The Benefits of Using Oil Heat in Your Home
When purchasing a new home or making renovations to your current one, you already have so many factors to consider. Between wall coverings and flooring options, one of the biggest considerations on your plate should be your home’s heating system.
Many homeowners don’t think about this when evaluating their home, but it is an important aspect of anyone’s lifestyle, especially if you live in an area with exceptionally harsh winter weather. Heating systems not only factor into the comfort of your home during the colder months, but they also add to your monthly cost of living, typically accounting for over 42 percent of the average American’s heating bill.
So what options are on the market for today’s prospective homeowner? Natural gas heating systems heat 49 percent of American homes today, followed by electrical heating systems at 34 percent. While these are the most popular options at the moment, they aren’t the most effective for everyone. There is another option, however, and that is heating oil.
Heating your home with heating oil is a tried and true system, and it’s only growing in popularity. Many might think of it as an old-fashioned or outdated system, but it isn’t. Today, eight percent of American homes are heated with oil heat, and in the past decade alone, 350,000 new homes were built in the United States with oil central heating instead of natural gas.
But why choose oil over other alternatives? What makes it such a good option? To help you understand the advantages of oil heating systems over other heating options, we’ve outlined a few of the benefits of home heating oil and why it can be a huge benefit to homeowners across the United States.
The Benefits of Oil Heat
If you are considering switching to an oil-based home heating system or if you are interested in buying a house with oil heat, you may have some reservations about this method. Many view oil central heating as an outdated method, and others see it as environmentally detrimental. However, the truth is home heating oil systems can offer several huge benefits over other heating methods like natural gas and electricity.
There are several benefits of home heating oil you should take into consideration, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Abundant supply: There’s plenty of heating oil available on the market today, and relatively small demand. During the winter, high demand for home-heating resources can place a strain on supply, resulting in shortages. While natural gas and propane can become scarce during the coldest months of the year, you can enjoy a steady stream of the heating oil you need to keep your home at a comfortable and constant temperature.
- Inexpensive pricing: As oil prices continue to decrease across the United States, you can enjoy an inexpensively heated home experience. All homeowners look for ways to reduce their monthly costs, and using a home oil heating system is one excellent way of cutting expenses.
On average, oil heating prices are 2.5 to 5.5 times lower than electric-based heating prices, and older gas furnaces can be much more expensive to run than oil-based systems. For example, over the past 30 heating seasons, New Jersey homeowners heating their homes with oil-based systems spent less than those heating with natural gas systems! Oil heat is an especially cost-efficient method for warming larger homes in colder climates, as oil tends to burn hotter than gas.
- Flexible purchase plans: Most people familiar with natural gas systems are accustomed to paying for what they use each month, which is why many homeowners balk at the prospect of oil heating. At least 80 percent of the average homeowner’s oil heating needs occur over three or four months, and paying for the oil used during those months can, of course, be expensive.
For many, this increased expense over a short period of time seems like a deal-breaker. However, heating oil dealers offer very flexible payment plans to fit any budget. If you need to, you can average the cost of your oil and spread it out evenly over an entire year instead of paying for everything at once! When separated out like this, oil heating payments can be much less expensive than the average monthly gas bill.
- Clean: Many people think of oil burning and remember the mid-20th century, where oil furnaces produced smoke and soot, contributing to air pollution. However, technology has completely changed the face of oil heating. Today, oil heat burns 95 percent cleaner than it did in 1970, and it now falls well within the Environmental Protection Agency’s air pollution standards. Today, residential heating oil creates under one third of the emissions contributing to national air pollution.
In addition to cleaner systems, there are more options available for more environmentally-friendly oil for your home oil heating system. Because of national demand for more environmentally-friendly and sustainable options, low-sulfur, ultra-low-sulfur and renewable biofuels are now available, all of which are useable in any oil heating system.
Virtually every gallon of oil now includes low-sulfur biofuels, made from oil blended with sunflower, soybean or vegetable oil. These low-sulfur oil options can cut sulfur emissions by 75 to 80 percent, while cutting particulate matter by 80 percent.
They also reduce the need for regular cleaning, which is one of the biggest hassles with traditional oil. In traditional oil, sulfur builds up and creates deposits on heat exchangers, which must be cleaned out regularly to improve efficiency. By switching from traditional oil to a low-sulfur option, you can increase the time between services from twice a year to once every two years!
- Energy efficient: Innovations in home oil heating systems have resulted in incredible boosts in the energy efficiency of these systems.
Now, many oil heating systems boast efficiency ratings of up to 95 percent, providing more heat for less fuel. This efficiency not only means you get more bang for your buck, but it also reduces your oil purchasing needs. Recent reports have shown new, energy efficient oil heating systems can save homeowners as much as 50 gallons of fuel each year.
