Heating Showdown: Oil vs. Gas Furnace

When it comes time to upgrade your existing heating system, you’ll quickly discover just how many options there are on the market today. A frequent debate among homeowners and industry professionals alike is whether an oil or gas furnace is better, but since there is no definitive answer to the question, we’ll let you decide for yourself.

Deciding On a Furnace for Your South Jersey Home

The time to decide which option is right for you is before you buy—not after. Do your homework prior to purchasing and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the current cost of heating oil vs. natural gas?
  • How readily available is each source of fuel?
  • What is the volume of the rooms in my home?
  • What is the required heat output volume for my home during heating season?
  • What is the estimated volume of fuel used for each type of furnace?
  • If converting from one fuel source to the other, what is the cost of conversion?

Additional factors should weigh in on your decision other than cost, but when you consider your new furnace should last between 20 and 30 years, a significant difference in operational cost over time can add up.

Oil Furnaces Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Initial cost. An oil furnace traditionally costs less to purchase than a gas furnace.
  • Higher BTU. A flame produced by oil heat burns 300 degrees hotter than one produced by natural gas. Because there is more heat per BTU (British Thermal Unit), it takes less oil to produce the same amount of heat than it does with other fuel sources such as gas, or electricity.
  • Safety. Heating oil is non-explosive, and can only ignite at temperatures over 140 degrees; a lit match dropped in to a tank of heating oil will instantly go out.

Cons

  • Cost of fuel. While the initial purchase price of an oil furnace may be lower, operational costs are likely to be higher.
  • Inconvenient. Heating oil must be stored on-site in a large tank, and it’s the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure there is an adequate supply.

Gas Furnaces Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Convenient. Fuel is piped directly in to your home and is available on demand.
  • Lower operational costs. Natural gas is currently less expensive than heating oil, in most parts of the country.
  • Quick heat. A gas furnace can heat your home within minutes.

Cons

  • Initial cost. Purchasing a high efficiency gas furnace requires a significantly larger investment than an oil furnace.
  • Shorter lifespan. The average lifespan of gas furnace is between 15 and 20 years, compared with an oil furnace which can lasts upwards of 25 to 30 years. The longevity and efficiency of each however, is dependent on regular maintenance practices, cleaning, and quality of installation.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of which type of furnace you choose, McAllister is a trusted name in oil and gas furnace purchase, installation, service, repair and maintenance. For help deciding between an oil or gas fueled furnace for your South Jersey home, give us a call at 877-665-7577, or contact us online to schedule an appointment.