The Pros And Cons Of Oil Heating
Here in the Haverford area and throughout PA, about 15% of homes rely on oil heat exclusively.
If you are looking for a new home, one of the things to consider is how a home is heated and cooled, since this will significantly impact your monthly budget. You should know about the pros and cons of oil heat, and what to consider, both before buying a home, or considering an upgrade or conversion of any system in your current home.
Pros of Oil Heat
- Oil heat is very safe. While fuel oil is flammable, it’s not explosive like gas and does not produce carbon monoxide.
- Oil heat is efficient. Home heating oil burns at a higher temperature than natural gas, for example, delivering more heat per BTU than other fuels. This means that a smaller heater can heat a larger space. People with oil heat and radiators often describe the heat as warm, and not as drying as forced air heat.
- No need to rely on gas lines. If you aren’t located close to a natural gas line, heating oil is a great option- you can still get deliveries of oil. Plus gas leaks can be very dangerous, and require certified technicians to install and maintain this equipment.
- Lower upfront costs: Most boilers that run on home heating oil are cheaper than similar systems that run on gas. Many older oil heat systems have lasted up to 30 years.
Cons of Oil Heating
- Less overall efficiency: Gas and electric heating systems can be 89-98% efficient in turning fuel into heat, compared with 80-90% efficiency for oil heating systems.
- More maintenance– Often heating oil can require additives to keep your boiler running efficiently. Oil also produces significantly more soot and dirt, requiring more maintenance for filters and chimneys. This makes annual maintenance visits even more important. Check out our annual service plans by clicking here.
- Taking up space with an oil tank (or two)-Oil heat requires on-site tanks, which can take up a lot of room, especially when compared to a gas furnace. Tanks also need to be replaced every 15- 20 years, and have an average cost of about $1,900.
- Remembering to keep the tank filled: Just like with your car, you have to keep track of when you need more oil- or you need to develop a good relationship with a local fuel oil company like John Cipollone, Inc. Prepaid plans help ensure your tank is topped off regularly and you don’t run out of oil just when you need it. They can help keep costs under control as well. These plans can also keep you from getting sticker shock when you run out of oil unexpectedly and demand is high, leading to unexpected surcharges.
Oil furnaces are separate from Air Conditioning
Many homes with oil heat may not have central air, whereas gas and electric homes have a combined heating and cooling system. This makes it easier for these homes to change when the weather changes abruptly, whereas if you are dependent on window AC units, surprisingly hot days early in Spring or late into the fall can leave you pretty uncomfortable.
Heating oil’s price is volatile and changes all the time. This can make it hard to budget each season. Luckily, we have a program that allows you to lock in an oil price for the year. Give us a call at (610) 446-7877 if you don’t want to worry about the up and down costs of oil.
What’s the bottom line?
The bottom line is that oil heat works well for many homes, and homeowners tend to be very happy. Gas heating is also very convenient, and cost-effective. We recommend having a professional look at your current situation and assess what is best for your home. If you have a well-functioning oil heating system, it’s probably best to stick with that.
Because the cost to heat your home with oil can be very volatile, it’s important to have a good relationship with your local oil provider, like our team here at John Cipollone, Inc. We have an Oil Cap Budget plan which can help you spread out your costs evenly over 10 months and keep you from experiencing unexpected price increases, just when you need heat the most.
There are pros and cons to every home heating and cooling system, and a lot depends on your home, the layout, how well insulated it is, and what your personal comfort preferences are. With proper maintenance, an oil heating system can work well for many years to come.
If you’d like help with your current oil heating system, or want to discuss options to convert to another source, or add additional comfort to specific areas of your home, be sure to give our experts here at John Cipollone Inc a call at (610) 446-7877. We can perform an energy audit of your home, and help you make the best decision to get the most from your heating and cooling system, while keeping your energy bills under control!