Riley Heating & Air Blog: Posts Tagged ‘oil furnace’

Deciding Between a Gas or an Oil Furnace

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

As winter approaches, you want to be sure you are prepared. If you need a new heating system, you will have to consider many factors including whether to choose a gas or an oil furnace. Understanding the differences between these systems, as well as their various features, can help you to make the best decision.

Natural gas and propane systems are far more common than those using heating oil. However, oil furnaces do have some advantages, and could be a viable option for you.

Storage Considerations

Unlike natural gas which is generally supplied by a utility company, heating oil has to be stored on your property. You will have to find out what the local zoning ordinances require for onsite fuel storage for residential properties. Your trusted HVAC contractor can help you to determine if heating oil is a viable option for your home.


An oil furnace doesn’t cost as much as a gas furnace initially and it may last longer. However, the higher cost of heating oil may negate these savings. Crude oil has historically been more expensive per British thermal unit (BTU) than natural gas.

Heat Output

An oil furnace delivers more heat faster than a gas furnace. Homeowners in cold winter regions who debate a gas versus oil furnace often choose oil because their winter temperatures are often below zero. This is unlikely in our area, with Alabama’s typically mild winters.


An oil furnace doesn’t burn as cleanly as a gas furnace, and therefore requires more professional maintenance. Gas furnaces, on the other hand, require professional maintenance once a year from an HVAC pro. You will also need to change the air filter regularly. If you decide to choose an oil furnace, verify that your HVAC contractor can service an oil burning system.

For professional assistance with your debate between a gas and an oil furnace, contact Riley Heating & Air Conditioning at 334-298-1278. Our technicians are trained in the installation, repair, and maintenance of a variety of HVAC systems.

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