What’s the Difference Between Oil and Gas Furnaces?
Choosing between a gas and oil furnace isn’t easy. When you’re comparing the two, remember that new furnaces have an expected lifespan of 20 to 30 years, so the decision impacts your comfort and heating costs well into the future. You can make a wiser choice by learning about the key differences between gas and oil furnaces, then weighing the pros and cons of each type of heating based on your situation and needs.
Furnace combustion efficiency is measured by an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating, and a higher rating indicates better efficiency. Gas furnaces are available with AFUE ratings between 89 and 98 percent, while oil furnaces range between 80 and 90 percent. Overall, gas furnaces are more fuel efficient.
Natural gas furnaces can cost 10 to 25 percent more than a comparably-sized oil model. Another factor to consider is the cost of having a gas hookup and meter installed in your home.
Oil furnaces put out more heat per British thermal unit (BTU) than gas furnaces, so they produce more warmth for the amount of fuel burned.
Heating oil is readily available for home delivery from a number of suppliers. If you live in an urban or suburban community you can easily connect to the gas main under your street, but that’s not always an option in more rural areas.
Heating a home with oil can cost 30 to 50 percent more than with natural gas. Heating oil costs are tied to volatile world crude prices, too, while natural gas prices are more stable since it’s produced in North America.
An oil furnace needs a thorough annual cleaning to get rid of soot and debris buildup. In contrast, a gas furnace requires less intensive maintenance, because the fuel burns cleanly.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues – so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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