Furnace Oil Vs. Gas Furnaces | Which is Better?

Furnace Oil Vs. Gas Furnaces

Fuel and choices of fuel have long been debated in humanity’s struggle to keep warm and comfortable. Long ago, humanity found that by burning coal instead of wood, the fuel would burn hotter, lessening the need for massive stockpiles of wood being harvested. The coal became a more efficient fuel for heating and homes all across the world switched to coal-burning ovens and stoves.

Just like this past fuel change, there is another change in the fuel that millions of homes are using for heat and warmth, that fuel is gas – or propane. With another choice in heating fuel, many are asking the question, “should I purchase an oil-burning furnace, or a gas-burning furnace?” While this choice hinges much on supply in your area, most homes DO have a choice in whether they want a gas or oil furnace. So which is better?

Is A Gas Furnace Better Than an Oil Furnace?

If only it were as simple as, “which type is better…” but it is not that simple. Both oil and gas furnaces have their benefits and their drawbacks. Both are actually quite affordable, though gas is slightly cheaper, which has led to the myth that heating oil is outrageously expensive. What is outrageously expensive is converting an oil furnace to a gas furnace – this can easily run $9000.00+! In newer homes that are setup with gas lines running into the home may be a bit cheaper of a conversion, but there is still a fairly high cost.

Are Oil Burning Furnaces Dirty or Bad for the Environment?

Not anymore. In the past, the oil was much dirtier and certainly led to pollution and bad air quality, but just as the technology behind furnaces has evolved over the years, so has the technology behind the heating oil itself. Today’s heating oil produces almost zero emissions, and modern oil-burning furnaces have “reburners” that burn “waste” from the initial burn stage to cut down on inefficiency and emissions even further. In actuality, while gas furnaces are great products and sometimes are the perfect fit for some homes, gas systems are not necessarily 100% clean burning and can contribute to global warming.

Drawbacks of Oil and Gas Furnaces

Again, both types of systems are great and offer many benefits between them, though both systems do have their own sets of drawbacks that a homeowner should be made aware of before purchasing either or. The fuel itself is a drawback for oil furnaces, as it has to be delivered in-advance and stored on the property with the furnace. This could be an issue for some, as the delivery of the fuel comes with its own schedule and expenses. The drawback of gas-furnaces is that they have a tendency to not live as long as the oil-burning furnaces which can have a lifespan of over thirty years; compare this to the 11-14 year life span of gas furnaces and it is easy to see the costs go up for replacement and repairs.

If you are looking into replacing or installing a furnace and you want to know more about your choices between heating fuels, Call Sheldon’s Services today and we can go further into the benefits and drawbacks of each type of furnace, and help you to make a solid decision based on the facts, the benefits, and the drawbacks of each.

How Do Heat Pumps Work?

In the HVAC businesses furnaces and air conditioners get most of the publicity. But split-system air-source heat pumps are a versatile, workable and highly energy-efficient alternative to both, able to rise to the heating and cooling challenge through all four seasons in a wide range of climates.

Heat Pumps during the Winter

A split-system heat pump’s compressor is installed outdoors, and it is the heart of the heat pump system. Its job is to “pump up” the temperature and pressure of the cold vaporized refrigerant gas that passes through it, setting off a chain reaction of repeated heat absorption and release.

During the winter, the hot pressurized gas created inside the heat pump is routed through refrigerant lines into the home, where it passes through a set of winding copper metal pipes called evaporator coils. As an indoor fan blows air past the coils the refrigerant inside cools and loses heat to the surrounding atmosphere (inside the home). After this occurs, the rapidly-cooling refrigerant will change from a gaseous state into solid liquid form.

Next, the liquid refrigerant is routed outside where it passes through another set of copper evaporation coils. But this time the liquid passes through a pressure-reducing expansion valve first. As pressure drops the liquid refrigerant quickly evaporates back into a gas inside the coils, its temperature dropping dramatically as it does so. In fact it gets so cold it is able to absorb heat from the outdoor environment, even when temperatures outside are well below zero.

The partially heated but still cold gas then returns to the compressor for re-pressurization, causing the whole process to repeat—which it will continue to do as long as the heat pump is turned on. In this way, heat is captured from the air outside and transported inside to be put to good use.

Heat Pumps during the Summer

The process we’ve just described is reversed during the summertime. When air conditioning is required, the heat pump sends hot pressurized gas through the outdoor coils first, where an outdoor fan blows air across the coils to cool the refrigerant inside, causing heat to be released into the surrounding (outside) atmosphere. The high-pressure liquid refrigerant is then routed into the home, passing through an indoor expansion valve that reduces its pressure before it enters the indoor coils.

As the refrigerant evaporates to cold gas inside these coils, it rapidly absorbs heat from the air inside the home. The cold gas is then piped back out to the compressor for re-pressurization, which starts the cycle of heat transfer from indoors to outdoors all over again.

Sheldon’s Heating & Air Conditioning: California’s Heat Pump Experts

Because heat pumps exploit natural chemical reactions of a refrigerant, they don’t require as much energy input as furnaces or air conditioners to get the job done. This makes them an energy-saving and cost-saving option for homeowners and business owners everywhere—including right here in Riverside, where Sheldon’s Heating & Air Conditioning has been expertly handling heat pump installation, repair and replacement tasks for years. We know heat pumps here like the proverbial backs of our hands.

If you decide you’d like to purchase a heat pump for your home or place of business, here’s something you should know: Sheldon’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers the most advanced, reliable and professional heat pump installation services available across the Inland Empire and throughout the greater Riverside area.

Contact us today, and we’ll send our trained experts to your home to consult with you and help you select the perfect heat pump for your needs. They will give you an accurate and affordable estimate that includes all installation costs, and show you how to get the absolute money-saving most out of your wonderful new heating and cooling unit.

If the thought of getting a heat pump pumps you up, call Sheldon’s now and together let’s get the ball rolling—or should we say, get the heat pump pumping!