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Heating Oil vs Propane: A Comparison Guide

May 11, 2019

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In average, a traditional family in the United States spends 29% of their annual income in a heating system.

If you are looking to switch from heating oil to propane gas or vice versal, you may be wondering which of them is more energy efficient and cheap.

To help you find the best option for your home or business, check out this comparison guide to learn everything you need to know about oil and propane heating systems.

Heating Oil Vs Propane

If you ask around about heating oil or propane system. You may find several answers and at the end more confuse.

This is because there are a number of factors involve when estimating the cost of oil and propane heating systems.

And even sometimes the actual cost of each type of fuel can turn out to be a minor factor in your calculations.

1. Comparing Heating Fuels

Comparing oil vs gas can be complicated since they are different from each other. Basically, whenever you ask for liquid heating system heating oil will be the winner and if you ask about gas the king will be propane.

Another fact that differentiates heating oil from propane is the unit of measurements. Oils are measured in gallons while propane is measured in cubic feet units.

2. Unit Conversions

Converting cubic feet to gallons can get tricky since the gas expands due to external factors such as temperature and pressure.

Luckily, there is a mathematic method in the oil industry to get standards estimates.

  • One gallon of propane equals 35.97 cubic feet
  • One cubic foot of propane equals 0.0278 gallons

This means you'll need to be precise to get a direct correlation of a quantity of heating oil to an amount of propane.

3. Fuel Efficiency

One of the most important factor to take in consideration in this comparison is the fuel efficiency. In simple words, gas furnaces convert a higher proportion of their fuel supply into heat than oil burners do.

This makes gas propane more efficient even new residential propane tanks today are expected to get a fuel efficiency between 89 and 98 percent and between 80 and 90 percent for heating oil.

4. Thermal Properties

Converting your gallon of heating oil to cubit feet units won't necessarily reveal which fuel is more efficient. This is simply because a gallon of heating oil won't produce the same amount of energy as in 35.97 cubic feet of propane.

This is due to the different thermal properties within these substances. One generates more heat with less quantity than the other.

5. Price Factors

Pricing factors can make a big difference in your quest for being financially successful to find the ideal heating systems. Over the years the price of heating oil and the price of gas have changed periodically.

However, the cost of natural gas has been falling steadily in the United States over the past few years while the price of oil has risen sharply and dropped dramatically several times so far during this century.

Looking for a Swimming Pool Heater?

Now you know everything you need to know about heating oil vs propane. As you can see, gas propane is by far the most efficient one however in rural areas the best option will be heating oil.

If you want to learn more about heating systems for your home or business, check out our post on the ideal swimming pool heater, so you can find helpful information when purchasing a pool heater.