of $2/MMBTU at the well head the gas drillers were going bust, but at $4/MMBTU there's plenty of margin to keep on drillin' & frackin' for gas. I don't see a sustained $8/MMBTU well head price let alone $12-15/MMBTU price. I'm not saying it can't happen, but I don't quite see how it would. If & when it does, how likely is it that crude oil would be hanging around $75/bbl at that time?

    In the mean time, a right-sized modulating gas-burner is going to absolutely slay heating with oil on price, no matter what efficiency you can get out of the oil burner. So it looks like you did the right thing! (And you're welcome!)

    By the time the -80 is toast it may be significantly cheaper to go with a heat-pump solution- we'll see how much downward pressure the boom in cheap distributed renewables has on rates by then, and heat pump efficiencies are still seeing year on year gains. Right now modulating heat pumps are at parity with condensing gas for operating and lifecycle costs in much of the northeast, but with flat or even falling electricity prices, increasing heat pump efficiency, and any kind of gas-price volatility it wouldn't take much to develop some separation.
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