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Best supplemental heat option

I live in southern New England in a small cottage (~1000 sq ft) heated by an oil fired boiler which is probably at least 30 years old.
The house also serviced by natural gas for the kitchen stove and clothes dryer.

I am considering a supplemental heat source to take the edge off the oil bill, I saw this furnace on the Lowes website and wonder if it a viable option for taking over a good portion of the heating function of my house.

Question # 2: Can an oil boiler be modified/upgraded to be made more efficient?

I am trying to avoid a big overhaul of my heating system as I plan to sell the house in the next 6-7 years and the house in not located in the best part of town.

Any advice most welcome:)

Re: Best supplemental heat option

I was not able to download the Lowe's gas furnace; while I strongly favor a small gas appliance for BACKUP HEAT (especially in YOUR case since you have a gas line in place), I don't favor using it for "supplemental" heat---I would hope you focus on the 2nd item you listed---that you would concentrate on improving the efficiency of the oil burner---if you live in an area where power outages are common, especially in the winter, a thru-the-wall vented gas heater is an excellent idea--it could save you from a disaster of frozen/burst pipes & real mess.

Regarding the oil burner: have you had it serviced in the past 6 months??

Did the service tech do a combustiion analysis to get the flame in top shape???

Did he recommend "down-rating" the nozzle (a $2 item) so that you burn less oil ?????(downrating is done simply by exchanging the oil nozzle from one that burns 1 gallon (or more) oil per hour to one that burns 3/4 gallon or 1/2 gallon per hour.

What is the total square footage of the heated parts of the building???

What is the heating OUTPUT of the boiler (this should be on a label on the front of the boiler; it will say something like: "OUTPUT: 80,000 btu/hour).

Do you have a tight house with lots of insulation in the exterior walls (R19) and the attic (R40), are the windows double pane or storm windows that are tight without drafts---do you have any sliding glass doors???

What is your general location---do you live in a very cold part of the country???

How do you obtain your domestic hot water (for washing,showers, etc.) do you have a separate gas or electric hot water heater or do you use a coil inside the boiler???

Please post back.

Re: Best supplemental heat option

Thank you, NashuaTech, for your quick response.

I will try again with the link because I like the idea of this wall furnace, I hope it works:


The house is a small cottage, actual living area according to the city tax assessor website = 910. It was built in 1925.
The first floor, which accounts for ~700 square feet is heated by steam radiators(cast iron).
The second floor receives its warmth from whatever heat wafts up to that area from the first floor through the ceilings and via the stairway that leads up to that area.

There is foam insulation in the walls, no insulation in the roof.
Previous owner also replaced original windows with double pane windows, several of them have condensation between the panes which can't be a good thing.
These upgrades were probably done 25-30 years ago.
No sliding glass doors, but the house does have 16 windows.

The house is located in southern New England, during a bad cold snap the temp can drop as low as -10F; power outages occur from time to time but are not a common occurrence.

It has been more than 6 months since the last service to the boiler, the tech just did his thing, I didn't ask any questions such as you posed.
The domestic hot water comes from the boiler, not a separate hot water heater.

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