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Propane vs. Natural Gas vs. Heating Oil: Orange County Home Heating Fuel Comparison

Homeowners have a variety of home heating fuels to choose from. Natural gas is the most popular choice in Orange County, used by 4,593,346 or 59.99% of homes. The 2nd most popular choice for Orange County homeowners is heating oil, used by 1,379,410 homes (18.02%). The remaining homes are heated with electricity (1,040,155), propane (371,184), no fuel (127,077), and other fuels (245,918).

Orange County Primary Home Heating Fuel Popularity by Number of Households

FuelOrange County Households % of Households
Natural Gas4.5M59.99%
Heating Oil1.3M18.02%
Electricity1.0M13.59%
Propane371,1844.85%
No Fuel127,0771.66%
Wood117,3241.53%
Other Fuels102,6441.34%
Coal17,4880.23%
Solar8,4620.11%

Natural gas (59.99)

Heating oil (18.02)

Electricity (13.59)

Propane (4.85)

No fuel (1.66)

Wood (1.53)

Other fuels (1.34)

Coal (0.23)

Solar (0.11)

#2 Heating Oil (Fuel Oil) Use in Orange County

Heating oil has become less popular in Orange County. In the 4 years since 2018, the number of heating oil homes fell from 1,592,482 to 1,379,410, a 13.38% drop.

Orange County Heating Oil Households (2011 - 2022)

YearHeating Oil Households
20112.1M
20122.0M
20131.9M
20141.9M
20151.8M
20161.7M
20171.6M
20181.5M
20191.5M
20201.4M
20211.4M
20221.3M

Propane vs. Natural Gas use for home heating in Orange County

Between 2018 and today, the number of homes using propane as the primary space heating fuel rose from 283,653 to 371,184.

Between 2018 and today, the number of homes using natural gas as the primary space heating fuel rose from 4,286,403 to 4,593,346.

Electricity use for home heating in Orange County

Electric space heating systems are becoming more popular in Orange County. Since 2018, the number of homes heating with electricity rose from 840,252 to 1,040,155, a 23.79% increase.

Solar use for home heating in Orange County

Solar is the most environmentally friendly of all space heating fuels. With an “active” solar heating system, liquid is circulated between solar panels on a home’s roof and a heat energy storage tank in the basement.

Currently, 8,462 homes in Orange County are heated with active solar arrays. This is a 70.85% increase from 2018, when only 4,953 homes had installed active solar heating.