What is more efficient to heat a home – electric, natural gas/propane, or heating oil?

heating oil

Just out of curiosity.
Interesting when I lived in section 8 we had a gas furnace and the bills were much higher than I pay now for the electric heat/air central combination thing. Maybe it was just a bad system.
Or maybe it’s just that electric is cheap here since we’re on hydro?

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9 Responses to “What is more efficient to heat a home – electric, natural gas/propane, or heating oil?”

  1. bill Says:

    There is a cutoff for gas, If it reaches a certain price, like $3 a gallon, then electricity is cheaper, I have 3 heat sources in my house, and I live in Florida, of course we spend more on ac,, but when it gets cold, we freeze! So, I have a gas heater stuck on the all, works great, real economical, wood burning stove, messy, but nice, and the ac unit that is a heat pump air to air, works great, my biggest electric bill this year was $150, It is about $115 in the summer with that ac on.

  2. aj Says:

    Natural gas.

  3. papat Says:

    natural gas

  4. MARK Says:

    Natural gas by far! Everything else is a lot more expensive.

  5. Peter Says:

    The reason for your electric being cheaper is because when you say electric people think electric baseboard. What you had was a heat pump , possibly with an electric coil for really cold days. Heat pumps for the most part only work until it gets below 40 degrees.

  6. ben Says:

    It really depends what part of the country you reside in; as electricity prices differ in all parts of the country. However, in most locations natural gas would save you the most money as long as you have a 93% and above efficiency furnace. The following link will help you compare prices in your area. http://www.duke-energy.com/ohio/savings/heating-costs.asp. Hope this helps.

  7. Elliott M Says:

    geothermal with solar

  8. Greenie Says:

    Your gas system may have been highly inefficient for a number of different reasons, which makes a direct comparison between gas and electric difficult in your situation.

    Your question regarding efficiency is very different than the question of price. In truth, regarding true appliance performance efficiency numbers, electricity is the most efficient (though possibly not if you factor in the environmental costs if you get your electricity from a coal plant).

    In efficiency calculations, an electric resistive coil heat source is given an efficiency rating of 1, while a highly efficient gas furnace might have a rating of .92. However, in most areas, electricity will still cost you more to heat with using standard resistive coil appliances. If you are using an air source or geothermal heat pump, the costs can be more attractive because the electricity is used to move heat from one place to another rather than generate the heat from electrical resistance.

    Of course, if you are using an air-source heat pump that goes into resistive backup mode because the ambient air temp is below the operation parameter, then it can get expensive really fast. Like I said, it’s not a simple question. That’s why professional energy auditors stay in business. They look at real numbers and figure out the best approach for the given building, location, fuel availability, etc.

    If you are interested in a highly efficient heat source using natural gas, look at a gas fired condensing furnace. Here is a link providing more information about these units:

  9. Anne Caley Says:

    It depends also on the cost of gas and electricity in your area. It varies widely from state to state, and even within states and even significantly throughout the year. And try to determine the cost of gas vs. oil in your area.

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