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Old 09-10-2019, 04:30 PM   #1
marinewife
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Default Help! any converts to propane heat from oil~

Hello again, forum goers- when it rains it pours... we recently moved into our home in Tuftonboro, built in 1977. We had Strogens come to service the oil tank and system and check things out. It had not been serviced by the previous owners for 2 years, and it turns out things are in very bad shape. The service man actually disconnected it and said we need either: a new oil system, fix the things that are wrong, or perhaps a propane system. This week it's 50 at night, so I can manage this week. However, time is of the essence here.

If anyone has experience switching over, I would appreciate any insight you have. Whatever I do will be expensive, but since this is what my husband calls 'the final home', I need to do what it takes. I know someone who switched to propane for around 8K, said its cleaner, no oil smell, and easy to use, but they're up in NY state.

ANY and all first hand knowledge would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance.

Last edited by marinewife; 09-10-2019 at 04:31 PM. Reason: mistyped a word
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:40 PM   #2
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For starters, I would take a drive over to the www.eastern.com in Tamworth, and chitchat up your problem with someone, there ..... just for starters. Get a bunch of free printed info sheets, and just start to educate yourself about oil and propane and equipment and service.
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:47 PM   #3
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There are pros and cons 2 each but Propane will cost you more to heat than oil even with the most efficient system. I've had houses with both. If you have a boiler I prefer oil. If you have a furnace I would prefer propane. JMO. Just remember, if you change to propane you will have to buy your own tank to get the best prices on fuel. I had the same decision to make 5 years ago. I stuck with oil and I'm glad I did.

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Old 09-10-2019, 05:19 PM   #4
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Another option may be mini spilts with heat/ac. Just had a four head system installed this past summer. Works great. Just a thought


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Old 09-10-2019, 05:53 PM   #5
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Another option may be mini spilts with heat/ac. Just had a four head system installed this past summer. Works great. Just a thought
Do these systems qualify for federal energy credits? And what about back up power? A relative built a super efficient house, but had to have electric backup heat to get a CO. She was told she'd need a 20 KW standby generator so she skipped that. When she lost power the house stayed plenty warm, but she had no generator, so no water, showers, etc. Always happy to share a shower with a damsel in distress. OK. OK. Bad phrase. Leave it alone.
My house is 1977 also, I'm the original owner, marinewife. I've replaced the furnace at least once, and each time, the efficiency improves. I have propane for the cooktop and the generator. I do not believe I own the tank, which was installed in 2004, same as the generator.
Good luck. Let us know what you decide.
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:33 PM   #6
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Not sure how deep you want to get into this project, but using propane gas likely can be expanded to take care of your cook stove, your washing machine, your hot water, and your fireplace.....

It certainly is cleaner than oil, no issues with leaking or dripping oil tanks, and using it for laundry and cooking is cheaper than using 220 Volts.
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:59 PM   #7
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A house built in 1977 certainly is a good candidate for a thorough air-sealing and insulation upgrade job. Selection of fuel for heating the house is only part of your task. Reducing the heat load will pay off handsomely with either oil or propane, and the house also will be more comfortable to live in, with fewer drafty spots.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:05 PM   #8
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Our house is about the same vintage as yours (70s), and at that time, most houses had electric heat because it was going to be cleaner and cheaper. Ha! Not cheaper. A previous owner had propane installed. When we bought in 99, we had White Mtn. install a 500 gallon underground tank, which THEY owned. About 5 years ago, we switched to Amerigas because they offered a much better price for the propane. Amerigas worked out the switch and we were never charged for the tank. I believe this is common practice between propane companies. We like propane heat better than oil, and we occasionally use the electric heat, set on low, as backup when were away in case the furnace decides to quit, which it never has. Hope this helps. My original point was that you should not have to pay for the tank.
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:13 PM   #9
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Do these systems qualify for federal energy credits? And what about back up power? A relative built a super efficient house, but had to have electric backup heat to get a CO. She was told she'd need a 20 KW standby generator so she skipped that. When she lost power the house stayed plenty warm, but she had no generator, so no water, showers, etc. Always happy to share a shower with a damsel in distress. OK. OK. Bad phrase. Leave it alone.

My house is 1977 also, I'm the original owner, marinewife. I've replaced the furnace at least once, and each time, the efficiency improves. I have propane for the cooktop and the generator. I do not believe I own the tank, which was installed in 2004, same as the generator.

Good luck. Let us know what you decide.
We did get a rebate with the unit. The efficiency is greater then traditional heat and ac units. Electric bill for AC cut in half this past summer. Like most other systems no power no heat.


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Old 09-10-2019, 10:35 PM   #10
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More details would be helpful, but in general every time I've done this analysis oil wins out cost wise, plus you are already set up so you shouldn't need a new tank. Again, more details would help, like what type of system is it and what type of house to start. Also what is wrong with the present system and why wasn't it caught before you bought? A second opinion may be in order.
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:39 AM   #11
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I understand that the horse is out of the barn, but why did your home inspection not catch something this serious? Strogens said you need a new system or fix things that are wrong? Which is it?

I agree with ITD...get a second opinion.

If the system needs replacing I like propane & though slightly more expensive than oil, I would go with it.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:22 AM   #12
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Default Check with Realtor...

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Hello again, forum goers- when it rains it pours... we recently moved into our home in Tuftonboro, built in 1977. We had Strogens come to service the oil tank and system and check things out. It had not been serviced by the previous owners for 2 years, and it turns out things are in very bad shape. The service man actually disconnected it and said we need either: a new oil system, fix the things that are wrong, or perhaps a propane system. This week it's 50 at night, so I can manage this week. However, time is of the essence here.

