Installing A New Commercial Furnace? What To Know About Oil vs. Natural Gas Heat
If you are new to oil or natural gas heat, you are probably trying to decide which is best to install in your commercial building. To figure that out, you’ll want to know how they work, which is more efficient, how long they last, and what may need to be done to convert from oil to gas heat.
Getting started with a new furnace installation means you need to make good decisions. After all, you will be counting on your new oil or gas furnace to keep your building cozy, but as efficiently as possible.
Here are some things to know about the differences between oil and gas heat for commercial applications.
Efficiency of oil heat vs. natural gas heat
Modern oil furnaces are rated between 80% – 90% efficiency. Those installed around 15 years ago are generally about 15% less efficient.
Modern gas furnaces are rated between 78% – 97% efficiency. Equally, they will lose about 15% efficiency by the time they get old.
Oil furnaces burn cleaner than gas furnaces, but both produce carbon monoxide. Anytime you burn fuel of any type, carbon monoxide is produced. However, they are a closed system, meaning that the byproduct of the burning fuel is passed to the outdoors. They can leak, so install a CO2 detector near the furnace for safety.
How gas furnaces and oil furnaces work
Both gas furnaces and oil furnaces use electronic ignition to light the pilot light. Air is drawn into the burners as the gas or oil is sprayed in to create combustion. This combusts the gas inside the heat exchanger to make it hot. As air is drawn over the heat exchanger, it gets warm. It’s then blown in through the ventilation ducts to heat the building.
Average life expectancy of oil furnace vs. gas furnace
How long your new furnace lasts depends on how much maintenance it receives. If it’s neglected, don’t count on it lasting as long as it should. With proper maintenance:
- Gas furnaces are expected to last from 11-20 years.
- Oil furnaces can last more than 25 years.
- Gas boilers last on average 15 years. Some models run on gas but use steam to heat your commercial building. The hardness of the water supply plays a big role in how long they last.
Converting from oil to gas heat
If you are thinking about installing a gas furnace in place of an old oil furnace, you’ll need exact details from your heating contractor about what needs to be done before you make this important decision.
Keep in mind that there will be an upfront investment, but you can often get tax breaks and incentives from gas utility companies. Since so many in Pennsylvania are converting to natural gas, an underground supply line is probably nearby. UGI estimates that for a family of four, the energy savings will be between $1,000 to $1,500 a year to switch.
An oil furnace is installed with a storage tank for the oil. Gas furnaces are either connected to a propane tank or a utility pipeline. Call Aire Pro Commercial Services for more information today!