Much like the price of milk, the cost of heating your home keeps rising. And people are thinking of ways to combat that; among them being your choice of heating options. Some of the top choices include natural gas, electric and oil. In order to make the best decision for your household there are many factors to consider.
In order for a natural gas furnace to be a viable option for your house, you must have gas lines run to your home and live in an area where a gas supply is available. With these initial questions out of the way, it's good to know that natural gas furnaces have higher heating efficiency and their fuel costs less. Gas furnaces require minimal maintenance other than changing your air filter on a regular basis, and they are quiet and clean.
Drawbacks to natural gas include the gas heater tends to provide less heat than an oil heater, and they are more costly than oil furnaces.
With fuel costs in a constant state of flux, it's difficult to forecast how much you'll pay from season to season to heat your home. Oil prices tend to be more volatile due to variances in global supply and demand, while natural gas has a more stable supply that can be secured within the United States and Canada. A recent estimate by the US Energy Information Administration predicted that the average household cost for heating during the winter is cheapest using natural gas, with electricity coming in second, then propane (which is produced as a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining ), and finally at a much higher cost is oil.
As mentioned above, oil is a much more expensive heating alternative than natural gas, however there are some benefits as well. Oil furnaces cost less than gas furnaces, but the efficiency is lower. The main benefit of oil furnaces is that they provide more heat than other heating sources. Oil furnaces must be regularly serviced and require a service contract because there tends to be extensive soot and dirt buildup where chimneys need cleaned and oil filters need changed.
In order to maintain an oil furnace, an on-site oil storage tank is necessary and you must have the oil delivered to your home.
Perhaps the easiest of all to maintain due to the cleanliness of the energy is uses, the electric furnace can be used in virtually any household with electrical outlets. Without fuel storage tanks to worry about, this is a pretty simple device. No production of dangerous gases, no chance of a gas explosion occurring, carbon monoxide is not produced, and less risk of fire are all great benefits of this form of heat. Simply keep regular maintenance of your filter and ducts, and this furnace will work well for years. This type of heat is also not as drying as other, therefore a humidifier would not be needed as an additional piece of equipment.
Electric furnaces usually cost less than comparable gas furnaces, and have longer life expectancies. Like the other types of furnaces, if you have not updated your heating unit in the past 10 years, getting a new electric furnace model will certainly upgrade your energy efficiency and probably end up saving you money in the long run. Electric furnaces tend to be more efficient overall because there is no outdoor venting needed with electricity.
If you happen to be in a situation where you get to choose what type of heating you can use in your home it is best to research your local options and find out how much you will be using heat in the cold weather months. Find out what your options are, and then choose the best one for your environment.