Free State Project Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Down

Author Topic: Heating fuel costs...  (Read 15351 times)

MaineShark

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5044
Heating fuel costs...
« on: June 12, 2008, 02:29:56 pm »

Figured I'd share some info here, since it's recently become a rather large topic of discussion, with the skyrocketing price of oil...

Current state averages for various fuels (in their "natural" units):
#1 fuel oil (Kerosene): $4.97 per gallon
#2 fuel oil: $4.53 per gallon
LP gas (Propane): $3.26 per gallon
Natural gas: $1.58 per therm
Electricity: $0.155 per kwh
Wood Pellets: $250 per ton
Wood pellets, bulk: $205 per ton
Cordwood: $195 per cord

Converting to a price per million btu of heat energy, for direct comparison of the raw price:
#1 fuel oil (Kerosene): $36.81
#2 fuel oil: $32.66
LP gas (Propane): $35.69
Natural gas: $15.80
Electricity: $45.43
Wood Pellets: $15.15
Wood pellets, bulk: $12.42
Cordwood: $9.75

Now, factoring in system efficiencies:
#2 oil - high efficiency (83%): $39.35
#2 oil - medium efficiency (75%): $43.55
#2 oil - low efficiency (55%): $59.39
LP - high efficiency (85%): $41.99
LP - medium efficiency (75%): $47.59
LP - low efficiency (55%): $64.90
NG - high efficiency (85%): $18.59
NG - medium efficiency (75%): $21.07
NG - low efficiency (55%): $28.73
Electricity - 98% efficiency: $46.36
Pellets - high efficiency (80%): $18.94
Pellets - low efficiency (70%): $21.65
Pellets - high efficiency, bulk: $15.53
Wood - high efficiency (80%): $12.19
Wood - medium efficiency (60%): $16.25
Wood - low efficiency (40%): $24.38

Most fossil-fuel systems in the state are in the "low" to "medium" ranges that I've given.  Some are lower.  A few are higher.

Pellet efficiency is split into "high," which represents typical boilers and furnaces, and "low," which represents pellet stoves.

"Bulk" pellet pricing is for loose pellets, rather than bagged, delivered to a hopper/silo, and is accurate as of today, from the manufacturer.  The bulk storage system (hopper/silo and feed system to move the fuel to the appliance) obviously is an extra cost during installation of the equipment.  Given the extra investment, I only gave a "high efficiency" number, because a system like that would typically not be installed with a low-efficiency appliance.

Wood efficiencies are typical, but can vary greatly.  Low (40%) represents an average outdoor wood boiler, although some are less than 20% and other "traditional" OWB's can be as high as 60%.  Low also represents a typical woodstove.  Medium represents a high-quality woodstove or a medium-efficiency wood boiler (either a top-end OWB or a conventional indoor boiler).  High represents a wood boiler using gasification technology and a thermal storage tank to maximize efficiency.

Edited to add: the majority of homes in NH use roughly 100 million to 250 million btus of heat energy during the winter.

Joe
« Last Edit: June 12, 2008, 09:08:55 pm by MaineShark »
Logged
"An armed society is a polite society" - this does not mean that we are polite because we fear each other.

We are not civilized because we are armed; we are armed because we are civilized..

Tracer Tong

  • FSP Participant
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 32
Re: Heating fuel costs...
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2008, 04:13:20 pm »

This is enormously helpful, thank you!  I'm moving into a house soon that has only oil heat, and had heard that wood pellet stoves are a lot cheaper to run.  Do you (or anyone else) have an idea how much it costs to have such a stove installed?  (just ballpark, off the top of your head -- please don't go to any effort!)
Logged
Good.  We begin to operate from a position of strength.
We will start manufacturing the swords and distributing them to our allies.

MaineShark

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5044
Re: Heating fuel costs...
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2008, 05:38:16 pm »

This is enormously helpful, thank you!  I'm moving into a house soon that has only oil heat, and had heard that wood pellet stoves are a lot cheaper to run.  Do you (or anyone else) have an idea how much it costs to have such a stove installed?  (just ballpark, off the top of your head -- please don't go to any effort!)

I don't sell pellet stoves (I deal in central heat, like furnaces and boilers), so I really couldn't tell you what they are charging.  I'm generally leery of the stoves, since there are so many, and so little concrete information on which ones are actually reliable and which are not.

Joe
Logged
"An armed society is a polite society" - this does not mean that we are polite because we fear each other.

