Tip Tuesday: The Pros and Cons of Different Fuel Sources

It’s getting hot in here….because it’s getting cold outside! It’s that time of year in Connecticut when the windows get shut, front doors stay closed, and you run the debate in your household of when its time to turn on the heat. Let’s face it, using heat isn’t cheap so if you’re anything like us, you wait until the absolute last-minute to turn on the heat. However, you should be thinking about your heating source now and whether or not it’s ready to provide you with quality temperature for when it’s time.

More often than not, one of the top 5 questions our clients have about a home when seeing it is; “what’s the fuel source?”. Again, the cost is concerning to many; however, it’s not just the cost during the actual heating season, but also the maintenance required on the fuel source that’s a factor to consider. Every fuel source has its pros and cons and for those of you debating between a home with certain fuel sources or just beginning to learn about how a fuel source will affect your lifestyle and budget, we’re here to help. With the Harrison Realty Team, you not only get 2 agents for the price of one, but you also get a certified HVAC Technician in Jason. I (Krystal) picked Jason’s brain to bring you the pros, cons and tips for maintenance regarding the 4 primary fuel sources in CT.

Our fireplace with pellet stove...pre-children when we could have a tree that wasn't guarded by a baby gate.
Our fireplace with pellet stove…pre-children when we could have a tree that wasn’t guarded by a baby gate.

Pro: No maintenance.
Con: It’s the most expensive.
Tip: To get the best electrical rates go to www.energizect.com and make sure that your rates are comparable to the other companies. Also, when signing onto a plan always sign onto a plan that has a fixed rate, never a variable rate. Be sure that the fixed rate doesn’t expire after a year and if it does, be sure that it doesn’t go to a variable rate. You also don’t want to choose a plan with an early cancellation fee.

Pro: The heating equipment is the best and heats your home evenly and consistently.
Con: You are at the mercy of the current oil rates and it could be very expensive. It also requires yearly maintenance, the most of any heating source.
Tip: Your furnace should be cleaned once a year around this time to ensure that it’s working at its peak performance. If you can afford it, the best thing to do is put 2 oil tanks in the basement so that you can buy oil in the summer when it’s the cheapest.  That way it’ll last you through the winter and you won’t have to buy oil in the middle of the winter when it’s at its highest rate.  Also, go to www.cashheatingoil.com to find the cheapest rates in your area.  Finally, a pellet or wood stove is a good supplemental heating source if you’re looking to cut down on the cost of oil.  We have oil heat and we decided to invest in a pellet stove.  It’s been great and definitely cheaper than oil, but it does require yearly maintenance, monthly cleaning, and daily attention to filling the stove with pellets.  For the past 4 years we haven’t even turned on our furnace.  Needless to say, this year oil has been so cheap that we did fill up our oil tank and get pellets.  We’ll use the oil until it’s done and then use the pellets.

Pro: It requires very little maintenance and is a cheaper alternative to oil.
Con: You use more to heat the home.
Tip: You should have it serviced every 2 years around this time. Be sure to change the filter every 2-3 months.

Pro: Gas is the most desirable heating source. It’s the cheapest and requires very little maintenance.
Con: It’s not available on every street. Therefore, if you’re only interested in purchasing a home with gas, it will significantly limit your options. You can look into getting gas put in on your street but it is highly expensive.
Tip: You should have it serviced every 2-3 years around this time.

What is your fuel source?  Are there any pros, cons or tips that you would add?

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