What You Need to Know about Heating Oil for Your Furnace or Boiler—Part 1

There is a lot of work involved long before heating oil reaches your fuel storage tank. To begin with, heating oil is refined from crude oil, a complex mix of hydrocarbons plus oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur. The refining process separates crude oil into different “fractions.”

The lighter fractions eventually become propane, butane and petrochemicals while heavier fractions are used to produce gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel fuel and No. 2 home heating oil. But it doesn’t end there. Even heavier fractions become No. 4 or No. 6 heating oils, used for commercial and industrial buildings, schools and hospitals.

After refining, No. 2 heating oil is the color of champagne. For tax purposes, regulations require that heating fuel be dyed red before it is sold so it cannot be confused with on-road diesel fuel. The dye has no effect on the fuel and how it burns.

Big improvements to heating oil

In just the past few years, there have been significant improvements in oil heat’s efficiency and cleanliness, thanks in large part to vast reductions in the sulfur content of heating oil.

Moving forward, heating oil will burn even more cleanly, with lower emissions. You will also experience better heating efficiency and easier maintenance since today’s high quality heating oil creates fewer deposits inside your boiler or furnace.

Extensive research continues on developing oil heat equipment and even higher quality heating oil that will take cleanliness and efficiency to higher levels. Read more about clean and green oilheat.

In our next post, we’ll explore how heating oil is transported and priced and more.