We are not civilized because we are armed; we are armed because we are civilized..

kelteckiller

  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 110
Re: Heating fuel costs...
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2008, 06:33:19 am »

Figured I'd share some info here, since it's recently become a rather large topic of discussion, with the skyrocketing price of oil...

Current state averages for various fuels (in their "natural" units):
#1 fuel oil (Kerosene): $4.97 per gallon
#2 fuel oil: $4.53 per gallon
LP gas (Propane): $3.26 per gallon
Natural gas: $1.58 per therm
Electricity: $0.155 per kwh
Wood Pellets: $250 per ton
Wood pellets, bulk: $205 per ton
Cordwood: $195 per cord

Converting to a price per million btu of heat energy, for direct comparison of the raw price:
#1 fuel oil (Kerosene): $36.81
#2 fuel oil: $32.66
LP gas (Propane): $35.69
Natural gas: $15.80
Electricity: $45.43
Wood Pellets: $15.15
Wood pellets, bulk: $12.42
Cordwood: $9.75

Now, factoring in system efficiencies:
#2 oil - high efficiency (83%): $39.35
#2 oil - medium efficiency (75%): $43.55
#2 oil - low efficiency (55%): $59.39
LP - high efficiency (85%): $41.99
LP - medium efficiency (75%): $47.59
LP - low efficiency (55%): $64.90
NG - high efficiency (85%): $18.59
NG - medium efficiency (75%): $21.07
NG - low efficiency (55%): $28.73
Electricity - 98% efficiency: $46.36
Pellets - high efficiency (80%): $18.94
Pellets - low efficiency (70%): $21.65
Pellets - high efficiency, bulk: $15.53
Wood - high efficiency (80%): $12.19
Wood - medium efficiency (60%): $16.25
Wood - low efficiency (40%): $24.38

Most fossil-fuel systems in the state are in the "low" to "medium" ranges that I've given.  Some are lower.  A few are higher.

Pellet efficiency is split into "high," which represents typical boilers and furnaces, and "low," which represents pellet stoves.

"Bulk" pellet pricing is for loose pellets, rather than bagged, delivered to a hopper/silo, and is accurate as of today, from the manufacturer.  The bulk storage system (hopper/silo and feed system to move the fuel to the appliance) obviously is an extra cost during installation of the equipment.  Given the extra investment, I only gave a "high efficiency" number, because a system like that would typically not be installed with a low-efficiency appliance.

Wood efficiencies are typical, but can vary greatly.  Low (40%) represents an average outdoor wood boiler, although some are less than 20% and other "traditional" OWB's can be as high as 60%.  Low also represents a typical woodstove.  Medium represents a high-quality woodstove or a medium-efficiency wood boiler (either a top-end OWB or a conventional indoor boiler).  High represents a wood boiler using gasification technology and a thermal storage tank to maximize efficiency.

Edited to add: the majority of homes in NH use roughly 100 million to 250 million btus of heat energy during the winter.

Joe

Pellets are now $299 a ton.  EVERYONE is getting pellet stoves!!!!
Logged

kelteckiller

  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 110
Re: Heating fuel costs...
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2008, 06:38:00 am »

This is enormously helpful, thank you!  I'm moving into a house soon that has only oil heat, and had heard that wood pellet stoves are a lot cheaper to run.  Do you (or anyone else) have an idea how much it costs to have such a stove installed?  (just ballpark, off the top of your head -- please don't go to any effort!)


I just got an Avalon that holds 115 lbs of pellets and is super efficient (has thermostat) from Abundant life.  The price also includes the fire proof ash vacuum, 3 tons of pellets, and SOME of the piping.  It was 4,000.  The price of pellets has gone up some.  Do NOT have someone install it.  It really isn't hard at all.  The pipe is expensive due to the welds, insulation, etc.  There used to be a pellet plant in western NH.  Rumors they are putting one up north.  That would be the place to buy the pellets.  Otherwise get a buddy with an 18 wheeler and buy a whole truck load from canada!
Logged

MaineShark

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5044
Re: Heating fuel costs...
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2008, 06:54:00 am »

Pellets are now $299 a ton.  EVERYONE is getting pellet stoves!!!!

Whereabouts are you located?  That is a ridiculously-high price for pellets.  $250 is the state average, as of June 2, and the highest I've been quoted was $269.

Do NOT have someone install it.  It really isn't hard at all.

Just check your warranty, first, as some manufacturers void the warranty if it is not installed by a professional contractor.

There used to be a pellet plant in western NH.

There is.  New England Wood Pellets, in Jaffrey.  They don't sell bagged pellets to the public, though - only to resellers.  They will deliver loose pellets direct to the customer.

