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Oil, Propane, or Natural Gas: Which Is Best to Heat Your Home?

Posted: December 15, 2018

A thermostat with a money symbol representing hvac prices through Black Bear Fuel Oil, Plumbing, Heating and AC in Harris, NYWhen replacing a home’s heating system, homeowners have several potential options, including oil, propane, or natural gas. For those in the midst of making this important heating service decision, this comparison will help weigh the choices based on home size, budget, and lifestyle.

Ins and Outs of Oil

Oil heat remains a mainstay among homeowners who appreciate its ability to heat spaces more quickly using less fuel. That’s because oil burns about 300 degrees hotter than natural gas. Because it doesn’t produce carbon monoxide or carry the risk of explosion, it’s safer to store and use than other types of home heating fuel. An oil heating system also has lower upfront costs than natural gas. Although it carries ongoing maintenance costs like refilling a tank, many heating service providers have convenient delivery and affordable payment plans.

Propane Pros and Cons

Propane furnaces are available as central heating units, wall units, or a combination of the two. While the initial cost of setting up a new propane furnace can be costly, homeowners can offset this cost with federal, local, and state tax credits. Propane heat also lasts longer and has a low overall cost of maintenance compared with other systems. Propane furnaces burn clean—meaning they don’t compromise interior air quality. The seasonal cost of heating a home with propane is generally less than with oil heat but more expensive than with natural gas.

Yes or No to Natural Gas

Natural gas tends to be the most affordable of these options, with the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) reporting that the average seasonal cost of natural gas heating is currently about 70 percent less per household than for households with oil heat. Gas also produces lower carbon emissions than oil heat. However, natural gas furnaces are more expensive than oil heat systems and produce lower BTUs, meaning it may take longer to heat the home to the ideal temperature.

When it’s time to replace your home’s heating system, talk with an experienced heating service provider who can help determine the best fuel source for your needs. This depends on your personal preferences as well as budget and existing home infrastructure. If you’re in Sullivan, Eastern Ulster, or Northern Orange County, contact Black Bear Fuel to learn about heating services available to you.