Propane vs. Oil Heat: Which is Better for Your Home?
If you live in a rural area, it’s likely that you will need to choose between propane and oil to heat your home.
Propane furnaces and oil furnaces are both popular options for rural homes in Ontario. While oil heating was a more common choice in the past, there is a growing trend towards using propane heating instead, for a number of reasons.
While the costs of both fuels are fairly unpredictable, propane furnaces tend to provide better heating efficiency. They also have less of an impact on the environment — both in terms of carbon emissions and risks of spillage. Propane is also a more versatile heating source, which can be used for a range of appliances.
At Primemax Energy, we offer expert service and delivery for residential propane heating systems in Southern Ontario.
Learn more about the advantages of heating your home with propane vs. oil:
Propane vs. Oil — Pros & Cons
When considering the pros and cons of heating with propane vs. oil, we will examine four different factors that may influence your decision: (1) heating costs, (2) heating efficiency, (3) environmental impact, (4) versatility for your home.
When it comes to fuel costs, both propane and oil will fluctuate throughout the season. Sometimes one will be more affordable, sometimes the other, depending on where you live and the current market state.
In order to help navigate fluctuating fuel prices, Primemax offers its customers a fixed price program that allows you to keep your propane costs consistent over the course of the year.
When it comes to heating efficiency, oil is the more efficient fuel. Oil contains ~137,000 BTUs per gallon, while propane contains ~91,000 BTUs per gallon, resulting in greater energy output when used for heating. View statistics on other fuels here.
However, another factor swings the advantage for heating efficiency back in propane’s favour: the relative efficiency of propane furnaces compared to oil furnaces.
In general, propane furnaces are able to reach much higher efficiency levels than oil furnaces. This means that propane furnaces are able to provide more heat to your home per gallon, despite the fuel’s lower BTUs per gallon.
Propane furnaces also tend to be less expensive to purchase and install, which means that you’re paying less in upfront costs. In addition, it will typically cost less to complete annual maintenance on a propane furnace, compared to an oil furnace.
Propane is a clean-burning fuel, so there is no soot accumulation inside of a propane furnace. This means that the annual maintenance of a propane furnace is a quick and simple process, as opposed to an oil-burning furnace.
Heating oil produces approximately 22 pounds of CO2 per gallon more than propane. Propane is the second cleanest-burning fuel available. Propane furnaces also require substantially less maintenance than oil furnaces as a result. In addition, oil furnaces require their own dedicated chimney, which must also be cleaned on a regular basis.
Another environmental factor that weighs in propane’s favour is the risk of spillage. Home heating oil spills can seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater or nearby bodies of water. Spilled oil can also damage your property and require extensive soil remediation.
By contrast, propane leaks present no major environmental risks when used for home heating. If you are looking for a greener fuel, there is no question that you should choose propane.
Advantage: Strongly Propane
Versatility for Your Home
One of the biggest reasons to use propane as a heating source for your home is its versatility. While oil can only be used for heating systems, propane can also be used to power stoves and ovens, barbeques, fridges, and even cars or other vehicles (including some farm equipment).
In fact, many people prefer propane for cooking, instead of electric burners, because of its quick heating time and even heat distribution. In general, the ability to use the same fuel source for a variety of household appliances is a large advantage for propane.
Choosing Between Propane and Oil
At the end of the day, the decision to heat your home with propane vs. oil depends on your specific situation. Your choice may be influenced by the type of furnace that is already installed in your home or the availability of certain fuels in your area.
If you’re considering switching to propane and want to learn more about pricing programs, fuel costs, and more, contact Primemax Energy. We will provide you with recommendations to suit your specific needs.