Heating Oil vs. Natural Gas for Home Heating
Get Familiar with Two Popular Home Heating Fuels
Choosing the fuel that you use to heat your home is an important one—and unlike switching your internet or mobile phone service provider, you can’t flip back and forth easily between heating oil and natural gas.
So, if you have the choice between heating oil delivery and connecting to natural gas in your area, you might be asking yourself if one is a better choice. It’s a good question! To understand your options, you should consider efficiency, environmental impact, safety, and convenience. You’ll see in most of these cases, heating oil comes out far ahead.
Here are the answers to questions you should be asking:
What’s More Efficient: Heating Oil or Natural Gas?
While gallon for gallon, natural gas may cost less than heating oil, heating oil generates a very high number of BTUs of heat energy per gallon. That means heating oil gets your home warmer, faster than natural gas—or any other fuel, so you use less fuel to get, and stay, comfortable.
There are more costs to consider, though. A heating oil-fired furnace can last 28 years, while a heating oil-fired boiler can last 25 years. The life expectancy of a natural gas furnace or boiler can be as little as 10 years.
What’s more? Making the switch to natural gas can be expensive. Usually, you need to cover the cost of the connection from your house to the main gas line, which can require excavation, and you need to replace your heating equipment, and possibly some of your appliances, too.
What’s Greener: Heating Oil or Natural Gas?
For a long time, the story was that natural gas was better for the environment than heating oil. But today’s heating oil is different.
Most states in the Northeast, including New York, have committed to only using ultra-low sulfur heating oil, which reduces sulfur content in the fuel by 99 percent. That means it burns extremely clean, reducing emissions by more than 70% compared to the “old” type of heating oil. And there are other benefits, too! Because it’s so clean-burning, ultra-low sulfur heating oil improves the efficiency of your heating system—saving you money. It also helps your system last longer and reduces breakdowns.
On the other hand, natural gas, which itself is also fossil fuel, is mostly made of methane, a greenhouse gas that traps 20 times more heat in the atmosphere than the low levels of carbon dioxide released by modern oil equipment. Additionally, the pipelines used to deliver natural gas are largely old and poorly maintained. They are prone to leaks—releasing methane and other hydrocarbons that degrade the environment.
Which Is Safer: Heating Oil or Natural Gas?
Oil is one of the safest fuels you can use to heat your home. Heating oil doesn’t ignite until it vaporizes. As a result, it’s much harder to ignite accidentally. And heating oil doesn’t release flammable vapors in its liquid state. If you drop a lit match into heating oil, the flame extinguishes on contact.
Natural gas is highly explosive, so a leak could trigger something as large as an explosion. Gas is also a leading cause of death from carbon monoxide poisoning in the U.S.
What’s the Best Choice for Me: Heating Oil or Natural Gas?
When you weigh your options, don’t forget that heating oil gives you more convenience and flexibility than natural gas. When you opt to heat your home with oil, you can choose from many suppliers—including local companies like Bolkema, who have built up a reputation in the community over nearly a century, and who understand your needs. Natural gas gives you no choice. It comes from a utility that has a monopoly on the business, and no competition.
Bolkema has the experience and the supply to always ensure you have fuel when you need it. We own one of the largest storage terminals in northern Bergen County. We can hold more than 200,000 gallons of heating oil!
Natural gas customers don’t enjoy security like that. Especially during periods of extreme cold, there are reports of interruptions in natural gas service because of pipeline deterioration, cold weather, or accidents. When underground natural gas pipelines are damaged, hundreds and even thousands of customers may lose their supply until repairs are finished. You could be hours, or even days, without the gas you need to heat your home.
Looking for a Local, Reliable Heating Oil Supplier? Choose Bolkema!
The bottom line? When you have natural gas, you’re dealing with a utility company. A monopoly with no competition. Usually, that means you’re just an account number in a database. Bolkema is a family-owned and operated company that specializes in outstanding service. We offer safe, reliable heating oil delivery with personalized service.
Learn more about the benefits of heating your home with ultra-low sulfur heating oil from Bolkema. Contact us today to get started.