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Should I Convert from Oil to Gas Heating for My Home?

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furnace2Tired of having to pay a truckload of money to fill up your oil tank? Thinking about switching to natural gas but confused by the seemingly conflicting information out there?

This article is for you.

We’ll walk you through the pros and cons of each of these heating fuels and talk about which we think is best for New Jersey homes.

Is natural gas really cheaper than oil?

Looking at the cost of a gallon of oil vs. the cost of an equivalent amount of gas, gas is definitely cheaper. You can use this calculator from Elizabethtown Gas to see how much you could save by switching to natural gas.

Of course, you also need to factor in the cost of converting your home from oil heating to natural gas.

You’ll need a certified contractor to run gas in your home and the gas company to hook your home up. Plus, you’ll need to purchase a new heating system for your home. With these updates, it may take some time for the oil to gas conversion to pay for itself.

Which heating option is better for the environment?

If you look at an oil company’s website, they’ll tell you that oil is better for the environment. Likewise, gas companies will claim natural gas is better. The truth is, both options have some positive and negatives when it comes to their effect on the environment.

For example, natural gas:

  • Burns nearly 100% of its fuel
  • Doesn’t leave any leftover residue, strong smells or soot that clogs up your chimney
  • Produces fewer emissions of sulfur, carbon, and nitrogen than oil
  • Leaves almost no ash particles after burning
  • Eliminates the need to store oil in a large tank that could leak

But it also:

  • Is extremely flammable and can explode
  • Can produce deadly fumes (carbon monoxide) without any warning

Whereas heating oil:

  •  Is not explosive – heating oil only ignites with the advanced burners in boilers and furnaces
  • Systems can last up to 30 years compared to gas systems’ 11-14 years
  • Can be as efficient or more efficient than gas heating systems
  •  Today’s heating oil is much cleaner burning than in the past (although not as clean burning as gas)

But it also:

  • Must be trucked to your home (increasing the impact on the environment)
  • Can be devastating to the environment, if spilled

What’s safer: heating oil or natural gas?

Oil is not explosive like natural gas. If you put a match to heating oil, the match would go out. (Heating oil must be burned at temperatures above 140 degrees.)

But If you lit a match when there was a natural gas leak, the gas would explode.

Likewise, if there’s a combustion problem with a natural gas furnace or water heater, deadly carbon monoxide could get into your home without you knowing it. If an oil burner malfunctioned, there are warning signs like strong odors and smoke.

However, neither are really “safe.”

Both fuels burn to produce heat and should be treated with care. In either case, you should make sure your system has regular maintenance and your home has a working carbon monoxide detector.

So which is best for my New Jersey home?

It really depends on personal circumstance.

If you’re tired of the hassle of getting heating oil delivered to your home, natural gas can be a good change since it’s much more convenient.

On the other hand, if you don’t have natural gas in your home and you want to convert to gas to save money, there will be some upfront costs to consider outside of the cost of the equipment. For instance, gas piping, removal of existing oil tank depending on its location, and any costs associated with your local gas company.

And if you’re looking to do what’s best for the environment, it could go either way. But natural gas is considered more environmentally friendly because it burns much cleaner.

Considering converting your oil heating system to a gas furnace? We can give you an estimate on the cost of a new gas furnace and get you the information you need to make an informed decision. Contact us for more information.