When it’s time to replace your home or business’s heating and air conditioning system, it is important to consider all options and decide which system best suits your needs. While most systems cool homes in a similar manner, the heating of homes can be completed using several different methods, all of which utilize different fuels. While each fuel source has pros and cons, all options must be taken into consideration to provide you as the homeowner the utmost comfort, both in your home and your wallet. Items to consider include: cost, efficiency, and our moderate climate. We at Total Comfort Heating & Cooling, Inc. can help you make the best decision for you and your home or business.
Variables associated with the value of heating fuel:
1.Type of Heating Fuel:
Many different types of fuel are available, but some are more common in our area. Common fuels used around coastal North Carolina are electricity, natural gas, propane and fuel oil. Of all fuel types, fuel oil is least common.
2.Unit cost of Heating Fuel:
Unit cost is the amount of money the fuel costs per unit of its respective measurement. For example, Propane, a liquid, is sold by the gallon.
3.Per-unit energy content (BTU) of the fuel:
A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a measurement of heat energy. One BTU is equivalent to the amount of heat is required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by 1’F; and different fuels produce different amount of heat energy when burned. For example, propane produces 92500 BTU of heat per gallon, where natural gas produces 100000 BTU of heat per therm.
4.Efficiency (AFUE) of the heating system:
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), expressed as a percentage, is a measure of how effectively a heating system turns heat released from burning said fuel into heat that can be used warm your home or business.
It is necessary that all these variables be taken into consideration, and to make an accurate comparison of heating cost by fuel type the comparison must be shown on the basis of dollars per million B.T.U.s.
Below is an energy cost comparison of common fuels in our areas, including: electricity, natural gas, propane and fuel oil. The energy cost is based on an average cost for North Carolina, and is calculated using the heating system conversion efficiencies, the AFUE, or how efficiently they utilize fuel.
To clarify, think about your car or truck; let’s say that gets 35 MPG and gas cost 2.75 per gallon and your trying to calculate the amount of money it would take for you to travel 100 miles.
In our comparison, each fuel is calculated to represent the cost of the million BTUs, or the cost to go 100 miles, each fuel has its respective average fuel cost, or the 2.75 per gallon, and the 35 MPG is the conversion efficiency.
**These number are nominal, and can differ from actual results.
As you can see, knowing the best fuel value, along with properly installing an efficient heating appliance, can significantly reduce your heating cost. Ultimately, in our climate, more often than not, an electric heat pump is the most economical way to heat and cool your home or business.