If anyone has experience switching over, I would appreciate any insight you have. Whatever I do will be expensive, but since this is what my husband calls 'the final home', I need to do what it takes. I know someone who switched to propane for around 8K, said its cleaner, no oil smell, and easy to use, but they're up in NY state.

ANY and all first hand knowledge would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance.
Curious if this house was bought through a realtor.

Check if this problem was disclosed by the seller.on the sales agreement. Some compensation for the defective units may be forthcoming.

Another thing: My Dad's 1972 buried oil tank was determined to be leaking, and authorities insisted that it be replaced. It took thousand$ to dig it up! You might want to abandon oil altogether, and save yourselves another headache.

Last edited by ApS; 09-11-2019 at 05:31 AM. Reason: Old tank?
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:19 AM   #13
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Our last move was from a home with an oil furnace to a home with propane. I do not know the cost differential, but we are very happy with propane. We expanded the use to include the stove, outside barbecue (it is great not having to refill portable propane tanks), and fireplaces (which we equipped with thermostats that start the fireplaces when the inside temperature drops to back up the main propane furnace that does not work when the power is out because it needs electricity to circulate the heated air).

The major risk with propane is reliance on the propane company to deliver the propane when the tank is low, which is the same risk with oil. We had one incident when we were traveling: the propane tank was not refilled and one of our water pipes froze and caused some damage while we were away. We filed a claim with the propane company and they covered the repair costs. Since then, the company has always filled our tank before it was at risk of running out of propane.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:29 AM   #14
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Curious if this house was bought through a realtor.

Check if this problem was disclosed by the seller.on the sales agreement. Some compensation for the defective units may be forthcoming.

Another thing: My Dad's 1972 buried oil tank was determined to be leaking, and authorities insisted that it be replaced. It took thousand$ to dig it up! You might want to abandon oil altogether, and save yourselves another headache.
Definitely a problem leaking oil tanks but less of a problem than in the past. New tanks are so much better than in the past for longevity and I feel like I don't see new ones being buried anymore. At least when we redid ours it went from underground to in our basement.

In my opinion oil heat is tried and true, arguably the best heating source from an economical standpoint (assuming natural gas is a hard no) and you just cant really match the heat per BTU ratings. If I was OP and I had already an existing system, I would look at repairing it back together and replace some new components rather then abandon everything and completely start new.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:07 AM   #15
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I wonder when people have done cost comparisons if they have factored in the REQUIRED yearly service for oil systems. If you don't service oil systems, bad things happen. It is recommended to service propane yearly but I usually did not (did it about every 3 years) and never had any problems, although I probably lost a little efficiency. Plus the tank is outside, not inside. As mentioned, oil is dirtier/smellier than propane.

While I second the newest mini-splits (work down to -15 degrees), in this area you will probably need a backup system for the coldest winter nights. You would definitely want to discuss this with a professional for the systems. I know people that have the minis and LOVE them. I will definitely get them in the future but I already have an existing system that would be relegated to backup.

I also had a very nasty problem with an FORCED HOT AIR oil system called blowback. The heat exchange system broke down and leaked into the house covering EVERYTHING with soot. I had to have professionals in to clean the house. We also had to wash all linens and clothes, even stored stuff. We had to wipe off all stored food products. The soot worked its way into the tiniest cracks. It was a HUGE mess. While I think a propane forced hot air system could also have the problem, the mess, I think, would be far less. Not sure if you have air or water baseboard? I had the broken oil system replaced with propane and was very happy.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:10 AM   #16
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Thank you so very much for the replies so far!

We already have a propane tank outside for the stove and the fireplace which was converted at least 20 years ago from wood to propane/gas.

We bought the home thru a realtor, the inspection was cursory and did not go into the oil equipment in the basement as thoroughly as the serviceman from Strogens did, taking things apart and looking inside as far as he could.

I spoke to a high end home builder in Wolfeboro who said 95% of their builds are currently with propane.

Coming from NJ, my entire life was in homes with natural gas, and fuel costs for summer were $30.00, winter heat maybe 120.00, so tanks and any discussion of set-ups in heating are completely foreign to me- I never pumped gas for my car until July- I should probably change my username to JerseyGirl~

I'll keep digging for info and get a couple of estimates with explanations so I can become more knowledgable on everything, but I always left this stuff to my husband- he is so busy working on the property outside that I figured I could get some help here.

While I have very few posts, since I began looking for a NH home in 2014, I have read posts on all sorts of things for the past 5 years and feel that forum goers are extremely knowledgable and helpful. Thank you again! ~wife
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:18 AM   #17
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Another option may be mini spilts with heat/ac. Just had a four head system installed this past summer. Works great. Just a thought


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Is this your only heat source? How well do they work when the temp gets into single digits?
I've been thinking of installing one for AC and heating in early spring and late fall when it's just not cold enough to fire up the wood stove.
I've heard they are more efficient than oil.
Sorry, I just realized that you haven't gone through a winter yet. I'm curious to know, keep us informed.
What kind is it and who did the install?
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:35 AM   #18
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Default State energy audit

Call Liberty Utility and request the energy audit. Even if you are not a customer. An energy engineer will research your home and make recommendations, list energy savings, state and federal credits, recommend competent HVAC installers etc. Well worth the $100 spent!

