Whether you’re choosing a heating system for a new home or as a replacement for your current system, it makes sense to consider all of your home heating options before making a decision. Heating fuel costs are bound to influence your choice, but it’s important to remember that when it comes to annual operating costs, other factors come into play as well. From high efficiency gas furnaces for forced-air heating systems to boilers designed for radiant flooring systems, there has never been a wider variety of heaters to consider for your Chicagoland home than there is today.
Gas vs Oil Furnaces
Space heating accounts for more than 50 percent of the energy used in the average Illinois home, so it’s no surprise that heating fuel costs are a primary concern when shopping for a new furnace. Heating oil was once the most cost-effective option, but the increasing global demand for petroleum products has more than doubled the price of the oil over just the last decade. Currently, heating oil is more than three times more expensive to use than natural gas, according to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Around 80 percent of households in Illinois use natural gas for heating, but using gas doesn’t guarantee long-term savings. An outdated, neglected gas furnace is likely to be less energy efficient than a well-maintained modern oil furnace. It’s important to consider the furnace’s energy efficiency rating when shopping for a new heating system too. The annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating compares the furnace’s heating output with its energy expenditure, as expressed in a percentage. The higher the rating, the more efficiently the furnace will burn fuel. If you prefer the clean-burning performance of heating oil, you can still achieve low operating costs with a well-designed Bryant oil furnace.
Radiant Heating Options
High efficiency gas and oil boilers burn fuel to heat water instead of air and are the optimal choice for those who prefer radiant heating systems to forced-air heaters. Heated water or steam is delivered via pipes to radiators or radiant floor systems. In a radiant flooring system, tough plastic tubing is installed in loops beneath a floor to radiate cozy warmth from the ground up. Although these types of systems cost more to install, they can be up to 30 percent more efficient than central heating systems.
Maintenance and Repair Considerations
Oil-fired heaters require installing a storage tank for the heating oil as well as making arrangements for regular deliveries of the oil. If you opt for an oil-fired boiler, you’ll want to ensure that the HVAC professional who services the unit is trained in installing, maintaining and servicing all of the components involved in steam and hot water heating systems. Although gas-fired heaters are typically easier to maintain, regular tune-ups are also important for safe, clean and energy-efficient operation.
Serving Morton Grove, IL, and the Greater Chicagoland Area since 1985, Gartner Heating and Cooling has extensive experience in every type of residential and commercial heating system. For more information about home heating options or to schedule service, contact the experts at Gartner Heating and Cooling today.