Which oil furnace is the best to buy in 2012?

Asked by raoul
Townsend, DE

i need a new oil furnance


Elizabeth DiSalvo

Answered by Elizabeth DiSalvo

Ridgefield , CT

Trillium Architects

December 4, 2012

Hi Raoul,

For an oil furnace you want to try to get the highest efficiency system available. For oil that means 87% efficiency.

  • One of the best ones on the market is the Burnham MPO-IQ 87% efficient, oil-fired high-efficiency, 3-pass water boiler.
  • Or you can try contacting the Beckett out of Ohio who can probably also provide you with an extremely energy efficient system using their products.

Consider switching to natural gas

All of that said, if you could switch to natural gas easily, or even propane, that would be best. I live live and work in a part of the world where oil heat is the norm and understand how difficult that can be. But as an architect of super efficient homes I always encourage clients to invest in the long term savings.

Unfortunately for 'oil homes', most of the super efficient heating and cooling equipment is made for gas or propane systems.

  • In the gas or propane world most of that advanced equipment achieves efficiencies of 95%, 97%, or higher.
  • Obviously these greatly outperform oil and gas prices will likely be lower and more stable in the years to come.

Heat exchange systems

Another way to go might be an air to air heat exchange system like those from Mitsubishi or Fujitsu. Google the words 'mini-split' to learn more.

These systems feed off the electric grid but are amazingly efficient. They do both heating and cooling and can be installed for a relatively low price (especially if you are willing to use the wall hung/ non-ducted units). They are a really great way to go.

They will save you a good deal of money and get you a cleaner operating system and get you off of oil. 

I notice that you live in Delaware where it doesn't get too horribly cold. These systems would be ideal for you as they are fantastic at cooling and pretty darn good at heating but if it is too cold for too long they sometimes require a supplemental heat back up. You probably would never get that cold for that long. Up here in Connecticut we do have to worry about a back up heating source, but they are rarely used. 

Bio-mass furnace

Finally, another alternative way to go would be something like a bio-mass furnace  which might use corn or pellets or another alternative fuel.

They are really not that crazy a product and pretty simple to operate and opens you up to a whole other market of fuels.

A good one to look at would be the Magnum 6500 biomass furnace which burns corn, wood pellets, and other alternative fuels, and is capable of achieving combustion efficiencies of up to 97%.

Good luck with your furnace replacement! Elizabeth


For more information:

Read "Can you help me select a high efficiency furnace?" a Q&A answered by Richard Parker.

Tagged In: energy efficient heating system

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