Propane Gas Vs. Oil Heating – Pros & Cons
Written on: September 28, 2020
Many Pennsylvania homeowners turn to either propane gas or heating oil furnaces and boilers heat their homes. Both fuels will keep your house warm, and both will do the job better than electricity-based system in virtually every way.
However, if it’s time to replace an older heating system – or to install one in a newly-built house – it pays to consider the pros and cons of each.
Here is a quick guide to some of the bigger ones:
Propane heating pros
- Propane gas is generally less expensive per gallon than heating oil
- Propane equipment runs more efficiently than heating oil equipment
- When burned, propane does not produce significant carbon dioxide; in fact propane is approved as a “clean fuel” by the US Government
- Because propane burns clean, propane heating equipment requires less maintenance and last longer than heating oil-based equipment
- Propane is nontoxic and nonpoisonous, so it doesn’t contaminate groundwater or soil if it leaks – which means propane tanks can be safely buried out of sight
- Propane gas boilers and furnaces can be vented through regular PVC pipe through the roof or a wall rather than through a traditional chimney
- Propane tanks can have significantly larger capacities than heating oil tanks – which means fewer deliveries are needed; it also allows buyers to “stock up” on propane gas when prices are favorable
- Propane can also be used to power other appliances such as ranges and water heaters – all from the same fuel source
Propane heating cons
- Propane produces fewer BTUs per gallon than oil heating
- Propane-burning equipment often costs more to purchase than heating oil-based systems
- Propane is combustible in air, so precautions are needed to operate the equipment safely
Oil heating pros
- Heating oil has a higher BTU output per gallon and is used up more slowly than propane; this could mean you will pay less to heat your house with heating oil, even if the per gallon cost of propane is less
- Equipment generally costs less to purchase
Oil heating cons
- Heating oil tanks – especially older steel-lined ones – are susceptible to leaks, which can be extremely costly to clean up – an expense that is often not covered by home owner’s insurance
- Most heating oil comes from offshore sources, which means its price is subject to international market forces and is therefore more volatile than propane
- When burned, heating oil produces much more carbon dioxide gas than propane
- Oil furnaces need to be cleaned more frequently than propane furnaces – a service you pay for
- In most homes that are heated by oil, other appliances (such as water heaters, ranges, and clothes dryers) are run by electricity, which is not as efficient as propane.
The bottom line
If you’re a heating oil customer with an aging heating system thinking about making the switch to propane, there are many reasons to do it – but it’s going to take careful consideration to make the right call.
If you want to explore whether converting your home system to propane makes sense, give us a call – we’ve had years of experience making the switch for PA homeowners and can walk you through your options so you can make the best call for you. If you’re considering either of these fuel options for a newly-built home, we can help you make that decision, too.
Thinking about switching the heating fuel in your Wyoming County home, or choosing one for your new home? We can help you make the right choice! Contact us today to learn more.