Which Heating Fuel Should You Choose?

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Which Heating Fuel Should You Choose?

Which heating fuel should you choose?

(Dialog from our YouTube Episode, S1E3 The Art of Heating and Cooling, see video at end of the post)

Jeff Brideau: Which fuel do we use?

Jeff Brideau: I’m Jeff Brideau.

Mike Breckon: I’m Mike Breckon

Jeff Brideau: And today we’re going to talk about fuels. Because when we’re heating and cooling, everything we do has to have some sort of fuel source. Or, energy sources, is probably more accurate. But most of what we deal with is going to be some sort of fuel. The electricity that we use is really energy in that state. So, we’re going to consider it a fuel for the purposes of this discussion. So the big ones that we see in the area are oil, propane, natural gas, and electricity. And then we have a few others that are less popular, but still around. We have kerosene and we have firewood and wood pellets.

Mike Breckon: Well, you see kerosene a lot when you have an outdoor storage tank.

Jeff Brideau: That’s right.

Mike Breckon: You either have to use kerosene or you have to use additives, which reduce your BTU value of your number two fuel oil.

Jeff Brideau: They call it a winter mix for outdoor tanks.

Mike Breckon: Right, so that it doesn’t get too viscous and won’t flow through the little pipe that comes into your combustion device.

Jeff Brideau: Right. So which one’s best? [Laughes]… Its Loaded question right?

Mike Breckon: The one that is best is natural gas if you happen to be on a [pipe] line.

Jeff Brideau: And why do you say that?

Mike Breckon: Because for the cost to make the same amount of heat, right now, no one can compete with natural gas.

Jeff Brideau: And how do you feel about the environmental impacts of natural gas?

Mike Breckon: Well, that’s not putting those into the equation.

Jeff Brideau: Right. And this is what we mentioned in the last episode a little bit about carbon footprint.

Mike Breckon: Which is very different. That’s a… Somebody has to decide if you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint and have a net zero dwelling natural gas, oil, propane, those are… you need to be using electricity.

Jeff Brideau: Well, we need to consider where we get our electricity as well because most of our electricity in this area comes from…

Mike Breckon: Right now Schiller Station is burning coal.

Jeff Brideau: Yea, I saw that. A lot of it’s coming from coal still. We do have natural gas plants in the area. There is a pretty nice one over in Manchester that sits idle a lot. From what I hear.

Mike Breckon: So is the one here in Portsmouth. It’s mothballed at the moment.

Jeff Brideau: Which is surprising. We have a little bit of biomass going. I think Bow is biomass.

Mike Breckon: Schiller can be biomass. Those were converted to burn wood chips, but apparently, coal is more cost effective at the moment than wood chips.

Jeff Brideau: Right. That’s a great advantage of that type of power plant is that it can switch back and forth. But this illustrates the point about when we say, “okay, well electricity’s clean”. Well, that all depends on where we get it. Right? And when we plug into the wall, it’s a crapshoot. You can’t control in our grid where your electricity comes from. You can buy green power. You can set up…

Mike Breckon: That doesn’t mean you’re getting green power coming to your house.

Jeff Brideau: That’s right.

Mike Breckon: Your house got power out of the grid.

Jeff Brideau: Yes, so what you’re doing is funding more green adventures for the energy producers. But what you’re getting is still the same old grid power. So when we talked about…

Mike Breckon: Unless you make your own.

Jeff Brideau: Well, that was what I going to say. Mike’s got a great solar system set up on his home. He’s generating his own electricity,

Mike Breckon: Except I don’t get to use mine.

Jeff Brideau: [Laughing] You’re not home most of the day and it goes to the electric company.

Mike Breckon: Normally people end up with two meters, they call it net metering.

Jeff Brideau: right.

Mike Breckon: You feed the grid and the electric company reads that. That’s plus, and then you take from the grid.

Jeff Brideau: That’s right.

