Living in Santa Rosa is often comfortable, but that doesn’t mean you will never need the comfort that a central heating system offers. However, did you know that you have a choice when it comes to the type of fuel that you use to heat your home? Some systems use natural gas, whereas others rely on different fuel sources. Natural gas is a popular choice for homeowners, but perhaps you are wondering whether it’s right for you. Fortunately, we’re here to help you understand the various natural gas advantages and disadvantages so that you can make an informed decision about how you heat your Santa Rosa home.
Alternatives to Natural Gas (Advantages and Disadvantages Aside for a Moment)
Before we start on the pros and cons of natural gas itself, you may want to learn a little about the other types of heating systems available. There are several other types of fuel that you may use instead of natural gas. The most common are as follows:
Heating Oil: Especially prevalent in regions where natural gas infrastructure does not exist, heating oil is often used instead. It is particularly common in the Northeast, but may also be found in other regions. Heating oil tends to be more expensive than natural gas, and it does not burn as cleanly.
Geothermal Heat Pumps: Geothermal pumps take heat from beneath the earth’s surface and redistributes it throughout your home. They often provide more long-term energy savings than other types of systems but can be extremely costly to install, with upfront costs of more than $10,000 in some cases.
Wood Burning Stoves: Some homes can be outfitted with modern wood burning stoves, which have low up-front price points and long term operating costs. However, it is worth noting that wood is not a renewable resource and that these units contribute significantly to air pollution.
The Pros and Cons of Using Natural Gas
Now that you have a better idea of the alternatives, it’s time to talk about how natural gas compares. There are specific challenges to any form of fuel, but the use of natural gas also offers some surprising and substantial benefits. First though, let’s look at a few of the common complaints people have about natural gas:
The Bad: Natural gas is a highly flammable substance, so many people worry about gas leaks. Since natural gas has no discernable odor, it is possible for a gas leak to become dangerous, creating the risk of a fire or explosion. However, the possibility of a leak can be mitigated by arranging for regular service on your heating system by a licensed technician. Hire a reliable contractor to check out your system once or twice a year before you start using it, and you can operate it with much more confidence.
The Good: Natural gas is one of the most cost-effective fuel sources available to US homeowners, which is probably why more than half of all American households already make use of it. It also burns cleaner than heating oil, creating approximately 30% less carbon dioxide. Additionally, natural gas is available practically anywhere in the world. All you need to do is make sure that the pipe installations in your building and area are suitable for it.
A Note on Service Availability
When you are choosing a fuel source for your heating system, it is essential to think beyond the technology itself. You will also want to consider factors such as who is going to provide service and maintenance for you if your heater breaks down. After all, different types of heating systems need different kinds of service—just like with air conditioning.
Some heating systems will require specialized service, which may not be available in your region. As such, it is always best to check carefully for compatible service and repair companies before you decide on a new heater and spend the money to outfit your building for it. As a rule, service for any given system will be more widely available in areas where that system is already in widespread use. In states like California, technicians for systems that use heating oil will most likely be less conventional than those for systems that rely on natural gas to function.
Choose Fuel and Professionals for Your Area
One of the best ways to choose your fuel source is to look at who the most reliable contractors in your region are, and see what systems they have the most experience servicing. At Valley Comfort Heating and Air, for instance, we work primarily on natural gas systems—since these are widely used throughout the Santa Rosa region. As such, we understand the most common problems that owners of these systems face and know how to solve them efficiently. Now that you’ve learned about some of the most significant natural gas advantages and disadvantages, you should be able to make an informed choice for yourself about what type of fuel to use. Refer to this guide often, and feel free to contact us if you require more information.