A Guide to Converting from Oil to Gas Heat

Switching from oil to gas heating can save you hundreds of dollars a year and help reduce your carbon emissions. Learn more about the benefits of switching and how it's done.

Image: Yevgeniy11 / Shutterstock.com

How to switch from oil to gas heating

If you're still using an oil-fired heating system at home, then switching from oil to gas heat could reduce your heating bill, as well as eliminate odorous emissions. Upgrading your older oil equipment to a cleaner, more modern oil boiler is also a possibility, but gas boilers save space, are highly efficient, and are generally easier to operate and maintain.

But what is involved with the switch, and what are the benefits of converting your oil heating system to gas? Let's explore what you need to know in order to make an informed decision about your heating system.


Oil vs. gas heating

Generally speaking, most modern homes are built with gas heating systems and it is usually only older homes that use oil. However, there are exceptions to this rule, particularly in isolated areas or off-grid homes where gas infrastructure does not exist. So, what are the advantages of gas heating when compared to oil?


The benefits of gas heating

According to the Energy Information Administration, natural gas is used in more than half of the homes in the U.S., while oil accounted for only around 5.5 million homes. The reasons for this are relatively clear, with natural gas providing multiple benefits, including:

✔️    Much cheaper fuel costs and less fluctuation in fuel prices

✔️    Convenient fuel source piped directly to the premises without the need for delivery

✔️    No need to refill oil tanks, and easier maintenance

✔️    High efficiency, with up to 95% of the energy used

✔️    Extremely reliable

✔️    Considered less harmful to the environment


How much does it cost to convert from oil to gas heat?

The cost of installing any heating system will depend largely on the size and complexity of your home. A larger, more complex home will of course cost more than a small apartment. However, to give you a ballpark figure, many homeowners may expect to pay anywhere from $6,000 – $15,000 to switch from an oil to a gas-fired heating system.

The good news is, after the initial costs of installing the new system have been paid, you will immediately begin saving on fuel costs.

The Viessmann-made MatriX gas burner

Future-proofing your home by switching to gas heating

Among the most compelling reasons to choose gas over oil is related to the security of your investment. Oil prices continue to fluctuate, and this finite natural resource is only becoming scarcer. This means that insecurity surrounding the price of oil is likely to grow, meaning higher costs to heat your home.

In addition to this, some countries are now moving to ban the installation of new oil heating systems, in an effort to fight climate change. While this has not yet happened in North America, it is a possibility in the future.

Combined, these factors make choosing a gas heating system the best option for ensuring that your home can be heated cost-effectively in the future.


What is the process for converting from oil to gas?

While converting your home to use gas instead of oil will depend on the size of your home and its layout, there are a few broad steps within the process you should be aware of. These include:

1. Find a professional

Any conversion from oil to gas heating should be planned and estimated by a professional heating contractor. The contractor can examine your building to see if the conversion is possible and how much it's likely to cost. Any equipment that needs to be installed must conform to current safety and environmental standards. In addition to this, any installation must be carried out by an accredited HVAC professional.

2. Removing existing oil equipment

Once you have a plan and a cost estimate, the process of dismantling the existing heating system can begin. This must also be carried out by a professional, and contingencies must be put in place in case of oil spills. Additionally, old oil heating equipment must be disposed of properly at an approved facility. Finally, older flue systems must either be removed or renovated.

3. Install the gas connection and equipment

Once preliminary work has been carried out, experts can begin the process of bringing in a gas line and installing the new heating system. Again, all equipment must meet regulations and be installed by a professional contractor. However, when it comes to items like radiators, you can have more say in how they match your existing décor or home design. Also, depending on your original plan, you may want to install some underfloor or radiant heating at this stage.

4. Balance your heating system

As with any heating system, hydraulic balancing is the final step in converting from oil to gas. To do this, a heating specialist will check the radiators and ensure that the heat is distributed efficiently and evenly.


More information

For more information on switching from oil to gas heating, reach out to a qualified contractor today to discuss your options as well as how our services can help keep your system running optimally through regular maintenance.

How can we help?
How can we help?