Natural Gas VS Oil
With temperatures dipping into the single digits here in the Northeast—and below 0° F in many other places—shivering homeowners are discussing the efficiency and cost of heating a home, with the debate inevitably centering around the question of which is better, gas or oil?
Some people swear by oil heat. Others are equally enthusiastic about natural gas. I have experience with both types of furnaces: Our home uses gas, while my in-laws have an oil furnace. For those who are considering a new furnace, here are some pros and cons about your options.
The first thing to look at when shopping for a furnace is the efficiency rating, commonly called Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). The rating measures the efficiency of a machine’s combustion, where a higher rating signals a higher efficiency.
Most new oil furnaces have AFUE ratings between 80% and 90%, while their gas counterparts boast ratings between 89% and 98%. Although gas furnaces are more efficient than oil furnaces, that efficiency comes at a price—gas units are typically priced 10% to 25% higher than the same size oil furnace. All new furnaces are substantially more efficient than their counterparts of ten or more years ago, some by as much as 30%.
• Natural gas — 0 per household, 13.3% increase over the previous winter
• Heating oil — $2, 558 per household, 22.5% increase
• Propane (Midwest) — $1, 448 per household, 5.9% decrease
• Electricity — $964 per household, 7.3% increase
While oil prices are more volatile and subject to the vagaries of global supply and demand, natural gas production is centered in the U.S. and Canada, securing a more stable supply. Perhaps because of this difference, about 50% of American homes are heated with gas today, versus about 8% of homes with oil heat.
What are the pros and cons of using natural gas vs oil in the home
Constant fuel supply connected to the home = pro
Natural Gas burns cleaner, less critical need for annual service = pro
Natural Gas burners are quieter than oil burners = pro
No fuel tank = pro
No fuel filter = pro
It doesn`t often happen but NG can explode and level your house = con