Propane vs oil

Geordie Carragher comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on November 19, 2012
Mike  Thorne, general manager of Superior Propane’s Atlantic branch, says switching to propane for home heating offers many attractive options for P.E.I. homeowners.
Submitted photo

If you’re left feeling burnt out by your home heating oil bill every month, there may be an alternative.

Superior Propane has introduced an Off-Oil Financing Offer, which offers zero per cent financing  on equipment for up to five years for P.E.I. homeowners who switch to propane home heating solutions from home heating oil.

Using propane to heat a home instead of oil has multiple benefits, said Mike Thorne, general  manager of Superior Propane’s Atlantic branch.

“Propane is considered by the Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA) to be more environmentally  friendly than heating oil due to its lower carbon dioxide output. Cost savings include energy savings, potential insurance discounts and furnace maintenance savings.”

The initiative comes on the heels of a report from the Insurance Bureau of Canada stating there  were 146 domestic oil spills on P.E.I. between 2008 and 2011, with damages totalling $6.6 million.

In Atlantic Canada, 663 oil spills were reported in that time frame, with damages in excess of $78 million.

Rising cleanup and insurance costs are forcing homeowners to look at other options, said Larry Hughes, a professor at Dalhousie  University and head of the university’s energy research group.

“People are looking for alternatives such as electricity, natural gas (where available), and, in this case, propane.  Propane  is heavier than air, so propane tanks are kept outside buildings to avoid a basement full of propane gas and an explosion when a spark occurs.”

Propane heating could save homeowners as much as $1,300 annually, based on figures from IRAC, along with a five cent per litre discount on a residential introductory offer and annual fuel savings.

By offering zero per cent financing, propane is a cost-efficient alternative, Thorne said.

“We  make it affordable for any homeowner to switch.”

Home heating oil will be exempt from the new Harmonized Sales Tax for Islanders when the province switches to the next taxation system April 1, 2013, but even then, propane will still be more financially attractive, say industry analysts.

 As it’s not  a greenhouse gas, Thorne points to propane’s environmental benefits as another reason to switch.

“Propane is a non-toxic and clean-burning energy alternative. It doesn’t present the same kinds of environmental concerns as fuel oil. It’s a more  efficient energy source and results in lower annual maintenance costs, so it’s a real money-saver too.”