Something that few people think about is what kind of furnace they have. In fact, several customers we have talked to did not know that there are different fuel sources for furnaces. This can lead to confusion or surprise when we tell them that a different furnace may be a better fit for them. No one enjoys being surprised and you want to be informed when you make a purchase. Today, we try to answer the question, “Why and how do I convert from an oil furnace to a gas one?”
The answer for why can come down to a handful of key differences. The answer for how is a little more straightforward. You need the help of an HVAC professional.
In this post, we’ll go over what makes a gas furnace different from an oil furnace. We’ll also cover how to switch from oil to gas and what you can expect that process to look like.
What’s The Difference Between Oil and Gas?
Gas is currently the most popular choice to heat a home. What makes it so different from oil heating?
The key difference between an oil and gas furnace is the type of fuel they use. It’s a bit on the nose. An oil furnace uses oil, and a gas furnace uses natural gases.
That one key difference results in a few technical differences that you will encounter.
Typically, trucks must deliver the oil for an oil furnace. There are some dealers that maintain physical locations, but this varies state to state. An oil supplier may also have a minimum order which can sometimes go up to 150 gallons. You must rely on timely deliveries and whether your provider has stock.
If you run out of oil, you will be without heat until your oil dealer can make an emergency refill. Most dealers can make same day emergency refills, but they may charge an additional fee.
A gas main delivers gas directly to your home. Your municipal utility organization handles that gas main, and it should always run unless there is an emergency. However, you may not have access to a gas main if you live in a remote area.
Oil is not as plentiful as natural gas. Oil is a finite resource that is not available in every country.
Natural gas is also a nonrenewable energy source, but it is currently much more plentiful than oil.
In the next section, we get into what this means for you as a customer.
Emissions and Legality
Oil produces a lot of dangerous emissions when it’s burned to create heat. Not only do they smell foul and pose a health risk, but they are also bad for the environment. Some countries have banned the use of oil heating because of these factors.
Depending on where you live, oil heating may not even be an option.
Benefits of Switching to A Gas Furnace
We just went over some of the technical differences between oil and gas furnaces. What does that mean practically for you as a consumer?
After you convert from an oil furnace to a natural gas furnace, you will notice immediate savings. Gas is more efficient than oil and is also cheaper to purchase. The annual cost of operating a natural gas furnace will be less than that of an oil furnace, sometimes as much as $1000 less!
That’s not including the more frequent servicing oil furnaces typically need.
The actual amount of savings depends on the age of the equipment you are replacing.
Saving The Planet
Natural gas burns cleaner than oil. That means fewer emissions that could affect your family’s health or the environment. As we mentioned earlier, oil heating is not legal in all countries. Several governments have already banned oil heating to meet emission goals.
Because oil does not burn as cleanly as natural gas, it requires more frequent servicing. This is usually a cleaning to remove soot and build-up in the exhaust or flue. An oil furnace may also require more repairs because of the higher level of wear and tear.
Both gas and oil are nonrenewable resources. Natural gas, however, is more efficient than oil and has more plentiful reserves. There have also been recent technological developments in finding and using gas reserves. That means that your gas furnace is less likely to be impacted by changes to energy policy. Gas furnaces will also have fuel available to them longer than oil furnaces.
Depending on where you live, your state may offer incentives to switch to gas if you don’t already have a gas meter at your home. In Oregon, these incentives range from $1000 to $3000. Th actual incentive and savings can vary based on the amount of oil you burn to heat your home.
How To Convert from Oil to Gas
If those reasons align with your goals for heating your home, then you might ask, “How do I convert from an oil furnace to gas?” We’ll do our best to explain that process here so that it is a straightforward and painless experience.
Contact Your Local HVAC Professionals
Reach out to your local HVAC company and let them know you want to transition from an oil furnace to a gas furnace. A sales professional will pay you a visit to make sure that your home is compatible with a gas furnace. They will go over what other changes may need to be made, let you know if you have access to the gas main, and tell you your financing options.
They will also tell you whether their company will remove the old furnace for you. Typically, that costs between $400 to $800 extra.
By the end, you should have a clear idea of how much the conversion will cost you.
How To Decommission Your Oil Tank
The next thing you will need to do is decommission and remove the oil tank. Depending on your location, you may have to contact a construction or hazardous materials removal company. If none service your location, you may have to contact the county or state to see how they request hazardous materials to be disposed of.
If you live in Oregon, a company like Bill Goff services the entire state and will decommission your oil heating tank.
Have Your New Gas Furnace Installed
The last step is to let your HVAC company know that you have decommissioned or removed your oil tank. They may have already scheduled your installation, if not, they will do so now. Then you just wait and let them do the heavy lifting as they install your new gas furnace.
Who Are Advantage Heating and Air Conditioning?
We are your local HVAC Experts out of Salem, Oregon. We hope that this post gave you the information you need to make an educated decision on if you should convert from an oil furnace to a gas furnace. If you have other questions about HVAC systems, check out our other blogs. To learn more about who we are and how we can help you, visit our website and follow us on social media - we’re here when you need us!