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Electricity, Propane, and Oil Furnace Comparison



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When you’re having a new home built, deciding how you want to heat your home is a key consideration. Three of the most popular choices include electricity, propane, and oil. The problem is, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Understanding your needs and expectations, as well as the pros and cons of these three furnace options, is the key to making the right decision for your home’s heating solution.

Here, Tidewater HVAC Wilmington NC provides a thorough comparison of electric heating, propane, and oil furnaces so you can make the most informed decision possible.

Installation Cost Comparisons

Of the three heating options, electric heat is the most affordable in terms of installation costs. This is because this type of heating doesn’t require any exhaust systems, chimneys, or large storage containers. Unlike electric heat, propane and fuel oil furnaces create gasses during the combustion process that require a means to exhaust the gasses and this adds to the installation costs of the system. A storage container system will also be required for storing the fuel in these types of installations and this can also increase the upfront costs.

Operating and Maintenance Cost Comparisons

The cost of operation for these three options can vary depending on where your home is located. For instance, in some communities fuel oil may be less expensive than the current electricity rates. Meanwhile, in others, electricity may be less expensive than propane and oil. Your best bet is to consult with your local utility and fuel providers to find out which one offers the best value. Checking around to see what your neighbors use will also help. But, keep in mind that fuel prices can fluctuate. Today’s affordable option could wind up being tomorrow’s expensive option.

In terms of maintenance, electricity wins out because these types of systems have fewer controls and moving parts so this means less wear and tear. Fuel furnaces require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure safe and optimum performance.

Efficiency Comparisons

Among the three heating options, only electricity is 100% efficient. This means that in an electric heat system, 100% of the energy being used is converted into heat. Propane and fuel oil furnaces, on the other hand, can lose anywhere from 5% to 30% of their efficiency because they have to convert the fuel into heat via combustion. With these types of furnaces, the higher the BTU (British thermal units), the more efficient the system.

Environmental Impact ComparisonsFurnace & coil ready to install | HVAC Wilmington NC

If you’re concerned about your home’s carbon footprint, then you’ll no doubt be interested in the environmental impact of your home’s HVAC system. With an electric heat system, no emissions are produced. But, this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an impact on the environment. In truth, the electricity your system is using is being produced at a power plant that can flood the environment with significant amounts of pollution. On the other hand, propane and fuel oil systems both emit approximately the same levels of pollutants into the environment. But, the systems can be kept running as efficient as possible simply by properly maintaining your equipment.

Logistical Complications

Lastly, you have to consider the ease of availability of your ideal choice of fuel. If you live in a very rural area, you may have difficulty accessing electricity, but you may find it easy to have oil delivered to your home. Meanwhile, in an urban setting, it may be inconvenient or even impossible to accommodate a large storage container on the side of your home, thus making electricity a more sensible pick.

Call Tidewater Today for Expert Installation and Service on HVAC Wilmington NC

If you need a new furnace or HVAC system installed in your home, call Tidewater HVAC Wilmington NC at 910-499-4755. We have been providing homeowners in the Wilmington area with reliable and trusted HVAC installation and repair service for more than 42 years. Our experts can help you choose the ideal heating solution for your home’s unique needs.