NORWALK - Many southwestern Connecticut residents are switching from oil to natural gas as a way to heat their homes in hopes of saving money while being energy efficient.

Mike Tavolacci, the owner of The Heating and Cooling Company in Norwalk, says he has been installing more gas furnaces than ever in southwestern Connecticut homes.

?They can go much higher [in] efficiency with gas,? Tavolacci says. ?That combined with oil prices and an unstable market [is] playing a factor.?

According to, customers who switch from oil to gas will increase the value of their homes and provide a constant supply of energy.

But Thomas Santa at Santa Energy Corp. in Bridgeport says oil is still the best bargain for homeowners because natural gas prices are susceptible to weather-related price shocks.

"If we have a normal or colder than normal winter, it's very likely that natural gas prices will shoot right back up," Santa says.

Santa adds that an increase in the number of oil providers creates competition in pricing.

Besides oil and gas, Tavolacci says some homeowners are also turning to harnessing geo-thermal energy.

Although it is more difficult and expensive to install, he says, it will save a lot of money in the long term.