Which Fuel to Heat Your House With When it comes to heating your home there are many different options for the fuel that you use. The main fuel types that you can choose from are Oil, Electric, Natural Gas, Propane, and Coal-based solid fuels, and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas). To better understand your options we’ll go into the pros and cons of each.
Heating Oil Oil is delivered to you and stored in a large tank in your home which differentiates it from other energy sources which are basically on ‘tap’. You usually pay for the oil on delivery as the amount pumped into your tank may vary each visit which can make it difficult for budgeting. It also means that you need to watch how full your tank is so you never run out. Cost wise it is a little more expensive than gas but probably the best option in rural areas where there is not a gas or electric lines set up. The biggest issue with oil is that the price fluctuates quickly with world events. An average price for a household is around $2,526. Oil is easily controlled and has twice the carbon content and emissions when compared to gas but only 2/3 that of coal. Fewer people are using oil each year.
Electric Storage Electric heaters use off-peak electricity to heat up high thermal capacity bricks inside the heater and the heat is released throughout the day. Electric storage heaters have little control over the release of heat and if you end up expending all of the heat you will need to pay for peak-rate electricity in order to top off the heater. If you don’t end up expending all the heat this could be a cost-efficient solution. A benefit of electricity is that it is easier to budget as you can spread your payments. The average cost of for a household using electricity is $1,315. Electricity is still created through the burning of fossil fuels but as more green applications are used electricity becomes a greener energy option.
Natural Gas This is the most popular gas used in homes across the United States and it has become the cheapest option over time. It now costs half the costs of oil costing an average of $1,024 for a normal household in a year. The supply is large so the price will stay low over the next couple decades. The only issue with natural gas is that you need to be within a natural gas network.
Propane Propane is an efficient and clean fuel however it is very expensive and used less every year. The cost of propane will vary by region and an average home cost per year is $1,534. As demand for the product continues to decrease the price will probably lower but companies will stop supplying it and as your options lower the price will probably go up. The future of propane does not look so good.
Coal Coal used to popular in the past decades but its use has fallen with modern central although it is still used in solid fuel stoves usually used in living rooms. Though coal is very difficult to feed into a boiler there are gravity feeding systems for your boiler. Coal is also very dirty and has the highest emissions making it the least green option of those discussed. So if you are considering installing a furnace or a different heating format weigh the pros and cons of each option and see what is available in your area. The best bet would be natural gas but it really is up to you. Photo Credit: Adam, Emiliano