According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), it costs the average homeowner $2,087 to heat with fuel oil in 2012, but only $832 to heat the same-size house with natural gas. Since 2002, oil heat has averaged 30% to 50% more than gas every year.
The EIA predicts that oil prices will continue to increase, while the cost of natural gas should remain comparatively stable. Given these circumstances, it’s no wonder a growing number of homeowners are electing to stop burning oil and start burning natural gas.
Is your home located close to a natural gas line? Is your oil-burning furnace or boiler more than 10 years old? If so, switching fuels can be a smart move. Natural gas is less expensive than fuel oil and likely to stay that way. It’s also a “greener” fuel, producing fewer carbon emissions than fuel oil. Because natural gas lines are buried underground, there’s less chance that you’ll run out of fuel –especially during severe weather that can disrupt oil deliveries. Finally, you may be eligible for rebates and other financial incentives if you switch fuels, or if you install new, high-efficient gas equipment.
The cost to convert from fuel oil to natural gas can vary greatly –anywhere from $4500 to over $10,000! There are several reasons for this wide price range. First of all, the cost of bringing a gas line to the house will depend on where you live, where the nearest gas main is located, and the gas company’s policy regarding new customers. Secondly, local building or health codes may require you to remove the oil tank that is no longer needed. A third factor determining conversion cost is the equipment replacement option you choose. Sometimes it’s possible to simply replace the oil burner assembly with a gas burner. In other cases, you’ll have to remove the entire oil-burning furnace or boiler and replace it with a new gas-burning appliance.