Oil & Gas Furnace Pros And Cons: All You Need To Know

When upgrading a heating system or purchasing a new one, one of the many factors that needs to be considered is the fuel source. You only have two options- Oil Heating or Natural Gas Heating. Both will surely deliver warmth and comfort to your home, but in different ways and many factors should be considered to know which of the two works best for your area, your family, and your home.

Knowing the list of advantages and drawbacks of each heating system fuel source will help you come up with a calculated decision of what is suitable for your specific and personal needs.

Furnace Efficiency Rating

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According to energystar.gov, in the US, heating and cooling costs make up about 42% of residential energy consumption. While in Canada, the residential heating expense goes up to 63%. That is a whole lot of energy consumed by residential HVAC alone.

Thus, Efficiency ratings, commonly referred to as Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), which measures and indicates the efficiency of your furnace’s combustion, must be first taken into account when getting a new furnace. In the AFUE standard, the higher the rating, the higher the efficiency of the unit is. This makes gas furnaces more efficient with efficiency ratings between 89% and 98% than oil furnaces with lower ratings between 80% and 90%. However, that higher efficiency comes as a cost for gas furnaces, making them 10% to 25% pricier than oil furnaces.

Gas Furnaces Pros

More Affordable Fuel Source

Because of the availability of natural gas, it allows for steady supply and demand, hence, a stable and low price as well. While oil’s availability usually seems unpredictable and its price high.

This is the reason why is the US, more than 50% of American homes use natural gas while only 8% use oil.

Clean & Highly Efficient

Aside from the high AFUE rating of gas furnaces compared to oil furnaces, natural gas is also the cleanest nonrenewable energy source.

Easier Maintenance

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Gas furnaces require little and fewer maintenance than oil because of its clean-burning ability.

Nontoxic and Nonpoisonous

Gas being nontoxic and nonpoisonous can be conveniently installed underground without any fear for soil or groundwater contamination in case of a leak.

Gas Furnaces Cons

Lesser BTU

Your furnace’s BTU refers to its heat output. The higher the BTU, the more heat your furnace can produce. Unfortunately, in this case, natural gas furnaces have fewer BTUs and heat less compared to oil.

More Expensive To Purchase

As mentioned above, gas-propelled furnaces are 10% to 25% more expensive than oil furnaces because of its higher Efficiency Rating (AFUE). Also, additional installment cost for a municipal gas line is necessary if no pipeline runs to your home yet.


In case of a gas/ carbon monoxide leak, it is very difficult to detect gas out in the air because of its smokeless and odorless nature. This can be very dangerous and even fatal. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 20,000 are hospitalized due to CO poisoning to which 400 dies making it the leading cause of poisoning deaths in North America.

Check out our selection of HVAC fire and safety systems so you and your family could sleep soundly and comfortably at night.

Requires Safety Precautions

Special safety precautions must be followed properly by all members of the household that use a gas furnace since it is highly combustible in air.

Less Green

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Natural gas is recovered through hydraulic fracturing or fracking that has prompted environmental concerns and significant environmental cost.

Oil Furnaces Pros

Produces More Heat

With oil having higher BTU than natural gas, it also delivers more heat and burns hotter compared to gas furnaces. Thus, it is able to manage high temperatures better than gas furnaces and is great for homes in regions with freezing Winters.

Safer to Store and Use

Though flammable, oil does not explode in case of an accidental leak, unlike natural gas. Also, oil does not produce a dangerous and fatal gas like carbon monoxide which make it safer to store and use.


In case of a leak and system breakdown, oil furnaces send out clear alerts and warning signs such as odor, smoke, and soot.

High Dependability

Using oil to fuel a furnace will provide you with the flexibility on how to control, conserve and use your personal oil supply. When you sign up to an oil automatic delivery, you are even ensured that you will never run out of fuel especially on time when you need it the most.

Longer Lifespan

With proper maintenance, oil furnaces can live longer than gas furnaces with a guaranteed product life of 30 years.

Ideally Used In Remote Areas

Natural gas pipelines are still continuously made today, so basically there are still areas where it is not available like in the states of Vermont and New Hampshire where there is the least number of natural gas lines. So, if you are in that area, oil offers a great alternative.

Oil Furnaces Cons

Higher Fuel Cost

Though oil furnaces are more affordable to purchase, running it is more costly since acquiring heating oil is more expensive than natural gas. Aside from the oil itself, oil deliveries, oil changes, and oil filter changes must also be considered and paid for.


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Heating oil is not transported through a pipeline infrastructure. It must be stored in an on-site storage tank and refilled regularly unless you sign up to an oil automatic delivery.

High Maintenance

Unlike natural gas, oil does not burn clean. Oil combustion produces dirt and soot buildup which requires frequent unit cleaning, repair and maintenance.

Requires Use Of Additives

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During Winter when temperatures go really down, heating oil has the tendency to become gel-like and additives may be necessary to correct it so your furnace can continue to perform properly.

Technically, both type of furnaces will deliver warmth and comfort to your home but one may check more boxes to your list of needs and home specifications than the other. If you have already come up to an educated decision, and you are in need a new furnace, furnace parts, accessories, and supplies, check out www.acehvacparts.com and use this coupon code IQK5657F6I to get $5.00 off your order total!

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