Natural Gas Compared to Oil

July 18th, 2016

Two of the most popular fuels for home heating are natural gas and oil. If you’re in the market for a new furnace, you might be wondering which fuel is best for your needs. Compare natural gas and oil here to help you make an informed decision.

Upfront vs. Operating Costs

If you’ve already done a little research, you know that oil furnaces tend to cost about 10 to 25 percent less than comparable natural gas models. This may tempt you to choose oil over natural gas, but don’t forget about operating costs.

Check the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating, which indicates how efficiently the equipment converts fuel into heat for your home. You’ll discover that modern oil furnaces tend to be rated between 80 and 90 AFUE, while gas furnaces are more around 90 to 98 AFUE. With a maximum rating of 100, it’s clear that natural gas furnaces are as efficient as it gets. Plus, because natural gas tends to cost less than oil thanks to its domestic production, choosing this fuel saves you money over time.

Winner: Natural gas

Environmental Considerations

If you have environmental concerns, the fact that natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel available appeals to you. Increased furnace efficiency further reduces greenhouse gases released when you heat your home.

Winner: Natural gas

Maintenance Costs

Oil is a dirtier fuel than natural gas, so the equipment and chimney require more maintenance. This can cost a few hundred dollars every year. Natural gas furnaces also require maintenance, but the task of cleaning and preparing the furnace for another heating season is less labor-intense, costing you less.

Winner: Natural gas

Heat Production

When you place your hand over the supply register of a home heated by oil, you’ll notice the air is warmer than the air produced by a natural gas furnace. This more powerful heat makes oil a good choice for people living in the Northern United States and Canada.

Winner: Oil

Fuel Storage Needs

If you live in a remote location, oil is a lifesaving way to heat your home off the grid. However, if your home is grid-tied, it’s more convenient to skip the storage tank and enjoy a direct connection with the utility company.

Winner: Tie, depending on your circumstances

If you’re interested in locking in an affordable natural gas rate, please contact UGI EnergyLink or call us at 800-797-0712.