How to Choose the Best Heating System for Your Cleveland Home: Oil Furnaces v. Gas Furnaces

Which furnace is better? The experts at Fred's Home Services explain the differences between gas and oil furnaces and recommend the best choice for your home and budget.


Only about 5.5 million homes in the United States use oil furnaces, but over 80% of them are in the Northeast (the section of the U.S. spanning from Pennsylvania to Maine). However, the use of residential oil furnaces is declining nationwide as more homeowners convert to natural gas, propane, or electricity for heating.

LIFESPAN: ~25 years

COST: $$




  • Oil furnaces offer more heat per BTU than gas furnaces.
  • Oil furnaces cost 10-25% less than gas furnaces of the same size.
  • Inhalation of oil fumes is not fatal.
  • Oil will not explode in an accident or produce deadly carbon monoxide.
  • Warning signs of system malfunctions are clearly noticeable through odors, smoke, and soot.
  • Oil furnaces work well for people living in areas without access to natural gas lines.
  • Oil furnaces generally last longer than gas furnaces, electric heat pumps, hot water boilers, and wall heaters.


  • Extensive maintenance is required to regularly clean dirt and soot buildup.
  • Heating oil is more expensive than natural gas.
  • Oil prices and supplies can fluctuate drastically.
  • Oil furnaces are less efficient than gas furnaces.
  • Oil requires the use of additives to reduce the risk of freezing.
  • Oil does not have a pipeline infrastructure, so homeowners must store oil in a tank and refill it regularly through a contracted oil delivery service.
  • Furnaces produce inconsistent heat and may leave certain rooms warmer or cooler.
  • Furnaces dry out the air and can circulate allergens and dust throughout your home.

TAKEAWAYS: Oil furnaces initially cost less than gas furnaces, can last longer than several other heating systems, and are safer to operate than gas furnaces. However, the fuel is more expensive and new oil furnaces are at least 10% less energy-efficient than gas furnaces, so they cost more to operate in the long-term. For these and other reasons stated above, oil furnaces are not a cost-effective main heating system for Cleveland area homes. Fred’s Home Services does not recommend or service oil furnaces.


Furnaces fueled by natural gas are the most common heating system in the Midwestern and Northeastern United States, with more than 50% of households relying on gas furnaces to heat their homes in these areas. 

LIFESPAN: 15-20 years

COST: $$




  • Natural gas is considerably cheaper than oil.
  • The price of natural gas stays relatively consistent.
  • Since gas burns cleaner than oil, gas furnaces require little maintenance.
  • Due to underground pipeline infrastructure, gas service can continue even during power outages.
  • Gas furnaces are highly energy-efficient.


  • Gas furnaces produce fewer BTUs than oil furnaces.
  • Gas furnaces are more expensive than oil furnaces.
  • Furnaces produce inconsistent heat and may leave certain rooms warmer or cooler.
  • Furnaces dry out the air and can circulate allergens and dust throughout your home.
  • Deadly carbon monoxide can be released from gas furnaces without warning and will go unnoticed without a functioning carbon monoxide detector in your home.
  • Since gas is highly combustible, gas furnaces require safety precautions to prevent explosion.
  • Gas releases high quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming.

TAKEAWAYS: Gas furnaces are an energy-efficient, relatively low-maintenance, and cost-effective heating system for areas such as Cleveland that have cold winters. However, due to the combustible nature of gas and the risk of exposure to toxic fumes, households using gas furnaces need to be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors and take other safety precautions in order to keep their families safe.

Fred’s Home Services installs and offers repair and maintenance services for gas furnaces by Comfortmaker and Trane. Contact us to learn more!


Do you have any questions? We’ll be happy to answer them ASAP

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