The price of fuel fluctuates quite a lot each year, so predicting the exact cost is difficult, if not impossible. Where you live will determine whether propane or oil is most cost effective for you.
Cost of Furnace
Most professional installations will have the cost of the furnace bundled into the total cost. Some high efficiency propane and oil are eligible for tax rebates or other incentive programs. An HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) professional will be able to provide more information about the options available in your area.
Advantages of Propane
Propane gas is considered to be more environmentally friendly by many, being approved as a “clean fuel” by the US Government as well. It also heats very quickly and when burned, does not produce a significant amount of carbon dioxide.
Advantages of Oil
Because oil burns hotter than propane gas it heats up faster and also is used up more slowly than propane. It is also considered safer than propane because oil is not combustible in the air and doesn’t create carbon monoxide fumes. Unlike in the past, today’s oil furnaces are clean and quiet.
There are energy efficiency models available for both oil and propane gas fuel sources. There is a standardized rating system known as the Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency percentage (AFUE) which measures the energy efficiency and communicates it to consumers. The unit will burn more efficiently if the AFUE is higher. If homeowners plan to live in their home for more than 4 years, live in colder climates or are concerned about their environmental footprint, high efficiency models can be worth the extra expense.
Purchasing an Oil or Propane Furnace
There is a variety of propane gas furnaces available in the market. The energy efficiency rating will determine of the purchase qualifies for tax credits. Ask your vendor about the benefits available to consumers. There is also a variety of options available in the market of oil furnaces in high efficiency models. New oil models are more likely to incorporate bio-diesel mixes if you are looking for more environmentally friendly fuel alternatives. Inquire with professional contractors in your area to determine which of these models is available near you.