Mike Breckon: But, your solar is not connected to your home unless you’re going to buy batteries

Jeff Brideau: It is a connected system. But, the problem is that you rarely all of the solar [power] when it’s being produced. So the peak of this of the day, most of us working people are out at work and everything’s shut off at the house. So unless you’ve got something there that’s consuming it or storing it like a battery bank as Mike said, it goes up to the grid and you don’t see your solar, you know, carbon free-ish kilowatts. They come back from the grid, which again is whatever came out of the power of plants.

Mike Breckon: And I’m not sure that if you…, but let’s say you’re in Portsmouth, which I believe is public service in New Hampshire.

Jeff Brideau: Uh, it used to be. It’s now Eversource.

Mike Breckon: Eversource. And I’m sure that you can buy power from other [sources], Constellation or somebody like that.

Jeff Brideau: You can choose your delivery versus your power.

Mike Breckon: Do they do net metering also?

Jeff Brideau: Yes, All of New Hampshire does net-metering. I’m not aware of any state, at least in New England, that does not do net metering. They might vary a little bit in how they implement it, but it’s in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts definitely have net metering programs that work just like you say. You get credits for what you produce and when they sell it back to you, they subtract it from your bank.

Mike Breckon: Yes, You use your bank and at least in Maine after two years it’s gone [if you don’t use it], so you need to keep using down your bank or then you will give them some power for nothing.

Jeff Brideau: Right.

Mike Breckon: And it’s way better to net meter then do sell them power.

Jeff Brideau: Oh definitely. As a resident [net meter client] you get a super deal.

Mike Breckon: Two and a half to 4 cents a kilowatt hour is all their paying for power.

Jeff Brideau: And that’s wholesale rate its called.

Mike Breckon: Yes.

Jeff Brideau: So you can set up a big old solar farm in your backyard and sell it, but you’re not getting the 18 to 30 cents that people pay in the area for that power. You’re getting three to five cents.

Mike Breckon: The average in New Hampshire is 17.84 cents right now.

Jeff Brideau: You get the wholesale rate, which is three to 5 cents a kilowatt hour. So it is a much better deal as a homeowner [net zero clients] just to do the net metering. Even if you put it in a battery bank because you can do solar with batteries or without. Either way, with net metering.

Mike Breckon: And you then can use the battery bank as a generator.

Jeff Brideau: Yes, there is a lot of great advantages to that system. We can talk about that in another episode.

Mike Breckon: And one of these days Elon Musk will make a really good battery.

Jeff Brideau: [Laughing] Yeah, it seems like lead-acid is still the standard for that. So, even electricity is not necessarily clean. Even solar electricity. Before I did this mechanical thing, I was in the semiconductor industry for about 10 years. Making chips and silicon is _not_ a clean process.

Mike Breckon: No.

Jeff Brideau: It’s dirty and there’s a lot of power used to make the panels. And if you look into your solar research, you can actually look up the numbers of how long a solar panel has to be in production to actually pay for its production. They’ll often give you the numbers of what all that background is, but they rarely give you the environmental impact of the manufacturing. You know, there’s a lot of stuff, you know, toxic materials..you know, uh,

Mike Breckon: Rare earth metals.

Jeff Brideau: That’s right. So it’s not the end-all be-all. It’s not perfect. Again, we’re moving our pollution somewhere else when we talk about electricity in most cases, even with solar, when we have the solar on their house. Somebody, and unfortunately most of the solar production is still overseas, Some poor place over there…

Mike Breckon: China.

Jeff Brideau: Some poor place over there is dealing with all the phosphorus and various things

Mike Breckon: Gallium.

Jeff Brideau: That gets doped into the silicon when it’s made. So if we’ve got natural gas, we’ve got electricity. I asked you what your favorite was, that was natural gas. We talked a little bit about propane…

Mike Breckon: Well, I didn’t say that was my favorite…

Jeff Brideau: I asked what you think is best.

Mike Breckon: Well, If you want to know what to make your heating system for the least amount of dollars that you’re going to pay annually is natural gas right now. It doesn’t mean in three years it will be.

Jeff Brideau: Right, next one will probably be propane.

