Converting from oil to natural gas for Earth Day

If you’re looking for a great way to celebrate Earth Day, consider converting your heating oil furnace or boiler to natural gas. Not only will you save money, but you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by nearly 40%. Aside from coal, no other fuel releases more carbon into the atmosphere. In fact, heating oil releases more carbon into the atmosphere than gasoline does!

Replacing heating equipment that uses fuel oil can also save you as much as 50% on your energy expenditures each year. Homeowners can borrow as much as $25,000 in the form of a 7-year, 0% interest loan to finance the cost of replacing a heating system with a new, high-efficiency system. You can finance a fuel conversion with a MassSave loan. This program gives you a great opportunity to make a significant reduction in your home’s carbon emissions, as well as reducing the cost of heating your home in the winter.

If you already have a natural gas furnace or boiler, but it’s an older, less efficient model, there is a different program through MassSave that you can take advantage of. This program, the Early Boiler/Furnace Replacement program, cannot be used to help reduce the cost of a fuel conversion, but it can help reduce the cost of replacing working but inefficient heating equipment.

This program offers rebates of up to $3,500 on the purchase and installation of qualifying heating equipment. For natural gas furnaces that are at least 12 years old but still operational, this program offers a rebate of $1,000 when replaced by a natural gas furnace with an ECM blower and an AFUE (efficiency rating) of at least 95%.

The Early Boiler Replacement program offers rebates of up to $3,000 on a natural gas, forced hot water boiler with an efficiency of at least 90% for owner-occupied properties. The rebate for a rental property is $3,500. Steam boilers with efficiency ratings of at least 82% also qualify for an early replacement rebate of $1,900. With the Early Replacement program, it’s important to remember that your older heating equipment must be in working condition. Working boilers must be at least 30 years old. Working furnaces must be at least 12 years old to qualify for the replacement rebate.

If you’d like more information about converting from heating oil to natural gas, the MassSave 2016 Heat Loan program, or replacing a working furnace or boiler under the MassSave Early Boiler/Furnace Replacement program, please contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 anytime. We’ll be happy to conduct the required energy audit and help you choose qualifying, high-efficiency equipment.

Happy Earth Day!

Photo Credit: Sandor Pinter , via

NStar Proposes Lower Rates For Natural Gas

NStar has submitted a revised rate proposal for the cost of natural gas. The new rates, if approved, would mean that homeowners use natural gas heat in Boston would pay about $15 less per month than they did in 2011. Over the course of the winter, that would amount to an average savings of about $100. The average anticipated expenditure for heating this winter, using the proposed rates, would be about $145 per month. Over the 6-month heating season (between November and May), the total average cost to heat a home among NStar’s residential customers would be about $870.

The new rates reflect the abundant supply of natural gas in the United States right now and offer some homeowners a chance to stabilize their winter fuel costs. While the cost of natural gas is dropping and the supply is substantial, the cost of residential heating oil is rising again, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs. In a monthly survey released on September 11, the Department said that the average cost of a gallon of heating oil was $3.75 in August and had crept to $3.84 the day of the survey release. According to the survey, the high price for heating oil among those providers surveyed was $4.50 per gallon and the low was $3.40. Average peak price during the 2011-12 heating season was $3.91 across all providers.

The average annual fuel oil consumption for a home in the United States is about 730 gallons. That doesn’t take into account location, climate or energy efficiency. Using the current average price for heating oil in Massachusetts and assuming an overall consumption of 600 gallons of fuel oil, residential heating oil customers can expect to pay more than $2,300 for fuel this winter. If the winter is severe, fuel oil prices rise significantly, or homeowners lose heat due to inefficiencies, the cost of a fuel-oil heating system could be much higher.

In addition, the danger of a fuel oil spill is significant. Even a relatively small spill can contaminate water and sewer systems, the interior of a home, or the exterior soil, depending upon where the storage tank resides. Fuel oil spills can also result from improper filling. Spills that involve more than a gallon of fuel oil must be professionally remediated, which can be expensive. Fuel oil is also a known carcinogen, creates toxic vapors and can cause significant irritations when it comes into contact with unprotected skin.

Oil-to-gas conversions make a lot of sense, both from a financial perspective and a safety perspective. If you have an oil-fired boiler that is more than 30 years old in your home heating system, you may also qualify for significant rebates of between $,1900 and $3,500 to help cover the cost of boiler replacement.

If you want more information regarding oil-to-gas conversions, the boiler replacement program or other information about saving money on heating costs this season, please contact Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We can consult with you to help you find ways to reduce your heating costs and your overall fuel consumption. Visit Boston Standard Plumbing on Facebook!