Choosing between heating oil and natural gas isn’t so easy. You’ll find a lot of exaggeration and misinformation thrown about from both sides of the fence. Here’s some information that may help you figure out which is best for you and your home.
There’s a figure called the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE. This is a measurement of a heater’s combustion efficiency. The higher the rating, the more efficient the furnace is.
Today’s oil furnaces have AFUE ratings ranging from 80 to 90 percent. Today’s gas furnaces have ratings that range from 89 to 98 percent. Keep in mind, however, that gas units are commonly priced from 10 to 15 percent higher than comparable oil units. The good news is that whichever you pick, a new furnace of either gas or oil will be much more efficient than your old furnace, aged ten or more years. In some cases, you’ll get up to 30 percent more efficiency.
It’s difficult to make a decision on fuel costs in 2015, as heating oil is at a historic all time low, according to BucksCountyFuelOil.com. Gas is still cheaper, but the conversion costs may not make sense if oil continues to hold at this lower price. Savvy home owners are advised to calculate the conversion costs of switching to gas heat and then making their decision based on how long it would take to recoup those costs through fuel savings based on the price difference between natural gas and fuel oil.
Benefits Of Oil Furnaces
- Oil furnaces provide greater heat per BTU than other sources of heat
- Oil furnaces are easily serviced by the fuel delivery company
- Oil furnaces cost less than gas furnaces
Drawbacks of Oil Furnaces
- Fuel must be delivered to an on-site tank and stored
- Maintenance is more extensive than for gas heat
- Lower efficiency than gas and fuel prices are higher than gas
Gas Furnace Benefits
- Natural gas furnaces are more efficient and have lower fuel prices
- Natural gas furnaces require little maintenance
- Natural gas furnaces are quieter and cleaner than oil furnaces
Gas Furnace Drawbacks
- Your home must be in an area where gas lines are available
- Gas provides less heat per BTU than oil
- Gas furnaces are more expensive than oil furnaces
Whether you choose to use gas or oil for your heating needs you should contact local qualified HVAC installers and get estimates on both gas and oil furnaces before making a final decision. It’s important that you look into whether there are any government rebates or tax incentives in addition to commercial rebates that should be taken into consideration. You are making a financial investment in your home, make sure you consider all factors.