Mike Breckon: Well the next one for the least dollars you’ll put in yearly is oil.

Jeff Brideau: Yeah. In terms of dollars for BTUs. Oil, number two oil, like this machine behind us uses, is still relatively cheap for the number of BTUs you get out of it.

Mike Breckon: And it’s gone down since fracking came into being.

Jeff Brideau: That’s right. So we’ve got oil. Oil has some drawbacks to it. My personal take is that it’s a lot dirtier and people are probably going to give me a lot of negative feedback on that. Actually, you get a lot of soot, you know, particularly, you get open vents here where the draft control dampers are. We work on these things all the time. There is soot all over the place in the basement when you’ve got oil equipment even if it’s done by… Well everybody will say, “if it’s done by a professional, it won’t be that way”. No, it’s just not the case. Tt tends to need more maintenance. You _have_ to do annual maintenance on an oil burner. As clean as they say the fuel they deliver to you is, It’s full of gunk. You know, we are the ones who see the oil cartridges when we take them apart and drain them out, you know that they’re full of slime and gook and that plugs up the burner and then it’s going to stop running in the middle of winter and you’re going to call us in a panic because you have no heat.

Mike Breckon: My observation is over the last 15 years, it has gotten worse. In number two fuel oil they allowed not as high a quality to become number two, you know. Now [highway] diesel, that’s a totally different story.

Jeff Brideau: Well, it’s the same fuel. Number two heating oil and diesel…

Mike Breckon: Well in diesel they have taken the sulfur out.

Jeff Brideau: Well in most states it’s actually the same fuel. I think there may be a legal differentiation of what’s allowed to happen. But, I think for practical purposes, even our heating fuel now is, for the most part, ultra-low sulfur just so they only have to do it one way. The biggest difference between the two is there is a pink dye in home heating oil. You pay less taxes on home heating oil than you do on highway diesel. Highway diesel you pay road taxes on. So they put the pink dye in it so that, you know, when they stopped the tractor-trailer on the highway, they take a peek into the gas tank to see if it’s pink or not. And if it’s pink, they’re going to fine them for tax evasion, for not paying the road taxes. So that’s why it’s pink. But otherwise, it’s the same fuel and can be used interchangeably. If you run out of heating oil, in a pinch, you can run down to the gas station and fill up a couple of cans of highway diesel and pour it in, it’ll work just fine.

Mike Breckon: The other thing with number two heating oil, they have what they call B10 bio.

Jeff Brideau: That’s right

Mike Breckon: Now, what they’re mixing in has nowhere near the BTU value per gallon. And so you’re, you’re paying more for a greener fuel, but you’re getting a little bit less.

Jeff Brideau: This is called bio-diesel in general. So when people talk about diesel, it was big a couple of years ago. I haven’t heard a lot about it lately. But biodiesel’s B10, I think there is B15 too right?

Mike Breckon: Oh, there is B20.

Jeff Brideau: So there are several different grades.

Mike Breckon: The Issue when it first came on was the gasketing material, sealing material, in the burners. They weren’t rated for vegetable oil.

Jeff Brideau: Yeah. The burners, the gaskets on the filters and things. All those rubbers weren’t necessarily compatible with the vegetable-based oils that were coming out in the bio-diesel.

Mike Breckon: Right and the nozzles and the spray patterns changed.

Jeff Brideau: Because the viscosity changes probably? We can get B10, so that 10 numbers, the percentage, right. So 10 percent bio versus 80 or 90% mineral [based] oil. And then B15, it’d be 15% biodiesel.

Mike Breckon: You can buy devices that will burn…

Jeff Brideau: Sure.

Mike Breckon: 100% biofuel.

Jeff Brideau: That’s right. And I’ve seen, uh, I saw an article years ago…

Mike Breckon: I don’t know, around here if anybody delivers it.

Jeff Brideau: But you can make it, you go on the Internet, there are all sorts of kits for making your own bio-diesel. Washing it and it’s, it’s pretty crazy. But there was an article a couple of years ago…

Mike Breckon: because you’re using caustic.

