Fuel Type Usage Chart

Heating Fuel Usage in North American Homes

Since the turn of the century, heating costs have been skyrocketing across Canada and around the world. Many people are truly desperate to find efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly methods of home heating.

The main choices in heating fuel available to most people in the Canada are natural gas, fuel oil, propane and electricity.

Which is best and most affordable for your home? Of course, your choice may depend greatly on sheer availability, but assuming that you have some choice when it comes to heating, here is a basic breakdown of the general affordability and environmental viability of these choices in heating fuels.

Furnaces, Air Conditioners & More That Run On Whatever Fuel You Desire:

Natural Gas
Surprisingly, natural gas is one of the less expensive heating fuels. Heating with natural gas will cost you about the same amount as heating with wood pellets or a geothermal heat pump; however, it produces far less air pollutants than either of these choices. Of course, prices per therm (the unit of measure used for natural gas) vary around the country, and you will need to check with your local utility for exact costs.

In terms of environmental friendliness, natural gas is a petroleum product. It emits fewer air pollutants than almost any other choice (running neck and neck with fuel oil). Nonetheless, when considering natural gas as a fuel, you must take into account the devastating effects of fracking (fracturing deep seated shale to release natural gas from far beneath the earth) on water supplies and on the very structure of the earth, itself. These considerations may cause you to turn to one of the other options in heating fuel.

Fuel Oil
Fuel Oil is a bit more expensive than natural gas and a tiny bit less air polluting. There are a variety of types of home heating oil. The term is actually fairly generic and is applied to a variety of products. Generally speaking, heating oil is a petroleum product and is obtained by drilling, which is not an environmentally friendly activity. To avoid this environmental concern, you may wish to investigate biodiesel heating oil alternatives.

Biodiesel heating oil is made from vegetable sources and burns similarly to petroleum heating oil at about the same cost. Fuel oil must be safely stored in a large on-site tank, and regular deliveries must be scheduled.

Propane is about a third more expensive than either natural gas or fuel oil. It is slightly more air polluting than either of these choices, and of course, it is a petroleum product and a by product of the refining of natural gas, so any and all environmental concerns in terms of earth and water apply to propane as they do to all natural gas and petroleum products.

If you heat with propane, you must maintain a sizeable propane tank on your property, and you must schedule regular deliveries to avoid running out of fuel. For rural properties where electricity might be too costly and there are no natural gas lines, propane or fuel oil are often the fuels of choice.

Commercial electricity is by far the most expensive choice in heating fuel, and because a great deal of it is produced by burning other fuel sources, it is often not environmentally friendly in terms of air pollution. Exceptions to this would be electricity generated by wind or solar methods.

Householders who are able to have their own wind or solar installations will save a great deal of money in the long run and reduce their carbon footprints considerably by choosing one of these renewable sources of electricity. Householders who are not able to do this may be able to choose a plan from their local electric company that provides their home with renewably created electricity. This would certainly reduce the carbon footprint of the household but would probably not reduce the cost of heating.

Give us a call for more information on which fuel type and appliance is right for you.