Recently, the City of Seattle Community Power Works has sent letters to Seattle residents about reasons to switch from oil to natural gas. While the upgrade program provides a great benefit, much of the data the the city used is either inaccurate our misleading for three reasons.

First, the letter makes statements about switching from ‘inefficient’ oil systems to natural gas-implying that gas systems are inherently better. The inefficiency that more people experience with oil is not because oil is inefficient, but because their furnace is old and outdated. Old and outdated natural gas systems are just, if not more, inefficient than oil furnaces. Today’s oil furnaces meet or exceed current efficiency standards including many oil fired boilers which achieve 95+% efficiency.

Second, switching to natural gas is not the best green alternative. Natural gas is a greenhouse gas and burning natural gas produces carbon dioxide. natural gas furnaces will never be carbon neutral, but oil furnaces can be because oil furnaces can burn biodiesel. With just a 25% blend of biodiesel in a high efficiency oil furnace, the carbon footprint is lower than a gas furnace. Today, we have customers using B99 which 99% recycled waste oil, turned into fuel. Now that is true green heating!

Third, oil furnaces last far longer than gas furnaces do. It is safe to say that an oil furnace will last twice as long as a gas furnace which means that a second expense needs to calculated into the conversion analysis. If you are considering an upgrade with Community Power Works program, be sure to tell them you want an oil furnace.