If you’re one of those rare homeowners in the Savannah area with experience using heating oil as a fuel, you may wonder what the benefits of a gas vs. oil furnace are in this region. Oil furnaces are far more common in northeastern states where winter temperatures are often below freezing. Heating oil, a form of diesel, has more British thermal units (BTUs) than natural gas, making it a viable choice for faster heating in cold climates. Here are some pointers for deciding between gas and oil.
Fuel Availability and Storage
Natural gas furnaces are much more common in the Savannah area, so you may have gas lines running to your property already. If you opt for an oil furnace, you’ll have to install an above-ground tank for storage and may need homeowner association and zoning approvals.
Fuel Cost and Efficiency
Fuel oil comes from crude oil, whose prices are volatile based on supply and demand. If you make your selection of a gas vs. oil furnace based on fuel cost, natural gas will probably be your best choice, since the U.S. has an ample supply of natural gas. The U.S. still relies on crude oil imports, even though domestic production of crude has increased in recent years.
Both natural gas and oil furnaces have to meet minimum efficiency standards established by the U.S. government. Minimum standards for both are similar, as are models with the highest efficiency.
Maintenance and Longevity
An oil furnace requires more maintenance than gas systems, but this maintenance is typically included in the cost of the oil. Each time the supplier refills your tank, he will change the oil filter and clean the soot from the chimney. Natural gas burns fairly clean and such a heating system will perform efficiently with annual maintenance performed by an HVAC professional.
An oil furnace costs less initially and tends to last longer. However, the savings with oil systems are almost always diminished by high fuel costs. While that isn’t as much of a problem with the current cost of oil, just remember that the market often fluctuates, and it may become an issue again in the future.
If you’d like more help deciding between a gas vs. oil furnace, contact Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ve proudly provided HVAC services for Savannah area homeowners since 1986.
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