Heating With Various Fuels: cost comparison chart

We provide a full installation service and can complete and lodge the application for a building consent and project information memorandum on the client’s behalf. We also provide a complete installation warranty.

Comparing Heating Costs With Various Fuels

The chart below shows how much it costs to get one million British Thermal Units (MBTU) of heat value from new appliances using the types of fuels listed. Fuel prices shown are current as of April 1998.

The EFFICIENCY column shows the listed overall heat extraction efficiency of the appliance used. For this chart, we used the manufacturer’s listed efficiency ratings for the Avalon 945/990 woodstove, the Waterford Erin pellet stove, the Hearthstone Sterling natural gas and LP stoves, and the Efel Harmony II oil stove.

The ANNUAL COST column shows the average fuel expense required to heat a typical 1500 sq. ft. house for one year (64.5 MBTU).

Because BTU content varies among species of fuel wood, the chart lists separate figures for the four most commonly available local fuel woods.

(Washington U.S.A.)

Type of FuelPriceEfficiency$/MBTUAnnual Cost
Electricity6.2¢/KWH95%$19.12$1,233.38
LP Gas86¢/GAL75%$12.33$ 795.07
Wood Pellets$150.00/TON79%$11.58$746.76
Fuel Oil$1.01/GAL70%$10.39$670.06
Natural Gas57¢/THERM80%$7.60$459.56
Alder$90.00/CORD72%$7.02$452.95
Douglas Fir$90.00/CORD72%$6.15$396.87
Maple$90.00/CORD72%$4.88$315.03
Birch$90.00/CORD72%$4.70$303.23

Note that the above chart compares NEW appliances. Efficiency ratings have improved dramatically in almost all appliance catagories in recent years: for example, if you’re currently heating with a typical 10-year-old woodstove, you could save up to 30% on your fuel bill by replacing it with a new, high efficiency model.