Petroleum Vs. Gas Furnace Energy Use

Petroleum Vs. Gas Furnace Energy Use

Roughly 50 percent of energy used in the average home goes towards heating and cooling needs. Using less energy for heating and heat can create a dent in your energy bills and also reduce your impact on the environment. While heating oil includes additional heat per Btu than any other fuel, natural gas furnaces generally offer greater efficacy compared to those powered by petroleum, leading to lower heating costs and less pollution.

Heat Content

To evaluate energy use between oil and gas furnaces, it is helpful to comprehend the fuel heat content of each one of these fuel sources. The average home in a moderate climate zone takes approximately 50 million British thermal units of heat each winter. Oil includes 138,690 Btu per gallon, while gasoline includes 100,000 Btu per therm, as stated by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. One therm equals 100 cubic feet of gas.

Calculating Cost

Based only on the heat content per gallon of heating oil, it costs $29.12 to create 1 million Btu of heat utilizing petroleum. This figure is determined by the U.S. average cost of $4.04 per gallon of petroleum as of September 2013, according to the Energy Information Administration. Exactly the exact same 1 million Btu prices $7.54 to make using natural gas, depending on the U.S. average cost of $0.75 per therm as of September 2013. These statistics assume 100 percent of the energy contained in a gallon of petroleum or therm of natural gas is converted into heat.

Efficiency Matters

Of course, the average oil or gas furnace does not convert 100 percent of energy utilized in petroleum or gas into heat. A number of the energy is lost during combustion, leading to energy efficiency ratings of less than 100 percent. Gas furnace efficiency ratings vary from 89 to 98 percent, according to, which means that 89 to 98 percent of the energy in the gasoline is transformed to heat, while two to 11 percent of the energy is lost during the combustion procedure. Oil furnace efficiency ratings vary from 80 to 90 percent on average, with 10 to 20 percent of energy dropped to combustion.

Efficiency, Power and Cost

A 100-percent efficient oil furnace converts all petroleum burned into heat for the home. At the average cost of $4.04, generating 1 million Btu of heat prices $29.12. When efficacy drops to 90 percent, more energy is wasted, and also the price of 1 million Btu rises to $32.25. Dropping energy efficiency to 78 percent causes a price of $37.33 per million Btu as of 2013. The $7.54 price label for just 1 million Btu created with a 100-percent efficient gas furnace rises to $8.38 if energy efficiency decreases to 90 percent. If efficacy falls to 82 percent, the price of just 1 million Btu of heat rises to $9.19, as of September 2013.

Environmental Effect

When comparing energy use of oil and gas furnaces, consider not only the impact that energy use has on heating costs, but also how each one of these fuels effect the environment. A 2009 study by Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals that natural gas use results in low particulate emissions and moderate carbon dioxide emissions. Burning oil, despite its greater energy content, has a far more severe impact on the environment. Burning oil ends in particulate emissions 130 times greater than those created by burning natural gas, and also contributes to higher carbon dioxide emissions.

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