What fuel for a boiler is most efficient and cost effective?


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Old 01-12-09, 07:27 AM
R
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What fuel for a boiler is most efficient and cost effective?

SInce I haven't bought a boiler yet and I'm not getting a straight answer from any of our fuel suppliers here I thought I should ask before I buy one.

I have propane furnaces now and am switching to hydronic with a boiler.

My three easy options for the boiler are Propane, Diesel fuel (heating oil), or waste oil.

Currently, in January, we are burning about 500 gallons of propane per month feeding two furnaces. It's hurting my wallet a good bit. I've gotten rid of all the propane furnaces for our greenhouse and barn so far and gotten rid of the old propane tractor. My goal is to get rid of the propane entirely. I have a new diesel tractor and two diesel trucks now and I even am making my own diesel fuel as fast as I can get new sources for waste veggie oil.
Our farm diesel supplier tells me that diesel puts out more BTU's per gallon than any other fuel. Our propane supplier says the same thing though. Plus he says it's clean burning. With fuel prices like they are I care more about efficiency than what's coming out my chimney I think.

Do any of you have opinions on what fuel you would go with for a new boiler given my choices? Please give me reasons why. I don't mind the maintenance on a fuel oil boiler either. It's a lot easier than the fuel burners I used to work on at least!
 
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Old 01-12-09, 12:54 PM
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Here is info on comparing costs of different types of fuel: http://housing.cce.cornell.edu/f-sht...at%20fuels.pdf You can Google for additional info.

If you are burning 500 gal/mo of propane in Texas, I don't think changing fuel or switching to hydronic heat will help all that much, dollar-wise. How many square feet are you heating?

Insulation, weather stripping, and storm windows might be a higher priority. If you install a new boiler now, based on your current heat loss, it could be grossly oversized if you later decide to add insulation, etc.

I take it that you don't have natural gas available?
Doug
 
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Old 01-12-09, 01:53 PM
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No, No natural gas available unless I want to pay the company to bring the pipe down my road and then down my driveway. It's 1 mile altogether.

We are upgrading all the windows, redoing the insulation and everything I can to make the house more efficient. I had already figured the upgrades into the heat loss calculation too. What gets me bad is heating my shop next to the house. RIght now I have electric out there but I'm going to install radiators from the boiler. That's what I had planned at least.
Our propane usage is partly due to old furnaces built before people worried about the fuel prices and partly due to our high ceilings and way too many windows. I guess being an old church they just didn't worry about efficiency as much as the space for people inside. Right now there is no insulation in the walls or floor and old cellulose in the attic but not near enough. I'll be replacing it all.
 
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Old 01-12-09, 02:05 PM
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Is it sunny in West Texas? If so, think solar. At least for the domestic hot water.
 
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Old 01-12-09, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by RRR01
No, No natural gas available unless I want to pay the company to bring the pipe down my road and then down my driveway. It's 1 mile altogether.
Hmm. Plowing in a mile of plastic gas pipe isn't a really big job, unless there are mulitple road or railroad crossings involved. Now, if the gas company is figuring in their cost the capacity of serving other future customers besides you, then maybe you've got a squawk?
Doug
 
 

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