Gas Furnaces vs. Oil and electric Furnaces
Most residential furnaces are old, highly inefficient, and a cause of high energy bills and pollution. And many are oil furnaces, which raises the question: is it worth changing to a gas furnace?
Furnace and fuels
For many years oil and natural gas heating systems were in direct competition, without no clear economical advantage of any of them.
Today, in most cases, gas furnaces are a better option due to their efficiency, cleanness, easier maintenance, and also by economical reasons. Propane isn’t such a good option, and electricity isn’t a true economical choice, except for small needs…
The oil and gas prices are still fluctuating, making it difficult to give a definitive advice. But most experts bet on gas, even considering prices fluctuations or the supply and connection charges, surcharges, discounts, etc. involving the different fuels.
Electric furnaces have low maintenance requirements and are easy to install and cheap, but they are much more expensive to operate than gas (and oil…) furnaces.
Electric furnaces should only be considered for infrequently uses and small needs, mostly in moderate climates. But in this case electric furnaces have other well positioned competitors, like modern gas stoves or even insert fireplaces…
Oil furnaces are no more a popular option. Their efficiency has risen a lot (80% and more are the standard), and there are now new high-efficient oil furnaces offered by manufacturers like Carrier/Bryant or Thermo Pride, but that doesn’t make them a first option.
High efficient oil furnaces – with a reliability that prior models didn’t offer – require a different and better chimney, often an upgrade with a stainless steel liner inside the old structure. Installing a sealed-vent model is highly advantageous, even if that costs more…
Oil Furnaces disadvantages
Oil furnaces are now a relatively clean option, but not as cleaner as the gas one; they also require more maintenance than their gas or electric counterparts, besides storage tanks and insurance costs and other higher requirements; but above all, they involve higher running costs – a trend that will not be reversed in the future, according to most forecasts…
New natural gas and propane furnaces
In most cases, switching from oil or electric furnaces to gas units is an economical option. Even if the gas furnaces require relining the chimney or a plastic venting out the side wall, as high-efficiency furnaces do.
Gas furnaces are cleaner, require low maintenance, provide higher energy savings and are more friendly for the environment. Bet on a highly efficient gas furnace system, if you are not considering hypotheses like solar, heat pumps or space heating combined with high levels of home insulation and sealing…
Propane furnaces are usually modified natural gas equipment, for regions where natural gas isn’t available.