Heating oil is commonly used for heating homes and businesses, especially in areas where hot air heat and forced hot water systems are still in use. The heating oil delivery companies in these areas often offer several fuel grades, so knowing what you need is critical but not hard to determine.
What Is Heating Oil
Heating oil is a fuel made from petroleum that is nearly identical to diesel fuel but without some of the additives that go into the road fuel. The two fuels are essentially interchangeable except that diesel fuel for the road is taxed differently, and the diesel is dyed, so it is easy to tell the difference between the two.
Heating oil used in homes is classified as a grade two, so it is often referred to as number two heating oil by people in the industry. It burns well in furnaces and boilers but does leave some soot behind, so cleaning the boiler or furnace yearly is essential. The fuel is stable and safe enough to store in the basement of your home, using the right tank with the proper venting system so that fumes are released outside away from the house.
Cold Weather Concerns
The only real issue with the fuel is that it will begin to gel in the tank and lines at around sixteen degrees Fahrenheit, so storing it outside can be a concern, but there are ways to deal with it if your tank is outside the home. To change the viscosity of the heating oil, many heating oil delivery companies recommend adding kerosene to the fuel in the winter.
The kerosene is less affected by the cold, and adding a mix of thirty percent kerosene to your fuel often is enough to protect the fuel well below freezing and keep your fuel lines from gelling. Kerosene is similar fuel but listed as number one fuel because it is purer than number two fuel, but it is also more expensive, so for most people, it is not practical to burn just kerosene, but mixing the two fuels works well.
While your furnace or boiler may burn regular diesel fuel just fine, it is not encouraged because the diesel fuel has some additives like sulfur and detergents that help keep the inside of the engine clean. These additives will not hurt your furnace short term, but if you tried to use diesel fuel exclusively in the furnace, you would eventually need to change some parts affected by the additives.
If you run out of fuel and can't get a delivery for a day or two, adding diesel and kerosene in a fifty/fifty mix will work to keep the furnace running but should only be done if there is no way to get fuel delivered and the house is getting cold inside.
For more information, contact a heating oil delivery service in your area.