But for some isolated pockets of rural areas in the US, heating your home will be done in one of three ways, by gas, electricity, or oil. Each of these heating energy sources have their own costs, method efficiencies, and equipment costs.
Heating Costs: Electricity, Gas, & Oil.
There are a huge number of variables that can influence the answer to this question. Everything from home size, insulation rating and application, climate, market whims, and efficiencies of the heating equipment. So in order to answer this we’re going to have to make some concessions to limit the variables. We’ll assume the costs are for a moderately-sized home, with standard levels and ratings of insulation, and the average efficiencies of the heating equipment and examine the cost in terms of price per 100,00 BTUs.
Electricity – $2.93/100,000 BTU
Gas – $1.10/100,000 BTU
Oil – $2.50/100,00 BTU
We will also be using the costs for a home in a climate with cold – but not harsh – winters, that will take about 60,000,000 BTU of energy to heat per year.
Electricity – $703 – $1,875/yr
Electricity has such a cost range because of the large efficiency range of the available heating equipment. When dealing with electric-resistance heating, such as wall and baseboard heating, the efficiencies will be 100% (Sounds great, but it’s not.) If measuring for heat pumps, the efficiency range will be – at least – 100% but more commonly in the 200%-300% range. Heat pumps can achieve such efficiencies because they don’t actually generate heat, but simply move it from one place to another.
Gas – $733/yr
Gas is a fairly inexpensive utility and the available equipment has efficiency ratings from 90-97%.
Oil – $1,758/yr
Easily the energy source with the least-efficient equipment available, the costs of heating with oil can quickly add up. However, the market is rather variable so this figure can drop, or rise, quite normally. Oil furnaces used to have around a 70% efficiency rating but newer models can attain 80-85% efficiency ratings.
When deciding on a method of heating your home, or attempting to calculate costs, these figures should give you a rough idea of what to expect. Follow the Cardinal Heating & A/C blog for more informative HVAC posts.