Got gas?

I’m talking about the Natural kind, of course.

In my opinion the most annoying utility you gotta pay is the heat bill.  Unlike the cable bill where paying = hours of guaranteed Law and Order reruns, with heat not only does it cost a fortune, but during the winter I am still always cold in the house.  What gives?

When we decided to buy our house, one of the first things on our “must do” list was to address the heating system.  The house had an oil burner from 1955, and while the inspector said those bad boys are built solid and could potentially last us another 10 years, it is also extremely inefficient which = big bucks to heat the house.  And with oil prices at an all time high right now, we’re talking about $1k every time we need to fill our 275 gallon tank.  No thanks!

To make an improvement we had a few options, which we weighed carefully over beer, sushi and a Google spreadsheet.  My favorite combo.  Here’s a breakdown of the options:

1. Keep the old burner and pray it lasts.

Pros: No work needed
Cons: Inefficient, high cost of oil, risky, and an eye sore in the basement.

2. Replace the oil burner with a new high efficiency oil burner

Pros: Less work needed b/c we’d be staying with oil, more efficient
Cons: Still paying for oil ($$$)

3. Switch from oil to natural gas and install a high efficiency burner

Pros: Gas is cheaper, direct line to the house, more efficient, better for the environment, ability to relocate to better spot in the basement, lot’s of rebates available, will help with resale of the house, no interest loan available, can get a gas stove.
Cons: Requires upfront costs and applications for gas line.

In the end it seemed like a no-brainer, and we went with option #3.  After getting a few quotes, we chose our plumber, and it was off to file the boat loads of paperwork.

Now a few notes on the switch if you’re considering doing this (these guidelines may only be for MA residents):

1. If you don’t already have gas in your house (i.e. gas stove) you NEED a gas line on your street to get a line put in.  You can call this number to find out if you do: 1-800-322-3223.
2.  To get a line put in from the street, you need to apply, pay (price depends on where you live) and get on a wait list, so time is of the essence!
3.  Shop around for plumbers.  We got 3 quotes and they were all very different!
4. Make sure you read up on all of the rebates and special loans that are available.  Mass Save has a 7 year no interest loan, and $1900 in rebates.  Free money!
5. Before you do anything, make sure you take advantage of the Massachusetts Free Home Energy Assessment, as this is the first step needed to get your rebates, and just an overall great freebie!!

Resources for ya:
Mass Save Energy Assessment
Heat Loan Program
National Grid Rebates

We hope to have our new system up and running next week, so I’ll keep you posted!   Here’s to fewer winter days of  wearing both long underwear and two sweatshirts!


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