Written on: April 8, 2024

Does Heating Oil or Electric Home Heating Cost More?

Be sure to compare apples to apples when calculating costs for different home heating systems

heating oil Islip, NY As we say goodbye to winter in Islip and throughout Long Island and look forward to warmer temperatures, you might be wondering how your heating bills this season have stacked up against those of friends or family members who use different heating systems to warm their homes. Comparing the costs of those that use heating oil versus electricity can be tricky because they’re not measured in the same ways.

How oil heating and electric heat pumps differ

To accurately compare costs, it’s helpful to understand how these systems function. Oil-fired furnaces and boilers both work by heating oil until it ignites, generating heat that then gets circulated throughout your home. Furnace systems circulate warm air through ducts using a blower fan, whereas boiler systems use hot water or steam to warm up spaces through baseboard vents, radiators or radiant floor systems.

Electric heat pumps, on the other hand, don’t actually generate heat at all. Instead, a unit placed outdoors takes warmth from the outside air or the ground and transfers it into your home, where an inside unit then blows it through ductwork and vents into rooms. (The same system can be used in reverse to cool your home in the summer by removing warm air from the inside and blowing it outside.)

Energy efficiency plays a big role when it comes to costs. Modern heating oil systems often boast a 90% or higher efficiency rating, whereas electric heat pumps lose much of their efficiency when temperatures drop too low. Not only do heat pumps have to run more often when it’s much colder for long periods (raising the electric bill), they don’t provide the same comfort as heating oil systems.

Ways to compare oil and electric heating costs

It can be a little tricky to compare the two because electricity is priced by the kilowatt hour (kWh), whereas heating oil is priced by the gallon. And you’ll often see the term “Btu,” which stands for British thermal unit — the standard for measuring the heat content of energy sources.

One kilowatt hour of electricity equals 3,412 Btu, but one gallon of heating oil produces 138,500 Btu! If your head isn’t spinning yet, that simply means that it takes more than 40 kilowatt hours of electricity (40.6, to be exact) to generate an equal amount of heat energy you get from a gallon of heating oil.

So then how can you compare the two cost-wise when it comes to heating a home? The easiest way is to multiply an electric supplier’s price per kilowatt hour by 40.6, then compare that total to the current per-gallon price of heating oil. Of course, this doesn’t take into account any extra charges companies might add.

Cut your heating costs with these tips

If you’re worried about your bills being high this past winter, remember that you can always trim your costs each season no matter which system your home uses by:

Consider the cost savings of Bioheat® fuel

Do you currently use heating oil to warm your home? If you’re not a Swezey Fuel customer, you might not have heard of Bioheat fuel — an ecofriendly option for homeowners who use heating oil. This blend of ultra-low sulfur heating oil and biodiesel is not only great for the environment, it can save you money. It burns cleanly and leaves fewer deposits on heating system parts, causing your equipment to be more efficient and break down less often. That means lower repair costs and a longer lifespan for your system — and you don’t need to do anything to convert your current equipment to use Bioheat fuel!

Contact us to learn more

Swezey Fuel is the company of choice for Suffolk County homeowners thanks to our free heating oil automatic delivery, remote monitoring of oil usage to avoid runouts, convenient EasyPay budget pricing plans, emergency services, and professional heating equipment installation, maintenance and repair. Simply contact us today to learn more or get started!