“Should I opt for a gas vs. oil furnace?” This is a question that some homeowners ask when they face a home furnace replacement. However, converting from one fuel to another is far more complicated than it may come across.
Yes, both fuels are used to warm your home during cold weather. However, these heating fuels are very different from each other, especially where it concerns furnaces.
In this article, we provide an in-depth comparison between the two furnace types. Furthermore, we’ll discuss some factors to consider first.
Gas Vs. Oil Furnaces: Which Is Best?
Keep reading to explore the major differences between the two. This way, you can gain a better understanding of what they have to offer.
- Gas Vs. Oil Furnaces: Which Is Best?
- Upfront Costs: Oil Vs. Gas Furnace
- Which Fuel Is Superior: Heating Oil Or Natural Gas?
- Maintenance Of Oil vs. Gas Furnaces
- What To Consider Before You Purchase A Gas Furnace
- Gas Furnaces Require More Safety Precautions
- Worries About Natural Gas Supply
- Natural Gas Offers Fewer Service Options
- Why You Should Consider An Oil Furnace
- Plentiful Fuel Oil Supply
- Converting From Oil To Gas Is Expensive
- Heating Oil Systems Are Exceptionally Clean
- Innovative Heating Oil Technologies
- Safer To Use And Store
- Heating Oil Furnaces Have Long Lifespans
- Higher Rate of Water Recovery
- More Service Options And Control
- Contact The BHHC To Connect With A Local Oil Dealer
Upfront Costs: Oil Vs. Gas Furnace
If your home already uses oil heat and has an oil furnace, then it makes more economical sense to replace your furnace with an oil-powered heating system.
An oil furnace is a lot cheaper. Whereas, if you replace your oil furnace with a gas furnace, you’d have to spend money on HVAC ductwork, plumbing, chimney, removal of the oil storage tank, and more.
Apart from those, you’d still need to pay for the gas furnace separately. These are important considerations to make.
Nevertheless, a new furnace will be more efficient than your older one. After all, modern furnaces have higher AFUE ratings or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratings that can go as high as 98.5%.
If your furnace is over a decade old, it’s most likely that it’s 30% less efficient than newer furnace models. So, by holding onto your old unit, you’ll be spending more money on your heating bills.
Which Fuel Is Superior: Heating Oil Or Natural Gas?
When it comes to cost per BTU, heating oil is more expensive than natural gas. However, what we appreciate with the former is that it gives you a great sense of security.
Because heating oil is stored in a heating oil tank, disruptions are less likely to occur. Once the oil is delivered and the tank is filled, you won’t have to worry about not having a warm home during the winter months.
However, when you use natural gas, system failures such as pipeline leaks can occur. This means that the supplier might have to cut off the supply to fix the problem.
Furthermore, heating oil burns hotter than natural gas. This means that heating oil can warm your home faster than natural gas while burning less fuel. It also creates less condensation, allowing your furnace to stay in excellent condition for a longer period.
In other words, although heating oil is indeed more expensive, you save more in the long run.
Maintenance Of Oil vs. Gas Furnaces
When it comes to furnace maintenance, both types have the same needs:
- The vent or chimney must be clean and leak-free to prevent hazardous fumes from going back to your home. This also enables efficient combustion, allowing you to save more money.
- The air handling equipment, burner, heat exchanger, and pump (for oil furnaces) must be in good condition.
- Filters in both types of furnaces must also be frequently changed.
Although maintaining both furnaces is the same, oil furnaces are probably safer. In cases when there is a leakage problem, you’ll immediately see obvious signs before carbon monoxide gas reaches dangerous levels inside your home.
On the other hand, natural gas furnaces don’t give off any obvious signs.
What To Consider Before You Purchase A Gas Furnace
Above, we compared the natural gas and oil furnaces. Some other considerations to make are:
Gas Furnaces Require More Safety Precautions
Gas furnaces require more safety precautions.
As we already stated above, gas systems don’t present as many warning signs whenever there are venting problems. This is why natural gas leakage is the leading cause of death due to carbon monoxide poisoning in the US. On top of that, gas leakage can also lead to explosions.
If the ventilation in your home is not done correctly, carbon monoxide can easily spread in your home and put your family in danger.
