Oil Heat vs. Natural Gas: Which is Right for Your Home?

heating fuel philadelphiaAccording to Scientific American, about 8% of homes in the U.S. are equipped with oil heaters. The majority of those home are located right here in the Northeast, mostly due to the fact that homes in the area (yes, that includes Philadelphia) tend to be older and were built during a time when heating oil was the most efficient and inexpensive way to heat a home. These days, oil prices are higher, leading many to replace their old oil units with new natural gas furnaces. If you’re thinking about making the switch, here are a few pros and cons of each type of heat to help you make the right decision:

Pros and Cons of Oil Heat

  • Pro – Oil heaters give off more heat per BTU, meaning you’ll burn less oil for an equivalent amount of heat compared to natural gas.
  • Pro – In general, a new oil heater costs less than a natural gas heater.
  • Con – Oil heaters require regular maintenance like replacing oil filters and cleaning soot buildup.
  • Con – Heating oil prices are subject to substantial price fluctuations from year to year; also, oil must be delivered to your home and stored in a large tank that takes up space on your property.

Pros and Cons of Natural Gas Heat

  • Pro – Natural gas heaters run more efficiently, meaning your gas bills will likely be lower than your oil bills for the same time period.
  • Pro – There is very little maintenance required for a natural gas heater, meaning you’ll save money on service calls.
  • Pro – A natural gas furnace runs cleaner and more quietly than an oil heater.
  • Con – A new natural gas heater costs more than an oil heater and there will be a number of expenses associated with making the conversion from oil to natural gas.
  • Con – Natural gas installation may not be available in all areas

Whether you decide to install a new natural gas heater or just repair or replace your old oil unit, Drainworks Plumbing and Heating should be your first call. Our licensed, insured, and registered Master Plumbers have the knowledge and experience to ensure that your heater conversion or repair goes smoothly and is performed properly. We serve all of Philadelphia, so don’t hesitate to give us a call; we even offer 24-hour emergency plumbing service, so if you’ve got an issue that can’t wait until morning, call (215) 333-8780 and we’ll send someone out as soon as possible. Our emergency service is available 7 days a week, 365 days a year so please call us even if it’s an evening, weekend, or holiday.