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What To Know Before Switching From Heating Oil To Electric Heat

electric heat

If you’ve been searching for information about removing your aboveground or underground heating oil tank, you have come to the right place. However, if you’re thinking about removing your heating oil tank because you’d like to switch from heating oil to electric only, it’s worth making sure you fully understand your options.

GreenTRAX

At GreenTRAX, we pride ourselves on being the best, most reliable & most efficient tank removal and installation contractor in Maryland. That said, we know a thing or two about heating oil systems versus electric heating systems, and we’d like to give you our unbiased opinion on which is the best setup for your Maryland home heating system.

In today’s post, we’ll break down what you need to know about the environmental impacts, the weather in Maryland, and the true costs of switching heating systems.

The Environmental Impact of Heating Oil

For Maryland homeowners thinking about switching heating systems from heating oil to electricity, one of their primary concerns is the environment. That’s a good thing!

But where do you suppose your electricity for the electric heat pump comes from in Maryland?

The majority of electricity here is still produced by burning fossil fuels and other things that are still not considered “clean.” It could be coal, natural gas, or other sources, but the majority of electricity does not come from renewable sources yet.

So while you may want to be environmentally conscious, what you are actually doing is potentially causing yourself a problem by going electric-only.

Why is that you? Well, chances are if you have (or had) oil as your heat source, you have an older house. It was likely built at least 30 years ago.

Electric-only heat can work better in a newer-built house because these houses tend to have a much higher-quality insulation – and much more of it – due to changes in building codes.

An older house probably does not have the best insulation, and there may even be areas the insulation is missing compared to a new house. With that, going electric-only could end up using a lot more energy than you think trying to keep that older house warm.

How Effective Is Electric Heating in Maryland?

This brings us to our next issue: can electric-only heat keep you warm enough in Maryland?

In Maryland, we do not live in a region that stays “warm” in December, January, February and March. We get plenty of cold snaps and deep freezes where we may have extended periods of time with temperatures below 20 degrees and even in the single digits.

We still even get the occasional day when it feels like below zero.

A heat pump will likely not be able to keep up and keep your house nice and warm and toasty when it gets that cold.

And if you or the people you live with like a really warm house, especially an elderly person, then you will wish you had that oil tank back!

The truth is, these older houses with electric-only heat can feel drafty when it gets really cold out. You may think, “Well, I’m fine, I can stand it.”

Ok sure, but what happens if one of your parents needs to move in with you at some point in the future?

The point here is to look at all your options before you get rid of your oil burning furnace or boiler.

When To Consider A Dual Heating System for Your Maryland Home

You may not realize it now, but even if you do want electricity as your primary source of heat, you can also have an oil tank as a backup and get a dual system.

That way when it does get really cold out and the electric heating option can’t keep up, then the oil will kick in and still be able to keep the house warm without making your electricity bill crazy high for the month.

GreenTRAX can remove your old buried oil tank or your old basement/outside tank and install a new aboveground tank. For those switching to a dual system, we can even install a smaller heating oil tank if you want.

Then when you do get that new HVAC system, you can keep oil as a backup. Then one day in the future when it’s 5 degrees outside, you’ll be happy you still have it!

Other Heating System Options Besides Electric

To be clear, we are not anti-heat pumps, we are anti-not looking at all your options.

For many Maryland residents, they assume that the only move they can make is from heating oil to heat pumps. We’re just asking you to not automatically assume electric heat is the best option for your house, because it may not be.

Many people are also under the belief that electric heat is better for the environment, too, when that’s not necessarily the case. It’s always good to do your research first so you know.

There are plenty of good options to switch to if you want to get rid of your oil burning furnace, boiler, or water heater. Besides electric, you could get another fuel source such as propane, natural gas or geothermal.

If you have an oil tank that’s over 20 years old, it needs to be removed as it’s past its useful life. But if you still have a furnace or boiler with a lot of life left, your cheapest option is to have GreenTRAX install a new aboveground tank for you so you can keep your furnace.

The Hidden Cost Of Switching Off Heating Oil

In case you are not aware, switching to another source of heat means that you’ll also have to replace the furnace, and possibly your AC unit as well. This is very costly.

If you are not ready to make that big investment, it may be simpler to just get a new oil tank. A new oil tank can in some cases cost as little as 25% of what a new HVAC system will cost. We can hook it up for you and get everything back up and running the same day.

Plus, if you are thinking about moving in a few years, you will not recoup the cost of that new HVAC system. A smarter investment could be to get a new tank while keeping your furnace/boiler, and be done with it.

There’s no need to spend $10,000 or more for a new HVAC for a house you’ll only live in for another 5 years if you are thinking about moving.

Go With GreenTRAX For Help With Your Heating Oil Tank

If you still have a buried oil tank, that tank must be properly removed or abandoned in place by a licensed tank removal contractor like GreenTRAX. That’s because if you do still have an UST (underground storage tank), it’s likely from when the house was built (or at least 30 years old), and the lifespan of a buried tank is just 20 years.

In addition to removing tanks, we also have many options for new tanks, and they can be installed in just a few hours. From same-day installation, you’ll have peace of mind that lasts thanks to our tank warranty options that range from one to 30 years.

We also offer many different sizes of heating oil tanks, so if you want a small oil tank just as a backup heat source we can help, too.

To work with Maryland’s trusted heating oil tank removal and installation contractor, call GreenTRAX today at (410) 439-1085, or send us a message here.

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More To Explore

The Maryland Department of the Environment is cancelling the reimbursement fund for homeowners with leaking heating oil tanks!

This cancellation takes effect June 30th, 2024. You need to have your buried oil tank removed NOW, so if the tank is leaking you can get reimbursed for remediation costs before the program goes away. Click here for more information on the reimbursement fund as it operates now.

We urge everyone to contact their representatives in Annapolis and the Governors office and tell them DO NOT cancel the homeowner reimbursement fund for leaking residential oil tanks! They can still renew this program before this year’s legislative session ends.

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