Home » Oil Heat Vs. Natural Gas: Which Is The Better Deal?

Oil Heat Vs. Natural Gas: Which Is The Better Deal?

heating system options massachusettsIt may be tempting to switch from heating oil to natural gas in your North Shore home, considering all the hype about the latter.

But in many cases, sticking with oil heat could be the better choice – especially when you consider the cost to convert to gas. It’s an important decision to make, so it’s worth taking the time to separate the truth from the hype.

Should You Convert To Gas?

To know whether a conversion makes sense in practice, you need to know the upfront cost to make the switch (of course, you have to make sure you can convert to gas in the first place! If you don’t have access to a gas main/pipeline, you won’t be able to).

What Influences The Cost To Convert To Natural Gas?

The cost to convert your system from oil to natural gas can range from $4,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on a number of factors. These factors include:

  • Whether you need to run a new mainline into your home – In many cases, your utility company will not do this for free.
  • The condition of your heating system – If you need a new heating system, that will eat the bulk of your cost to convert.
  • If you need a chimney liner installed – Gas exhaust can harm the lining of your chimney’s masonry, which means you will probably have to pay for a new chimney liner.

On the plus side, converting to natural gas can sometimes come with substantial clean energy incentives that can cut some of your installation costs, so do your research!

Reasons To Stick With Heating Oil

Of course, there are also reasons to stick with heating oil rather than making the switch. Here are five important ones:

  1. Big-time BTUs – Heating oil creates 40 percent more BTUs than burning the equivalent amount of natural gas.
  2. Longer lasting equipment – Modern oil boilers and furnaces have average lifespans that more than double those of their natural gas-powered cousins.
  3. Cleaner air – Believe it or not, Bioheat® fuel beats natural gas when it comes to environmental performance, with fewer GHGs (burning natural gas releases methane – a far more harmful GHG than carbon dioxide).
  4. Plentiful supply – Domestic production of heating oil is strong and steady, and most experts expect oil prices to stay lower for the foreseeable future. High demand for natural gas could strain supply and drive cost increases in the near- to mid-term.
  5. Safety – Heating oil is virtually inflammable in conditions you’d normally find in your home – you can’t say that for natural gas. And unlike natural gas, an oil heating system heat poses a very low risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Should You Switch?

To know whether it makes sense to convert, the first step is to get an estimate on natural gas conversion from a qualified heating contractor, who should also be able to point you to any incentives that might be available. There are no shortcuts here, and no easy “yes” or “no” answers, so don’t fall for them!

Do your homework and reach out to a qualified expert to make a smart decision you can live with (and save with) for a decade or more.

Need help deciding if natural gas or heating oil is still right for you? Contact the pros at Lombardi Energy & Gas today for expert advice on heating oil and natural gas installation in the North Shore!