Together, gas and oil furnaces make up over 60 percent of the heating systems in American residences. However, the decision about what sort of fuel is utilized in which home is often made on the basis of location.
Of the 8 million homes heated by fuel oil, over 6 million are located here in the Northeast. In some other areas of the country, natural gas reigns supreme because of its wide availability.
In regions where both are part of the installed energy infrastructure, here are some of the relative merits and drawbacks of gas and oil furnaces.
Oil Heating Advantages
- Oil furnaces actually produce more heat than gas. Each gallon of fuel oil contains 139,000 BTUs of heating energy.
- The upfront purchase price of oil furnaces is usually less than gas furnaces.
- Routine maintenance is usually covered under the contract with the fuel supplier.
- Fuel oil is stable and safe in storage.
Drawbacks to Oil Heating
- Fuel oil must be stored onsite in a large storage tank either in a basement or underground. Tanks require upkeep, and a leaking tank must be removed.
- Installation and maintenance of fuel oil systems is more complex. The system incorporates plumbing fill lines to the tank, supply lines to the furnace, as well as the burner pump to convey oil and filters that must be changed.
Advantages of Gas Heating
- Gas furnaces are more efficient and deliver higher annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings. High-efficiency gas units provide AFUE above 90 percent.
- Installation of gas is simpler and more straightforward. In standard units, only a single gas line and one vent is required.
- Maintenance requirements of gas furnaces is low and generally limited to once-a-year checkup.
Gas Furnace Drawbacks
- There’s a higher initial price, though high-efficiency units save on operating costs. Keep in mind this usually take many years to compensate for initial expense.
- Gas isn’t available or inexpensive in all regions of the country.
V is for Victory in making the right choice of gas and oil furnaces. For more information, contact us at Victory · Heating · Air Conditioning · Plumbing.
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