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Selecting A Fuel

One somewhat simple way to evaluate heating options is to compare the cost of the fuel. To do that, you have to know the energy content of the fuel and the efficiency by which it is converted to useful heat. Fuels are measured in physical units, such as gallons of oil or propane, cubic feet of natural gas, or kilowatt hours of electricity (kWh). They are also measured by heat content. In the United States, the most commonly used value for expressing the energy value or heat content of a fuel is the British thermal unit (Btu). One Btu is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water 1°F when water is at about 39°F. One “therm” is 100,000 Btu.


Electricity: $ per kwh x 293 kwh/1,000,000 divide by efficiency = cost of 1,000,000 btus
Fuel Oil: $ per gallon x7.21 gal/1,000,000 divide by efficiency = cost of 1,000,000 btus
Natural Gas: $ per therm x 10.0 therm/1,000,000 btu divide by efficiency = cost of 1,000,000 btus
Propane Gas: $per gallon x 11.0 gal/1,000,000 btus divide by efficiency = cost of 1,000,000 btus

Celebrating Over 30 Years Of Quality Service

Choosing a fuel for your new or existing home can be stressful.
Please contact us if you need assistance in making these decisions.

The chart below provides a list of typical heating fuels and the Btu
content in the units that they are typically sold in the United States.


Fuel Oil (No. 2)


Natural Gas


Wood (air dried)*

Pellets (for pellet stoves; premium)

No. of Btu/Unit



1,025,000/thousand cubic feet


20,000,000/cord or 8,000/pound


Jim Godbout Plumbing & Heating
486 Elm Street
P.O. Box 365
Biddeford, Maine 04005
Phone: 207-283-1200

Office Hours

Mon-Fri 7am to 3:30pm

Proud Members Of:

Biddeford Saco Rotary Club
Biddeford Saco Chamber of Commerce
Better Business Bureau
Hydronic Heating Association
Maine Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors
National Federation of Independent Businesses
Nature Conservancy
Northern York County YMCA (board member)