What’s Better: Oil or Gas Furnaces?

by | Mar 14, 2016 | General

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If the old furnace in your Chicago home has finally given up and you are faced with picking a replacement, choosing between a gas-fired or oil-fired furnace can be quite confusing. Furthermore, as you won’t be buying another furnace for a good number of years, the decision you make has a long-tern impact. Both oil and gas furnaces have their pros and cons, take time up front to study the options and evaluate which approach is best suited to you, your home and your situation. Fortunately, there are only a few, reasonably easy-to-understand aspects of each. By considering them you can be assured that the furnace you finally decide on is the one best-suited for your home.

The AFUE ratings:

An important element in choosing a furnace is to pay close attention to the AFUE (American Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating. This rating compares the furnace you are considering with others on the market. The system is straight forward: the higher the rating the more efficient the furnace is. Generally speaking, oil furnaces in Chicago have a rating between 80 and 90 percent, while their gas fire counterparts are rated from 89 to 98 percent. As gas furnaces are as much as 25 percent more expensive, you are definitely paying the difference for this increase in AFUE rating.

Oil costs more but gives more heat:

Using oil is considerably more expensive than using gas to fire your furnace. Under the same set of circumstances, an oil fired furnace will cost almost $2,600 a year to operate while a gas fired furnace will cost about $700. The underlying reason for the discrepancy is the fact that the majority of oil used in the US is imported so it is at the whims of the market, natural gas on the other hand is a domestic product and the supply is more stable.

Although oil costs more, it also provides more heat per BTU (British thermal unit—the amount of work needed to raise the temperature) than gas, this can be quite meaningful for those living in Northern climates such as around the Great Lakes. Other considerations include the fact that oil must be stored on site in a large tank and oil furnaces in Chicago normally require more maintenance so having a service contract becomes an important consideration.

Although gas furnaces cost a little more to buy, the fact that gas is less expensive, readily available and your supply comes from the utility company rather than a tank are all things that go into making the best long-term decision for your home heating needs.

Eventually even the best furnaces in Chicago fail and need to be replaced. If this is your situation you are invited to contact HEATMASTERS for professional supply and installation assistance or visit heatmasters.com for more information.

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