In this day and age, homeowners have a wide variety of heating options in comparison to what they had in the past. Consequently, some homeowners are contemplating converting to natural gas. The natural gas companies make it seem appealing and convenient. They portray natural gas advantages as a cheaper, cleaner alternative.
However, many homeowners who have made this conversion regret their decision.
They come to find that converting their home to natural gas is not all that it is cracked up to be. In fact, many homeowners feel that the benefits associated with a natural gas conversion have far more hype than they deserve. In this article, we will expose this hype to see what a natural gas conversion is really all about.
What You Should Know About Natural Gas Conversions
If you have an interest in converting your home to natural gas, there are a few things that you should know.
Conversions Are Expensive
It Takes A Long Time
One of the biggest differences between gas companies and local oil companies is the level of service. Gas companies are large, corporate, monopoly-type businesses. Consequently, the speed and level of service suffers when dealing with a faceless, corporate entity.
Gas companies are often so overloaded that they are notoriously known for slow, impersonal service.
Many homeowners claim that this was a difficulty since reputable fuel oil companies generally have fast response times and personable service. In many cases, your local home heating oil company knows you by name and provides the level of customer service that you expect from a local, friendly company.
Bad Return On Investment
One of the most appealing aspects that homeowners fall for is that they are told that they will pay less on their heating costs when using natural gas. Depending on the market value of natural gas vs. heating oil, this varies. In fact, there are many times that oil is cheaper than gas.
Heating oil prices have been steadily decreasing due to ample supplies. Also, new heating oil equipment is extraordinarily energy efficient which helps cut home heating costs. Oil heating systems last twice as long as well in comparison to natural gas systems.
Another fact that the gas companies will not tell you is, heating oil burns hotter and has a higher BTU output. This means that you burn less fuel for the same amount of heat being generated.
Natural Gas Supply Cannot Meet Demand
Another fact that the gas companies do not like to share is the occurrences of interrupted supply to homes and businesses. When demand for natural gas exceeds normal demand, there are supply shortages. This leads to homes and businesses left with no natural gas at the time that they need it the most. This occurs more frequently in commercial settings, however, it has been known to happen in residential neighborhoods.
Destruction Of Property
Many homeowners have found the process frustrating.
A home is a major investment and homeowners take pleasure in beautifying their properties, ensuring that their home and yard are cared for. However, the process of adding a natural gas line to your home, tears up your yard. This has become an issue in Lancaster, PA. Lancaster Online writes:
Mayor Rick Gray says he’s fed up with UGI’s treatment of city properties and property owners.
City Hall keeps fielding complaints about crews that show up without warning, dig up yards or sidewalks and install unsightly new gas meters in front of beautiful historic buildings, regardless of the property owner’s wishes.
To read more, click here.
Not only that but natural gas companies have made promises that they are not keeping. They are not repairing the damage that they are causing when they install their natural gas pipelines. One instances claims:
And now that work is completed, property owners expect their roadways and yards, which were damaged during construction, to be repaired.
“They were supposed to come back in the spring to do the restoration,” Gallitzin Mayor Raymond Osmolinski said.
However, as Osmolinski drove through the borough Thursday morning, he pointed to areas where yards were in disrepair.
“It’s going to be July come Saturday,” he said last week.
Click here to read more.
Natural Gas Explosions
Not only does adding gas line to your home tear up your yard and property, but you are putting the safety of you and your loved ones in the hands of the gas company.
There are many instances where the gas company does not stay on top of maintaining their gas lines.
When this happens, natural gas leaks occur. Unfortunately, natural gas leaks lead to natural gas explosions since gas is highly explosive around an ignition source.
We all know that natural gas explosions are not unheard of. In fact, it was not that long ago where there was a fatal natural gas explosion right here in Allentown.
The particular natural gas lines that caused the Allentown explosion dated back to the 1920s. Five people were killed and an entire city block of row homes was completely destroyed.
It’s just sad that somebody has to die in order for them to go around and change the pipes,” said neighbor Raymond Jackson.
After the explosion, state regulators came down hard on Reading-based gas provider UGI, citing the company for several safety violations.
The company disputes those findings, but is now proposing a settlement. Under the deal, the utility would replace all of its cast iron gas lines — some almost 100 years old — within the next 14 years.
To read this article, click here.
Sneaky Billing Increases
Since natural gas homes are dependent on their services, the gas company can add rates to their billing. For instance UGI added a rate that they categorized under “delivery fee” or “customer charge”. This additional charge is paying for UGI’s $88 million new billing system.
The company said it has launched a new $88 million billing system that will make it easier for customers to pay bills online and access other account features but will also cost customers a bit more every month.
To read more, click here.
Also, another example is where Peoples Natural Gas tacked on a tariff without communicating to the people of Gallitzin. Homeowners assumed they would have to pay the same rates as neighboring towns. This tariff has depreciated their property values because Gallitzin homeowners believe that they will have a harder timer selling their homes in the future due to the high rates.
The value of my home is going to go down,” he said. “People are going to buy somewhere else where (rates are lower.)
To read more, click here.
Unfortunately, the list goes on and on. There are various examples that depict homeowners who have regretted their decision to convert to natural gas. Homeowners, their properties, and their hard earned money are not being respected by the natural gas companies. They have to pay a higher rate than they were told, their property is left damaged, and they are vulnerable to the natural gas companies regulations. These are all factors to think about when debating whether a natural gas conversion is right for you.
To get a free estimate on a natural gas to oil conversion as well as an estimate for maintaining your existing oil system and/or upgrading, feel free to contact any of the local home heating oil dealers listed on this website. You can rest assured that you’ll get local, friendly and responsive service here.