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Oil Furnace vs. Electric Furnace: Advantages & Disadvantages

Oil furnace

The allure of an oil furnace is that it costs less to operate on a monthly basis, especially when purchasing the fuel on a contract.

All things being said, the type of furnace isn’t a deal breaker for a prospective home buyer. Granted it is a nice selling point if a house uses an energy efficient HVAC system but curb appeal and floor plan eventually trump all. There are times though when Edmonton homeowners wonder if an oil furnace is better than an electric furnace, usually when a furnace upgrade is up for debate. For help deciding, check out the tale of the tape of each system.


Electric More Convenient?

Depending on the current furnace situation in your home, upgrading or installing a new system could be a pipe dream, literally. An oil furnace mechanic (OBM) must modify your home to implement the oil system. First off, the OBM must bury or install above ground a 275 gallon oil tank. Then he must bury the lines to the home. None of this includes running the duct work and rigging up the actual furnace unit.

An electric furnace, on the other hand, can be installed by tapping into your existing circuitry and many people simply decide to stick with the setup that is already on hand. Of course, in a new home build, to decide which furnace is the best fit, you must consider a number of other factors, e.g., furnace lifespan, operating costs, environmentally friendly, etc.


Oil More Consistent Month to Month

One nice thing about oil furnace service is the ability to purchase the fuel on a one-time fee contract. Homeowners tend to preserve their oil fuel more than they would with an electric furnace because they know the quicker they plow through it, the sooner they’ll have to cut another huge check. While buying the oil upfront does represent a huge investment, some people like having one less bill over the holiday months.


Electric furnace

Although an electric heating system is less expensive to install, its operating costs generally makes it less popular than the oil furnace and other furnace systems.

Electric More Options?

With an electric furnace, a consumer does have more options for heating on a room to room basis. While oil furnace services are starting to implement more programmable thermostat options, electric furnaces services have fine-tuned them to get the most energy efficiency. A nice option with the oil furnace is that it can operate even while the power is out whereas an electric furnace shuts down, which could be damning over a long period.


Oil Lasts Longer

While each situation varies and a lot depends on if you follow proper maintenance procedures, the lifespan of an oil furnace is supposedly 20-30 years compared to 12-15 for an electric unit.



The allure of an oil furnace service is that it costs less to operate on a monthly basis, especially when purchasing the fuel on a contract. That being said, the initial installation cost is much lower for an electric unit.


There’s no real answer to whether an electric or oil furnace service is the wiser choice, but it’s nice to have a choice.

1 Comment

  1. A Forced Heating System and Allergies on March 3, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    […] is also bad though as it leads to difficulty breathing as well as cracked skin. Make sure to buy a furnace that is the correct size for the space needing heat and supplement with a humidifier if the problem […]