Jeff Brideau: That’s right.

Mike Breckon: And if you don’t wash that out, your equipment and won’t last very long at all.

Jeff Brideau: So its soap, and what you get out… it’s actually the same process people use for making,

Mike Breckon: oh, saponification. [Mike was a chemist]

Jeff Brideau: Sheep’s milk soap and whatnot.

Mike Breckon: Yeah.

Jeff Brideau: You’re separating out those caustics and you get a soapy product out. And then what’s leftover is the biodiesel. But what I was going to say is I’ve read an article about a guy, and I think it was England five or six years ago, actually got fined by the government for tax evasion because he was making his own oil and not paying taxes on it. So there’s a whole scofflaw about putting it into your car and driving around with your own homemade biodiesel. They’re not paying the road taxes. So we talked about, uh, heating oil. Uh, we talked about electricity to some degree. Um, people use to heat with coal a nobody, I don’t, I know if still heats with it. My mother’s got a pile of it in the basement, but the stove is long gone. Um,

Mike Breckon: wood, cordwood.

Jeff Brideau: Definitely. We’ve got still a lot of people burning cordwood in our area anyway, and New Hampshire and Maine

Mike Breckon: Right and it’s still, there are a lot of manufacturers that you can buy outdoor boilers, and indoor boilers and furnaces that will burn cord blood.

Jeff Brideau: And if you’ve got a readily available supply of, of wood and you don’t mind cutting it or paying, so they cut it up for you and don’t mind stoking the fire. you know, out of pocket it’s a cheap way to heat the house, right? You’ve got every source of fuel.

Mike Breckon: Yes. If you love the free source of fuel, if you are buying cordwood it’s a different story

Jeff Brideau: and you can get different deals. I know some people buy what they call the grapple load or they just get logs and then drop it into your yard. So that’s cheaper. You can cut it up for yourself

Mike Breckon: and you have to split it.

Jeff Brideau: That’s a lot of work. Yes. And then the next related is wood, wood pellets, which had a big boom for a while when oil prices showed up in 2008 and it seems to have tapered off quite a bit because there were a lot of uh, market impacts at the time. I remember my brother had a pellet stove and he said it got to the point where there are rationing pellets because it went from a, a niche industry. I believe from where the sawmills had piles of Sawdust and they figured out, well, if we compress it into pellets, we could sell it as fuel. So as long as it was, uh, a waste product, it was an easy, cheap supply of fuel. But when the oil price spiked in 2008 and every, everybody wanted, well, you know, it, you couldn’t buy pellets anymore. You know, they were rationing my brother’s deliveries. He could get, you know, one pallet every two months where he’s, he used to just buy the whole season. Um, so then they started actually grinding up trees to make pellets instead of using it a waste product. Now the price went up because it’s, it’s raw material versus scrap material. Um, but it is still, uh, you know, for a lot of people they, they feel it’s a green product. It is relative relate, re renewable. You know, you can grow a new tree in 30 years.

Mike Breckon: Right

Jeff Brideau: Uh, unlike any of the other sources of fuel that we have.

Mike Breckon: Yeah. And even small stoves, uh, over the years have developed little automatic feed systems. You get your pellets and bags, then you pour it in the feed or that’s right. And it just keeps going and you fill the feed or every few days.

Jeff Brideau: And we even have a modern system… I have a customer that has a, we didn’t put it in, but we have a customer that has a wood boiler that has a fully automated with a storage system. So the truck drives up just like it was an oil delivery. Then they hook up a hose to the side of the house. There’s a fitting out there and it blows pellets into a big storage bin in the basement. And that has an automatic blower that blows pellets over to the boiler when it needs them. They say runs twice a day or something. It fills up a little hopper on the boiler and they never touch it. Um, so would pell equipment has come quite a ways?

Mike Breckon: Yes.

Jeff Brideau: And uh, we should probably dive into that and take a look and see what, see what that industry looks like because we’ve got some dealers in the area. So now the question, now that we’ve talked about what the fuels are, how do we compare them? Uh, because it’s not easy.

