One of the fastest-growing trends in home construction and home remodeling is toward sustainable building and living.  One area that's a major consideration is home heating, because that consumes so much energy in the colder months, which here in Minnesota is a big chunk of the year.

Different homes have different heating systems, depending on when they were built and where they are in the country. Some people prefer gas heating, while others prefer oil.  Each option’s pros and cons are important in determining what kind of furnace to buy.

Natural Gas Approximately half of American homes are heated by natural gas. Although it’s by far the most popular option, it works better for some people than for others. Pros:  When you buy a natural gas furnace, expect to enjoy the following advantages.
  • Gas furnaces are more energy-efficient and require very little maintenance.
  • Quieter and cleaner than oil furnaces.
  • Because natural gas is produced primarily in the US, it’s the least expensive energy source for most homes.
Cons:  Like all things, the pros to gas heating are countered by the cons.
  • Your home must be in an area with easy access to natural gas. This can be a problem in more rural areas.
  • Oil delivers more heat per BTU than gas.
  • Gas furnaces are more expensive than oil furnaces.
Oil When looking at oil furnaces, remember the following points when considering what to buy. Pros:  Many people prefer oil furnaces for their following advantages.
  • These furnaces offer higher heat per BTU levels than many other sources.
  • They can be used anywhere, including rural areas. The fuel is delivered on a regular basis.
  • Oil unit options cost less than gas furnaces.
Cons:  These elements may have diverted people from using oil as their heating source.
  • Maintenance costs more for oil furnaces, thanks to soot buildup, and the need for frequent chimney cleaning. The delivery companies do this, but a maintenance agreement is needed for them to do it.
  • A storage tank is needed on the property to use this type of furnace.
  • The fuel costs more and it is less energy efficient.
Lastly, like replacing your roof, you can increase your home value by investing in a new furnace, whether it’s oil or natural gas.  Whichever you use, seek out energy-efficient models such as those which carry the EnergyStar rating.