Expensive Oil?


Old 01-30-18, 12:12 PM
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Expensive Oil?

I have a new (to me) rental property, where this is really the first year of usage - and the oil heating bills are definitely higher than expected. Can anyone help approximate number of gallons of oil per day usage?

I realize there are a lot of assumptions in this, but here are the facts I know:
House built in 1923, not much insulation
4 bedrooms, 2 floors, ~2000 sq ft
Aluminum framed windows, with storm windows
Hydronic furnace, approx 30 yrs old, serviced and cleaned this past fall
Cast iron radiators, original to house
Tenants are (supposedly) keeping heat at 68deg, 55 when away for 1 week of holidays

It's in PA, where we have had a few weeks of exceptionally cold weather.

With all those negatives, they've used 213 gallons of oil between 12/5 and 1/16 (42 days). That's 5 gallons per day.

I expected it to be somewhat more expensive than gas, but it's about 60% higher cost than what I'm paying for a similarly sized, older, gas-heated house.

My question isn't about how to better insulate/seal the house - but does this sound at all reasonable? Or is something way off?
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Old 01-30-18, 12:46 PM
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Might be par for "your" course.

Do you also provide DHW off the Oil Boiler ?

I just used 200 gallons over 28 days or almost 8 gallons per day; but it's a lot colder here . . . . and I have a tankless coil inside the Boiler for my DHW.
Old 01-30-18, 01:06 PM
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Apples and oranges but my gas provider will give data based on previous years at the same residence and usage by others in the neighborhood (averaged) as well. Might be worth asking your provider if they have such data and will share.
Old 01-30-18, 02:00 PM
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Gas vs oil is strictly a function of their relative cost. If it were heated with a gas boiler operating at the same efficiency level you would see little difference, back to the cost of the two fuels. Prior use data would tell you how well the new occupants are doing.

I've run into some older homes in Bangor using over 200 gallons every week and that was back when oil was bumping $5 a gallon. And some of those people were living with a set temp below 50.

Your numbers don't sound that bad but they do tell me some energy improvements would pay for themselves in a short time.

Old 01-30-18, 03:53 PM
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Since you say that this boiler is in Pa. where I live I have to ask; is it a hot water or steam system since you did not say which?
Old 01-30-18, 04:56 PM
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Rental property heating costs are difficult to estimate for the simple reason the tenant is a wildcard. From your OP, 68 degrees seems a bit high as a 24 hour setting. Many people reduce their heat in the evening and it sounds like your tenants may not if 68 is their average.

Because heating oil consumption is based largely on the comfort requirements of the person occupying the premises, it may make sense to transfer responsibility for heating costs to the tenant next time the lease renews. Once that occurs the tenants may find 68 degrees isn't as necessary as they thought.
Old 01-30-18, 05:07 PM
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it may make sense to transfer responsibility for heating costs to the tenant next time the lease renews
I agree with that 100%. Tenants never seem to be thrifty unless they have to pay.
Old 01-31-18, 10:58 AM
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FWIW, our tenants pay everything - gas, electric, water, garbage, .... Nobody takes advantage of us.
Old 01-31-18, 12:09 PM
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It sounds good to transfer responsibility for the utilities to the Tenants . . . . but ultimately, the Property Owner is the one who's the more stable financial entity and, in the event that the Tenants skip town leaving anything in arrears, the Utilities will come knocking on the LandLord's Door.

At least that's how it usually happens here in Vermont.

I'm reminded of a funny story here, where as a Broker, I sold an Estate Home which had been rented while the Estate was being Probated.

We finally had a Closing and the Three Heirs each went their separate ways carrying away about ⅓ of the Sales Proceeds.

Later that afternoon, I got a call from the Buyer who said that he went to the Municipal Electric Company to have the power switched over to his name and was told that it couldn't be done until the Account was brought up-to-date as it was now $2700 in arrears due to the tenants never servicing the Electric Bill(s). I said I would try to contact the Sellers; but they were all out-of-state and hadn't even arrived at their homes, and I had no idea of what their travel plans were . . . . or whether they were going to be receptive to this additional and recently discovered charge

So the Buyers called their Attorney who had done the Title Search or Abstract and the Attorney acknowledged that"it looks like he missed that one", and he then had to cough up the full $2700 to pay off the Electric Bill for the long departed Tenants and also on behalf of the Three Heirs . . . . who really lucked out; as under other circumstances they would have had to pay off this encumbrance.

So, that's why I said "usually" !

I guess it's funnier now than it was back then.

Last edited by Vermont; 01-31-18 at 12:31 PM. Reason: Spelling errors

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