When it comes to heating options, Columbia, Maryland, homeowners have a number of choices. Learn about the benefits of heating oil vs. natural gas, and make the right heating choice for your home.
To heat your home with oil, you’ll need to schedule a convenient delivery and purchase the amount that you need. In general, oil distributors can either fill your home’s oil tank or provide you with a predetermined amount. Before the heating season starts, many homeowners purchase enough for the winter months, though some order smaller amounts via multiple deliveries. If you opt for a single, large delivery, you won’t have to give a second thought to your fuel supply for the rest of the season.
With natural gas, delivery is also straightforward. Pipes connect your home to the utility company, and natural gas travels through specially designed pipelines from the utility to your home. Then, a natural-gas furnace connects to the gas line in order to access fuel to heat your home. Having natural gas delivered to your home requires little else than confirming that your home has a natural-gas connection and setting up an account with your local natural-gas company.
You might be surprised to learn that oil is a naturally eco-friendly heating fuel. In fact, heating oil produces almost no emissions, and recent advances in oil-heat technology have continued to reduce emissions to almost zero. Instead of releasing harmful gases into the air, environmentally conscious oil burners essentially have the capacity to re-burn and eliminate gases inside the boiler or furnace. Other eco-friendly developments include advanced fuels that mix heating oil with biofuel for one of the cleanest options on the market.
Natural gas looks like an environmentally friendly option on paper, but it’s not always that way in practice. This fuel source is plagued by problems with sourcing and distribution, and some major natural-gas pipelines are afflicted with leaks that release harmful amounts of methane into the atmosphere.
Once delivered, heating oil resides safely in its storage tank until you’re ready to heat your home. Oil is considered one of the safest fuels because it won’t explode and doesn’t ignite until it reaches a temperature high enough to turn it into a gas. On the rare occasion that a heating-oil mishap does occur, odors and smoke typically provide plenty of advance warning so you can address the problem quickly.
Since natural gas can easily flow from the utility to your home, no on-site storage is necessary. Natural gas requires pressure to travel long distances through the pipeline, but once it arrives in your home, the pressure has reduced significantly to a safe level. Households that rely on natural gas have meters that measure the quantity of gas used during a specific period of time. Meters typically monitor volume, pressure, and temperature to ensure an accurate measurement. Natural gas is generally considered safe, but gas leaks are one of the top causes of carbon-monoxide poisoning.
Oil-heat equipment requires very little maintenance, and these systems generally have the longest life of any kind of heating system. Oil-heat appliances typically last for at least 30 years, which is more than twice as long as the lifespan of natural-gas heating systems. The price of heating oil changes along with world events, which has a hidden benefit. Keep an eye on the current oil prices, and purchase your next tank when the price is right. Most heating-oil distributors offer a discount for larger quantities of oil.
As a utility, natural gas doesn’t typically require much maintenance, but things do go awry from time to time. Meters occasionally malfunction and require replacement, and gas mains sometimes encounter operational problems that require major maintenance. Though natural gas tends to be relatively inexpensive, prices fluctuate as the market develops, and costs can vary widely from day to day or month to month.
Need even more information on the benefits of relying on heating oil in your Columbia home? Call your local heating-oil experts at Griffith Energy Services: 888-474-3391.
Image provided by Shutterstock