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Old 05-09-2010, 06:35 PM
 
6 posts, read 99,376 times
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Default What is average cost to heat home with oil furnace?

Ive never owned a home before, and never had an oil furnace as heat source. I am moving to a home in Hamden, Connecticut, with older split system oil furnace. Home is only about 1200 sq ft.

Im curious as to the average monthly winter bill of heating your home. How can I get a good idea? I think its good to know a head of time, but im not sure how I can get a good idea if ive never had this type of system before.

Thanks
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
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It's not a monthly bill, usually (unless your oil delivery service offers that as an option but personally I wouldn't take it, in this kind of fluctuating market).

What you do, is you pay to have the tank filled. You pay per gallon, usually it's a 500-gallon tank. Periodically, the oil company will come to check the level, and top it off. You'll pay per gallon for the top-off. The frequency of the fillup is entirely dependent on your usage. They won't bother adding 10 gallons, but they'll come more often if they discover they're arriving to a tank that's 3/4 empty each time.

Our house is in North Haven. I just asked my husband and he tells me that we're paying around $2100 total, for October, November, December, January, February, and March combined. So that's an average of $350/month during the "heat-required" months. The other 6 months, we use it primarily for hot water and the last 2 weeks of July and the first 2 weeks of August, I rarely take warm showers - plus we have a dipping pool so I don't need to shower as often most of the summer anyway. If we pay $500 for the entire 6 months between March and October, I'd be surprised. That averages out to $225/month spread out over the entire year.

But as I said, it fluctuates, and you don't pay by the month unless you have some kind of pre-pay plan worked out with the oil company you pick. Prices per gallon have been ridiculous, but these heating oil companies really don't have any control over it. There was a point where we were paying so LITTLE - that it was costing us around $800 per -year- to heat our house and provide us with hot water. I doubt we'll ever see that again, but if you have the house properly insulated, have your heating vents checked, your furnace kept maintained, your water pipes insulated and in good working order, and winterproof your windows, oil heat will be the most efficient method. If your kitchen (or basement) is big enough and you can get the pipework through the roof, a wood burning pot-bellied stove can cut a lot of the heating cost down.

I lived in a house that had one of those in the kitchen - it was a huge, drafty old victorian with two floors -plus- a finished attic and partially finished basement. We had a fireplace that we rarely used, but that stove in the kitchen was kept fueled at least four hours every day throughout the winter. The heat from the stove and its stovepipe running through the second floor kept the kitchen, second floor bathroom, and two of the four bedrooms toasty. The house was around 2500 square feet, not including the basement.

The house we own now isn't really designed to accommodate a stove, but if it did, believe me I'd make sure we had it. We have plenty of wood, and our fireplace is mostly a draft-sucker more than anything else. It's facing the wrong way to be of any practical use.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:38 PM
 
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Ahh ok. Thank you very much for that info. Ive got a lot to learn about owning my first home. Im trying to get a good handle on what expenses ill run in to that im not use to taking on.

Oil will be one, and the house being small, I dont think itll be as bad as I first thought. Im going to have to do some research on other potential costly expenses Ill take on while being in a home as well as ways to save.

Thank you again for explaining that. It was very helpful.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:55 PM
 
Location: The brown house on the cul de sac
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It really depends on the rate you pay per gallon. We usually lock in and then we pay a set amount per month. At the end of the term/contract, we then pay the difference or get a refund.

I must have locked in at a lower rate and pay less per gallon than the previous poster...because right now I pay less than $200 per month for a fairly large house (+3000 sq feet)that has vaulted ceilings. I also am not thrifty with heat and keep it very warm...sometimes as high as 70 at night. We do have zoned heating which also helps with lower costs.

We do use our woodburning stove during the evenings and that does keep our bill lower and our family room very toasty and I would recommend getting one. However, keep in mind a cord of firewood ranges from $200-$300 and you can burn through that very quickly!
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
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Zoned heating definitely makes a difference. Also the style of house makes a difference. Ours is only 1180 square feet, but it's a ranch with a full, semi-furnished basement. That means all the heat that rises - goes right out the roof. We have a new roof, but we have OLD windows. They're the same original push-outs that came with the house when it was built in 1958. Same frames too. Our TV room sits on top of a concrete slab, and the people who added it didn't think insulating the floor was important. So we lose a LOT of heat out that room even though there's only one tiny heating vent that leads into it.

