How Safe Is Your Heating Oil?
Heating oil is a remarkably safe fuel
Nearly 200,000 people in the Badger State depend on oilheat to keep their homes warm. And they should do this with confidence, knowing that heating oil has always been a remarkably safe fuel.
Unfortunately, consumer surveys have shown that while heating oil customers have exceptionally high levels of satisfaction with the service they receive, many people, particularly younger ones, have big misconceptions about the safety of heating a home with oil.*
When was the last time you heard about an oil-heated home exploding? Never? In fact, heating oil has an excellent safety record, especially considering that it has been widely used for nearly 100 years.
Three quick safety points about heating oil
You can feel safe and comfortable at home, because heating oil is:
- nonexplosive – Heating oil does not and cannot explode. The oil in your tank is as likely to explode as the water in a pool. It’s that safe!
- nonflammable – Heating oil is biodegradable, nontoxic and nonflammable. It cannot burn in its liquid state. Before combustion can occur, heating oil must be vaporized by an oil burner at temperatures above 140°.
- not going to give you any dangerous surprises – If something is seriously wrong with a heating oil system and carbon monoxide is present, there will be visible warning signs coming from the system, like smoke. That means that this serious issue will never sneak up on you or your family. Read more below.
Modern oil storage tanks: secure and safe
With an oil tank on your property, you can always count on having a secure, on-site supply at your home. Heating oil is easily transported and is handled by highly trained professionals using equipment and techniques that put safety first.
- Modern heating-oil storage tanks have been designed to be virtually leak proof
- Whether your oil storage tank is located in your basement or outside your home, the tanks being installed today are designed with corrosion-resistant materials.
- Read more about today’s oil storage tanks.
Oilheat and its safety net for carbon monoxide poisoning
As mentioned before, an oil furnace or oil boiler poses a very low risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If an oil burner malfunctions (most often this is due to a lack of maintenance), the safety devices in the unit will typically shut the furnace or boiler off. Smoke may also be emitted from the system.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that oilheat consumers shouldn’t have working carbon monoxide detectors inside their homes, especially near all bedrooms. Besides a malfunctioning boiler or furnace, there are many other sources for carbon monoxide leaks, including:
- operating unvented appliances for long periods of time
- backdrafts caused by pressure imbalances near the heating system
- leaving a vehicle idling in an attached garage
- running a gasoline-powered generator in a basement or attached garage
- a blocked flue
Make sure you check your carbon monoxide detectors—and smoke detectors—on a regular basis to confirm that they operate properly!
Heating oil—still the best and safest way to heat your Wisconsin home! If you have any safety concerns or questions, please reach out to your local heating-oil company.
*Source: NORA-funded Oilheat Consumer Research Study.