SmargelingArgarfsner t1_jd8cfy2 wrote

The answers to these questions can vary wildly based on your personal circumstances.

Upfront cost will be a combination of new service installation with RI Energy, and installation of new heating system by a contractor. The grids costs are pretty much fixed, whatever they tell you it will cost to get a meter installation is what it is. The new heating system is where the variability lies.

Dozens of questions like forced hot air or hydronic (baseboard/radiators)? What about hot water? Traditional or modern high efficiency? Home size? Number of zones of heat, etc, etc, add to that the physical limitations of your home for equipment locations, flue terminations, pipe or duct runs etc.

I would expect to pay at least $8k-12k depending on the answers to those questions.

Then there is the savings, is it worth it?

Depends on what your doing now, and what you decide to do in the future. Absolutely impossible to predict actual ROI or anything like that without actual data and decisions on equipment to be installed.

Feel free to ask more specific questions and I am glad to help as I can.

Source: RI Master Plumber who has done hundreds of conversions in the last 20+ years.


SmargelingArgarfsner t1_jd2e064 wrote

Yeah, it’s been a growing problem for volunteer departments throughout the country. It is certainly not unique to Jamestown, and to be honest they do pretty well given their size and geographical isolation. I thought you were blaming the lack of a paid department on housing availability which is simply not the case.


SmargelingArgarfsner t1_jd2cu36 wrote

Jamestown has had, and will continue to have an all volunteer Fire Department. While it’s true that it is prohibitively expensive to live here and our housing stock is extremely limited and shitty zoning laws are holding us back, none of that has anything to do with staffing the fire department.


SmargelingArgarfsner t1_iy3alje wrote

I get that, but the people who drive the economy in destination locations still need to have a place to stay.

Back then there was industry and employment to be found all over the place. All those jobs are gone and ME, VT, and NH rely largely on the service industry and tourism to pay the bills. We need places for these people to stay when they visit, but not at the expense of our neighborhoods and our ability to house our population. We need to strike a balance. That’s what that proposal does, protecting the community, and balancing the rights of owners with the need to curtail the growth of STR’s. 🤷🏽‍♂️


SmargelingArgarfsner t1_iy3804u wrote

I don’t think banning is the right answer, there has historically always been a place for short term rentals in most places people want to visit, VT included.

I think a better solution is this, a regulation that requires all short term rentals to be registered with the state or town. Pay a somewhat hefty fee, meet minimum housing standards etc. Additionally, if the property is owner occupied, then you are allowed to short term rent unlimited days per year, with a max of 30 continuous. If the property is non-owner occupied then you are limited to either 60 or 90 days of short term rental per year with a max of 30 continuous. Steep penalties for violations.

This would allow people to supplement income renting a in-law suite, or allow snowbirds to make some seasonal money. It will also ice out the investors who want to buy up SFH and run a mini hotel chain.

The other angle to play is the fire code. I’m not sure what VT has adopted but in my hometown we are classifying STR’s with occupancy greater than 5 as Lodging and Rooming Houses per NFPA 1 & 101 which requires sprinklers and fire alarms. It has been very effective.


SmargelingArgarfsner t1_ixqo4rs wrote

I am a plumbing and heating contractor in RI and I have done hundreds of oil to gas conversions, including at my own house.

Every situation is different and needs to be evaluated individually to determine if a conversion is best for you, and what the actual cost will be. It really requires a proper evaluation of the home, a heat loss calculation and a thorough understanding of the pros and cons by the homeowner. Then you can evaluate all the different options available to you. Gas does have less btu’s (heating capacity) than an equivalent amount of oil, but it is cleaner, prices are less volatile, the systems are generally more efficient, and you can use it for cooking, grilling and standby generators as well. Add to that the space freed up by getting rid of that nasty old oil tank.

Here are a few questions to help you along the way.

First question is Boiler (hot water baseboard or radiators) or Furnace? (forced hot air/AC)

Answering this will guide the rest of the decision making process.

What are you doing for AC? Do you have ducted AC already and adding a gas furnace for heat is simple, or are you using window units or mini splits? Can you add ducting easily? (unfinished basement and open attic space) or is that a difficult and costly proposition? There are obvious advantages to furnaces (HVAC) like central air, very high efficiency furnaces and easy maintenance. Some of the cons are ducting is bulky, space consuming, and expensive to install if not previously existing. Forced hot air also tends to be very dry and a generally less comfortable heat source.

Boilers are split into 2 categories, traditional cast iron and modern modulating and condensing. Gas fired cast iron boilers are the tried and true traditional option. They are very simple, extremely reliable, require minimal maintenance, and have a fairly long service life. The trade off is reduced efficiency, generally in the 80%-90% range. There are also no rebates on these. The other type are the modern modulating and condensing systems that are very popular. These are small, wall hung units that are extremely efficient, quiet and clean. They run in the 95%-98% efficiency range and can adjust the burn rate to match the heating demand for additional savings. They are often eligible for sizable rebates depending on the model. The downside is in longevity, and maintenance. They will require annual cleaning and due to their inherently technical nature, will not last nearly as long as the old cast iron boys. Additionally upfront installation cost will be higher.

The last wrinkle here is domestic hot water, the stuff that comes out of your showers and sinks. You have several options here that should be considered when doing a boiler swap/upgrade. You can get a combination boiler/water heater if you go the modulating/condensing route, or you can get an indirect fired w/h that uses the boiler as the heat source regardless of boiler type. Or you can go with traditional stand alone water heaters, either gas fired, electric, or electric hybrid. All having their own pros and cons.

It’s a shitload of information to take in, but it’s important to make the right choice as you will be paying for it for a loooong time.

I’m happy to help you with specific questions here or via dm if you like but I’m not taking on any new work at least till next year so I probably can’t help you beyond guidance.