When I lived in the victorian, we would go through only around two or three chunks of wood every hour. It wasn't a big stove. It was actually very small. Cast iron, with circles on top to fit two small cookpots. We kept a pan on the top with water and eucalyptus leaves, and it provided a little moisture and gave the place a healthy smell in the wintertime. I'd say we probably didn't go through even half of a full cord of wood during the winter months. Plus, the wood came from a tree we chopped down that Autumn, so it didn't cost us anything.
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Old 05-10-2010, 04:45 AM
 
Location: CT - close to coast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackJohns View Post
Ive never owned a home before, and never had an oil furnace as heat source. I am moving to a home in Hamden, Connecticut, with older split system oil furnace. Home is only about 1200 sq ft.

Im curious as to the average monthly winter bill of heating your home. How can I get a good idea? I think its good to know a head of time, but im not sure how I can get a good idea if ive never had this type of system before.

Thanks
How many gallons of oil does your tank hold? Typically its 275G tank. I have 2. So at a rate of $2.50, it'll take $1,375 to fill up my tanks. Put it this way...I only use the oil for hot water...I use wood stove for heat. Every year I have to fill up.

My neighbor who does not have a wood stove said he fills the tank every 2 months in his Ranch home 1200sq ft. It also depends how much heat you have on.

On average....expect to spend......$300-350 a month on oil. Its the winter where you'll need a refill every month.
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowman27 View Post
How many gallons of oil does your tank hold? Typically its 275G tank. I have 2. So at a rate of $2.50, it'll take $1,375 to fill up my tanks. Put it this way...I only use the oil for hot water...I use wood stove for heat. Every year I have to fill up.

My neighbor who does not have a wood stove said he fills the tank every 2 months in his Ranch home 1200sq ft. It also depends how much heat you have on.

On average....expect to spend......$300-350 a month on oil. Its the winter where you'll need a refill every month.

I believe the tank is just over 300 gallons. I dont have a wood stove and I have a seperate water heater. So I imagine, I wont have to use much oil except for the winter months.
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:39 AM
 
Location: New England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackJohns View Post
I believe the tank is just over 300 gallons. I dont have a wood stove and I have a seperate water heater. So I imagine, I wont have to use much oil except for the winter months.
There is not a lot of variance in tanks. Generally it's 250-275 or 500. So you've probably got a 275 in there as Snowman said.

As you can see by this thread, it can vary a lot depending on the house, how efficient your furnace is, your comfort level and of course the weather outside.

A well insulated home (Windows too), with a modest finger on the thermostat in a "warm" Winter with a modern high efficiency boiler will use minimal oil.

An older home that "leaks", stat at 72* and a run of 15-20* weather with a boiler in the 60% range will suck it down in a hurry.

If you do go wood, an average house can use 8 cord of wood for an entire Winter if being used as the sole source.

I split about 70% wood, 30% oil and spent about $600.00 all Winter on oil. The oil just supplements when the stove dies down while we are gone or sleeping. I go through about 4-5 cord of wood. Double insulation in the attic, "average" in the walls, new windows.
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:20 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
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I remember a winter in Rhode Island, probably the 90s where people were keeping the temp set around 68 and oil was high - were running $600-800 a month. What I would do is try to find out what company serviced the furnace (hopefully there is a tag on it) and find out if there was a contract in the past with them to supply oil and what it was costing the previous owner. I also recommend getting your furnace service contract now for next winter to include not only the oil deliveries but also a service contract. Nothing worse than on a Friday night to realize you are low on oil or the furnace conked out. It'll cost you double for service on the weekend if you're not on a contract.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
11,168 posts, read 14,259,512 times
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Another trick to saving energy (and natural resources), is to have a programmable thermostat installed (or use it, if you already have it).

In the winter, we have the temp set on a schedule. We're not home during part of the day, so we have it set pretty cool (60) when we're not there. When we're home, it's at 64 but I might bump it up to 66 if I'm feeling the chill.
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