Much of this incredible improvement is due to new, more environment-responsive equipment, such as weather-responsive controls, which reduce fuel usage during mildly cold weather and provide more even heating in response to exterior temperature changes. Smart controls are also now on the market, which learn your usage habits to reduce energy usage while you are out of your home. These smart controls also allow you to adjust your settings from your mobile device while you are away, helping you save as much money as possible. New systems even re-burn oil, which helps to reduce already low emissions and maximize the amount of heat you get per gallon of oil.
- Long-lasting: Replacing any heating system can be frustratingly expensive, regardless of whether it is an oil, propane, electric or natural gas system. Thankfully, oil-based heating systems often enjoy much longer lifespans than their propane or natural gas counterparts, lasting 30 years or more on average, with storage tanks lasting upwards of 10 years. This lifespan can be even further extended with regular maintenance and the use of new low-sulfur oils, which are easier on oil heating systems and require less frequent, less intensive maintenance. This is vastly superior to natural gas systems, which might last about half as long, or even less when they don’t receive regular maintenance.
- Effective heating: Heating oil burns 300 degrees hotter than natural gas. This means your heating system is more powerful and more efficient than some of the top alternatives, such as natural gas and electricity. In fact, a single gallon of oil has an energy content 125,000 BTU. This is substantially higher than natural gas, which has an energy content of 20,160 BTUs per pound, or propane with 84,250 BTUs per gallon.
This doesn’t just mean improved heating for your home, though. If you use an oil heating system to heat your water, this can mean your hot water stores can recover more quickly than with another system. The recovery rate for an oil-based water heating system is double the rate of a natural gas water heater, and three times as fast as an electrical heater.
- Portability and access: Portability and access is another of the major advantages for home heating oil. If your home is located in a remote rural or forested area, or is otherwise deemed inaccessible by your local natural gas systems, you can very easily use oil heat instead. Instead of relying on your local natural gas supplier for heat, you control your own system and your own supply. All you need is an oil containment unit and an oil furnace on your property. Add some fuel, and you have your own system.
- Control options: While homeowners using natural gas- or electricity-based heaters are bound to the big utility companies in their areas, heating oil users have more options available to them. You get to control where your home heating oil comes from, and you can shop around for the best prices and deals in your area. You can even choose how environmentally clean your oil is, what it is made from and how cleanly it burns.
Additionally, you can keep as much or as little oil around as suit your needs. If you prefer to only buy as much as you need, you can have regular shipments sent to your address as you need them. However, if you like to have a large quantity around, you can choose to purchase in bulk and store it in an oil tank. In these cases, we recommend purchasing an oil tank.
By purchasing an oil tank, you can keep an adequate supply of heating oil on site for immediate use in any circumstance. Whether it is an aboveground storage tank outside of your home or in your basement, or an underground storage tank buried in your yard, you can keep your home heated conveniently and not have to worry about running out of oil during those long winter months. If you choose low-sulfur oil as your fuel of choice, you can store more oil for longer, because the fuel quality doesn’t degrade over time.
- Safety: There are few safer ways to heat your home. Heating oil contains no cancer-causing agents, meaning it is safe to store within your home. It also does not burn in a liquid state — it must be heated to its vaporization point before it burns, meaning it must be heated to a temperature above 140 degrees.
Additionally, any leaks in the system are much more visible in oil heating systems than in natural gas systems — natural gas systems release carbon monoxide, which is an invisible toxic fume, whereas oil heating systems will release smoke and other colored gasses if a malfunction occurs. This means it is much easier to see if there is a serious problem with your oil heating system. Considering all of these features, you can rest easy knowing your home and family is safe with your oil heating system.
Where to Buy Heating Oil
If you are looking to purchase a property with a heating oil system, or are looking to replace your current system with one that uses heating oil, you are going to need the help of experts in the heating oil industry, as well as a trusted heating oil provider. If you are looking for the best service in the industry and a convenient buying process, look no further than the oil heat pros at Smart Touch Energy.
At Smart Touch Energy, we provide an easier way to order heating oil, by offering an online option with affordable prices. Our website makes it simple for homeowners to buy heating oil 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and your delivery will arrive within three business days — in some areas, it can even arrive the same day!
We also maintain a local network of oil dealers, evaluating and reviewing them for performance to make sure your experience is the smartest in the business. We serve homes across New England, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.
If your budget is your primary concern, we can help. Smart Touch Energy offers prices up to $0.40 below the national average, helping you save money. We even offer payment arrangements, so you can pay in a way that is convenient to you and your budget.
Need more information about heating oil? Our outstanding support team offers knowledgeable service about every aspect of home heating oil, and we can also provide expert guidance as you consider your home heating options. Our unbiased, trustworthy advice is the best in the industry, and we strive to keep it that way.
Contact Smart Touch Energy today or consult our FAQ page to learn more about the difference heating oil can make in your home. If you’re ready to make a purchase, check all of our heating oil prices instantly and schedule the delivery of your heating oil online.