Buying heating oil for your home heating system does not have to be complicated, but there are some things you may want to consider when you are ready for a heating oil delivery. There are some differences in the heating oil offered by many companies, and there are some variables that play a role in what you should use in your furnace or boiler.
Heating Oil Grades
When you are considering heating oil for your home, you need to understand a couple of things. The most common heating oil for residential heating is #2 heating oil and is very similar to diesel fuel, but the refining process is a little different between the two, so the heating oil burns cleaner and more efficiently.
There is a lower grade heating oil available for some uses, but it is not recommended in residential applications. The oil is not as clean and pure, so it is typically limited to equipment and commercial boilers.
Kerosene is also considered a heating oil and cleaner than most other oils but is much more expensive, so most homeowners using oil-burning furnaces do not use it as a primary fuel. K1 is in the top tier of heating oil products, but there are some uses for it that can benefit you if your oil tank is outside.
Heating Oil Mixes
Heating oil delivery companies often offer mixes of different oil grades for your home. In most cases, the blends are intended to help preserve the oil in the tank or keep it from gelling in the wintertime. #2 heating oil by itself can thicken in the cold, and if it is cold enough, the oil will turn into a gel-like sludge that will not flow through the fuel filters and lines to the furnace.
A heating oil tank that is outside with no protection from the cold can be a significant issue if the temperatures drop low enough to gel the fuel in it. Adding a mix of kerosene or K1 and #2 heating oil to the tank is the best way to ensure that the fuel does not gel.
There are varying percentages of the mix that a heating oil delivery company will offer, so talk to them about what they recommend for your area before buying winter fuel. If your tank is inside the home, you may not need a mix, or maybe a lower mix percentage is appropriate.
While you do not need a mixed oil in the tank for warmer months, be sure to check the level of oil in the tank as fall sets in so you can have the oil delivery service start blending the fuel for you before the temperatures start to get too cold.
For more information, contact a local heating oil service.