I have natural gas (Laconia) and definitely never go back to oil or propane. I had both. The boiler was replaced with a condensing boiler, hot water tank was replace with on demand. Energy consumption cost went from $1000 a month during the coldest months down to $130 on the average compared to oil. Of course I buttoned up the house according to the audit and replace the window shades to cellular shades. All recommended by the energy audit.

I had an aunt request the energy audit on her electric heated home. She followed the advice of converting from electric baseboard/window ac to the min split system. She cut her energy cost almost 70%!

The audit should answer your questions about oil vs propane.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:36 AM   #19
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Another vote for propane. Use it at home and commercially.Main reason is that propane burns clean and requires much less maintenance.
Also ran a line to my outside BBQ as Loonguy did (thought it was an original idea : )
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:32 AM   #20
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Call Liberty Utility and request the energy audit. Even if you are not a customer. An energy engineer will research your home and make recommendations, list energy savings, state and federal credits, recommend competent HVAC installers etc. Well worth the $100 spent!

I have natural gas (Laconia) and definitely never go back to oil or propane. I had both. The boiler was replaced with a condensing boiler, hot water tank was replace with on demand. Energy consumption cost went from $1000 a month during the coldest months down to $130 on the average compared to oil. Of course I buttoned up the house according to the audit and replace the window shades to cellular shades. All recommended by the energy audit.

I had an aunt request the energy audit on her electric heated home. She followed the advice of converting from electric baseboard/window ac to the min split system. She cut her energy cost almost 70%!

The audit should answer your questions about oil vs propane.
If you have access to natural gas then it's a no brainer as that is the cheapest fuel in New England. Most people in the Lakes region don't have that option.
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:33 AM   #21
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Thumbs up Propane

Can also use for cooking and gas fireplace. We converted from oil about 8 years ago with no regrets.
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:46 AM   #22
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Another option may be mini spilts with heat/ac. Just had a four head system installed this past summer. Works great. Just a thought


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A few years ago we converted a 200+ year old building from oil to the split duck system. We went from an average of $700 a month for oil to an increase of only $110 a month in electricity. In the summertime we had window air-conditioning units which were removed as the AC came from the split ducks. Our electric bill went down about $100 per month. We are saving close to $4000 a year.

Last year there were two nights that we had to put an extra blanket on the bed. Other than that are home, and the restaurant were kept very comfortable.

I tried to save a couple dollars by purchasing the units myself and then hiring someone to do the installation. If I had to do it all over again, I would just go ahead and purchase the units from someone who does the installation. It was difficult to find someone who would do installation without taking advantage of a markup on the system. All said and done it ended up costing about $17,000 for the new system so we are about one year away from a break even.

We also burn propane in our kitchen, and fireplace. We get a pretty good rate because we use about 1000 gallons per month. Im confident that the split duct system was the best move.
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Old 09-11-2019, 12:00 PM   #23
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Is this your only heat source? How well do they work when the temp gets into single digits?
I've been thinking of installing one for AC and heating in early spring and late fall when it's just not cold enough to fire up the wood stove.
I've heard they are more efficient than oil.
Sorry, I just realized that you haven't gone through a winter yet. I'm curious to know, keep us informed.
What kind is it and who did the install?
I will. The original heat source in the areas of the house where the units are is electric with window ac units. Unsure what others keep their home at during the winter months, but we are comfortable at 66 during the day and 58 at night.


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Old 09-14-2019, 07:11 AM   #24
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Well, I thank everyone for their suggestions so far- coming from a natural gas state with low bills to NH has been an eyeopener here. We had 2 different people come in to give estimates and suggestions- currently, both said it was smarter to fix the current oil system, get the parts, and see how we do.

They said the duct work that holds the AC and the oil heat wouldn't be changed, so it's more economical to get the parts and get it fixed (about 1K) than get a new system (about 8k). Getting propane would raise it over 10K.

In the event the new parts fix doesn't hold up, then we'll have to invest in a new system. Hopefully not during a winter month...

Thanks again for all of your quick responses, I will always come to the forum first for any future questions : )

~wife
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Old 09-14-2019, 07:50 AM   #25
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Quote:
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Well, I thank everyone for their suggestions so far- coming from a natural gas state with low bills to NH has been an eyeopener here. We had 2 different people come in to give estimates and suggestions- currently, both said it was smarter to fix the current oil system, get the parts, and see how we do.

They said the duct work that holds the AC and the oil heat wouldn't be changed, so it's more economical to get the parts and get it fixed (about 1K) than get a new system (about 8k). Getting propane would raise it over 10K.

In the event the new parts fix doesn't hold up, then we'll have to invest in a new system. Hopefully not during a winter month...

Thanks again for all of your quick responses, I will always come to the forum first for any future questions : )

~wife
Just an FYI. I got talked into spending $800 to fix my old heating system only to replace it 5 months later. If your boiler or furness is over 20 years old don't waste $1000 on it, esp coming into winter, JMO.
Your heater never breaks down when you don't need it!
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Old 09-14-2019, 08:11 AM   #26
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Just an FYI. I got talked into spending $800 to fix my old heating system only to replace it 5 months later. If your boiler or furness is over 20 years old don't waste $1000 on it, esp coming into winter, JMO.
Your heater never breaks down when you don't need it!
Absolutely. 1/8th is not a great ratio to invest in anything that's questionable. Do it right once because the alternative could be much more expensive.

What's actually wrong with the system?

