With fall in full swing and winter right around the corner, homeowners are preparing to fire up their heating systems. For those who have an oil-based system, they are also preparing to pay high prices and deal with the inconveniences of oil delivery.
In fact, last winter, homeowners with oil heat paid approximately $2,000 to heat their homes while those who heated with natural gas paid less than $900. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, since 2002, oil heat has averaged 30% to 50% more than gas every year.
If your heating system is due to be replaced or you are seeking a cheaper, more efficient and energy conscious solution, converting from oil to gas might make sense. The following will answer some common questions concerning making the switch.
Can I Heat With Natural Gas?
Unlike heating with oil, which is delivered by truck and pumped into an oil tank, natural gas is piped directly into your home by your utility company. If you heat with oil but have a gas appliance like a range or clothes dryer, you might already have a gas line to your home. If you don’t have a line, you can contact your utility company and arrange for a gas line and meter to be installed.
Does the Equipment Cost More than Oil and Is it, Safer?
In general, gas heating equipment is cheaper than oil equipment. In some cases, oil equipment is more than double the cost of gas. If you are purchasing a high-efficiency gas unit, you may even be entitled to a significant tax credit.
As for safety, oil poses considerable safety risks compared to gas. Oil tanks can leak or can be spilled during the filling process, causing ground contamination. In some cases where an oil leak has occurred, environmental cleanup is required along with EPA testing. Cleanup carries with it a high price tag which the homeowner must bear. In comparison, natural gas is generally a safer alternative.
Which is Better for the Environment?
Heating oil releases carbon monoxide into the air when burned. On the other hand, natural gas is safer to burn as it releases 29% less carbon dioxide than oil. As a result, natural gas generates less sulfur dioxide, less particulate matter, and less nitrogen oxide than oil.
Is It Worth it For Me to Convert?
While some may shy away from the converting because of the upfront cost, most homeowners will make up the difference in annual savings in less than 5 years! Making the switch from oil to gas just makes sense. It is more efficient, costs much less annually, and is much better for the environment.
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