Can You Convert From an Oil Furnace to Natural Gas?

Oil man delivering oil to home

It’s been one of the facts of life in the home heating world for the past several years: oil costs much more than gas.

Since 2002, the cost of heating a home with oil has been 30 percent to 50 percent higher than using natural gas heat.

With numbers like that in mind, it’s only natural that oil furnace users might want to seek out an alternative method of heating their homes.

Are you thinking about converting from oil to a natural gas furnace? Here are the questions you’ll need to answer before you make the switch.

Gas heating flame1. What kind of fuel is available where you live?

If you’re considering converting from an oil furnace to a natural gas furnace, you’re in luck: compared to oil, natural gas is a much more common heating supply, available in most parts of the country.

Nearly half the country uses natural gas, compared to the eight percent of heating customers who use oil. (The rest use sources such as electricity or propane.)

You’ll need to have natural gas piped into your house, which means you’ll need a gas main nearby. Contact your utility company to find out if there’s a gas line near you home.

Most neighborhoods have a gas infrastructure, even in places where oil heat is popular.

And if your neighborhood doesn’t have a gas main, you might be able to convince the gas company to install one… provided you and your neighbors agree to use the service.

Trench showing heating line2. How much will it cost?

Let’s assume that you have a gas main near your house. Your utility company will need to dig a trench from the road to your property to run an underground pipe to connect the main to your home and install a gas meter.

The cost of this work can range from $1,000 to $5,000, although some utilities will waive this charge – or at least give you a discount – in exchange for gaining you as a customer. You’ll need to hire a contractor to take care of the next step: piping gas from the meter to your heating unit.

The average cost of a new furnace in the Philadelphia area in 2017 is $5,326, although some units can be as high as $10,000. It all depends on the type of system you choose, the brand you buy and the efficiency rating. 

But this new system will save you money in the long term and may make you eligible for a tax credit of up to $300. And investing in a high-efficiency gas furnace will save you the cost of putting a liner in your chimney to protect against the moisture in gas exhaust.

Oil Tank side of home3. What about my oil system?

The cost of removing your oil tank will depend on where the tank is. If it’s buried underground, you could spend as much as $3,000 on removal and remediation. Getting rid of an above-ground tank will cost around $700.

We can’t promise that gas will always be cheaper than oil. But we can say that gas is more environmentally friendly, and that once your home is hooked up to the gas main, you can eventually install other gas appliances – washers and dryers, stoves – and save even more money.

If you’re thinking about converting from an oil furnace to a natural gas furnace, contact All Seasons Comfort Control.

We’re equipped to install and service gas furnaces from American Standard, the top furnace brand on the market. And if you feel like sticking with your oil furnace, that’s fine: we’re skilled at working with them as well.