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Old 09-14-2019, 10:28 AM   #27
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Hi marinewife--understood on the modest repair cost. But you might be surprised at the annual energy savings on ductless mini-splits, especially after the tax credit. We have Mitsubishis as the only heat in our Mass house and they've been fine even on days well below zero. Stay warm!
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:41 AM   #28
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Hi marinewife--understood on the modest repair cost. But you might be surprised at the annual energy savings on ductless mini-splits, especially after the tax credit. We have Mitsubishis as the only heat in our Mass house and they've been fine even on days well below zero. Stay warm!
I'm not sold on them being your only heat source up in the lakes region. We've had some pretty cold nights where my heating system and some of my neighbors heating systems wouldn't keep up. If it wasn't for the wood stove it would be a little too cold for me.
I've heard great things about the Mini-slits but I think you would be wise to have a second heat source. At least a wood or pellet stove.
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:17 AM   #29
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I'm not sold on them being your only heat source up in the lakes region. We've had some pretty cold nights where my heating system and some of my neighbors heating systems wouldn't keep up. If it wasn't for the wood stove it would be a little too cold for me.
I've heard great things about the Mini-slits but I think you would be wise to have a second heat source. At least a wood or pellet stove.
I agree a wood stove would be nice for any system as a backup. You might check the performance specs of the most recent recent models vs those of just a few years ago; there have been dramatic improvements. Ours is only two years old; the first winter had numerous record lows.

How old is yours?
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:30 AM   #30
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I'm not sold on them being your only heat source up in the lakes region. We've had some pretty cold nights where my heating system and some of my neighbors heating systems wouldn't keep up. If it wasn't for the wood stove it would be a little too cold for me.
I've heard great things about the Mini-slits but I think you would be wise to have a second heat source. At least a wood or pellet stove.
I would consider a wood stove but not a pellet stove... this would be a great option for a backup system to Hyperheat unit . Ive installed many of these and they're even better than advertised!
https://www.rinnai.us/gas-home-heati...-vent-furnaces
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:33 AM   #31
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I agree a wood stove would be nice for any system as a backup. You might check the performance specs of the most recent recent models vs those of just a few years ago; there have been dramatic improvements. Ours is only two years old; the first winter had numerous record lows.

How old is yours?
I don't have one yet. I have an oil boiler and a wood stove but I'm thinking of putting one in for the AC and for those early spring and late fall days when it's just not cold enough to fire up the wood stove. If it's not below 45 degrees I don't light the wood stove because it gets too hot.
I remember New Years Eve two years ago it was -5 plus a 20mph wind in Meredith and we would have froze without the wood stove. Even with the wood stove going full bore it just got the house up to 68 degrees.
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Old 09-14-2019, 02:07 PM   #32
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Maybe you should consider going solar and installing either a heat pump system or just simple baseboards? The payback period on the net cost of the solar system will likely only be 8 years or so ...and from that point forward you will be living for free
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:03 PM   #33
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What is the permit requirements to add solar? I have heard it various by town and could be a real pain


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Old 09-14-2019, 04:05 PM   #34
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My office on Cape Cod was heated by electric forced air furnace with a heat pump. First thing in the morning the furnace ran to bring up the heat. We left the heat on 40 when not there. After that the heat pump was the only thing running. Even when the outside temperature was 0 or below.

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Old 09-15-2019, 10:47 AM   #35
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Maybe you should consider going solar and installing either a heat pump system or just simple baseboards? The payback period on the net cost of the solar system will likely only be 8 years or so ...and from that point forward you will be living for free
Mine are powered by solar, should have mentioned that. We've had the panels on our roof for about 14 months. Performance has been even better than expected; our system will be paid for in about 6 years.

To WinnisquamZ question--a good installer will handle all the permits and other paperwork for you. The guys typically do a rough estimate of expected performance and savings using GIS mapping software from their office, then they get on your roof and make a few measurements to give more precise estimate, then they do the permits and install. The owner just cuts the checks. Excellent tax refunds on this too.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:24 AM   #36
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WinnisquamZ,
FlyingScot is correct we handle all of the permitting, interconnection apps, and rebate forms for you. The only responsibility you would have is to submit for the 30% ITC when you file your Federal taxes.
Some Winnisquam bordering towns will also give a real estate exemption on renewable energy installation. The asset value of the array would be added to your tax card but you would receive an exemption for all or part of the value. Belmont, Sanbornton, and Meredith all offer exemptions.
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Old 09-16-2019, 02:19 PM   #37
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Thank you


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Old 09-18-2019, 01:01 PM   #38
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Well, we just got the news, fixing the oil system is useless, we didn't spend the $ to buy the parts since 1 of them cost $1600.00 alone.

So now, we are faced with 2 choices- oil or propane-

New oil system is $8500, 83-86% efficient.

New propane system is $9300, 97% efficient.

Does that amount sound correct? They said it will take 1-2 days to completely do, whichever system we choose. (this is from Strogens, btw)

THANKS!

~wife
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:49 PM   #39
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Go for the Propane!
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:58 PM   #40
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Well, we just got the news, fixing the oil system is useless, we didn't spend the $ to buy the parts since 1 of them cost $1600.00 alone.

So now, we are faced with 2 choices- oil or propane-

New oil system is $8500, 83-86% efficient.

New propane system is $9300, 97% efficient.

Does that amount sound correct? They said it will take 1-2 days to completely do, whichever system we choose. (this is from Strogens, btw)

THANKS!

~wife
If you have a forced hot water system I would stick with oil. If you have forced hot air I would go with propane, JMO.
The propane burns cleaner but even though it has a higher efficiency it will cost more to heat with propane.
Does that price include the propane tank? If you get the tank from the propane Co you will pay for it either in a lease or through a higher propane cost.
If you own your own tank you can switch Companies when ever you want if you find a better deal, just like buying oil. It's makes it tougher to switch if you don't own the tank.
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:22 PM   #41
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Also, if it is forced hot air the duct work may not be compatible with the new efficient system.


