As a homeowner with oil heating, you may want to stop wasting energy and money by replacing your old oil furnace with a new, high efficiency natural gas unit. Many homeowners who currently use oil to heat their homes are making the switch to natural gas. While this isn’t a cheap procedure, it is an investment that could provide you with enormous energy savings, in the long term.
Clean and Super Efficient
The fact is, most gas furnaces are more energy efficient than those that use oil. Since using gas to heat homes is a newer technology, the standards for efficiency are higher and must meet guidelines that are stricter than those established for older oil furnaces, years ago.
If your oil furnace was manufactured and installed in your home before 1992, it likely has an energy efficiency rating of 65 percent. Standards have been modified and today they must operate at a minimum of 80 percent, although some high efficiency oil furnaces operate at 90 percent.
Natural gas, on the other hand, typically operates at minimum efficiencies higher than 80 percent and the most energy efficient models can be up to 99 percent efficient. A furnace that operates at a higher efficiency uses less fuel because it converts a higher percentage to actual heat, not wasted exhaust. The high efficiency of a gas furnace saves you money, since you’ll be spending less on the actual heating fuel(natural gas).
Available 24 Hours
Convenience is another factor to consider when switching to natural gas. An oil-burning furnace requires you to have a tank in your basement or in the ground. When it is empty, the oil company must come to the house to refill it. Many times you may have to wait a day or even a few days for a refill and in the worst case scenario, you may have to go without heat for a period of time.
Natural gas arrives at your house through pipelines in the ground that deliver a constant supply so you never have to worry about running out. Another perk of natural gas is that oil companies typically charge you the entire cost of filling the tank at once, while the gas company gives you a monthly bill based on your usage so it’s easier to spread the costs out.
Abundant and “Made in the USA”
Operating costs are another primary reason to switch from oil to natural gas. Both costs fluctuate depending on supply, demand and market conditions. But the long term price trend of oil is rising and more than half of the oil used in the United States is imported. Natural gas prices have been dropping for years and it’s abundant in the US, imports are less than 20 percent of the usage in the country. So, by switching to natural gas you’re also supporting the US economy.
What does it cost?
The case for staying with oil versus switching to natural gas, seems like a huge advantage goes to natural gas. However, you also have to consider the costs in making the switch. Oil is stored in tanks and in most states, you will be required to remove the oil tank from your basement or it will have to be dug up from your property. Typical removal costs range from $1000-$3000. There is also a possibility that the oil in your tank has leaked and the contaminated soil will have to be removed. This can be extremely costly, into the tens of thousands of dollars.
The costs for a complete replacement of the oil furnace with a new high efficiency gas fired unit will cost $6,000-$10,000, while a replacement of just the gas burner on the existing furnace would be in the $3,000-$5,000 range. Additionally, you would need to spend another $400-$2,000 to run the gas lines from the street to your home and around $500 to run piping from outside your home to your new gas furnace.
While factoring all the costs of converting from oil to natural gas, you should consider the amount of time you plan to remain in your current home. The longer you plan to live there, the more it will make sense to upgrade to natural gas heat.
If you have an older oil furnace and you want to stop wasting energy, converting to natural gas might just be an easy decision. It could benefit your household and reduce your heating bills, saving you lots of money for many years. Contact your state or local gas utility for details about programs available to provide you with grants for tank removal, clean-up(if necessary) and the actual cost of converting to a gas heating unit.