Furnace types vary predominantly in the type of fuel used to power the system. Electric and natural gas have become two of the most common modern fuel types but old-school oil still exists and works best for some homeowners. Investing in an oil furnace has particular pros and cons that can help you decide, with your furnace service company, if this type of unit is the right match for you.
Pro: Heating Efficient
An oil furnace does its job very well, which is to say that the unit can thoroughly heat your home with minimal effort and spent fuel. The heating efficiency can save you on oil refilling costs and minimize the risk of the furnace experiencing wear and tear related damage.
The controls on an oil furnace are also more precise and easily tailored to your heating needs, which can help you avoid running the furnace more than you need in order to achieve a comfortable temperature.
Pro: Safer than a Gas Furnace
A gas furnace produces carbon monoxide as part of the combustion cycle that occurs within a system of tubes called the heat exchanger. A nearby fan blows the carbon monoxide out of the system and into your flue to take the deadly gas out of your home. But if the heat exchanger breaks, the fan experiences problems, or the flue becomes clogged, your gas furnace could start leaking that toxic gas into your home.
An oil furnace doesn't produce carbon monoxide so there is no gas leak risk. You might worry about oil and think the fuel would pose a flammability risk, but you could literally drop a lit match into the oil and it wouldn't catch fire; it would put out the match. So you don't need to worry about a fire starting in your furnace due to the fuel.
That said, you do want to still clean up any fuel leaks as quickly as possible and report the problem to your HVAC tech immediately. The tech can fix the problem and top off your oil in one go.
Con: Can Become Costly
The upfront costs of an oil furnace are on par with a gas furnace. But the need to keep refilling the oil and the specialized maintenance required can lead to the unit costing more in the long run. And while the oil furnace is heating efficient, the use of oil doesn't make this type of unit as environmentally friendly as a gas or even electric-powered furnace.
Unsure of how much an oil furnace would cost to own and operate? Contact your HVAC company for a personalized quote, or visit websites like http://www.chappels.com/.