There are many reasons why residents and businesses are converting from heating oil to natural gas. Chief among them is cost, as the price of oil is higher and unstable. In fact, the price of petroleum changes twice a day, so it’s never clear how much someone will pay until the last minute. This cost is projected to rise in the future, making it difficult to keep up with utility bills. Another major benefit is reliability. Dry-fed furnaces only need to be connected to lines from the utility company to function. Once the unit is switched on, it starts working without fail. With liquid-fed furnaces, refilling the reservoir can be delayed due to many factors.This may result in a family waking up in the middle of the night to a freezing home.
Converting from heating oil to natural gas is a complicated process and may require extensive contractor work. The first thing a homeowner or business owner should do is to get a few estimates for the job. The upfront cost will be significant, so it is best to find a contractor who can detail exactly what needs to be done. Make sure that the contractor has inspected everything regarding the furnace. He or she will need to determine whether or not it can be converted or will have to be removed completely. In most cases, it will need to be removed. When converting from heating oil to natural gas, the lining in the chimney may need to be improved to handle condensation from the updated furnace. Over time, this can erode the masonry in the chimney, causing structural weakening. A specialist will be needed to check this out, and an inspection will cost several hundred, but is a necessary part of the process.
The utility provider will need to check that feeding gas to the home is possible. Not all areas are equipped with the proper piping, and buildings that do have connections may need a “booster” to get the pressure to required levels. Another thing that will need to be checked when converting from heating oil to natural gas is the burner in the furnace. Some units come equipped with dual burners, and can handle either source of fuel. Most, however, do not, and the burner or furnace will need to be switched out as a result.
The final thing the contractor will need to do is remove any old equipment from the property. The cost to do this will vary, depending on what needs to be disposed of. In most cases, though,it typically costs around $1,000. Converting from heating oil to natural gas will require a significant investment upfront, but most states have tax breaks or incentives that can offset the cost. Many installers also offer financing that can stretch out the financial burden over a longer period of time. Because the new system will cost less to run, it will be possible to make up the investment over several years. During that time, the furnace will be running cleaner energy, will be more reliable and will require less maintenance.