Oil vs Electric Cost for Baseboard


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Old 11-14-19, 09:42 AM
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Question Oil vs Electric Cost for Baseboard

Hi, I think I may be forgetting something in my understanding of this comparison. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

With regard to a single zone, let's say you're adding heat in a room above a garage, and you want 15kbtus of radiation. You can buy a couple 10' electric baseboards, or put in some the equivalent btu of hot water baseboard, ok. Forget the parts cost in all this.

Where I am, I pay about 12/kWh, and oil is $2.50/gal. My oil boiler has a .75 gph nozzle.

To power the aforementioned baseboards (15kbtu worth), it's 4.4 kW. So running those for an hour will cost me 53. And running my boiler to heat the room (regardless of how much baseboard I have in there), will cost me $1.88/hr, because the boiler is on whenever the heat is on.

Although the $/btu is much higher with electric, it seems, that electric will be cheaper to operate until you need many more btus of heat at once. Is this right? Because for $1.88/hr, I could run 62' of electric baseboard.
 
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Old 11-14-19, 10:14 AM
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the boiler is on whenever the heat is on.
No..... the circulator is on whenever the heat is on. The burner only runs to maintain boiler temp.

Of all the methods to heat..... the electric baseboards are the most expensive.
 
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Old 11-14-19, 01:13 PM
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My boiler is always on when the circulator is running.

The boiler would have to be only running about 25% of the time the circulator is on to cost ~50/hr in oil.
 
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Old 11-14-19, 01:20 PM
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You need to calculate the cost per Btu delivered to the interior of the house, for electric and oil. Electric resistance heat is 100% efficient. An oil-fired boiler may be only 80% efficient - if 20% of the fuel Btu is lost up the chimney.
 
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Old 11-14-19, 02:05 PM
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Of all the methods to heat..... the electric baseboards are the most expensive.
Not necessarily. While heating an entire home using a whole house heating system is more efficient than individual (baseboard) heating units, heating an individual room is almost always cheaper using baseboard. Thus, the answer for slade8200 may lie somewhere in the middle. I suggest slade8200 look at his home layout and how he lives in the space. If, for example, slade8200 is an empty nester with unused bedrooms and other space or perhaps only one bedroom need be heated in the evening, individual baseboard may be a better option. Also, I'd be interested in learning where he lives.
 
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Old 11-14-19, 04:14 PM
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@Gilmorrie is right in that you have to calculate the cost of the btu's delivered.to that room. You can calculate the cost of 1000 btu's delivered by oil and by electricity to get an accurate comparison of cost. IE:1 gallon of #2 fuel oil will produce approximately 140,000 BTU X 80% efficiency = 112,000 BTU. To produce the same heat equivalent with electricity: 112,000 BTU divided by 3.4 Btu/watt = 32,941 Watts divided by 1000 = 32.9 kw and at $.12/ kw = $3.95 There is a little more to it than I just figured but you get the picture. Electricity is almost always a higher cost to heat
 
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Old 11-19-19, 05:43 PM
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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-19-19 at 06:04 PM.
 

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