People in this country rely on different sources of energy to heat their homes and keep themselves warm during the winter season. Although LPG, electricity, and other renewable sources are familiar, there is one that stands out: home heating oil. The most distinctive characteristic of heating oil is the fact that it is delivered by oil delivery companies and it is stored in a tank that is commonly placed or situated beneath the home.
But contrary to what most homeowners who use heating oil believe in, not all home heating oil is the same. Even if they all look alike and serve the same function, heating oil is actually distinguished into different types and grades. In this article, we look at those differences and compare each one.
Types of Heating Oil
Generally speaking, there are two types of heating oil intended for domestic or home heating. They are:
Gas Oil – This is also referred to as red diesel or the 35 second oil. It is distinguished by the fact that it is heavier and is primarily used in older generation of boilers, more specifically those once used in commercial and agricultural use.
Kerosene – Kerosene on the other hand is the second type. It is known as the typical heating oil and also called 28 second oil. Its main advantage is the fact that it is lighter and cleaner.
If you recently moved into a new house or property, the kind of oil you will be using primarily depends on the type of heating system that is already in place. In most instances, there is a clear label on the boiler or the tank, giving you the right instructions on what type of heating oil was used previously. If there is no indication, you have to ask a heating oil expert to be sure.
Heating Oil Costs
Furthermore, another manifestation that all home heating oil is not the same is the costs. Kerosene, for one, is considered as the more efficient compared to gas oil. But then again, there is also great emphasis placed on the area where you live and the availability of the type of heating oil in your state or city.
Heating Oil Grades
But aside from the two types, heating oil is also differentiated on grades. Traditionally speaking, there are three different grades along with three intermediary grades. Likewise, each has its own distinctive quality and characteristics. But just a preview of the quality of each grade, the common scenario is that when you choose a higher grade, it also means you will have to spend more on it. Although higher grade heating oil is more expensive, it also burns cleaner, more efficiently, and has lesser impact on the environment.
But just like the types we’ve mentioned earlier, you have to first understand your heating system and your furnace to be able to use the right oil required to keep your home warm during the winter. And for your information, heating oil, as of today, is the second most widely consumed petroleum product, obviously behind only to gasoline.
1 – Heating Oil (Grade) 1 and 2
Number 1 and 2 heating oil is considered as the two most common type used for residential heating. 1 is less expensive compared to 2. Actually, 2 has the same classification as diesel fuel in the United States so most people think they’re one in the same. However, they are not because number 2 is formed during the refining process by heating and then condensing raw crude oil. The best attribute of number 2 is that it is more efficient than other fuel sources for home heating like natural gas, propane, kerosene, or even electricity.
2 – Intermediary
Intermediary grade heating oil on the other hand is mostly blended mixtures of higher grades and lower grades. They are mostly used for industrial and commercial burners with better efficiency. However, they are expected to be more expensive.
3 – Number 6
The last grade is called heating oil number 6. This one is the least expensive of the three standard heating oil grades. However, as the price implies, it is also the dirtiest. Using this type of home heating oil will most likely correspond to more frequent maintenance and cleaning of your furnace and heating system. Because of the high concentration of pollutants and sulfur, it is gradually being phased out.
Source: R.F. Ohl Fuel
How to tell what grade your oil company is using?