7 Reasons Not to Switch to Gas Heat

The gas utilities are spending a lot of money marketing gas heat to Oilheat customers, and they often distort the facts. Here are seven good reasons to stay with Oilheat.


  1. Oilheat is more economical than gas heat.

    The gas utilities claim that gas heat is less expensive than Oilheat, but the facts do not support that claim. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicates that on a BTU-for-BTU basis, Oilheat has been less expensive than gas heat in New York in 12 of the 20 years from 1991 to 2010. Gas customers also pay extra fees such as basic monthly charges, delivery charges, supply charges, cost adjustment charges, distribution charges, taxes, franchise fees and administration charges.

  2. Oilheat is safer than gas heat.

    Natural gas is explosive. If a leak develops inside a house or nearby, a deadly explosion can result. Between 1999 and 2008, there were an average of 44 gas pipeline incidents per year that caused at least one death or hospitalization, according to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Oilheat is not explosive. In fact, it will not even burn unless it is preheated to 140°F. Oilheat systems also offer better protection against carbon monoxide poisoning, because they produce odors and visible warning signs in the event of a malfunction. Gas heat systems can emit dangerous levels of carbon monoxide without visible warning signs.

  3. Upgrading an Oilheat system is less expensive than converting to gas heat.

    Converting a home from Oilheat to gas can cost $10,000 or more. Costs might include relining the chimney; installing a gas line; installing an excess flow valve to protect against dangerous gas leaks; and plumbing and wiring the new system. The Consumer Energy Council of America (CECA) calls fuel conversion "an expensive gamble" with no guaranteed payoff. "In 95 out of 100 cases, it makes economic sense to stick with oil, and if an energy-related investment is desired, to invest in conservation," CECA wrote in its brochure Smart Choices for Consumers: Best Ways to Deal with High Heating Costs.

  4. Competition is very limited in the natural gas industry

    Most communities are served by several independent Oilheat companies that compete on price, but there is only one natural gas pipeline network, and it is owned and controlled by a utility. Natural gas utilities have very little competition, and there is often no one to compete with them and drive down the price.

  5. The natural gas industry pollutes with methane

    Natural gas pipelines are plagued by leaks that release gas into the air. Natural gas is 95 percent methane, which is a greenhouse gas that has up to 72 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Gas utilities routinely tolerate leaks that do not pose a direct threat of fire or explosion.

  6. Natural gas supply relies on a controversial drilling method

    The utility gas industry claims that there are plentiful deposits of gas in the United States, but 60 percent to 80 percent of the new wells being drilled require the use of a highly controversial extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." Fracking uses millions of gallons of water and injects chemicals into the ground. Many residents who live near gas wells say their water supplies have been tainted. Some even have flammable methane gas entering their homes through faucets and showerheads. To read more about fracking, visit the American Energy Coalition website.

  7. Gas utilities do not offer full service

    Natural gas utilities do not service equipment in customers' homes, so customers must make arrangements with an independent service company or neglect their equipment altogether. Full-service Oilheat companies like Windsor Fuel offer preventive maintenance, 24-hour emergency service, equipment installation, conservation advice and friendly, personal service for Suffolk County, Nassau County and Queens. Click here to read all the benefits of safe, clean, economical and efficient Oilheat.