Heating oil is quite expensive. I think that gas is probably cheaper but you would have to replace the tank and lines. I think that gas companies will let you "use" a tank if you contract to buy from them, or if the house is in a location that has city gas, you will never have to refill a tank at all.
With rising fuel prices I would recommend a high efficiency electric heat pump over gas or oil. These can be used for cooling as well as heating.
Which is better- Oil or Gas furnace?
Just curious- my husband and I are looking at a house to buy. It currently has an oil furnace- I'm assuming it's very old. If it needs to be replaced, would it be better to switch to a gas frunace, and if so- is it an easy transition? What does the transition involve? Thanks in advance.
PS- We live in PA.
PS- We live in PA.
- A house with an Oil furnace does not mean that the unit is old. In fact, many people are switching back to oil and electric heat pumps due to the outragous natural gas prices. If you need to replace it, choosing which fuel to use is a tough call. I live in southeastern PA and I have all natural gas (furnace,range,clothes dryer). My electric/gas bill for a 2800sq ft home runs anywhere from $350-$400/mo summer & winter, and in the $200's during the season change.
If you are looking into converting from oil to gas, the largest expense will be having the gas line run from the street to your home if one isn't already there. When PECO first offered natural gas, they would do the connection to the home for no charge when they had numerous customers on the street requesting the gas service. These days, most houses have gas, and those that don't will pay heafty charges for the connection. The furnace conversion is fairly simple, but it needs to be done by a professional.
I personally like natural gas the best, only because it is a cleaner burning fuel & you don't have to have a large storage tank(for oil) in your basement or buried in your yard. I agree with the above post that a electric heat pump might be your best bet. Do some research on the internet & make an informed decision.10
- An oil furnace typically requires more maintenance. Fuel oil is normally more expensive than natural gas. Most oil furnaces are not as efficient as the condensing gas furnaces. Transition depends on your local area and whether you use natural gas or propane. For more info, check out my source.10
- Here's something else to think about is the insulation in the house, is there enough and what type is it? There's also the idea of solar power to heat your house and if your thinking of Electric Heat Pumps see if you can suppliment their power with a wind mill power source. may help with the cost also it's Green Energy.00
- Your heating system functions according to the insulated performance of the exterior walls, floor and ceilings. If the building is dysfunctional, any heating system has to work overtime.
Did you know that buildings compliance with codes related to energy function is never verified? Be careful and do your homework.
I do very specialized building inspections for engineers or owners and there is more for you to think about in the purchase of your home. Go to http://www.thermoguy.com/globalwarming-h... to see advanced thermal imaging of furnaces trying to heat buildings.
For the summer function of your building, do you have trees, shade, light colors on the east/west solar exposed sides of the building? If the home has air conditioning and it is used lots, look out. Air conditioning is in fact refrigeration and the equivalent of leaving your fridge door open to treat the heat indoors. Go to http://www.thermoguy.com/globalwarming-h... to see what is going on beyond your visible spectrum.
All of the things I am talking about here are health related, be careful.00
- To convert to gas (natural or propane) can be expensive. Standard furnaces are 80% afue (efficient) and so is oil. When you get into the 90%+ range the cost of equipment gets quite expensive. Also, gas and oil are not equal, oil is not that much more expensive but 1 gal of oil equals 140,000btus whereas 1 therm of gas equals 100,000btus. You get more heat out of oil. In my professional opinion, stick with oil.00
- Oil furnaces are still sold and installed today. However oil fired furnaces still leave an 'oily' odor and not every HVAC company has personnel trained to service them. Oil is also the most expensive furnace to buy and operate.
Natural gas im most areas is still the best buy and furnaces that run on natural gas seem to last longer (assuming their serviced regularly). You also have more choices on operating efficiencies when selecting natural gas.
Propane units are the same as natural gas but they burn hotter and may require a special chimney liner.
If you buy the house be prepared to have all the duct work and chimney cleaned prior to having a gas fired unit installed.
The transition from oil to either natural gas or propane is not difficult for an experienced HVAC company. Call and get 2 or 3 estimates and have them explain the benefits of a two-stage or 2 stage with variable speed blowers verses a single stage unit. Modest efficiency furnaces are 80 AFUE and hi efficient models normally start at 90% AFUE and can to as high as 96%.
Look for reliable brand names like American Standard, Trane, Amana, Tempstar, Carrier. They all have good warranties. Stay away from Janitrol and the cheap Goodman products.
The HVAC contractor should perform Heat/Cooling load calculations to determine the proper size units for the house. Square footage alone will not provide correct sizing.
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