What to do with the old oil-fired hot air furnace? Spend $8-12,000 on a new more efficient version, switch to gas, or wood pellets? There are lots of salepeople out there trying to sell expensive new systems that save 5-10% in fuel consumption but consume 25% of the project’s total budget. These are tough decisions on a “real world” budget.
Bottom line: Keep the old system. Clean and tune it up to maximum efficiency (82%) yearly. Seal and insulate all duct work. Replace it with a better system when it dies. ***Keep in mind that by spending the majority of our budget on conserving energy, the overall consumption of oil has decreased from 1000 to 115 gallons plus wood (see Results), so saving 5-10% of 115 gallons does not make sense.
Woodstove: New EPA and tax credit approved.
Water heater: Water heaters consume about 20% of yearly home energy use. This house already had a 2 year-old standard electric water heater so upgrading was not cost-effective. To make the current heater more efficient an R-13 insulation jacket was added to the tank. A timer was also added so the tank only runs when needed, and hot water pipes were insulated.