OIL HEATS BEST, Wakefield
By GARY FONVILLE
Forgotten NY correspondent
This well preserved ad on 233rd Street, near Paulding Ave in Wakefield, the Bronx that extols the virtues of oil heat proclaims a fact that used to be true. But the use of oil as fuel has declined precipitously as the choice of homeowners.
In fact, according to my research, oil is only used by 8% of homes, mostly in the northeast United States.
As a homeowner, I can personally vouch for natural gas’ advantages. Natural gas’ rates are not volatile as they are with oil. Since natural gas is mostly produced domestically, prices are reliably stable. Oil prices can fluctuate, mostly upward, anytime there’s any disturbance in the Middle East.
If there’s a huge snowstorm, and your street is impassable due to heavy snow accumulation, you’re out of luck. Natural gas, which is delivered through pipes, is always there at the ready.
Since oil is inherently a dirty fuel, maintenance cost are higher, as your chimney has to be cleaned by a qualified technician on a regular basis.
And finally, the smell. Oil furnaces leave that funny smell in your house when the furnace is on.
Full disclosure: I am not in any way affiliated with any natural gas company. I’m just stating the facts.