Considering Switching From Heating Oil to Propane? Estimate Your Annual Propane Consumption and Heating Costs.

When it comes to switching from heating oil to propane, many consumers wonder what the difference will be in annual heating fuel consumption and the annual heating costs. But figuring out how much propane you would use instead of heating oil isn’t straightforward; 1,000 gallons/3,785 litres of heating oil isn’t the same as 1,000 gallons/3,785 litres of propane.

Make sure to use our Heating Oil to Propane Conversion Calculator.


Here are 3 things that you have to consider before figuring out how much propane you will use instead of heating oil:

Heat Produced per Gallon/Litre: Heating oil and propane produce different amounts of heat per gallon/litre. You can get more heat per gallon/litre from heating oil than propane. We can measure the amount of heat produced by a gallon/litre of propane and a gallon/litre of heating oil by using the British Thermal Unit (BTU). The higher the BTU per gallon/litre, the more heat your system will generate for every gallon/litre of heating fuel that it burns. Propane produces less heat per gallon/litre than heating oil. Propane produces 91,333 BTUs per gallon/24,127 BTUs per litre and heating oil produces 138,690 BTUs per gallon/36,638 BTUs per litre.*

System Efficiency: the efficiency of each system is important because this will tell us how much of the heating oil or propane your system is burning actually goes towards heating your home. For example, heating oil systems have an average efficiency of 85%; that means 85% of the heating oil that is burned goes towards heating your home. The remaining 15% is “lost” energy. Although propane produces less heat per gallon/litre than heating oil, propane systems have a higher average efficiency at 94%.

Cost per Gallon/Litre: The last factor is what each fuel costs per gallon/litre.

Now that we have all the components, the way we would figure out how much propane you need is to essentially figure out how much propane you would need to burn to get the same amount of heat as with heating oil.

We’ve made it easy for you to compare both fuels. Simply use our Heating Oil to Propane Conversion Calculator.


There are advantages to using propane that are not available with heating oil. Propane has more uses than heating oil. A propane furnace can be used to heat your home and your water. In addition, you can use propane to run other household appliances and heat your pool. And propane is considered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be more environmentally friendly than heating oil due to its lower carbon dioxide output. It’s also approved as a clean fuel by the U.S government since it doesn’t contaminant soil or water if a leak occurs.

For a full breakdown on each system, visit our blog on Heating Oil vs. Propane.


* US Energy Information Administration

** Used for space heating