I received a message this morning from the heating fuel oil company we use. The person who left the message was inquiring about the low quantity of oil that we used throughout the year and wanted to update their system with whether or not we were burning wood or some other source of alternative energy. I gave a call back to fill her in.
When I called her back, I told the lady that we did, in fact, have a pellet stove. I said that the oil was primarily burned for hot water and to heat one bedroom during the winter. She praised me on my intelligence for getting a pellet stove. I asked her how much oil we burned in the last year (they just came to fill the tank a few days ago). She replied with 256.6 gallons. I thought that was pretty good for a year.
That got me thinking…since the pellet stove was pretty expensive and the pellets themselves were an additional cost on top of the stove, was it worth it to get the pellet stove and pellets, or should we just have burned oil to heat the house for the whole year? I can’t remember the price per gallon of oil last year, when they wanted to lock me into that foolish contract, but I swear it was over $4 a gallon. Since I can’t remember, I did some quick research online to see what oil prices were last year at this time and I came across this website. It shows last year’s oil prices vs. this year’s oil prices in New York. Close enough. At this time last year, oil prices were $3.93 per gallon. Last year, the oil delivery company estimated that we would burn approximately 1000 gallons of oil for the year. That was based on other, similarly sized houses in the area.
Let’s do a little math.
If I signed the oil contract and burned the estimated amount of fuel oil, we would have paid $3930 for the year’s worth of oil.
Since I didn’t sign the contract and since we burned much less oil than the oil company’s estimate (because we used an alternative form of energy), we only paid $638.93 for the oil we burned. That number is from the oil prices on the receipts I kept.
Even if we didn’t sign the contract, but still burned the estimated amount of oil, we still would have paid $2490 for the year’s worth of oil.
Let’s see…I paid about $1100 for the four tons of pellets that we used for the season. We paid about $2500 for the pellet stove and installation. That equals $3600 for the pellet stove and one year’s worth of pellets.
I am going to go out on a limb here and imagine that I was feeling the same way a lot of people were feeling last year at this time and went ahead and signed that oil price contract. If I had signed it and never got the pellet stove, I would have $330 less in my bank account right now.
I know there is some more delicate math involved here, such as the actual price paid for the oil that was already in the tank before we moved in, but I am going to ignore that. This post has already almost put me to sleep. I just thought it was my duty to write it.
That’s the point? Well, I would say that even at today’s lower oil prices, it’s still worth it to get a pellet stove. The payback period is very short and you won’t cringe every time you hear the boiler kick on.