Natural gas is a fuel often used in businesses and residential applications, and producers often claim it offers many benefits that other fuel sources do not. While the fuel does offer some advantages, these companies often do not share its disadvantages. For example, natural gas is highly volatile and requires careful handling. When you consider all the disadvantages natural gas brings, you might decide that they outweigh the advantages when selecting a heat source for your home.
Exports Of Natural Gas May Drive Up Prices
Cheniere Energy, a Houston, Texas-based company began exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States last year. There are currently many other pipeline projects in process that are planned to increase the amount of this high-demand fuel being exported. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, most of this natural gas will be sent to Mexico, with Canada receiving some, but significantly less of the natural resource. The demand in Mexico is due to its use for electrical generating plants and is expected to increase, reports energy researchers. They predict that the increase in the amount of natural gas that United States exports to Mexico will result in increased costs for consumers using the fuel in the United States.
These predictions state that the Unites States is likely to be exporting more of the resource south of the border by 2020, resulting in an increase of the heating costs for homes and businesses in the United States. The skyrocketing exportation of natural gas was not foreseen, as the Unites States had no plans to export the fuel to Mexico only 10 years ago. Yet, since the year 2009, Mexico’s demand for natural gas has doubled. These unexpected price hikes will put a major strain on the budgets of residential as well as business users.
Factors Affecting Natural Gas Prices
Natural gas prices are influenced by other factors as well. Some of these include changes in weather patterns, economic factors, the costs of other alternative fuels and others. A hurricane can temporarily stop natural gas production, as one example. When production stops, it can cause shortages of the fuel and is likely to result in price hikes that occur rapidly.
A booming economy can also increase the demand for natural gas, resulting in a price increase for natural gas consumers. Changes in the cost of other fuel types can also result in increases in natural gas prices. If consumers see other fuel prices increase and switch because it looks cheaper, the price of the fuel increases due to the increase in the demand for this fuel.
Efficient Heat and Affordable
Heating oil may initially appear to be more expensive than natural gas based on an initial price comparison. However, the heat output from heating oil is greater than that the same amount that gas produces. As an example, if 20,000 BTU of oil is required for heating a space, 800 more BTU of gas is required to bring about a similar rise in temperature. Thus, if natural gas prices do skyrocket, as the experts predict, you not only need more natural gas to heat the same amount of space but also, you will pay more per unit for the fuel that you use. Energy experts also expect the prices of heating oil to drop over the next few years. The current price of fuel oil is $50.00 per barrel.
Another advantage consumers should consider when choosing a heating source is the hazards of natural gas when compared to oil. Natural gas is invisible and odorless, so if there is a carbon monoxide leak in the house or business, it is not likely the occupants will detect it quickly. This gives a leak of this nature a chance to cause major damage. Inhaling natural gas fumes can cause confusion, headaches, vomiting and nausea. If you inhale too much gas it can even cause death. The highly combustible fuel could also cause a natural gas explosion. Heating oil does not cause the same risks without giving major signs first. This makes it much safer, no matter the circumstances.
Choose Your Own Delivery Schedule
Unlike natural gas, oil requires regular heating oil delivery to keep appliances and furnaces fueled. However, oil consumers do not find such regular deliveries to be a problem. The oil consumer simply telephone the oil company for scheduling deliveries. Consumers enjoy the option of scheduling deliveries when prices are usually lower. Since natural gas is supplied on demand, you do not have this option. Because oil is not flammable, it does not pose the same danger during delivery to the home or business that natural gas does.
If you are at the planning stage of how to maintain the temperature in a new house or business, you should consider oil heat. Many pick natural gas because they have the opinion that natural gas is a cost-effective choice for use in homes and businesses. While natural gas appears less expensive on first look, with adequate research, you will find that oil costs less when heating your home or your business. Oil prices are less volatile than natural gas. Oil provides a more efficient and faster heat, so your home will not require as much to raise the temperature the same amount.
Better Home Heat Council provides educational resources for consumers about the highly effective and efficient use of heating oil. We also specialize in helping homeowners attain a higher level of energy efficiency in their homes to reduce their home heating and cooling costs. We support local oil companies in the Lehigh Valley that provide a range of services and products. Click here to search for a professional home heating oil supplier in your area. Our oil heat dealers also provide heating and cooling system services such as HVAC system tune-ups, maintenance, and repair which help keep your home much more comfortable.