Mike Breckon: Correct.

Jeff Brideau: There, they’re all different and they all have their nuances, unfortunately. Um, so one of the big things, one of the big key metrics that we have to look at with any energy source or a fuel source is the BTU content. So BTU is the American term and this is a measurement of energy.

Mike Breckon: Its the English term, British Thermal Unit. It’s the heat required to raise one pound of water, one degree Fahrenheit at standard temperature and pressure.

Jeff Brideau: Correct. So this is a unit quantity of energy. And every fuel or energy source can sort of be broken down into these terms. Uh, so when we look at oil, uh, that’s, you know, about 139,000 BTUs,

Mike Breckon: Eight hundred

Jeff Brideau: 139, 800 for and this probably varies depending on what you get.

Mike Breckon: And different sources say, 139, five other sources say 140, but typically people figure 140,000.

Jeff Brideau: Yeah, that’s the only year-round number. So per gallon, you get that many BTUs.

Mike Breckon: So that [oil] tank in your basement is about, has the, about the same number, if you have a 250 standard tenant is about 105 bags of pellets.

Jeff Brideau: Right. So we look at um, different fuels in different energy sources. They’ll do different BTU content. Uh, so when we compare a gallon of oil versus a gallon of propane, uh, even though they’re similar liquid volumes, even a propane sort of a gas, we get delivered in liquid form. So a gallon of propane is only 98,000 or so BTUs per gallon. So there is significantly less energy and a gallon of it.

Mike Breckon: So we’re trying to store natural gas is even less. That’s right. Fortunately, we don’t typically store natural us, so it comes through a pipe through, but that’s uh, it’s also sold differently by the gallon.

Jeff Brideau: Thousands of cubic feet, which is a therm. The on the natural gas company, how they sell it,

Mike Breckon: it’s generally thought of as a therm is a hundred thousand BTUs.

Mike Breckon: Right?

Jeff Brideau: So you, you five by 100,000 BTUs. But that number is, I believe, wishy-washy.

Mike Breckon: Well, what happens in the winter time, In New England, if the pipelines can’t supply enough they mix in other combustible gases to make up. So they can get the appropriate volume and keep the pressure up.

Jeff Brideau: Right. And this changes the BTU content.

Mike Breckon: Yes.

Jeff Brideau: And we see some more modern equipment like, Viessmann is famous for their… There they didn’t sponsor us. They’re famous for their Lambda Sensor.

Mike Breckon: Lambda pro.

Jeff Brideau: Which is a much like on a car. It’s an oxygen sensor measures the combustion that’s going on. And they do that because there is variation in the, in the fuel that you get. So their boiler, and some of the other manufacturers out there as well, I know Baxi makes a…

Mike Breckon: You remember when the pipeline came down from the landfill in Rochester to UNH?

Jeff Brideau: right.

Mike Breckon: Uh, they tried the Lambda Pro with just the gas from the landfill, which was so low…

Jeff Brideau: Miserable gas.

Mike Breckon: …In BTU value, it wouldn’t burn. So right now they, they mix it, mix quite a bit of natural gas into that to burn it.

Jeff Brideau: Well, in the European market, we see a lot more natural gas and that naturally is where Viessmann comes from.

Mike Breckon: Thanks to Russia and Ukraine.

Jeff Brideau: Yeah, their fuel comes from there. But, in my past, I’ve traveled a bit through there and I’ve seen a lot of, small farms actually producing their own gas. You’d see these brickwork…

Mike Breckon: Oh, digesters.

Jeff Brideau: Yeah. Brickwork rounds, you know, probably 20, 30 feet in diameter with a rubber membrane puffed up on top because it’s capturing all the composting animal waste and whatnot. So yeah, so we’ve got a Therm of natural gas. It is about a hundred thousand BTUs. And these are the units that we get sold this stuff in, by the way.

Mike Breckon: And in right now, in New Hampshire, the average price for Thurman Natural Gas as 96 cents,

Jeff Brideau: right, I’ve seen commercial clients paying 80 cents. It can be quite cheap.

