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Natural Gas vs. Oil Heating: The Pros & Cons


When making a heating system upgrade, you have two likely choices: natural gas heating and oil heating. Both are capable of keeping your home as warm as you’d like it. However, each has pros and cons which deserve some consideration before you make your final decision.

Gas Heating Pros & Cons

Advantages of Gas Heating

  • Heating with natural gas is clean, and its high availability has kept the prices reasonable.
  • Natural gas offers convenience because it’s delivered into your home via a pipeline buried underground. You can use all you want without having to be concerned about running short.
  • Gas’s carbon footprint is low since it’s one the cleanest nonrenewable energy sources.
  • Gas heating systems stay relatively clean throughout the heating season.

Disadvantages of Gas Heating

  • Current extraction methods include fracking, which has environmental effects are still unknown.
  • The British thermal units (BTUs) output from gas heating systems is lower than that of oil heating.
  • Gas furnaces cost more to purchase than oil heating systems.
  • Running a gas line to your home can be expensive, and it may not even be available in your neighborhood.
  • With natural gas hooked up to your furnace, you never need fuel delivered and annual furnace maintenance is simple.

Oil Heating Pros & Cons

Advantages of Oil Heating

Heating systems that use oil cost less to purchase. Plus, oil has a higher BTU output than natural gas heating.

Oil Heating Cons

  • Most of the heating oil comes from offshore sources, and oil’s cost varies a great deal. It’s currently far more expensive to heat with oil than natural gas.
  • Homes that use heating oil must have a tank in the yard, which also means you’ll have to schedule an oil delivery.
  • Oil furnaces need to be cleaned more frequently than natural gas furnaces, along with oil filter changes. This cleaning is usually provided by your oil supplier at an extra cost.

Regardless of whether you choose an oil or natural gas heating system, choosing ENERGY STARⓇ certified equipment will help you save energy for years to come.

If you’re facing the choice between natural gas heating or oil heating, contact the experts at HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited. We provide outstanding HVAC services for homeowners in Fairfax, Alexandria, Springfield, Arlington, Centreville, Reston, Burke, Lorton, Ashburn, and throughout Northern Virginia.

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