One thing that has prevented me from blogging much lately is that I’m preparing to convert our house from oil heat to gas.

A couple of reasons – it’s annoying how oil prices swing, and it seemed that we would get deliveries on “up” days in the market. We did the price-locking contract thing a couple of times. One year it worked out, one year it did not.

The second reason was that we were told that we needed a new boiler, regardless. So if we’re going to spend thousands on a boiler, may as well get something we wanted. I was unhappy that the oil boiler didn’t even last 15 years.

Figured this time of year was a good time to do it, as many people in Cranford are out of town, and the only heating-related calls for plumbers and heating companies would be preventative maintenance stuff.

So after telling my heating oil provider that I wanted to convert to gas, they delivered 128 gallons of oil via their “automated delivery schedule” a week later. After a fair bit of customer service pleading, and dangling the carrot of their possibly getting the conversion job if they took back the oil, they had someone come by on Saturday and pull it out.

Too bad their bid was about $1,500 more than anyone else’s.

I had two heating oil companies and two plumbers bid – all local. Specified a 50 gallon gas fired hot water heater and a 125,000 BTU gas steam boiler. The bids were all over $7,000, with one over $10,000. The disparity surprised me, since the work efforts and materials specified were pretty similar.

A challenge has been to review the bids and pick a vendor. They all have been recommended by a local plumbing supply house. They all have zero BBB complaints in the last 36 months. They are all licensed.

Somebody will be picked this week and hopefully there will be little buyer’s remorse.