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Old 09-19-2019, 12:16 PM   #42
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Well, we just got the news, fixing the oil system is useless, we didn't spend the $ to buy the parts since 1 of them cost $1600.00 alone.

So now, we are faced with 2 choices- oil or propane-

New oil system is $8500, 83-86% efficient.

New propane system is $9300, 97% efficient.

Does that amount sound correct? They said it will take 1-2 days to completely do, whichever system we choose. (this is from Strogens, btw)

THANKS!

~wife
That sounds about right, but oil has about 140,000 btus per gallon, where as propane has about 91,000 btus per gallon. So oil, while less efficient in burners gives you much more heat per gallon.

So a simple conversion, a gallon of oil through an 83% eff burner would yield you 140,000 *0.83 = 116,200 btus

Where as a gallon of Propane through a 97% burner would yield you 91,000 * 0.97 = 88,300 btus.

(the btu values of propane and fuel oil vary from different sources, but the difference is pretty small in the variations)

In the above scenario, even though propane is more efficient, you only get about 76% as much heat, which means you need to burn more gallons of propane( more$$$$) to equal the same heat of oil. Propane typically tracks oil prices, but propane would have to be 24% cheaper per gallon to break even versus oil in the above example.
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Old 09-19-2019, 01:16 PM   #43
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That sounds about right, but oil has about 140,000 btus per gallon, where as propane has about 91,000 btus per gallon. So oil, while less efficient in burners gives you much more heat per gallon.

So a simple conversion, a gallon of oil through an 83% eff burner would yield you 140,000 *0.83 = 116,200 btus

Where as a gallon of Propane through a 97% burner would yield you 91,000 * 0.97 = 88,300 btus.

(the btu values of propane and fuel oil vary from different sources, but the difference is pretty small in the variations)

In the above scenario, even though propane is more efficient, you only get about 76% as much heat, which means you need to burn more gallons of propane( more$$$$) to equal the same heat of oil. Propane typically tracks oil prices, but propane would have to be 24% cheaper per gallon to break even versus oil in the above example.
I will add, there is more maintenance on an oil burner than a propane burner but with a new system you should get many years of service with just a yearly cleaning which typically runs about $150. Add that to your oil bill and you still come out cheaper than propane.

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Old 09-19-2019, 01:25 PM   #44
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Well, I thank everyone for their suggestions so far- coming from a natural gas state with low bills to NH has been an eyeopener here. We had 2 different people come in to give estimates and suggestions- currently, both said it was smarter to fix the current oil system, get the parts, and see how we do.

They said the duct work that holds the AC and the oil heat wouldn't be changed, so it's more economical to get the parts and get it fixed (about 1K) than get a new system (about 8k). Getting propane would raise it over 10K.

In the event the new parts fix doesn't hold up, then we'll have to invest in a new system. Hopefully not during a winter month...

Thanks again for all of your quick responses, I will always come to the forum first for any future questions : )

~wife
If your going to spend that kind of money, does it make sense to just completely convert to a heat pump mini split system now?? The savings would be huge over a short period of time. I believe there are still some nice rebates to help reduce initial install costs... The system would pay for itself in a few years I would imagine especially since you have to install something new anyway.

Just something to think about...

Dan
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Old 09-19-2019, 01:59 PM   #45
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If your going to spend that kind of money, does it make sense to just completely convert to a heat pump mini split system now?? The savings would be huge over a short period of time. I believe there are still some nice rebates to help reduce initial install costs... The system would pay for itself in a few years I would imagine especially since you have to install something new anyway.

Just something to think about...

Dan
In NH lakes region I think you would still need another heat source for those extreme cold spells. I know some of the Hyper units say the will work to -15 but what happens if you find out it won't keep up and you have no other heat source?
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Old 09-19-2019, 02:11 PM   #46
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In Canada, all direct vent propane stove heaters are required to continue to operate even when the electricity is down due to the severe Canada winters and the likelihood for the power to go down.

Here in New Hampshire, if you have a central heat system like forced hot water, is not a bad idea to get a separate direct vent heater/ propane and place it in a central location in the basement or first floor to keep the place from freez'n up when the power goes out.

Plus, they create a different type of heat, hot-dry air, which works well to compliment the central hot water system ……. so's you got two totally separate systems, one with oil and one with propane … plus a big fat electricity bill to keep it all going.
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Old 09-19-2019, 02:23 PM   #47
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In NH lakes region I think you would still need another heat source for those extreme cold spells. I know some of the Hyper units say the will work to -15 but what happens if you find out it won't keep up and you have no other heat source?
From what I have heard firsthand, the newer "hyper heat" split systems work extremely well even in extreme cold. Honestly how often does it get to -15...did it ever get that cold around here in the past couple years?? If that is a concern you could always have a couple of plug in baseboard heaters for that one or two days you MAY need them for a couple hundred bucks or less, then put them back in the closet when done...or have a couple baseboards permanently installed if you don't mind the look. The savings on the mini splits would certainly make up for any added cost which would be minimal.

I am having a Mitsubishi Hyper Heat unit installed now in living space (aprox 750 sq ft) over a detached garage I am having built as my only heat source and have no second thoughts about doing so. We shall see...

