When to Choose Natural Gas over Oil for Heating

October 1, 2013

Are you trying to decide on the best heating option for a new residence? Perhaps you are on the market for a new home in Mount Pleasant, SC and need to know more about the benefits of natural gas vs. oil as you explore potential properties. Maybe gas lines are becoming available in your neighborhood and you are thinking about retrofitting your home with a gas furnace. There are both pros and cons for each type of system, meaning that you need to prioritize issues like cost and comfort as you research.

Equipment and Access

Your priorities may be affected most by your current situation. If you are in a home that is heated by an oil furnace, for example, then the cost of a gas retrofit will include:

  • Connection fees with the utility company to install lines and a meter to your home
  • Contractor fees to run lines from your meter to your heating equipment
  • Purchase and installation of a gas furnace

While there can be a large investment upfront to switch from oil to gas, you can see huge benefits over time. Oil heating costs can be nearly four times as expensive as gas heating costs over the course of the winter. A retrofit could save you thousands of dollars in just a few years. Gas equipment tends to require less maintenance to continue operating efficiently as well. Annual optimization is usually sufficient to obtain maximum performance.

Prospective home buyers will equally value the lower costs of gas heating. If you are concerned with issues like high utility bills, then it pays to keep your search for a great property restricted to those homes that offer gas heating.

When Is an Oil Furnace a Better Choice?

While oil heating can be more expensive because of high oil prices and market volatility, it’s important to know that the fuel burns hotter than natural gas. Heat output is measured in British thermal units, BTUs, and one BTU represents the heat produced by a single wood match. A high-efficiency gas furnace produced by Carrier has a capacity of up to 120,000 BTU, while a high-efficiency oil furnace from the manufacturer has an output capacity of up to 154,000 BTU. This can be an important factor in especially cold regions. However, the winter temperatures in Mount Pleasant, SC tend to be less severe, meaning that gas provides sufficient comfort levels for most homes.

Access may be the most important reason in opting for oil. When gas isn’t available, oil is often the only alternative. If your prospective home meets your needs in all other matters, you may not mind the fact that you will have oil heating equipment. If you have an oil system in your existing home and lack the financial resources to connect to newly available gas lines, you may need to continue with your existing system for the time being.

Berkeley Heating & Air Conditioning can provide you with location-specific insight as you consider your options. As a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer, we can help you explore systems that fit your needs. From heating maintenance to free estimates on new equipment, our experts are ready to assist when you contact our office.

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