Comparing gas vs. oil furnaces to determine the best replacement for your current heating system often rests on the fuel availability and a personal preference for heating. Because it’s so widely available, the majority of heating systems in the U.S. use natural gas.
When you’re choosing between one or the other, these factors are likely to come into play:
- Fuel availability – If you have gas to your property already, choosing a gas furnace may be the better option, since it’ll save the expenses associated with having an oil storage tank on your property. Unlike fuel oil, gas is delivered in underground pipes on demand.
- Cost of fuel – Most natural gas supplies originate in the U.S. or Canada, while most of the fuel oil is imported. The price of natural gas is usually relatively stable compared to imported oil, whose price is influenced by the impact of worldwide supply and demand.
- Thermal preferences – Often the decision between a gas vs. oil furnace is made on the basis of comfort. Fuel oil burns hotter than gas and will warm your home faster than natural gas.
- Price and efficiency – Oil furnaces are typically less expensive than gas furnaces and usually last longer. The price of both is influenced by their annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), a rating that describes how efficiently the system uses fuel. Higher AFUE ratings for either will cut the cost of heating your home.A system that has an AFUE of 83 converts 83 percent of the fuel it uses for direct heating, while wasting 17 percent, most of which goes up the chimney as heated water vapor. An 80 AFUE system wastes 20 percent of the fuel it uses.
- Maintenance – A gas furnace burns fairly clean and may only need annual professional maintenance. However, an oil furnace requires much more attention and most oil providers build maintenance into the cost of fuel, changing the oil filters and removing soot whenever they refill the oil tank.
For professional help comparing gas vs. oil furnaces, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. We provide top-notch HVAC services to greater Cincinnati homeowners.