Chapter 10: Consumer Choices

Consumers have many aspects to consider when selecting a home heating system.

Heating Options Summary

When it comes right down to it, all heating systems have advantages and disadvantages. Electric heat is both safe and inefficient. Natural gas is one of the least expensive options, but consumers must be located in areas that have gas utility supply systems. Propane heaters usually need little maintenance, but severe weather or fire can damage above ground tanks. Solar energy is inexpensive once the system is in place, and wood costs little if homeowners harvest the fuel themselves. However, neither heating method is very efficient.

Oil Heat Review

Safety and efficiency are just two of the benefits of oil heat. It produces more energy per BTU than other heating methods. Oil furnaces and boilers also require little upkeep from homeowners, and professionals regularly provide service through contracts.

In some areas, oil heat has a reputation of being one of the more expensive fuels, but that’s not the whole story. Consumers who know how heating oil works have a lot of input into how much they pay. Oil suppliers offer a variety of payment options, such as locked-in rates, year-round budget plans and lower summer prices.

Making houses weatherproof helps to control heating costs as well. Weather stripping, caulk and insulation keep heat in and cold out. Also, lowering the temperature on the thermostat significantly impacts what consumers pay annually to heat with oil.

Installing an oil heat system is more affordable than ever before. It’s usually less than a comparative gas furnace. The northeastern United States has a strong tradition of heating with oil. Because of its high-energy output, oil heat can handle extremely cold winters. Now add on the convenience, safety and low maintenance that come with oil furnaces and boilers, and you have an ideal heating system.

Consumers who evaluate their options and choose oil heat have made a conscientious choice. Overall, oil systems meet their heating needs while keeping costs reasonable.

All heating systems have advantages and disadvantages.
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