ROI: Used Oil Heaters

Disposal costs: $160 a month for 12 months.
Heating costs: $400 a month for 5 months.
Total annual costs without a used oil heater: $3,920
Operational costs of heater (maintenance, cleaning, electricity, etc.): $600 annually
Ave. cost per unit (installed): $6,500
ROI time frame: Less than 2 years.
Average lifespan: 15 years.

When considering the total cost of ownership for these pieces of equipment, you should also account for their efficiency, reliability and durability.

Efficiency can take several forms when looking at the features and pricing of used oil heaters. Some examples include:

  • Pre-heating systems that hold oil at a precise temperature for more consistent operation.
  • Automatically controlled metering pumps that deliver more consistent fuel volume.
  • Combustion from on-board air compressors will add to the purchase price, when compared to a shop-air connection. Depending on air usage, compressor output and air line status, these on-board compressors can increase efficiency, but are primarily an added convenience when dealing with leaking air lines or overstressed compressors.
  • As is true for all shop equipment, some units will provide a lower list price in offering fewer bells and whistles. Depending on shop size and need, these units can also be very effective.

Maintenance, in terms of frequency and access to service points, will also effect operational efficiency. Some brands require more frequent maintenance, but others can go longer before needing the attention. The level of difficulty in performing this equipment maintenance should be considered, as the hours that accumulate in servicing them can become a significant expense.

The warranty coverage of the unit's parts, and the machine as a whole, will vary, but they're worth comparing. These differences can also impact your long-term return on investment.