Phase out oil heat

We use a lot of oil every winter to heat our homes and businesses here in the USA, and often we need to go to war in order to make sure we have a supply of oil. Why don’t we start requiring alternative methods?
IMO, we should only go to war for a commodity if there is no alternative. We have plenty of alternatives to oil when it comes to heat. Heat pumps and natural gas are both made in the USA, and are cheaper than oil. Electric heat has been around for over 100 years as well.

Natural gas requires a massive investment of infrastructure and is not viable for more isolated houses. There’s also the fact that many folks are not happy with dealing with their local gas utility.

Electrical heat is massively inefficient and wasteful.

Problem is, the oil heat systems are privately owned. How do we get the owners to switch over?

Also, replacing your heating system is not free. Who’s going to pay for this? If you say the owners of the heating systems, that’s an additional disincentive for them to replace them.

I like the idea in theory, but in practice we have a lot of people living out in the woods in the Northeast who get an oil delivery in the fall and then spend parts of the winter sort of cut off by the weather. Oil is dependable in a way that utilities may not be.

Most of the oil used in the US is used in refined fuel, not heating oil. So I’m not sure what problem you are trying to fix by phasing out heating oil. However, as the price of oil and oil based products rise then folks will naturally switch over to alternatives (or they will just pay more and more), so it’s not really a problem that needs to be fixed but one that will fix itself eventually.

Propane is very expensive to heat with in rural areas. I presume that bottling natural gas and moving it about would also be expensive.

According to this article it’s already happening:

Since the expansion of horizontal drilling, the US has been the largest producer of oil in the world and on a net basis is an exporter of crude. No need to go to war to ensure we have an adequate supply.

Actually, heat pumps are one of the most efficient and least wasteful forms of heat in much of the country. The days of heat pumps being practical only in mild winter climates is long over.

In fact, the reason natural gas is still the cheapest heating option for most people is simply because natural gas is so cheap, not because of inherent efficiency.

Unfortunately every heat pump runs on electricity that was generated somehow, and in most cases that means some sort of fossil fuel, so they do little to inherently address boffking’s concerns.

Not only is propane expensive, but there’s a real problem delivering it in rural areas during heavy snowfall or flooding when roads are closed. I’ve known some people who used propane who started out with a full tank and ended up pretty cold before the truck could get there again.

I may be over-cautious, but I am afraid of having gas in the house. Every so often we hear about a gas explosion. We never hear about heating oil explosion.

I think the electric heat being referred to here is electric baseboards.

That’s why you need more than one tank.

In my rural area, propane is cheaper than fuel oil for residential heating. And there’s really no difference between the two for delivery purposes – you need a truck for either one.

Heat pumps are not the same as electrical heat. Electrical (resistance) heat is the most expensive form of heat where I live, and is used typically only for extra rooms that need some heat in the summer and can be closed off in the winter.

Heat pumps have to get their heat from somewhere, and the colder outside it is, the less efficient they are. Not a great idea in most of the northern states. I only know of one neighbor who has one, and it is a thermal system. It was an extremely high expense when it was first installed, although the running costs are low. It can be justified only over a long term amortization schedule.

The only type of electric heat boffking mentioned was heat pumps, then in the 2nd post of the thread Mr. Miskatonic said electric heat was horrible.

It’s certainly possible** Mr. Miskatonic** meant to bring up electric resistance heat out of the blue, instead of talking about the type of electric heat that had actually been mentioned, but electric resistance heat certainly weren’t suggested as an alternative by boffking so I don’t consider it relevant.

The biggest problem with heat pumps in northern states is that they need a secondary system for the coldest days, which can add a lot to the initial install. But the idea that heat pumps aren’t appropriate for most northern states is severely outdated. Modern heat pumps can continue to run efficiently at very cold temperatures.

Ground source heat pumps aren’t a good option for many people, but it’s not very fair to compare them to air source heat pumps. The difference in installation is literally digging hundreds of feet into the ground, or not.

That’s not how I interpreted this:

Emphasis added. I interpreted that as electric baseboard heat, which is what I grew up with, before switching to wood and coal before I headed off to college. I think the house ended up with gas forced hot air.

I was referring to electrical baseboard heat, which I have experienced. Can’t say I’ve ever had to deal with a Heat Pump but from the description it doesn’t seem ‘all that’. Yes, heat pumps were mentioned, but when someone mentions electrical heat being around for 100 years I doubt we are talking heat pumps.

On preview, everyone has already said that. Teach me to step away from a half-finished post.

What were all these wars we “often” went into? I can only think of 2 that might have been construed to be for oil and those had a pretext for being for something else.

This may be exclusive to the area I live in, but I know of nobody that still uses heating oil. When I was a kid in the 60’s & 70’s I’d estimate almost everyone did. The oil trucks were always driving around making deliveries. Sometime in the 80’s a lot of people switched to natural gas. I hardly ever see an oil truck in a neighborhood any more.

Heat pumps often have resistive strips inside the ductwork to add supplemental heating. Resistive heat is almost 100 % efficient, since most of the current goes into producing heat.
I have a 220v baseboard heater that is less expensive to run than the propane furnace, but of course it will not heat the entire trailer.

At any rate, my point was that heat pumps and electric resistance heat are just using electricity from the grid, which has to be generated somehow. That’s mostly natural gas and coal, so I guess it technically meets the requirement of getting off oil reasonably well, but it’s still heat ultimately derived from dirty fossil fuels.