A lot of people want to use heating oil as a viable heating option.
The low cost of oil for oil furnaces is one of the main reasons why homeowners justifiably find oil as the best power-source for heating.
However, there is just so much unknown about furnace prices and installation costs. For example, the most expensive 100,000 BTU units can cost up to $6,000. What is more, the average cost of installing an oil furnace (complete works) is about $6,000 as well and can reach as high as $10,000.
We have created a comparison table of the best oil furnaces (with prices and installation costs included); you can find the table at the end of this article.
Here the deal:
First, let’s get acquainted with oil furnaces. We will go through 3 oil furnace-related questions you would do well to answer before getting quotes from oil furnace installers.
We will also expand on when it is the right time for oil furnace replacement and how much that would cost (estimations based on current installation and oil prices).
3 Oil Furnace Questions To Answer Before You Can The Installation Expert
A forced air oil furnace is a simple enough heating system. It works like this:
- Use oil to generate heat by burning it in a compact isolated unit.
- Create an airflow over that heat. In turn, air will be heated and distributed back into your home.
Usually, homeowners understand this process well enough. But when they call an oil furnace installer looking for a new unit installation or replacement of an old one, they aren’t really aware of the 3 vital specifications. These are:
- Total oil furnace cost (the price of the unit, the installation cost, and heating oil costs).
- Energy-efficiency of oil furnaces. It’s important to know that burning efficiency has an 80% to 90% range and the savings that the high-efficiency units bring.
- The most reliable oil furnace brands. Installers can recommend a certain brand, but it’s nice to know a brand or two beforehand (it makes talking with installers much easier).
Let’s dive right into informing ourselves about these aspects of oil furnaces:
1. Oil Furnace Cost (Unit Price + Installation + Heating Oil Costs)
The reason why so many people make a quick choice to buy a unit is that a new oil furnace has a lower price than capacity-comparable gas furnaces.
That might be premature decision-making. To get an idea of the total cost of heating, we need to breakdown the total oil furnace cost like this:
Total Oil Furnace Cost = New Oil Furnace Cost + Installation Costs + Oil Costs
Out of these 3, the new oil furnace cost is usually fixed. The installation costs and oil costs, however, can vary quite a bit, depending on the piping you already have installed and world oil prices (which differ quite significantly), respectively.
Here are a few price ranges to be aware of when calculating the total oil furnace cost:
- New oil furnace cost: $2,000-$6,000. The cheap ones usually last for 15 years; the most expensive ones usually last for 25 years.
- Installation cost: $5,200-$10,000. Depends heavily on the current state; the presence of vent, oil line, oil tank installation. Of course, it also depends on the location.
- Oil costs: $1,000-$1,900 per year. 1 gallon of heating oil holds 139,000 BTU of heating power. Here is where high-efficiency oil furnaces come in handy.
To understand the low and high overall costs of heating your home with an 80,000 BTU oil furnace, here are some calculations:
- Cost when you buy and install it (0 Years): $7,200-$16,000.
- Cost after 10 years (10 year supply of heating oil): $17,200-$35,000.
- Cost after 20 years (20 year supply of heating oil): $27,200-$49,000.
After 20 years of use, we see that buying a high-efficiency oil furnace is the biggest savings we can make.
2. Heating Oil Burning Efficiency
The best oil furnaces are the high-efficiency ones. These can save several $1,000 over the lifetime of the oil furnace.
The old oil furnaces had an energy efficiency of 70%. Energy-efficiency of furnaces is measured by AFUE rating; essentially, AFUE of 70 means that $0.70 of every $1 you spend on heating oil goes for heating. The other 30% are losses.
Because energy-efficiency can save so much money, the new oil furnaces have an energy efficiency of 80 and even 90 (AFUE rating 80 and 90, respectively).
To illustrate how much more efficient 90 AFUE vs. 80 AFUE oil furnace is, let’s look at the following example.
Example: Let’s say we have two 80,000 BTU oil furnaces with 80 AFUE and 90 AFUE. How much we have to spend in heating oil dollars to heat a standard-sized house per heating season?
Let’s presume we use the oil furnace 4 hours per day for 6 months, totaling 720 hours of use. We already know that 1 gallon of heating oil holds 139,000 BTU of heating energy. 80 AFUE furnace will extract 80% of that energy (or 111,200 BTU), and 90 AFUE furnaces will extract 90% (or 125,100 BTU). Here are the calculated seasonal oil costs:
- 80 AFUE oil furnace: 518 gallons/season. That amounts to $1564.36/season*.
- 90 AFUE oil furnace: 460 gallons/season. That amounts to $1389.20/season*.
Both furnaces will create a total of 57,600,000 BTU heat per season. But 90 AFUE burnt more than 50 gallons less. That means we paid $175.16 less per heating season by using the high-efficiency oil furnace.
In 10 years, that is a $1751.60 difference. In 20 years, the savings surpass $3500.
Replacing the old 70 AFUE with a new 90 AFUE oil furnace can save you more than $7000 in 20 years just in oil costs.
*According to Statista.com, the average price of heating oil during the 2019/2020 heating season was $3.02/gallon.
3. Reliable Oil Furnace Brands
When you’re looking for an HVAC device that should last for 20+ years (like an oil furnace), brand reliability needs to be considered.
Some of the best oil furnace brands have been in the business for 60+ years. In all that time, they didn’t only gather experience designing oil furnaces; they have also managed to show a good track record.
Obviously, reliable brands can command higher prices. Kerr, for example, one of the world’s most respected oil furnace producers, can price their units +20% or even 30% compared to standard devices. Of course, the units have the superior specs (high 90 AFUE rating) that go along with the brand reliability.
On the other hand, new brands try to compete with very low oil furnace prices. The most well-known of these is Comfort Aire; they sell 80,000 BTU units for as low as $20,000.
Here is a list of brands, starting with the most reliable ones (you can check the summary table with brands, unit prices, and oil furnace installation below):
- Kerr. Ballpark unit price: $4,800.
- Adams. Ballpark unit price: $4,400.
- Miller. Ballpark unit price: $4,200.
- Rheem. Ballpark unit price: $4,000.
- Century. Ballpark unit price: $3,900.
- Thermoflo. Ballpark unit price: $3,200.
- Comfort-Aire. Ballpark unit price: $2,700.
Comparison Of Oil Furnaces With 2020 Costs
It’s not easy to find how much specific oil furnaces cost. However, it’s even harder to get information on how much does it cost to install a Rheem oil furnace, for example.
That’s why we called several oil furnace installers to get some free estimates (summarized in the table below). The best thing about contacting installers directly is that they can get you a discount on oil furnace units (they have certain benefits because they buy furnaces in bulk). You can get up to 4 free quotes from your local furnace installers using this form.
|Oil Furnace Brand||Unit Cost||Installation Costs|
If you have any questions about oil furnaces, you can pose them in the comment section below.