Joe
Logged
"An armed society is a polite society" - this does not mean that we are polite because we fear each other.

We are not civilized because we are armed; we are armed because we are civilized..

kelteckiller

  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 110
Re: Heating fuel costs...
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2008, 01:29:04 pm »

Pellets are now $299 a ton.  EVERYONE is getting pellet stoves!!!!

Whereabouts are you located?  That is a ridiculously-high price for pellets.  $250 is the state average, as of June 2, and the highest I've been quoted was $269.

Do NOT have someone install it.  It really isn't hard at all.

Just check your warranty, first, as some manufacturers void the warranty if it is not installed by a professional contractor.

There used to be a pellet plant in western NH.

There is.  New England Wood Pellets, in Jaffrey.  They don't sell bagged pellets to the public, though - only to resellers.  They will deliver loose pellets direct to the customer.

Joe

I live near Concord.  They WERE 259 a ton, but 3 days later went up to 289 a ton and are now 299 a ton.  Supply and demand.  Also, this is just RUMOR, but I had heard that the jaffrey plant shut down.  I don't know if that means just for the season or for good.  I think it is just for the season.  They make furniture or something there I believe and use the scrap to make pellets.

How much is it for the bulk loose pellets???
Logged

MaineShark

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5044
Re: Heating fuel costs...
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2008, 09:03:07 pm »

I live near Concord.  They WERE 259 a ton, but 3 days later went up to 289 a ton and are now 299 a ton.  Supply and demand.

Who is quoting a price that high?  I'm near Concord, as well, and as I said, the highest I've been quoted (and that was on the same day I made this post - namely, yesterday) was $269 per ton.

Also, this is just RUMOR, but I had heard that the jaffrey plant shut down.  I don't know if that means just for the season or for good.  I think it is just for the season.  They make furniture or something there I believe and use the scrap to make pellets.

New England Wood Pellets (the plant in Jaffrey) is in full operation.  I was just talking to them yesterday, to verify the bulk pricing.

How much is it for the bulk loose pellets???

About $205 per ton, although there may be a delivery charge once you go more than a certain number of miles from them.  There are several other pellet-making plants in the works, and a few companies looking at getting into the bulk delivery business.

NEWP has been pretty good about holding the wholesale price stable.  They are in it for the long haul, and understand that if they take advantage of the current opportunity to raise prices, they may drive away potential interest in pellets, and end up with reduced demand in a year or two.  Making a quick buck when demand spikes is certainly one way to run a business, but it can end up biting you in the long run.

Joe
Logged
"An armed society is a polite society" - this does not mean that we are polite because we fear each other.

We are not civilized because we are armed; we are armed because we are civilized..

GregH

  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 65
Re: Heating fuel costs...
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2008, 03:58:41 pm »

Thanks for posting this kind of practical info.  It's interesting to see that electric is now no barely more expensive than the petroleum-based heat sources (#1 and #2 oils and propane).  If we knew these kinds of prices were going to hold it could make sense to slap in heat pumps in areas where natural gas isn't available.
Logged

MaineShark

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5044
Re: Heating fuel costs...
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2008, 04:21:05 pm »

Thanks for posting this kind of practical info.  It's interesting to see that electric is now no barely more expensive than the petroleum-based heat sources (#1 and #2 oils and propane).  If we knew these kinds of prices were going to hold it could make sense to slap in heat pumps in areas where natural gas isn't available.

Heat pumps are actually more than 98% efficient.  I neglected to include those on the list, because the efficiency of heat pumps varies greatly.  Since they are only moving heat, not generating it, the coefficient of performance can be pretty high.  Like 500% in some cases.

They don't work efficiently below a certain temperature, though.  So what we end up doing is installing a hybrid system, using a heat pump when it "cool" out, with an outdoor thermostat that automatically switches to backup heat once the heat pump cannot keep up.  The backup can be electric resistive elements (cheap to install, expensive to operate) or fossil fuel (a little more expensive to install, but cheaper to run).  The change-over point can actually be calculated for the given fuel and electric prices, and the efficiencies of the two systems, and adjusted on an ongoing basis.  A competent installer should be able to do that calculation, and update the setting at the annual service, to keep up with changing fuel prices, or even more often, by informing the customer or using remote management software.

Joe
Logged
"An armed society is a polite society" - this does not mean that we are polite because we fear each other.

