Though this blog has talked a lot about the price of gas heat vs. oil and the impact it could have on lowering heating bills, so far you’ve only heard O2G’s perspective. We reached out to O2G team member, Bill Powell, president of Universe Appliance and one of Long Island’s leading experts in oil-to-gas conversions. With more than two decades of experience in the business, Bill knows a thing or two about the oil-to-gas conversion process and what the benefits are for Long Island homeowners.
O2G: Is natural gas heat readily available to Long Island homeowners?
Bill: Yes, natural gas is available to a majority of area homeowners. It’s in the street in a good percentage of Long Island, and National Grid will run gas service to homes that don’t have it if the home is within a certain distance of an existing gas line.
O2G: Why do you think many people haven’t yet taken advantage of gas heat?
Bill: For a lot of people, their heating system is not always the first thing on their mind. It’s an out-of-sight thing in their home. Many people have a newer oil boiler, and they’re just waiting for the right time. We see people who’ve been thinking about making the switch to gas for several years and then they pull the trigger. There are several factors: A really high oil bill, or their oil boiler is getting older and it’s time to upgrade no matter what. If you’re going to upgrade your heating system, the smart choice is to go with gas.
O2G: What are the advantages of converting to gas heat?
Bill: The biggest advantage, of course, is the cost savings. Natural gas is much cheaper than oil. Other advantages are in that same financial realm. You pay for gas as you use it, whereas with oil you pay for it in one-lump sum before you use it. You don’t have to worry about deliveries and – getting oil. The gas is automatically there. It’s cleaner; you don’t have the oil smell in your house anymore, and the system needs less maintenance than an oil heating system.
O2G: What are the biggest misconceptions?
Bill: The biggest misconception is that you’re going to be without heat for a couple of days during installation. We do it in one day: Take out the oil in the morning; by the afternoon, you’re on gas. There isn’t a long downtime for the conversion. You can even do it in the middle of the winter. We’ll do prep work ahead of time, like getting the new pipes run, so the installation day goes smoothly and does not affect the heating system.
O2G: Does the recent decline in the price of oil decrease the benefits of converting to natural gas heat?
Bill: No, because gas is still cheaper than oil, and all of those other factors – the pay-as-you-go, no smell, not having to worry about the environmental issues of having an oil tank around – still play a role. If you look at the past 10 to 15 years, the oil prices went way down then came back up. Gas pricing is overall much more stable than the oil pricing.
O2G: Why did Universe choose to partner with O2G?
Bill: We’re one of O2G’s contractors. We come to your home to do the estimates and the installations of the gas equipment. I felt O2G was a very good company to work with since they’re looking to make the public aware of gas conversion. In an average year, we do about 500-plus conversions, mostly in Nassau County and western Suffolk County, as well as the south shore and middle of the island.
O2G: Where can homeowners learn more about the oil-to-gas conversion process?
Bill: To be honest with you, there’s really not a lot to learn. It’s a simple process and it’s just using a different fuel. The best way to learn more is to give O2G a call, have us give you an estimate and we’ll tell you everything you need to know. There’s not a lot of research you need to do ahead of time, aside from determining the availability of gas in your area. We can do that for you or you can call National Grid to find out if gas is in proximity to your home.
Are you considering converting your oil heating system to a more efficient gas heating system? Contact O2G today to find out if gas is available in your area and just how easy the process can be.