Whether you’re constructing a new home from scratch or your old furnace has decided to fail, you have many options when it comes to replacing it. Two of the most common types of furnaces that are used throughout the country are fueled by gas and oil.
What Is the Difference Between the Two Options?
Before you can determine which type furnace is best for your home, you need to understand the main differences between gas and oil furnaces. Gas furnaces are powered by natural gas that is pumped into your home via a line that is connected to your natural gas supplier. This allows a constant stream of gas to burn in your furnace whenever you need it.
A furnace that runs on heating oil requires an additional storage tank. You’ll have to purchase the heating oil from a heating oil supplier and store it inside your tank. The tank is connected to your furnace so that it can draw on the oil when it needs to create heat. Unlike natural gas furnaces, a heating oil furnace will require that you constantly monitor the level of oil in your tank and have it refilled before it runs out.
When it comes to determining the best one for your home, there are a few different factors that will need to be taken into consideration.
Where Do You Live?
Probably the most significant factor that you need to weigh when it comes to determining the type of furnace you have installed in your home is where you reside. The price of natural gas tends to be much cheaper than the price of heating oil. On the other hand, natural gas lines don’t run to every area, especially those that are rural. You’re going to want to purchase a system that is able to operate on whatever fuel is in high supply in your area, as that’s likely going to be the cheapest option.
If you live in a region of the country where you’re able to hook up to a natural gas supply, then a furnace that runs on natural gas is going to be your best bet. However, if you live in a region of the country that doesn’t have a connection to natural gas, then you’re likely going to need to invest in a furnace that burns heating oil.
Your Existing Equipment
It’s important to note that if you’re just replacing a malfunctioning furnace, it’s likely going to be the cheapest to invest in a furnace that burns the type of fuel that you’re already set up for. For example, if you already have a natural gas hookup for your old furnace, then it’s going to be cheaper overall just to purchase a natural gas furnace as opposed to switching over to an oil-burning furnace that requires an on-site storage tank.
Key Benefits of Natural Gas Furnaces
With natural gas furnaces being some of the most popular options across the nation, it’s no surprise that they can provide homeowners with many key benefits. One great benefit of gas furnaces is that they tend to require less maintenance and repairs over their lifetime as compared to heating oil furnaces. Gas furnaces also offer more reliability since the gas supply lines are properly maintained by local utility companies. You never have to worry about running out of gas as you might with heating oil.
Biggest Drawbacks of Gas Furnaces
Just as with any type of heating system, it is important to understand any drawbacks that come along with it so that you can properly weigh them in your decision of which heating system to purchase. When it comes to natural gas, it poses a potential risk for gas leaks in your home. While natural gas companies do inject a sulfur scent into the natural gas to help you detect when there are leaks, you still have to worry about identifying the leak and getting it fixed.
Another notable drawback of natural gas furnaces is that they do not last as long as other types of furnaces. On average, a gas furnace will last between 10 and 15 years.
Key Benefits of Heating Oil
One great benefit of heating oil furnaces is that they can burn at a higher temperature per input unit. This makes each unit of heating oil more efficient than that of natural gas. Instead of investing in a large natural gas furnace, you can invest in a smaller-sized oil furnace that can produce the same number of BTUs per hour. When it comes to safety, heating oil is the clear winner as it doesn’t produce harmful gas fumes that could be dangerous to your family if inhaled.
Another great benefit of an oil furnace is that it allows you to purchase heating oil at a set price whenever you choose. For example, you may find that heating oil prices decrease during the summer months. When you have an on-site storage tank, you can purchase your heating oil during the summer when it’s cheaper before the winter weather hits. With natural gas, you’re susceptible to whatever price the utility company is going to charge by the time that you need to use their fuel to heat your home.
Biggest Drawbacks of Heating Oil
One of the biggest drawbacks of investing in a heating oil furnace is that you also have to purchase and keep an on-site storage tank. Typically, the cost of heating oil is more expensive than the cost of the same amount of natural gas. It’s also important to note that furnaces that run on heating oil are going to require more regular maintenance and cleaning than furnaces that run on natural gas. This is simply due to the different ways that each fuel burns and how dirty oil is over natural gas.
A Quick Look at AFUE Ratings
When you decide to purchase a new furnace, you’re going to want to take a look at its efficiency rating. The higher the unit’s efficiency, the cheaper it’s going to be to run. All furnaces are given in an AFUE rating which stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. A unit’s AFUE is very similar to miles per gallon for your vehicle.
It shows you what percentage of heat is produced for every dollar that you have to spend on fuel that is consumed. For example, if the heating unit has an AFUE rating of 90%, this means that 90% of each dollar you spend on fuel is burned to create heat while 10% is lost in the heating process. Typical heating oil furnaces will have an AFUE rating between 80% and 90%. Natural gas furnaces, on the other hand, will have a usual AFUE rating of between 90% and 98%. This means that natural gas furnaces operate more efficiently than furnaces fueled by heating oil.
Outstanding Local Heating Services
Matheson Heating, Air, & Plumbing offers excellent heating services for the entire Commerce, MI region. We’re also available for all of your cooling, plumbing, and indoor air quality needs. We perform the complete range of installation, maintenance, and repairs. Simply give us a call today to get the professional help you need with your heating system.