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View Full Version : Which is cheaper, oil or electric heat?



beckms
09-18-2005, 10:32 AM
I've looked at two great apartments this weekend, and one has oil heat and the other has electric. We've always had gas heat, so I don't know anything about oil or electric.

The oil heat apartment has a yard, but is kind of far from stores, restaurants, etc. The electric heat apt has NO yard, but is near a park and is walking distance to the town center (very small town). The elect. heat apt is also huge.

We have dogs, which is why the yard is at issue.

Any thoughts on the heat situation?

Thanks! :)

syzygy
09-18-2005, 11:23 AM
the only concern I'd have re oil heat right now is the co$t -- electric prices might be more stable for the immediate future.
If the park is really close and is not a big issue to get the dogs there, it sounds like it might be a better deal for the apt. with electric heat.

HRJ
09-18-2005, 12:04 PM
As far as heating costs go, I think it's a cr@p shoot either way -- oil prices are going to be higher this winter than they were before, but, my understanding is that when oil and natural gas prices go up, so does electric. (I think it has to do with the cost of generating the electricity? But, I'm no expert on the economics of utilities.)

Some points to consider though: how well are each of the units weather-proofed --insulation, windows, etc.? You could end up choosing the "cheaper" heating source, and still paying more if the unit isn't insulated well.

You say the electric heat apt is huge -- the size of the unit will also affect how much it costs to heat.

Are there timers on the thermostats, so that the heat can be automatically turned down when you're not a home during the day, and at night? That can also help save energy. Or, will the landlord install timers, or let you install timers, if they're not already there?

Just some things to think about. Good luck making your choice! (Where -- what town? -- are the apts, or don't you want to say right now?)

Helene

clairea
09-18-2005, 12:04 PM
Can you ask for utility bills? That would give you some idea. I know you can get them when you buy a house, but it has been so long since I rented an apartment I don't remember if you can do that. I would ask the landlord and see what they say though. If not, maybe the utility company can give you some idea of the average amount of energy to heat based on the square footage of each apartment, and I'm sure you could get historical prices (look at winter prices since they will be pretty different than the prices right now).

Claire

eas11
09-18-2005, 04:08 PM
Hey, Rebecca!
You can call the utility co's (gas and electric) to get bill amounts for the last year. Of course, that won't work for oil companies and you would need to rely on the landlord ot tenant to answer you honestly and then add on increased oil prices.
Personal usage is a BIG factor: We have clients in several apartments in the same building in Newton, all have the exact same layout and number of roommates. The difference in bills is CRAZY (Both gas and electric in the apts) The BIG culprit is how often 1 apt with 2 young woman use electric for the dryer and keep the gas heat up higher!
We've had the gas co come for an energy audit and they will do things like wrap water heater, change thermostat and suggest other ways to conserve by insulating, etc.
Where are you looking? Are you staying in Metrowest area?

memartha
09-18-2005, 04:19 PM
I agree with what Helene said. I've lived in two apartments with electric heat. In both, we had to manually turn the heat on, let it crank out, then turn it off. No thermostats. It was a pain. It seemed expensive, but that was a loooong time ago, so maybe prices have leveled off compared with oil.

I also like Ellyn's suggestion about getting some of the bill amounts for last year, just to use as a starting point, realizing that your usage could vary greatly.

Good luck! I hope you're staying in the area. Martha

beckms
09-18-2005, 04:21 PM
Thanks, everyone...we decided to go with the oil heat apartment. The rent is cheaper, so hopefully that will help offset any rise in oil prices that may or may not happen.

We're meeting to sign the lease tomorrow, and the landlord seems really nice and on top of things. We're quite gunshy about handing money over to landlords after our recent experience, and this guy is aware of that, so he is making sure that there will be two copies of the lease, bank information for the security deposit account, phone numbers and addresses of everyone involved on both copies. Yay.

Now I just have to deal with our current landlord, but thankfully only for two more weeks.

Oh, the apartment is in Grafton. So it's very close to school, which will be a nice change, but quite far from civilization as we know it! :rolleyes: I'm sure we'll adapt to life in the country. :p

Think good apartment thoughts for us until everything is signed and official...
:cool:

Peweh
09-18-2005, 07:48 PM
Think good apartment thoughts for us until everything is signed and official...
:cool:

(Thinking....) "good apartment thoughts, good apartment thoughts..."
Best of Luck! Apartment hunting is such a hassle!

memartha
09-19-2005, 03:26 PM
That's great news. I think once you are living in Grafton, you won't think of it as the ends of the earth and you might even enjoy being away from the Route 9 area. I know a few families out there, and someplace called the Post Office Pub which people like to go to. I've never been, but heard of it a lot.

beckms
09-19-2005, 03:30 PM
That's great news. I think once you are living in Grafton, you won't think of it as the ends of the earth and you might even enjoy being away from the Route 9 area. I know a few families out there, and someplace called the Post Office Pub which people like to go to. I've never been, but heard of it a lot.

OMG, the Post Office Pub is where all of the vet students go after the big exams...I've never been, because what fun is it to drink beer knowing I have to drive to Natick afterwards? But now that I'm a local, I can claim my regular barstool! :p

We signed the lease today. The landlord really seems terrific. He is very on top of everything, and brought two copies of everything, plus the bank information where he will be keeping our security deposit. We're already lightyears ahead of our current landlord situation.

He told me that he called our landlord this morning for reference, and she was very nasty to him. Her feelings are hurt that we are moving. Yet another reason I'm glad to get out, and I'm so relieved that she didn't say something to him to make him doubt our integrity as tenants! :eek:

Thanks for the good thoughs, everyone! :D

Robyn1007
09-19-2005, 03:40 PM
Wow, it sounds like you really are getting out just in time and it sounds like you have a great new landlord. He seems to be very honest and understanding and that is a relief I'm sure. Enjoy the new apartment!

Robyn