Dan
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Old 09-19-2019, 02:31 PM   #48
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From what I have heard firsthand, the newer "hyper heat" split systems work extremely well even in extreme cold. Honestly how often does it get to -15...did it ever get that cold around here in the past couple years?? If that is a concern you could always have a couple of plug in baseboard heaters for that one or two days you MAY need them for a couple hundred bucks or less, then put them back in the closet when done...or have a couple baseboards permanently installed if you don't mind the look. The savings on the mini splits would certainly make up for any added cost which would be minimal.

I am having a Mitsubishi Hyper Heat unit installed now in living space (1000 sq ft) over a detached garage I am having built as my only heat source and have no second thoughts about doing so. We shall see...

Dan
Let us know how well it works. I've been thinking of installing one for heat and AC.
I know a couple years ago on New Years eve it was -5 with a 20 mph wind, which made it feel like -25, and I had all I could do to keep my place at 68 degrees with a heating system and a wood stove, and my house is well insulated.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:48 PM   #49
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In NH lakes region I think you would still need another heat source for those extreme cold spells. I know some of the Hyper units say the will work to -15 but what happens if you find out it won't keep up and you have no other heat source?
It's a matter of conditions for which the unit is sized. Even though an air source heat pump may be designed to deliver a certain amount of heat at some design minimum outside air temperature, and may well deliver significant but reduced heat output below that temperature, the heat demand of the house is greater as the temperature drops. So the choice is either selecting a unit with capacity for the minimum outside temperature you likely will see or selecting it to deliver adequate heat most of the time but providing something (like electric resistance heating or woodstove) to make up the difference for the extremes. In either case, a really good heat loss calculation must be done for the particular house. Rules of thumb don't cut it. Installers of fired heating systems (oil or propane) usually don't do any such calculation, as the units installed are nearly always far oversized.
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:44 PM   #50
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In NH lakes region I think you would still need another heat source for those extreme cold spells. I know some of the Hyper units say the will work to -15 but what happens if you find out it won't keep up and you have no other heat source?
My mini splits have kept up on brutally cold nights, at least -10, maybe colder. Plus the maintenance and reliability in general are even better than propane, and WAY better than oil.
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:58 PM   #51
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My mini splits have kept up on brutally cold nights, at least -10, maybe colder. Plus the maintenance and reliability in general are even better than propane, and WAY better than oil.
Thanks for your firsthand account on your unit FS! Pretty much what I have been hearing from many others who have these units also. They have come a long way in just the past few years.

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Old 09-19-2019, 10:17 PM   #52
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If your going to spend that kind of money, does it make sense to just completely convert to a heat pump mini split system now?? The savings would be huge over a short period of time. I believe there are still some nice rebates to help reduce initial install costs... The system would pay for itself in a few years I would imagine especially since you have to install something new anyway.

Just something to think about...

Dan
The comparison between heat pumps and fossil fuel heaters is a little more difficult to calculate, but important because electricity is the most expensive energy source to buy. Also it sounds like she has a duct system already so she would be able to install a central system with a heat pump for less money. If I have time next week I'll try to do a comparison.
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Old 09-20-2019, 07:18 AM   #53
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From what I have heard firsthand, the newer "hyper heat" split systems work extremely well even in extreme cold. Honestly how often does it get to -15...did it ever get that cold around here in the past couple years?? If that is a concern you could always have a couple of plug in baseboard heaters for that one or two days you MAY need them for a couple hundred bucks or less, then put them back in the closet when done...or have a couple baseboards permanently installed if you don't mind the look. The savings on the mini splits would certainly make up for any added cost which would be minimal.

I am having a Mitsubishi Hyper Heat unit installed now in living space (1000 sq ft) over a detached garage I am having built as my only heat source and have no second thoughts about doing so. We shall see...

Dan
I also have a 2 car garage with a room above that I finished off and it has no heat yet. I've been looking at a mini split to heat this room and the garage, which I just finished insulating this past summer. It has no water to it so I'm not worried about freeze ups but I would like to use it in the winter when we have an overflow of guests. I think it's the ideal space for a mini split as I don't need a back heat source because it's not used all the time. I'm wondering how long it would take to heat up this space from a dead cold if I only wanted to turn it on when needed. I keep my house at 50 and on the coldest days I have to turn it up on a Friday morning, with the Wifi t-stat, for it to get up to 68 when I get there at night. I think my heating system was undersized when it was installed but I have a wood stove to take up the slack.
Who did your installation?
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:34 AM   #54
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I also have a 2 car garage with a room above that I finished off and it has no heat yet. I've been looking at a mini split to heat this room and the garage, which I just finished insulating this past summer. It has no water to it so I'm not worried about freeze ups but I would like to use it in the winter when we have an overflow of guests. I think it's the ideal space for a mini split as I don't need a back heat source because it's not used all the time. I'm wondering how long it would take to heat up this space from a dead cold if I only wanted to turn it on when needed. I keep my house at 50 and on the coldest days I have to turn it up on a Friday morning, with the Wifi t-stat, for it to get up to 68 when I get there at night. I think my heating system was undersized when it was installed but I have a wood stove to take up the slack.
Who did your installation?
Big;

I hired a contractor to build and finish the garage and living space above so it was his subcontractor, "Laconia Refrigeration" who is currently doing the install on the mini split.

I personally would contact Steve Gorsk at Home Energy in Belmont if I was doing it on my own. Home Energy has three or four crews and that is all they do all day, every single day is install Mitsubishi Mini Splits. They handle all the rebates the state has to offer for you, they do all their own electrical and they are total professionals in every way and work very quickly! They also service what they sell at a very fair price.

