Furnace/Boiler replacement?

I own a 4-unit residential building. The current heat/hot water furnace/boiler uses oil for fuel. Two (2) questions…

  1. Should I consider switching to gas or stick with oil for fuel?

  2. Should I consider breaking the heat/hot water out for each apartment? Meaning, should I have a separate hot water heater/boiler bill for each apartment from the utility company?

Many thanks in advance, Joe

It’s going to be nice when it’s done, but it’s going to cost you a lot of money upfront to do it. It was probably worth doing when the gas company was paying for new furnaces when switching, but in my area the gas companies aren’t doing that anymore so the cost to do so are pretty high. The price of gas and oil are probably about the same or rather the cost difference isn’t great enough to make the switch worthwhile. Plus you also have to pay to get rid of the old oil tank.

It’s always better when the tenants pay for their own utilities, that way they can turn it up as high as they like without you having to worry about it.

Joe…a friend of mine had a similar situation in Spokane, WA. In his case the tenants paid their own electric bill. He put electric baseboard heaters in each room and installed electric water heaters.


You can treat the fuel/furnace bill as “common area billable” in the lease. Meaning that each month you divide up the bill for fuel/maint by 4 and they add it to their rent payment. passes along the cost to the tenants for a utility that otherwise they would have to pay for themselves.

Mark Wagner, CPA

Thanks for the information!

I’m leaning toward the conversion to gas that has individual, combination heat/hot water units for each apartment.

I live north of Philadelphia, PA. Does anyone have any brand/models to suggest?

Again, many thanks in advance.