Gas or Oil Heat – Which is better?

You are currently viewing Gas or Oil Heat – Which is better?

When purchasing a new heating system, you need to consider which fuel source is compatible with your home, budget, and comfort needs. While some people swear by oil, others prefer gas. Nevertheless, each has its pros and cons.


As you begin to shop for a new furnace, make sure you check its efficiency rating which is known as the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE. This rating measures how efficiently your furnace can utilize its fuel.  A high AFUE rating shows high efficiency.

Most new gas furnaces have an efficiency rating between 89% and 95% while oil furnaces have lower AFUE ratings between 80% and 90%. Gas furnaces are more efficient than oil furnaces, but that efficiency comes at a higher price. Gas systems typically cost 10% to 25% more than oil systems. However, all new furnaces are more efficient than older systems, some by as much as 30%.

Fuel Costs

When it comes to the cost of fuel, gas is cheaper than oil. Oil prices fluctuate because they rely on the supply and demand of the global market. Natural gas production is centered in the U.S. and Canada providing a more stable supply. This is probably why 50% of U.S. homes are heated by gas while only 8% are heated by oil.

Here is an overall look at some of the pros and cons of each type of furnace:

Gas Furnaces

  • Gas is cheaper than oil (fuel).
  • Higher heating efficiency.
  • Quieter, Cleaner, and easy to maintain.
  • Your home must be in an area where gas supply is available.
  • Gas provides less heat per BTU.
  • Gas furnaces cost more than oil furnaces.

Oil Furnaces

  • Oil furnaces provide more BTU.
  • Less upfront cost. Oil furnaces are typically cost 10%-25% less than ones that use natural gas.
  • Availability. Since oil is stored in an onsite tank, it is a good option for people in remote areas and those who do not have access to gas lines.
  • Heating oil is more expensive than natural gas.
  • An oil system requires an extensive maintenance routine due to dirt and soot build-up.
  • An extra on-site storage tank is required along with regular fuel delivery.

Consult a professional

Regardless of which type of system you prefer; you should consult a professional HVAC technician. Burkholder’s HVAC has been providing heating and cooling services to Lehigh Valley residents for over 60 years. We give expert advice on heating options and free estimates for new installations to customers in need of efficient heating and cooling systems. Contact us today to schedule a free estimate!