Worries About Natural Gas Supply
There are also worries about natural gas supply.
Because more and more people are using natural gas, there are concerns that local natural gas companies won’t be able to keep up with the demand. Added to this, most global gas reserves are located outside of the US, and we may soon have to depend on imports to continue using natural gas.
Natural Gas Offers Fewer Service Options
There are also fewer service options if you opt for natural gas. This is mainly because natural gas is supplied by one big utility company.
Other than this, gas heating systems rely on a pipe system to bring fuel to buildings or homes. A small pipe leakage or pipeline incident can immediately endanger you, disrupt the service, and even increase energy costs.
On the other hand, if you opt to use heating oil and connect with a heating oil supplier through the Better Home Heat Council, you can get a wider range of options that will help you manage your heating costs.
Why You Should Consider An Oil Furnace
As you can see, there are a few disadvantages when you choose a gas furnace. But with that said, let us also check out the different factors as to why you should consider an oil furnace.
Plentiful Fuel Oil Supply
First of all, and also what we think is very important, is that you are guaranteed to have plenty of fuel supply when you use an oil furnace.
Currently, the petroleum and oil reserves globally are higher than ever. And in case an international shortage happens, it’s good to know that the US doesn’t rely on a single source or imports to ensure that there’s a supply of oil.
As a matter of fact, there are 727 million barrels of oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and 2 million barrels of oil in the Northeast Heating Oil.
But besides these two, it’s also good to know that oil supply companies associated with the Better Home Heat Council can also make sure that there is always sufficient oil to provide while maintaining a simple and effective ordering process.
Converting From Oil To Gas Is Expensive
Gas furnaces are expensive. However, that won’t only be your problem. As mentioned above, you also need to think about the high costs that come with oil to gas conversion.
With that said, it’s probably best to just keep an oil heating system as it makes more sense economically.
Heating Oil Systems Are Exceptionally Clean
Another great thing about heating oil systems is that the latest models produce minimal emissions. They also feature ‘reburn’ fuel which can effectively reduce emissions further.
And even if years pass, as long as the heating oil system is well maintained, it will continue to burn clean fuel because the soot generated just remains in the tank.
On the other hand, natural gas systems remain the biggest contributor to global methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
Innovative Heating Oil Technologies
Thanks to innovative technologies, we could have heating oil systems and heating oil fuel that is more efficient and has less impact on the environment. These systems have been improved through the years, which has led to lesser heating oil consumed by oil furnaces and, therefore, lesser heating costs to those who use them.
Safer To Use And Store
Another advantage when using an oil furnace is that the heating oil doesn’t catch fire or vaporize unless it reaches 140 degrees. So, even if you lit a match and put it in heating oil, it’s almost like the match contacted with water. On top of that, it doesn’t generate carbon monoxide.
Natural gas, on the other hand, is explosive, making it more dangerous than heating oil.
Heating Oil Furnaces Have Long Lifespans
Heating oil furnaces are not only efficient and safe, but they also have very long lifespans. On average, they can last for more than 25 years, especially if they’re well-maintained.
Higher Rate of Water Recovery
Oil-powered water heaters also come with a higher rate of water recovery. It is said that the water recovery is almost double that the water recovery rate in gas-fueled water heaters.
More Service Options And Control
Oil furnaces also provide you with greater control of supply and management.
You have many options where to get an oil supply company, how much fuel to buy, and when to call for a refill. And because the storage tank is on your property, you get to control the quantity of fuel in your tank.
If you’re close to replacing your furnace, make sure to review the information given above. All these points should be able to help you choose the right furnace fit for you.
Contact The BHHC To Connect With A Local Oil Dealer
The Better Home Heat Council (BHHC) is a local association that aims to help homeowners with everything that has to do with fuel oil heat. We provide you with knowledge, especially on things regarding the economic and efficient use of heating oil. Also, we assist people in identifying and solving issues about energy efficiency in their homes or office. We accomplish this by pushing them towards an effective and affordable path to ensure that their living areas become more efficient and cost-effective.
The BHHC also supports heating oil delivery service companies that offer services, products, and solutions to homeowners in the Lehigh Valley. If you are searching for a superior home heating oil delivery service near you, click here. Rest assured that most of the fuel oil delivery service companies in our system also provide free energy consultations.