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Oil Heat vs. Gas Heat: Pros & Cons

When upgrading your heating system, you have two options to choose from – oil heating and gas heating. The two carry the potential to keep your property as warm as you would want it. Nevertheless, each has pros and cons, which you need to take into consideration before making your final decision.

Before going to shop for a furnace, the first thing you need to look at is the efficiency rating, famously referred to as Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). This rating measures the efficiency of your furnace’s combustion and a high rating shows high efficiency. Gas furnaces have an efficiency rating between 89% and 98% while oil furnaces have lower ratings between 80% and 90%. As seen, gas furnaces are more efficient. However, their efficiency comes at an extra cost, making gas furnaces more expensive than oil furnaces.

Oil Heat

Pros

  • Offers Maximum Heat

Oil burns hotter than natural gas, delivering more heat per BTU compared to other heating sources.

  • Less Upfront Cost

Heating furnaces that use oil cost 10% – 25% less than the ones that use natural gas.

  • Safer to Store and Use

Despite the fact that oil is flammable, it will not explode in case of an accident. In addition, it does not produce carbon monoxide.

  • Inhalation of Oil Fumes is not Fatal

Unlike gas, which is widely referred to as ‘the silent killer’, oil does not produce any harmful gases like carbon monoxide. This makes it safe for home use.

  • System Malfunctions Send Clear Alerts

In case a furnace using oil heat breaks down, it will send out clear warning signs such as odors, smoke, and soot.

  • Oil Heat is Dependable

Heating oil is dependable because it allows you to control your personal supply and choose how to conserve and use it. If you are an automatic delivery customer, you will never run out of oil.

  • Ideal for People in Remote Areas

If you live in areas without access to natural gas lines, oil offers a great alternative.

Cons

  • Higher Fuel Cost

Heating oil is more expensive than natural gas.

  • Inconvenient

Since it does not have a pipeline infrastructure, you have to store the oil in a tank and refill it regularly.

  • Requires High Maintenance

Frequent repairs are needed to clean soot and dirt.

  • Requires the Use of Additives to Reduce the Risk of Freezing

In freezing temperatures, heating oil will gel. Therefore, additives are necessary to keep your furnace functioning correctly.

Gas Heat

Pros

  • Gas is Cheaper than Oil (Fuel)

When it comes to the cost of fuel, gas is cheaper than oil. Oil prices seem more volatile and subject to demand and supply, natural gas comes with a more stable supply and demand. This is could probably be the reason why over 50% American homes are gas heated compared to only 8% with oil heat.

  • Requires Little Maintenance

Since gas burns cleaner than heating oil, a furnace using gas as fuel requires little maintenance.

  • Gas is Nontoxic and Nonpoisonous

Since gas is nontoxic, it cannot contaminate soil or groundwater if it leaks. Therefore, gas tanks can be installed underground and cause no harm.

Cons

  • Produces Lesser BTU

Gas fewer BTUs compared to heating oil.

  • Furnaces that Use Gas are Expensive

Gas-propelled furnaces are more expensive than those that use oil.

  • Does Not Send Out Warning Signs

Unlike oil heating, gas heating does not send out warning signs like odors and smoke when there is a malfunction to show carbon monoxide release. If gases are emitted without warning, this can be fatal to the residents of the property.

  • Requires Safety Precautions

Since gas is combustible in air, special safety precautions have to be adhered to.

  • Negative Effects on the Environment

Gas is extracted through a method called fracking, which has negative effects on the environment.

When looking to purchase a new heating system, you need to consider the fuel source it uses. While some people swear by oil systems, others contest that gas is the best. In the end, both help make your home feel comfortable. With the aforementioned advantages and disadvantages of each, you should now make an informed choice based on your budget and needs. Nevertheless, if you are in search of a cost-effective, safe, and reliable way to heat your house, an oil furnace could be your best option. On the other hand, if you are developing a new property and want to upgrade the furnace with existing ductwork, you should consider working with a gas furnace.