said by fartness:
Does oil heat smell like oil, or only if oil is spilled? What would heating likely cost? I don't need a real huge house, something 1500 sq ft would be fine. My current house is 1300 and some change and it's plenty big.
Oil doesn't smell up the entire house. You can smell it outside when your tanks are being fueled, or inside when your oil company is performing an annual cleaning on your furnace.
Oil furnaces need annual cleanings (changing the filter, checking the flue, and burner). Additionally the flue into the chimney is cleaned separately usually on a less than annual basis.
Age of the furnace is a concern, as oil furnaces have a limited lifespan, and are large, clunky and sometimes smelly things to replace.
It isn't uncommon for an oil system to fail now and then, without a maintenance contract, you will have difficulty getting repair when you need it. The most common time for an oil system to fail to heat is during a storm, or in the middle of a very cold night. When it does fail, many of your neighbors will be in the same boat. Without a contract for maintenance and repair, you won't get heat for days and repair will be very expensive.
Without heat, water pipes can freeze. Frozen water pipes, depending on material, may be at risk of sprouting leaks. This includes any hot water baseboards.
I took our my oil furnace and went to heat pump. Personally I'd only use heat pump or propane to heat any future home. I'm done with oil, though YMMV.
The price of oil is unstable, and can be very high. Learning to procure fuel in a rural situation is a learned art. If your home to be has oil tanks underground, do not buy it. Underground oil tanks will eventually leak, in the U.S. tank leaks are considered hazardous waste leaks and environmental laws apply. Expensive to comply with environmental laws.--
Congress could mess up a one piece jigsaw puzzle.