What type of heating system to use in your home is one of the most important decisions for a homeowner. Once installed, a system can’t be altered cheaply, and for years the system replacement will be much more expensive than keeping the existing one. People have recently been massively switching from heating oil to natural gas. They’re driven to do so with common myths surrounding the use of oil heat.

Myth # 1. Heating Oil Is Dirty

This statement was correct back in the 70ies, when ecology wasn’t considered as important as is today. Old heating oil had high levels of sulfur, but today refiners are able to make heating oil which is almost sulfur-free, but is still equally efficient as the old one. Emissions from heating oil is today comparable to that of natural gas, and modern oil heat systems have a great efficiency. It allows for lower oil consumption. The lower is burnt, the less exhaust gases go to the atmosphere.

Myth # 2. Oil heat is more expensive than natural gas

myths about home heating oilThis statement disregards the fact that prices of diesel fuels are more predictable than natural gas prices. Most of the time a gallon of natural gas is somewhat cheaper than a gallon of heating oil. However, you need to know that oil is more efficient and with it you get more British Thermal Units (BTU) for the same amount of money. Another very important fact regarding the cost-efficiency of heating oil is the system cost. Oil heat systems are cheaper and longer lasting than natural gas ones. Modern oil heat systems allow you to use electronic and smart thermostats, which make them as convenient as gas systems.

Myth # 3. Heating oil reserves can run out anytime

This is wrong. Most oil used in the US is made of domestic crude, and storage capacities are fairly sufficient. Plenty of suppliers also have their own storage units, which combined can keep plenty of oil. The US reserves of heating oil are high most of the time. The only excuse to that might be severe weather in southern states such as Louisiana or Texas, but it happens very sometimes, and usually during summer or early autumn. Another reason for runout in a short term may be severe cold in locales where oil is massively used for heating, such as in the Northwest. These events are not uncommon but last very short, so it’s very important to keep relatively high level of oil in your home tank during winter.

As far as global supply, it’s clear that there are no eternal springs of crude oil from the earth’s core, but the “peak oil” will not happen anytime in the decades to come. Oil companies are always exploring new oil reserves, and on the other side scientists are always developing new technologies to make cars, furnaces, aircraft, locomotives, and other fossil fuel burning devices more efficient. While prices of oil can be high sometimes, it has nothing to do with the peak oil event.

Myth # 4. Gas heating systems are better

Another wrong assumption. Gas heating systems have a shorter life and have a less friendly price tag. On the other hand, oil furnaces and boilers are very long lasting. Although they require annual maintenance, it’s not something hard to do. You will need to call a qualified technician once a year to make annual check and tune-up. Everything else can be done by the user, this includes replacing air filters, cleaning the burner nozzle and keeping track of oil levels in the tank.

You can opt for a high efficiency furnaces, which have AFUE efficiency levels of 95% or more. These systems are somewhat more expensive but pay off faster, and can last even longer than standard heating oil systems. These systems beat natural gas ones in almost every aspect. On average, oil heated households today have their fuel oil consumption lowered by 33.6 per cent compared to 30 years ago.

Myth # 5. Natural Gas gives you freedom

On the contrary, when you connect to a local gas supply network you are bound to a single provider, which always dictates their price. You will always depend on them and you can’t shop for a better price option, as they don’t have competitors in the gas heating segment. Heating oil is delivered by trucks and you can always choose another supplier, you can always look for a better quality, lower price, or a better quality-price ratio among many suppliers. Prices of heating oil vary among suppliers daily, so you can use a heating oil price comparison website to find the best supplier in your area at any given time.

Myth # 6. Oil is less safe

Actually, although heating oil can theoretically cause a great fire, you need to know that if the oil tank is properly placed – in your yard away from the house or driveways, or underground – it’s almost impossible to catch fire. N the other hand, natural gas leaks are hard to spot and put you in a risk of suffocation. Oil leaks are easy to spot and can’t pose a hazard to your health. Fuel oil is not explosive at all, which is not the case with natural gas and especially propane.

Myth # 7. Natural gas heats tap water better

Modern heating oil systems can heat tap water with a greater efficiency than natural gas. Oil powered water heaters will heat up the same amount of water twice faster than a gas powered water heater, and three times faster than an electric water heater.

Myth # 8. Heating oil is not renewable

Today, there are many renewable sources of heating oil, such as the rapeseed, corn, waste from agriculture or used cooking oil. These fuels, commonly called Bioheat are added to heating oil made of crude to make special blends which are cleaner and extend the life of your system. Present-day furnaces can now burn fuel blends which have up to 20% of biofuel, but scientists are working to develop furnaces which can run on a pure biofuel.