Replacing Oil Heat with a Gas Furnace
Anyone with oil heat has noticed the price of oil skyrocketing over the past few months and several people have contacted us and asked about the costs or benefits of converting oil heat to gas heat. In our opinion, the choice revolves around the timing of when to replace your furnace. If you have to replace the system, it makes perfect sense to look at the long term benefits and compare the gas furnace price comparison versus the oil furnace with higher fuel costs.
Alternatively, if the price of oil continues to rise and you just want to convert from oil to gas heat as soon as possible, this oil heat to gas heat conversion guide will definitely be worth your time to read! In this Gas Furnace Guide article, we help you understand the differences between an oil and gas furnaces, and what will affect the cost of converting.
Considerations When Converting Oil Heat to a Gas Furnace
The first assumption we make when publishing this guide is that you have a forced air system! If you have a closed loop hot water heating system, this article is not going to answer all your questions!
Availability of Natural Gas to Your Home!
Do you already have gas appliances like a stove, dryer or hot water heater in your home? In a recent article on MassLive about the attraction of natural gas over oil, the biggest and most costly hurdle most homeowners face is the availability of natural gas service to their home. If you already have it, great. If not, or if you don’t know, you need to contact your local natural gas company to see what it will cost to have your home service added. In many cases, the cost to run a gas line to your home can be too expensive and deter many from converting from oil to gas heat.
If they won’t do it, or it’s just too expensive, you can always choose to use propane, which is comparable to natural gas, and all gas furnaces easily convert to propane with a conversion kit from the manufacturer.
HVAC Ducting and Forced Air Systems
In most cases, as long as you already have a forced air oil heating system, the entire hvac ducting system will work fine with a new gas furnace system. CFM and airflow being forced throughout the system is the same. When you get free local contractor estimates, one of the questions to ask before you hire an hvac contractor, is whether they will need to make, or suggest any changes to your existing ventilation duct system.
If you don’t have a forced air system and need to have an entire supply and return air duct system installed, it may add several thousand dollars to the cost of a gas furnace system.
Choose Higher Efficiency!
If you are going to take the time to convert from oil heat to gas heat, don’t take any shortcuts! Compare high efficiency gas furnaces so you can reclaim the cost of the conversion as quickly as possible!
After all, if you are converting to save money, you should really save as much as you possibly can! You may also qualify for gas furnace tax credits if you choose a higher efficiency and qualifying model.
Exhaust Gases and Furnace Venting!
If you choose a high efficiency gas furnace, you really won’t have to deal with many venting requirements since 90% and higher condensing furnaces use a PVC venting system that can easily be vented outside the home, vertically or horizontally!
If you decide to install less than 90% however and need to vent the system through a traditional flue system, the HVAC Contractor you choose may have to vent through the existing chimney, or the original oil furnace venting system.
Not a DIY Project!
Although you can do quite a bit around your home, dealing with natural gas or propane is not a DIY project! In addition to the dangers associated with carbon monoxide and natural gas itself, gas furnace sizing is something you will want a contractor to be involved in. You would hate to do all the work only to find the system you installed is too small or large, and less efficient than your old oil heat system.
Qualified Contractors are also going to be able to explain all the furnace features to you clearly, so they are easier for you to understand the benefits of each.
Make Sure you Get Permits and Inspections!
One of the main reasons the hvac permit and inspection process exists, is to protect consumers and make sure the job is done correct and within all local safety codes. If you have to take any shortcuts to save money on a new furnace, this is not one of them!
Have You Converted from Oil to Gas?
If so, please share your own experience below… it can help other readers decide if its worth it or not!