The Advantages and Disadvantages of Home Heating Oil

Jade Blue

There are various advantages and disadvantages of home heating oil. The fuel receives high performance marks from builders and homeowners. At first glance oil seems like the cheaper heating solution, but consider back-end costs. Do not select oil as a home heating method if you are seeking an environmentally-friendly option.


Home heating oil provides efficient heat during colder months.

An advantage of home heating oil involves performance. Oil burns 400 degrees hotter than natural gas or electricity, so oil-heated homes warm quickly. Current oil-heat systems burn cleaner than past designs, minimizing the release of soot into the surrounding area, known as a puffback. Caused by faulty ignition switches, puffbacks happen when oil fumes gather during an ignition stall. A small explosion occurs when the switch is finally lit, releasing dust and fumes. The potential for puffbacks has been reduced, but not eliminated, creating a disadvantage for home heating oil.


Builders list portability as an advantage of home heating oil. Homes located in areas deemed inaccessible by other heating methods utilize oil heat. Pipes direct oil from a nearby containment unit to the residence. Ships transport large quantities of oil on a regular basis, creating situations deemed a disadvantage of oil. Spilled home heating oil does not create a fire hazard, but makes a negative long-lasting impact on the surrounding area. Depending on the size of the oil spill, cleanup can take months.

Environmental Impact

Home heating oil burns clean and contains no cancer-causing agents, a major advantage. When correctly installed, oil-based heating systems produce .003 of particulate emissions that cause air pollution. Due to its status as a non-renewable energy source, home heating oil can not be replaced. Another disadvantage of oil includes the formation of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to ozone depletion. Sulphur dioxide and sulphur trioxide also are formed. The compounds assist in creating acid rain, which destroys forests and erodes rocks and building masonry.


Homeowners cite cost as an advantage of home heating oil. On average, oil prices are 2.5 to 5.5 times lower than electric-based heat. Converting from an older gas furnace to an oil-based system significantly reduces heating costs. Oil heat is a cost-efficient method of warming larger homes. Because oil furnaces run on electricity, one of the disadvantages of home oil heat involves electric bill increases. Customers must budget for fuel delivery at regular intervals. The house goes cold once the tank goes empty.