Oil-burning heating systems may not be as popular as they once were. It is true that it costs a bit more to burn oil than to burn natural gas. However, that does not mean that oil-based heating is never the right choice or that you should completely write it off as an option. There are many homeowners who still prefer oil-burning heating systems, and this might even be the best heating system for you. Here's a look a the main benefits associated with this type of heat.

You don't have to worry about explosions or dangerous leaks.

Oil does not spontaneously combust. It has to be heated to a very high temperature in order to burn. If your oil tank springs a leak, you will have to deal with a mess -- but you don't have to worry about the leaking oil going up in flames. With natural gas, there is always a chance of an explosion if gas builds up outside the furnace's burn chamber (due to a leak or malfunction). Plus, breathing in natural gas can be very dangerous.

You get to keep the oil on-site.

Natural gas is typically delivered to your home continually through a pipeline. You have to pay whatever the gas company is charging at the moment. Fees can change from month-to-month, leaving your bills somewhat unpredictable. With oil, you store your heating oil in your yard in a big tank. You'll know exactly what the price is before you have your tank filled, so if you're short on cash, you can always opt for only a half or ¾ of a tank that time. Plus, you can watch oil prices and have your tank filled when the price goes down. This gives homeowners more of a sense of control over their bills.

Your home heats up faster.

Oil burns hotter than natural gas. So, an oil-burning furnace or boiler will heat up your home a lot faster than one heated by natural gas. You may be able to program your thermostat to raise the temperature closer to the time you come home -- which could save you fuel. For instance, with a natural gas heater, you may need to have the temperature go back up to 65 an hour before you come home since the house takes a while to get cozy. With oil heat, you may be able to delay the temperature increase 'til 15 minutes before you return home.