We’re writing this blog post during the first full week of summer, and the last thing we want to do is distract you from thoughts of fireworks, cookouts, and relaxing by the beach.
Having said that...what will your home heating bill look like this winter? It’s not too early to think about these things. This is the time of year in which utility companies begin offering customers the chance to lock-in prices through payment plans.
If you’re looking for energy efficient heating systems for your home, and choosing between oil and gas furnaces, choose wisely. Both types of heat have their advantages and drawbacks, so it’s important to study your options before you decide.
Oil heat has traditionally been much more expensive than gas heat, with annual heating bills in the $2,000-$2,500 range. And the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects households that use heating oil to spend 38 percent more this winter than they did last year, due to a rise in crude oil prices.
Heating oil is expensive because most of it is imported from overseas, meaning prices are subject to the various influence of the international market. Yet customers continue to choose oil heat – particularly in colder climates – because it provides more heat per BTU than other fuels. And if you live in a remote area, oil allows you access to heat without having to tap into a utility company, although this means you’ll need to have a storage tank.
Remember that oil furnaces will need more maintenance than gas furnaces due to dirt and soot build-up, so expect to spend a few hundred dollars each year on chimney cleanings and filter changes.
While a gas furnace might cost more to install, fuel prices are typically lower and less likely to fluctuate than oil, because most natural gas comes from North America.
Gas is a far more common form of home heating, with about 50 percent of American households using it compared to about eight percent getting their heat from oil.
These furnaces require little maintenance, and connect directly to the gas company, meaning you won’t need to have a storage tank on your property.
Gas furnaces have a higher heating efficiency than oil furnaces, and are quieter and cleaner. However, your home must be in an area where gas is available.
Annual gas bills are typically about a third of what a yearly oil bill would be, about $700. And the EIA says that although homes with gas heat might spend more this winter, it will be a smaller increase – 22 percent – than the one facing homes with oil heat.
A gas furnace also allows you to attach a permanent generator to your home that runs off your natural gas line. If your home loses power, you’ll still be able to operate your generator without having to worry about fuel shortages.
When shopping for a new furnace, pay attention to its AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating, which will tell you how efficient the furnace is compared to other models on the market. The higher the score, the greater the efficiency.
Most oil furnaces have an AFUE rating between 80 and 90 percent, while gas furnaces carry a rating between 89 and 98 percent.
It’s also worth exploring Pennsylvania’s Home Heating Equipment Rebate Program, which offers customers rebates for energy-efficient gas and oil furnaces.
If you’re looking for a new furnace, and want to transition from oil to natural gas, All Seasons Comfort Control can help.
Our heating repair and service team is ready to help keep your home warm and comfortable this winter with our complete selection of American Standard heaters, the country’s number one brand.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about our heating options for your home, while the weather is still warm.