Heating Fuel Calculator

This is a tool that will provide you with a comparison of the cost of operating various heating appliances and their energy sources.  Data is provided based upon recent fuel costs for Rhode Island and S.E. Massachusetts.  You can adjust the graph by entering your actual costs in the spaces provided.  Clicking the update graph button will redraw the graph based upon your specific energy costs.

For a more detailed fully editable version of this tool click here to download the Heating Fuel Comparison Calculator spreadsheet from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Natural gas is typically sold to residential customers in units of “therms,” but may be sold in units of hundreds of cubic feet (ccf).  One therm = 100,000 Btu, and is equivalent to about 97.561 cubic feet (or 0.976 ccf), when there are 1,025 Btu per cf.

The heat content for a cord of wood varies by tree species and is greatly affected by moisture content; 20 million Btu per cord is a rough approximation.

Approximate Efficiency Percentages

  • Oil Furnace: 78%
  • Electric Furnace: 98%
  • Electric Air Source Heat Pump: 185%
  • Electric Geothermal Heat Pump: 330%
  • Electric Baseboard Heat: 100%
  • Natural Gas Furnace: 82%
  • Natural Gas Room Heater (Vented): 65%
  • Natural Gas Room Heater (Unvented): 100%
  • Propane Furnace: 78%
  • Propane Room Heater (Vented): 65%
  • Wood Room Heater (Non-Catalytic): 63%
  • Wood Room Heater (Catalytic): 72%
  • Pellet Room Heater: 78%