Propane is not necessarily healthier than oil in heating a home because propane can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the University of Nebraska. On the other hand, oil has its dangers as well as being a combustible product.
Both propane and oil have health risks, explains the University of Nebraska. For instance, gas heating systems such as ones utilizing propane can produce nitrogen dioxide, a compound that can cause many respiratory problems over time. Those exposed to nitrogen dioxide can experience shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing, symptoms that worsen in those who already suffer with a respiratory disease. Oil heating systems can emit sulfur dioxide, a gas that also irritates the respiratory system.
In order to minimize the potential health hazards of both oil and propane heating systems, furnaces need to be maintained regularly, advises the Oregon Department of Energy. All ducts need to be sealed, and owners should change out filters when they become discolored, or at least two times per year. Venting systems and chimneys need to be properly installed, suggests the University of Nebraska. All appliances such as kerosene heaters or fireplaces need to be properly vented, and ranges must be equipped with exhaust fans that vent outside.