Home Heating 101 | The Basics Of Using Heating Oil

When it comes to heating your home when the weather turns cold, there are a lot of different routes that you can take. However, heating oil is one that you may not be completely familiar with. Even though heating oil is incredibly efficient, there are not a lot of homeowners who know a great deal about it. Here are a few of the most common questions about keeping your home warm with heating oil.

What exactly is heating oil?

Heating oil is similar in nature to kerosene and in a lot of home heating systems that use heating oil, kerosene can be used instead, but will not provide the same efficiency because it is a different consistency. Technically, heating oil is almost the same as diesel fuel, the only difference being that dyes are added to diesel and not heating oil.

How is heating oil stored on your property?

Heating oil can be stored in a reserve tank on your property, either above ground or below. It can even be stored in a basement tank, which is quite common in a lot of older homes. Spills and leaks are fairly uncommon as long as the tank is kept maintained. Therefore, it is considered safe to have heating oil storage reserves on a residential property.

Can an electric heating system be altered to use heating oil instead?

This is not usually a possibility because the heating oil home heating system uses fuel combustion to deliver warmth. An atomizer is used in the system to combine a specific amount of oil with air and an ignition source, which provides heat. However, there are some types of heat systems that operate with propane and natural gas that can be changed over by a professional by adding the right type of atomizer to the system.

How much does heating oil cost?

The price of heating oil can vary from day to day, according to supply, demand, and fair market value. The average price of heating oil in 2014 was $3.79 per gallon. Keep in mind that some heating oil delivery companies will give you a more economical price when you purchase the oil in larger quantities.

According to the International Association of Home Inspectors, about 7.7 million homes in America are heated with heating oil. If this is a change you are considering, be sure to discuss any questions you have with a heating contractor for insight.