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Old 05-06-2011, 02:00 PM
55 posts, read 110,659 times
Reputation: 48


I finally nailed down a house to rent today, but for the first time came across oil heat, I have come across gas heat before, but never, oil heat. My question which is better? Oil or gas? The house uses the radiator heating method, so doubt there will be soot problems. The landlady said oil is better and cheaper if I fill the tank during the non winter months and then add when necessary in winter. The furnace is only 5 yrs old. The apt, uses gas for water and stove. Your take would be wonderful...
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Old 05-06-2011, 02:14 PM
Location: Behind You!
1,945 posts, read 3,013,731 times
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A 5yr old Oil system should be as efficient as gas. Check the service tag on it to make sure it's been serviced this (or last) year. Id also ask the landlord who maintains the system him or you. Once you set up with an oil co they'll offer you a service plan for the maintenance. If the landlord says he'll maintain it but the service tag says otherwise, I'd get the plan. You get the most bang for your buck with radiators since they.....radiate heat long after the system shuts down. If there 2 pipe (water) rads they'll be totally silent. If 1 pipe (steam) you may a a light ping out of them but either way you should be good.
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Old 05-06-2011, 02:32 PM
Location: Newton, MA
324 posts, read 851,100 times
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I guess gas is more common nowadays, but oil is still common too. Personally, I like gas because I don't like having to worry about running out of oil. But it isn't anything that would cause me not to rent or buy a certain place. I think lately oil has been more expensive than gas, but not so much more that it's worth worrying about IMO.
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Old 05-06-2011, 03:36 PM
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Oil has been much more expensive, especially this past season. Price is also more volatile (like gasoline). It is not necessarily much cheaper in the summer because demand is low. Plus you'll have to refill a few times during the winter anyway. Expect to pay more with oil vs. natural gas.

(compared to Propane gas, oil is probably comparable or cheaper)
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Old 05-06-2011, 03:44 PM
Location: Boston Suburb
1,985 posts, read 4,510,547 times
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I have been searching for the same info since I'm looking into moving. Some people say oil costs 2x to heat the house (assuming everything else is the same), and that was before the recent price hike.
At least your boiler is new, so it is probably as efficient as it gets (most are mid 80's in % efficiency). Unless there is oil leak (say the tank is old or the pipe connections are not fitted well), you shouldn't get smell or oil.

I'd insist that your landlord covers a maintainence plan on the boiler, eventhough you're buying the oil.
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Old 05-06-2011, 08:23 PM
278 posts, read 560,352 times
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At recent prices, oil will cost 2x what gas will cost all things equal. Additionally, heating oil prices fluctuate greatly at times, making budgeting difficult.
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Old 05-07-2011, 05:50 AM
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Oil prices seem more subjective to whatever is happening in the Middle East.
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Old 05-07-2011, 02:03 PM
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I find oil a little more "dirty", or that it produces more dust then gas. Gas heat is usually a little more efficient depending on how new or good the furnace is. I've found on average over the past 5-10 years that oil is maybe a little more expensive, but not much.
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Old 05-07-2011, 03:05 PM
Location: Massachusetts
243 posts, read 453,362 times
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About how much does it cost to fill up your heating unit with gas and with oil? We may be relocated to MA and I'm trying to figure out how much more it costs to live up there. Here, we have a heat pump/electric.
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Old 05-08-2011, 12:13 AM
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Heather, I moved out of Mass a couple months ago, but I used a pellet stove to heat for the past 3 years. My friends were telling me it was costing $600 - $700 to fill up their oil tanks this past winter. I know that when I used oil I went through about 700 gallons of oil in the winter. I had an old drafty house and I had to put plastic on the windows. I also installed a new furnace when I moved in and had 2 heating zones to try and save on oil. When I used oil I would keep the temperature set around 68 downstairs and 63 upstairs. My house was only 1,300 sq ft. I hope this helps you.
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