As far as how quick it would heat up from a dead cold... that is tough to say as its not so much the air in the room which will heat up quick, its all the furniture and bedding, closets, walls, etc, etc, that will take time to fully come up to temperature but that would be the same no matter what heat system you are using.

I will say this...at my camp on Welch which is mostly insulated, I have both baseboard electric and non hyper heat mini splits, (3 interior units for two floors and one outside condenser). At 30 degrees, it does not take long for the mini splits to heat the entire house up from scratch maybe 3-4 hours max...The baseboards would take three to four times that amount of time...

On my garage living space which I am guessing is about 750 sq ft,(footprint of garage is 26' x 38') and mostly open concept except for the bathroom, they are installing one indoor unit and one outside condenser at 20,000 BTU. I did install a very small electric wall heater in bathroom to ensure no cold spots occur in there since its closed off.

Hope this helps and sorry for the length of this post!

Dan
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Old 09-20-2019, 09:30 AM   #55
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My mini splits have kept up on brutally cold nights, at least -10, maybe colder. Plus the maintenance and reliability in general are even better than propane, and WAY better than oil.
How do you feel they are on your electric bill monthly? We are finishing a large room above our garage, the contractor is putting in one 18k btu hyper heat. The main room is 576 square feet, but has sloped ceilings for part of it. Part of the area is above our master bedroom as well, so not all above unconditioned space.
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Old 09-20-2019, 10:29 AM   #56
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Down over 30% from past August usage. Oh course that is just AC, but added a forth unit so could be higher. Would go no other way then a mini split. Also would have to have a backup heat source


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Old 09-20-2019, 10:30 AM   #57
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How do you feel they are on your electric bill monthly? We are finishing a large room above our garage, the contractor is putting in one 18k btu hyper heat. The main room is 576 square feet, but has sloped ceilings for part of it. Part of the area is above our master bedroom as well, so not all above unconditioned space.
We currently have two hyper heat units at home in West Alton. One 18K unit heats the DR + kitchen area of 692 sq ft with some heat going up the stairway. One 12K units heats the MB area of 432 sq ft with vaulted ceiling.

With both running our total household electric bill was about $240/month for last Jan, Feb and Mar. No oil heat was used in those areas.

We have a pellet stove that heats the 336 sq ft LR so no oil heat is used on 1st floor. However as we plan to be away a few weeks mid winter an additional 12K hyper heat unit is to be installed in the LR for when we are away.

We will be able to control all three units remotely by apps on our phones and iPad.

We do have 3 zone oil heat but only run one zone that covers 2 bedrooms.
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Old 09-20-2019, 10:50 AM   #58
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With both running our total household electric bill was about $240/month for last Jan, Feb and Mar.
Slick;

This was your average TOTAL electric bill for everything in the house?? (Seems excellent) If so what do you estimate the increase was for just the mini split useage??...just a ballpark guess would be fine.

Thanks!

Dan
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Old 09-20-2019, 11:09 AM   #59
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Slick;

This was your average TOTAL electric bill for everything in the house?? (Seems excellent) If so what do you estimate the increase was for just the mini split useage??...just a ballpark guess would be fine.

Thanks!

Dan
Looking back (in Quicken) the Jan - March household bill in 2016 (prior to heat pumps) the was about $120/month. So the two heat pumps (30K total) added about another $120/month in mid winter.

Alan
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Old 09-20-2019, 11:20 AM   #60
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Looking back (in Quicken) the Jan - March household bill in 2016 (prior to heat pumps) the was about $120/month. So the two heat pumps (30K total) added about another $120/month in mid winter.

Alan
So about $120 per month to heat your house during the three coldest months of winter...no other heat source being utilized?? If so, that's pretty dam good!!

Dan
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Old 09-20-2019, 11:36 AM   #61
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So about $120 per month to heat your house during the three coldest months of winter...no other heat source being utilized?? If so, that's pretty dam good!!

Dan
No a pellet stove heated the LR and one oil burner zone heated two bedrooms. The two heat pumps heated a bit over 1,000 sq ft which is just under half of the house.

Alan
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Old 09-20-2019, 11:39 AM   #62
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No a pellet stove heated the LR and one oil burner zone heated two bedrooms. The two heat pumps heated a bit over 1,000 sq ft which is just under half of the house.

Alan
Ahhh...OK I misinterpreted your post...thought those numbers sounded too good to be true!

Thanks!

Dan
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Old 09-20-2019, 01:11 PM   #63
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How do you feel they are on your electric bill monthly? We are finishing a large room above our garage, the contractor is putting in one 18k btu hyper heat. The main room is 576 square feet, but has sloped ceilings for part of it. Part of the area is above our master bedroom as well, so not all above unconditioned space.
I do not have an exact number to compare--we moved into a place that had just had them installed 2 years ago. But I will say that I was shocked at how low my electric bill was compared to what I used to spend on oil and electric combined in another house. I'd guess 25-30% savings per year, plus the upfront tax credit.
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:28 AM   #64
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If you have the right location go with mini splits and add solar panels... you won't be disappointed.
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Old 09-22-2019, 10:43 AM   #65
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We had Home Energy Products install a hyperheat minisplit system last summer after we bought a house that needed boiler replaced. It worked perfect last winter and we didn't have any issues with it not keeping up - even during the coldest nights. We setup a small spaceheater in bathroom in the event that the temp dropped too low in bathroom but to my knowledge it never kicked on and bathroom felt warm enough. Our most expensive electric bill last winter was around $350 for whole house (everything is electric). We are usually only there on weekends so it would probably be higher for someone there full-time but we didn't set heat below 60 as it was first winter in the house and we wanted to make sure pipes didn't freeze.
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Old 09-22-2019, 01:01 PM   #66
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Well, readers, I appreciate everyone's input- It appears that Strogen's will be handling our new propane system and replacing the old oil system since it was completely shot.

