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Oil vs propane link / Heat loss calculation

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Posted by Bonnie on August 07, 2009 at 09:19:43:

In Reply to: Replace oil with propane in 2009? posted by Bonnie on August 02, 2009 at 14:30:15:

Thanks to Steamhead and rbeck for their answers.

It took 5 installers before one offered to do a heat loss calculation. (It only took 15 or 20 minutes to measure, draw a house outline, and do the calculations.) The guy with the heat loss calc is a little more expensive, but certainly caught our attention with his professionalism. We like it that his company does a FIVE year warranty on parts AND labor, too. He quoted on the same unit as someone else, but sized it one step larger. We wouldn't have been happy with the other quote, but wouldn't have known until too late, had it not been for the heat loss calc.

As far as our question re: Oil vs. Propane: We found a link to an Excel spreadsheet where you can enter the price of fuel, the efficiency of the unit, and it gives you the cost per million BTU's. It covers propane, natural gas, oil, coal, pellet, etc., etc. Also has links to sites which has the current fuel prices. Thanks, US Government!!! This was good for our purpose (we'll stick with oil), but also in comparing two units with different efficiency ratings. (It's easy to use, so don't let a spreadsheet scare you off. Don't have a spreadsheet? There used to be free ones you can download.) http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/experts/heatcalc.xls

As we interview different installers, we find it is a learning experience. One told us that he could have had 6 appointments in the time he spent with us ... and he was #5! It's a big investment ... surprising that people don't research it more. If they won't answer all our questions, we don't want them. The shortest interview was an hour, and ended because he had no answers. One installer was here 3.5 hours. Again, #5. And his time will probably be worth it, as they will probably get the job. (We have one more appointment.)

Like everything else, buyer beware!!!

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