We are not civilized because we are armed; we are armed because we are civilized..

kelteckiller

  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 110
Re: Heating fuel costs...
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2008, 04:39:44 pm »

I live near Concord.  They WERE 259 a ton, but 3 days later went up to 289 a ton and are now 299 a ton.  Supply and demand.

Who is quoting a price that high?  I'm near Concord, as well, and as I said, the highest I've been quoted (and that was on the same day I made this post - namely, yesterday) was $269 per ton.

Also, this is just RUMOR, but I had heard that the jaffrey plant shut down.  I don't know if that means just for the season or for good.  I think it is just for the season.  They make furniture or something there I believe and use the scrap to make pellets.

New England Wood Pellets (the plant in Jaffrey) is in full operation.  I was just talking to them yesterday, to verify the bulk pricing.

How much is it for the bulk loose pellets???

About $205 per ton, although there may be a delivery charge once you go more than a certain number of miles from them.  There are several other pellet-making plants in the works, and a few companies looking at getting into the bulk delivery business.

NEWP has been pretty good about holding the wholesale price stable.  They are in it for the long haul, and understand that if they take advantage of the current opportunity to raise prices, they may drive away potential interest in pellets, and end up with reduced demand in a year or two.  Making a quick buck when demand spikes is certainly one way to run a business, but it can end up biting you in the long run.

Joe

Abundant Life in Chichester has pellets that high...They are ALWAYS expensive.  Where did you buy your pellets?  Also, how do you quote just part of my post?  Not the whole thing!   :)
Logged

Dreepa

  • First 1000
  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5124
Re: Heating fuel costs...
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2008, 07:27:42 pm »

Also, how do you quote just part of my post?  Not the whole thing!   :)
a magic trick.. :)

Also, how do you quote just part of my post?  Not the whole thing!   :)

basically you cut the 'quote' part from the top with all the 'details'
then make sure you 'end quote'  the slash followed by the quote mark.

Also, how do you quote just part of my post?  Not the whole thing!   :)

and you can do it several times.... if this doens't make sense send me a pm and I can show you an example..... it is hard to see the example because the code will cause it to 'quote'
Logged

MaineShark

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5044
Re: Heating fuel costs...
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2008, 10:23:47 am »

Abundant Life in Chichester has pellets that high...They are ALWAYS expensive.  Where did you buy your pellets?

Abundant Life is ridiculously high.  Lavalley lumber has them cheaper.  Or you can use NEWP's dealer locator to find others.
Logged
"An armed society is a polite society" - this does not mean that we are polite because we fear each other.

We are not civilized because we are armed; we are armed because we are civilized..

GregH

  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 65
Re: Heating fuel costs...
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2008, 11:27:58 am »


Heat pumps are actually more than 98% efficient.  I neglected to include those on the list, because the efficiency of heat pumps varies greatly.  Since they are only moving heat, not generating it, the coefficient of performance can be pretty high.  Like 500% in some cases.

They don't work efficiently below a certain temperature, though.  So what we end up doing is installing a hybrid system, using a heat pump when it "cool" out, with an outdoor thermostat that automatically switches to backup heat once the heat pump cannot keep up.  The backup can be electric resistive elements (cheap to install, expensive to operate) or fossil fuel (a little more expensive to install, but cheaper to run).  The change-over point can actually be calculated for the given fuel and electric prices, and the efficiencies of the two systems, and adjusted on an ongoing basis.  A competent installer should be able to do that calculation, and update the setting at the annual service, to keep up with changing fuel prices, or even more often, by informing the customer or using remote management software.

Joe

It sounds like the ultimate heating system for NH then would be a heat pump with wood pellet backup.  Anyone make wood pellet backup units?

Also:  I assume wood pellet *stoves* are electric-fed.  Is there any way to operate them manually in case of power failure?
Logged

MaineShark

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5044
Re: Heating fuel costs...
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2008, 05:53:22 pm »

It sounds like the ultimate heating system for NH then would be a heat pump with wood pellet backup.  Anyone make wood pellet backup units?

Actually, you need the pellet system to be the primary heat source.  In other words, something that can heat the house any time.  You use the heat pump to supplement, when the electric cost is lower.

As far as having full-fledged technology that can operate completely automatically... it will be here this fall, although the price won't be cheap, since it's high-tech imported tech from Europe.

Also:  I assume wood pellet *stoves* are electric-fed.  Is there any way to operate them manually in case of power failure?

Nope.  The venting system requires power.  You can always get a generator, though.

Joe
Logged
"An armed society is a polite society" - this does not mean that we are polite because we fear each other.

We are not civilized because we are armed; we are armed because we are civilized..
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Up