Our sales guy, Paul Smith has been terrific so far. (in the event someone needs an estimate, his cell is 603-833-3557, tell him you got his number from me)-

We had 3 other companies, with no one able to begin the project until 4 weeks from now, which we can't take a chance on with colder weather coming. He spoke to his Mgr and they'll be starting this week.

I found another guy in Laconia who will remove the old oil tank, drain the oil, cut up the tank and remove it from the property, since Strogens doesn't handle that part of it. He was also super nice, Bill Spencer 603-OIL-TANK, 38 yrs in doing it-

There's even more going on in work on this house, but I'll save that for another day when it's not so nice out

Again, truly appreciate everyone's '2 cents', it's so nice to know that a transplant to this area can get help just by asking for it in here- Happy Sunday everyone!
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Old 09-23-2019, 07:33 AM   #67
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Make sure you get the energy rebate on that new boiler!
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Old 09-23-2019, 07:36 AM   #68
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If you have the right location go with mini splits and add solar panels... you won't be disappointed.
Ran into a snag installing solar panels because of Wetlands. Couldn't cut down trees to expose the sun to the panels. Wetlands actually suggest using temporary panels that must be move along the shore line???? Absurd!
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:08 PM   #69
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Well, readers, I appreciate everyone's input- It appears that Strogen's will be handling our new propane system and replacing the old oil system since it was completely shot.

Our sales guy, Paul Smith has been terrific so far. (in the event someone needs an estimate, his cell is 603-833-3557, tell him you got his number from me)-

We had 3 other companies, with no one able to begin the project until 4 weeks from now, which we can't take a chance on with colder weather coming. He spoke to his Mgr and they'll be starting this week.

I found another guy in Laconia who will remove the old oil tank, drain the oil, cut up the tank and remove it from the property, since Strogens doesn't handle that part of it. He was also super nice, Bill Spencer 603-OIL-TANK, 38 yrs in doing it-

There's even more going on in work on this house, but I'll save that for another day when it's not so nice out

Again, truly appreciate everyone's '2 cents', it's so nice to know that a transplant to this area can get help just by asking for it in here- Happy Sunday everyone!
Marinewife, good for you. A propane system, properly installed should give you years of trouble free service. Unless there is a huge spike in oil prices (which affects propane) the actual cost differences aren't big bucks between the fuels except probably for electric resistance heat.

Make sure the filler pipes are removed when the oil tank is removed. There have been many cases of a few hundred gallons of fuel oil being pumped in to cellars or crawl spaces when cut off pipes are left in place and the oil guy delivers to the wrong address.
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Old 09-25-2019, 12:43 PM   #70
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The big variable here as to whether a mini will be enough for your house in real cold temps is how tight how well your house is insulated.
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Old 09-26-2019, 04:28 PM   #71
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******UPDATE ON THE NEW SYSTEM*********

Well, readers, Strogen's came through! 2 trucks pulled up this morning at 8am and worked tirelessly to remove the oil system and install a new propane system.

Thanks to Paul Smith, eternally grateful, this guy moved MOUNTAINS for us, in under a week, from visit to install-
If you ever need a reputable sales/service, his # is : 603-833-3557

BUT WAIT, there's more- I called Eastern for the propane tank install, 1 mo. out,
Amerigas, 1 month out, Rymes, who CAME to see it, and was supposed to send me an emailed proposal on Monday 4 days ago, NEVER got back to me. The sales mgr, Jerry Neal, never called me back, didn't send out a proposal promised by Tuesday, so today, I started crying.

One of the Strogen workers told me to call Wolfeboro Oil. I called and a friendly gal named Jody took my info and said to come down and fill out paperwork. I drove over at 9:30 AM today, she gave the paper to the owner, he came out to meet me, and 20 minutes later, he was at my HOUSE, explaining what needed to be done.

1 hour later, there were workers here, a truck, and a new 500 gallon tank with the owner, Howie Bean, digging a trench to put down the pipe for the install.

I will never be able to thank him enough- I will have heat tomorrow.

Heaping praise on 2 companies who put customers and service way ahead of the rest, Strogen's and Wolfeboro Oil !!
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Old 09-26-2019, 04:38 PM   #72
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Very good to hear! Glad it all came together for you (no thanks to the no shows)
Enjoy your new system!
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Old 09-26-2019, 06:51 PM   #73
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Very happy to hear this. A few years ago a major wind storm went through our area and power was out everywhere. We weren't home and were very concerned because our generator had been running and didn't want it to run out of gas. So I called Rhymes and they told me I was scheduled for a delivery in two weeks. I explained the situation and they were firm-two weeks. So I called Howie and he said since we did own the tanks he could deliver to us and he did so immediately which put our minds at ease. I had previously switched to Wolfeboro Oil for our oil from Irving because they, Irving, let me run out of oil a couple of time (on automatic delivery) and I called them telling them I needed oil and they told me I couldn't possible be almost out of oil ) They argued and argued with me, and if I hadn't known one of the delivery drivers, they wouldn't have delivered to me and I would have run out. That was the final straw, I made the decision to change. Fun disclosure Howie is a relative but he is great. You made a good choice.
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