Mike Breckon: And that’s what they call tier one and tier two. And that’s based on the volume you’ve burned. It used to be that the tiers were different prices. But, right now for some reason, they’re the same.

Jeff Brideau: I think it’s just because there’s so much natural gas available. As they say, we’ve got a glut of natural gas at the moment that it’s just, they can’t sell enough of it. So they’ve got to bring the price down to try and move material. So you buy a gallon of oil, you buy a gallon of propane, you buy a therm of natural gas.

Mike Breckon: You buy a ton or a bag of pellets, you by the cord of wood

Jeff Brideau: By the cord Yup. So, the BTU content per ton of pellets is a pretty important number to look at. And that changes dramatically depending on what kind of pellets you get. So you don’t want to go shopping and say, “I just need a ton of pellets”. You want to say, “no, I want a ton of hardwood pellets”. Because that’s significantly more energy than if you got a ton of softwood pellets. You know, pine trees don’t have nearly as much BTU content as oak does.

Mike Breckon: So same with cordwood.

Jeff Brideau: Sure.

Mike Breckon: We tend to get hard, well, we have a lot of hardwood forest. So the cordwood people tend to be seasoned hardwood. Which is a higher value.

Jeff Brideau: If you’re burning indoor with cordwood you really need to stay away from the softwoods for creosote reasons. We’ve got cords of wood, we’ve got tons of pellets, we’ve got gallons of oil, gallons of kerosene, we forgot that one, and gallons of propane. So when we look at these, they all have a BTU content. So when you’re two sources, we get…

Mike Breckon: And kerosene is slightly less than number two fuel oil.

Jeff Brideau: So we’re comparing two fuel sources. So if we’re going to say, “oh, I want to compare. Do I do propane or do I want to do oil? One of the things, and there’s many, is that we’re going to say “okay, this is 149,000 BTUs in oil, but only 98,000 in propane. Um, and how many dollars do I pay per Btu for the fuel?” And now we’ve got a level number. We can say, okay, say it’s 10 cents per BTU and this is, you know, 12 cents per BTU. Typically in our area, At the moment, it’s a little bit higher for propane. So now we’ve got to go to the next step. Okay, now that we’ve got a cost for the BTUs, we’ve got to put that BTU through a machine. And we talked in the last episode about efficiency. So what do we get back for heat out of those BTUs? Well, we’ve got an advantage now with the propane, so even though the fuel was more expensive, typically the equipment is a lot more efficient. You know with oil, for the most part as there are exceptions, we’re limited to around 85%[AFUE].

Mike Breckon: Correct.

Jeff Brideau: You can get condensing oil equipment, though I’ve never sold one. They’re really expensive. If you condense the flue gasses on oil [equipment], we talked a little bit about sulfur and ultra-low sulfur, there’s still some sulfur and other things in the heating fuel that when it condenses, it’s very acidic. And we see that a lot….[with homes that have upgraded insulation and now their heating equipment is much too large]

Mike Breckon: I have sold some oil condensing equipment and this is quite a few years ago. The boilers weren’t terribly successful, but the furnaces were.

Jeff Brideau: So when we compare we need to say, “okay, what’s our BTU content and then how much of that BTU do we get back from the from the appliance?” 85% from most of your oil equipment, and not hard to get 95 or more percent in a propane piece of equipment. So even though we might pay a little bit more for the propane, we’re getting a lot more of it back from the equipment. We might be on level ground on that perspective.

Mike Breckon: Yeah. Plus multiple stages in propane and modulating.

Jeff Brideau: Right. And that’ll be in a follow-up episode where we talk about the different types of heating systems and how that can [affect comfort and energy consumption] Because we do get modulating equipment, but you can’t really do that with oil for the most part.

Mike Breckon: You can have multiple stage and big gigantic oil equipment.

Jeff Brideau: So some big, big oil equipment will actually have modulating [oil] burners, but now we’re talking about things that heat hospitals versus things that heat houses.

