Throughout the United States, most people rely on natural gas as the fuel source for their heat. However, there are areas where the gas companies have not run lines or where they will not run lines simply because the landscaping does not allow for it or the population is too small for it to be profitable for them. If you're thinking of moving to one of these areas, then it's important to be aware of your other options for heating.
Electric heating often gets a bad rap for being expensive and inefficient. But the truth is, today's electric heaters are a lot more energy-efficient than old baseboard electric heaters used to be. This might not be the best option if you're in a climate where it's consistently below freezing outside, but in an area where you only have to heat your home on the coldest nights, electric is certainly feasible. There is no fuel to store, and you'll only have to pay one energy bill (to the electric company). Plus, as power plants begin turning to natural gas as a fuel option, electricity is becoming a more eco-friendly choice than it was when most every plant was coal-powered.
With propane heat, you purchase or lease a tank that's placed on your property and filled up periodically by your propane supplier. This is a very clean-burning fuel, and propane heaters can be quite efficient, making them a good choice in freezing cold environments where constant heating is a necessity. The down side is that you'll have to remember to get your tank filled up. If you wait too long and the company can't deliver for a few days, you'll be without heat in the meantime.
Some homeowners prefer oil-based heating because since the oil burns so hot, it heats up the home quickly. Oil is stored in a tank similar to propane. Oil won't ignite until it is vaporized, so there's little to no risk of tank explosions or similar disasters. However, oil-based heating tends to be more costly and less efficient than propane. It's also not a very clean-burning fuel, so it may not be high on your list if eco-friendly living is a priority.
To learn more about these heating options for homes without natural gas connections, talk to your HVAC contractor. Every situation is different, and they can help you determine which heating option best suits your unique preferences.