Oct 21, 2012 / Heating

Master Plumber Pat Scheper explains why a a high efficiency gas burner will save money over an oil burner:

“The older a boiler, the less efficient it is.  This is due to the fact that technology has increased the fuel burning efficiency of heating equipment radically in the last 50 years. And that as equipment ages, it simply becomes less efficient.

So, let’s say your boiler uses #2 fuel oil and is 25 years old.  It is safe to say that it is operating at 75% efficiency.  Let’s also assume you used 600 gallons of oil at $3.80 per gallon last heating season.  That would have been $2,280.00 in heating cost.

Now, let’s look at a 92% efficient boiler that uses natural gas.  Natural gas currently runs about $0.88 per therm.  A therm is 100,000 btu’s.  I won’t bore you with the math (I will, though if you really want to see it).  If you indeed had a 92% gas boiler last year, your heating cost would have been $596.00 give or take a few dollars.  That is because with natural gas you are paying $0.88 per 100,000 btu’s.  With fuel oil you are paying $2.74 per 100,000 btu’s. 

Add to that a 22% increase in efficiency and it’s easy to see why a high efficient gas fired boiler is so much more economical than an old oil fired boiler.  Now, if your boiler is really old, you can expect its efficiency to be rally low…maybe as low as 50%.  You may have an old boiler that you have had serviced religiously every year.  And you see all the tags hanging on a pipe that say the efficiency is 80%, maybe even 82%. 

That is not the efficiency of the boiler. 

Nay, it is the COMBUSTION efficiency of the oil burner.  It is a measure of how well the oil is burning. 

The boiler efficiency is how much of the heat content of the oil is actually getting into your home as opposed to how much is going up the chimney. 

By replacing an old oil burning boiler with a high efficient gas boiler you can save up to 75% on your heating cost.  Pretty cool, huh?”

Pat Scheper, Vice President & Master Plumber
Apple Plumbing & Heating

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