Oil vs. Gas Heat: Pros & Cons

Oil vs. Gas Heat: Pros & Cons

At the start of every winter season, we watch the perennial debate unfold again—whether oil or gas heating is the better option for homeowners. To that, we say, “It truly depends.” An informed decision will consider several factors, from comfort to budget to environmental footprint. Ready to get down to the brass tacks? In this article, we’ll highlight the key features of each heating system, plus the pros and cons. 


Overview of Oil Heat

Heating oil is a hydrocarbon-based fuel derived from refined petroleum. Liquid at room temperature, heating oil tends to be more viscous than gasoline but less dense than diesel. It’s typically housed in furnaces and boilers to distribute warm air or hot water throughout residential and buildings.


With pre-buy plans and a user-friendly app that allows you to manage oil deliveries and orders, Haffner’s is a reputable partner for all your heating needs this season.


Overview of Gas Heat

Composed of hydrogen and carbon atoms, propane is a clean-burning fuel used for heating, cooking, transportation, powering certain appliances, and more. A colorless, odorless gas in its natural state, it’s compressed into a liquid and stored in onsite tanks.


Haffner’s is also available for your propane needs. It’s as easy as filling out our online form.


The Pros and Cons of Oil Heat

To best inform yourself on oil and gas heating choices, let’s evaluate the pros and cons of each.


The Pros of Oil

  • Cost: Oil heating units tend to cost less than their gas counterparts.
  • Efficiency: Heating oil systems provide efficient heating. They heat large spaces evenly and ensure a warm and comfortable home throughout frigid winter months.
  • Heating Capacity: Oil systems are known for their powerful heating capacity, making them especially suitable for larger homes.
  • Safety: Oil is less prone to leaks and poses a lower risk of carbon monoxide exposure. While it is flammable, oil is not explosive.
  • Lifespan: With proper maintenance, oil furnaces can last up to 30 years. 



The Cons of Oil

  • Unpredictable Prices: Like motor fuel, home heating oil is subject to the same price volatility. Driven by supply and demand, oil prices can be challenging to budget for as they change frequently. 
  • Output: Compared to gas furnaces, oil furnaces have lower efficiency ratings, typically between 80% to 90%.
  • Upkeep: Oil produces soot and grime that builds up over time. If not well maintained, uncleaned furnaces can also leak and clog. Regular repairs may be necessary to avoid further issues. 
  • Size: Heating oil requires an on-site storage tank, which can take up a decent amount of space in the home. 
  • Serviceability: Since oil use is less common, fewer companies deliver the product and service the equipment.


Want to know more? Check out Our Complete Guide to Heating Oil.


The Pros and Cons of Gas Heat


The Pros of Gas

  • Size: Gas furnaces occupy less space in the home, as they don’t require a storage tank.
  • Ease of Maintenance: Unlike oil tanks, which become unclean during use, gas furnaces remain more pristine throughout the heating season. 
  • Cost: After the initial installation fees, gas heating is an incredibly cost-effective option, as it is highly available and less volatile than oil. The United States produces nearly 90%, which cuts out import costs. Lastly, propane is highly efficient, meaning a small amount of fuel produces a great deal of heat without the high price tag. 
  • Environmentally Friendly: Propane is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer emissions than other fossil fuels.
  • Adaptable: A new gas furnace can connect to an existing HVAC system and does not require a new system. 


We’re passionate about gas heating. Read more about the extensive benefits of propane.


The Cons of Gas

  • Safety: If not properly maintained, gas furnaces can leak dangerous and sometimes deadly carbon monoxide into the home. Gas leaks can also cause explosions, sacrificing an occupant’s safety and the building’s structural integrity. 
  • Installation Costs: While gas furnaces are cost-efficient in the long run, they are nearly 10 to 25% more expensive to install upfront. If a municipal gas line does not run to your home already, you must install one.
  • Lifespan: A well-performing, well-maintained gas furnace will only last between 15 and 20 years. 
  • Routine Care: Gas furnaces require scheduled upkeep and inspection from HVAC professionals to prevent potential leaks. 


Choosing the Right Heating Method For Your Home

Both oil and gas heating systems have their merits and drawbacks. To make the best choice for your home, consider cost, efficiency, environmental impact, and safety. No matter which option you decide is best for your home, Haffner’s can provide reliable oil or propane, ensuring that all your needs are met. Explore our heating oil and propane offerings today.