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Electric heat vs oil heat

Updated February 21, 2017

Electric heat and oil heat each have advantages and disadvantages. Neither are the most popular type of in-home central heating -- natural gas is generally more popular and more efficient.

Electric heat

Electric heat is clean and quiet, but it's getting more expensive all the time. Many regions are introducing time of use pricing, which means that power costs more at certain times of the day. Relying exclusively on electric heat could be very expensive under this system.

Oil heat

Oil heat is slightly less expensive than electric heat, but some people notice an oil smell in their homes with this type of heating. Also, older oil furnaces can leak, which can leave a disastrous mess in the home. Householders with oil heating sometimes have to pay higher insurance premiums.

Heat efficiency

Whether you have oil or electric heating, there are ways to get more heat for your money. Check the weatherproof strips on windows and doors every year, add insulation to your attic and shut off heat vents or the electric heater in rooms that aren't used very often. If you have an oil furnace, use a programmable thermostat so you can set the temperature lower at night and when you're not home.

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About the Author

Karen Sheviak has more than 10 years of experience as a writer, researcher and copy editor for "Canadian Living" magazine. She has worked as a freelance editor for other magazines including "Toronto Life." Sheviak has a Bachelor of Arts in English and history from the University of Toronto and a diploma in journalism from Centennial College in Toronto.