Mike Breckon: Correct.

Jeff Brideau: Yeah, so that’s our next step. And then, you might want to add on top of that, the next thing is maintenance. What does the maintenance cost? Now, most propane equipment manufacturers and manuals to tell you-you’re supposed to service it annually. In practical terms, when we go to do it, there’s nothing to clean. There’s just nothing in there. Your electrodes and your flame sensors, sometimes they’ve got some growth if we’re right on the waterfront, you might get some oxidation growth on there. But, typically they’ll run for two to three years without needing much service. So service costs tend to be a bit less on the propane side. So again, another thing that shifts what we compare and we can compare all of our different appliances these ways.

Mike Breckon: And the upfront cost of the appliance itself tends to be less for propane appliance.

Jeff Brideau: That’s right.

Mike Breckon: And, and it doesn’t have to be heavy duty.

Jeff Brideau: That’s right. It’s not a giant cast iron thing and we’ll talk about why that is on the next episodes when we talk about the appliances. So we can compare now the electric machines and it’s a little bit simpler, even though the math might be a little more complicated because there’s almost no maintenance with electric machines. When we’re talking about mini-split heat pumps or even just geothermal, filter changes are really all the prescriptive maintenance is. They’re all sealed. They don’t burn anything. So, they don’t make soot. So long as you’re not throwing grass clippings into the outdoor units and whatnot. Assuming we take care of things, there’s really very little maintenance involved. So it’s just a matter of looking at, “okay, what does my electricity costs and what is the efficiency of the machine to give me that BTU output” Because we can convert electricity into BTU content the same way we do with the others, There’s 3,400 and…

Mike Breckon: 12.

Jeff Brideau: 3412 BTUs per in a kilowatt hour. And that’s how we buy electricity by the way. It’s a kilowatt hour. When you look at your electric bill, it’ll have what your cost is as well. Sometimes that can be hard to read too. It’s usually like 20 different categories. But in general, it’s charged to you in a kilowatt hour.

Mike Breckon: Right. So if you want to take your kilowatt-hour usage and..

Jeff Brideau: Divided by the total number at the bottom.

Mike Breckon: Right., and that’s how much it costs you for a kilowatt hour.

Jeff Brideau: Because they get you with delivery charges, they get you with taxes, they get you with…

Mike Breckon: Well it’s like a cable bill…

Jeff Brideau: Kind of. Yup.

Mike Breckon: There’s a little tax on there now for broadcast TV, which you may or may not be able to get, so…

Jeff Brideau: So, I always tell people, just take the number of kilowatt hours from the meter and divide it by what you, what you paid.

Mike Breckon: Yeah, well that’s what you’re paying.

Jeff Brideau: Right? That’s the way to do it. Don’t, don’t get too hung up on what’s in the middle. So we use all these numbers and now we can make some cost of ownership comparisons. Again, we touched a little bit on the last one about the differences in comfort as well and that’s something you can put a dollar figure on. So now you’re going to have to have a discussion with your comfort technician of “These two are maybe similar, or is this one better?” But what are the other impacts that become involved? We’ll wait for another episode to discuss that. So I think we covered the different fuels and what it means. If you were hoping for us to tell you which one’s best for you, I’m sorry. The answer is really personal. It comes down to what you have available, where you are at, and what you have for an existing system or what you’re planning to buy for a future system and make some choices about what you think the futures are going to be in these different [fuel] prices as well because, you know 10 years ago the market was totally different. You know, oil was $4 a gallon.

Mike Breckon: Air conditioning. Do you want it?

Jeff Brideau: That’s right.

Mike Breckon: That would make a big, big difference.

Jeff Brideau: Sure. And what’s proposed for a system. Absolutely. And the type of system. So if you want cooling, you’re either going to have many split heads or ductwork. That’s really the only way to do it. So that’s it for this one. If you liked what you heard, please hit subscribe, or give some suggestions in the comments section about what you want to hear and we’ll definitely try and make some episodes about it. Until next time, thanks.

Mike Breckon: Thank you.

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