In the last several posts, I’ve focused on home heating and the pros and cons of using heating oil versus natural gas. For some Bostonians, simply getting through the winter with any heat at all is their primary concern. A program that helps low-income households in Boston and other places around the country may lose federal funding in the coming days or weeks. In the short term, Boston heating assistance is necessary to help people get through the winter, but the cuts really underscore the need to move households to more efficient, more cost-effective heating sources.
Unfortunately, homes in the Northeast still use heating oil. Over the course of the winter, the average home uses more than 1,000 gallons. At the current price – about $3.50 per gallon – the cost of heating for the winter will run about $3,500. If you heat from October through April, the cost averages about $500 per month, all things being equal. It’s easy to see why the energy assistance programs can mean so much to people who need help!
The MassSave program, which I’ve talked about in the past, can help replace old heating oil systems with cleaner, more efficient natural gas systems. In some cases, homeowners can qualify for a 0% loan over seven years to repay the cost of converting. This year, homeowners may also be able to take advantage of some remaining federal tax credits that could further reduce the cost of conversion.
The reduction in monthly expenditures for heat, combined with the zero-percent financing can help low-income households achieve significant cost reductions for heating. The good thing about the MassSave program is that unlike heating assistance programs, homeowners at all income levels can take advantage of this conversion assistance.
One of the real concerns about working with heating oil is the potential for a heating oil spill. As these heating oil systems age, the potential for a significant spill increases. At some point, only the oldest (and most dangerous) systems will remain in service, further increasing the likelihood of an accident. That’s why it is important to take advantage of the current programs in place to convert from oil to gas. Converting now will eliminate the risk of an oil spill from aging systems, reduce the cost of converting from oil to gas significantly and reduce operating costs into the future.
Home heating assistance may be a viable way to get through the winter, but converting from oil to gas is a longer-term solution for Boston home heating. If you’d like more information about converting from oil to gas, or about the MassSave program requirements, please contact us at (617) 288-2911 for a consultation.
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