With the escalating costs of heating homes, many are taking a closer look at their energy sources. When comparing heating oil to natural gas, it is impossible to determine which would cost less in the long run due to the fluctuating prices of each commodity. But by doing some basic calculations, it is possible to make a "snapshot" comparison based on current prices.

Call your suppliers to ask for the prices of heating oil and natural gas. In the UK heating oil is priced per litre, and natural gas is priced per cubic metre. If you have a recent bill from your heating oil or gas provider, you can get the information from the bill.

Calculate the number of litres of heating oil required to produce 1 kilowatt hour. According to the Reka UK kWh converter, 11.69 litres of heating oil produces 1 kWh.

Calculate the number of cubic metres of natural gas required to produce 1 kWh. The Reka UK converter puts this figure at 11.06 cubic metres.

Multiply the price per litre for heating oil by 11.69. Multiply the price per cubic metre of natural gas by 11.06.

Compare the numbers from Steps 4 and 5 to determine which fuel source costs more to provide 1kWh of energ. If you are thinking of changing heating systems to save money, don't forget that some systems are more efficient than others. According to the Energy Bible website, furnaces and boilers are 78 per cent efficient with either fuel. If you switch to a vented room heater burning natural gas, the efficiency rating goes up to 100 per cent, but switching to a vented gas heater reduces the efficiency to 65 per cent.