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Heating Oil FAQ's

What is oil heat?

Oil heat is a space heating system that burns heating oil (diesel fuel) as the source of heat. An oil heating system can use either a furnace or a boiler. In the case of a furnace, the combustion of the oil heats a metal box known as the combustion chamber, and air flowing over the outside of the combustion chamber is heated. With a boiler, water is heated as it runs over the outside of the combustion chamber, and the water is piped around your house into radiators or heat exchangers. These radiators or heat exchangers then heat the air.

What is heating oil?

Heating oil is the marketing name for diesel fuel when it is used for space heating. Other names for heating oil are "fuel oil", "home heating oil", "#2 heating oil", and "distillate" fuel. Heating oil is one of the fuels produced during the process of refining crude oil. The purpose of refining crude oil to separate it into different grades of fuel. Every 100 gallons of crude oil yields 42 gallons of gasoline, 29 gallons of heating oil (diesel), 9 gallons of jet fuel, and 20 gallons of other fuels and products.

What is oil heating in a house?

Oil heating is a heating system that burns diesel fuel in a furnace or boiler to generate heat. This heat warms up the air in your house. When used for space heating, diesel fuel is called "heating oil", "home heating oil", "#2 heating oil", or "fuel oil". It is delivered by oil companies, which have fleets of tanker trucks that pick up the oil from wholesale terminals (giant tank farms known as "racks"), and deliver the oil to your home.

What color is home heating oil?

Home heating oil is naturally transparent, but is dyed red for tax purposes. The IRS requires heating oil to be dyed red to prevent its use in cars and trucks. If a tax official suspects a truck of using tax-free heating oil instead of taxable diesel fuel from a gas station, the official can put a dip-stick in the truck's tank to check the color of the fuel.

Is electric heat cheaper than oil?

Oil heat is cheaper than heating a home with space heaters but more expensive than an efficient electric heat pump. But the cost of prematurely purchasing and installing an electric heat pump before your oil heat system has reached the end of its useful life would exceed any savings versus continuing to use your existing oil heat system.

How much is home heating oil?

Home heating oil is $3.31 per gallon right now, on average. Today's oil prices range from the cheapest price of $307.00 to the most expensive price of $375.00 right now per gallon for a 100-gallon heating oil delivery, depending on the oil company you use and the delivery address.

How does oil heat work?

Oil heat works by spraying the oil into a box in your furnace called the combustion chamber and igniting the oil vapor to generate heat. Air from your home is drawn into a duct and heated as it passes by the hot metal outside wall of the combustion chamber. Then the heated air is blown back out through a duct into your home.

Is heating oil the same as diesel?

Heating oil is the same as diesel. In an emergency, you can use diesel from the gas station in your furance or boiler. You would never do that on a regular basis because tax rates for diesel at the pump are much higher than heating oil purchased from an oil company, which is typically tax exempt.

Is oil heat expensive?

Oil heat is more expensive than natural gas but less expensive than propane. Though if you have an oil-fired furnace or boiler, it is not cost-effective to replace it with an alternate fuel before the end of the life of the existing system.

How much does heating oil cost per month?

Heating oil costs $94.19 per month (averaged over 12 months), totalling $1,224.44 per year. On a cost per delivery basis, this equates to 4 deliveries of $306.11 per delivery.

How long does heating oil last?

How long heating oil lasts depends on the outside temperature and the square footage of your home. For example, in the next 7 days, the average 1,500-square-foot home will use 7.67 gallons of fuel oil.

What is heating oil used for?

Heating oil is used for residential space heating, primarily. The same fuel, also known as "off road diesel" or "dyed diesel", is used in applications such as farming and construction equipment.

How much heating oil will a home use in the upcoming week?

In the upcoming week, the temperature is expected to drop to a low of 65.2°F. The average 1,500 square foot house will burn 7.67 gallons of heating oil.

Should I switch from oil to electric heating?

No, it is not cost effective to switch from oil to electric heating unless your oil heat system has reached the end of its useful life and needs a total replacement.

Does heating oil go bad?

Heating oil will go bad after 24 months unless you add fuel stabilizer and store it in a full tank to prevent condensation.

Is it worth buying a house with oil heat?

Yes, oil heat, used by more than 4,000,000 homes in the U.S., is a safe, efficient, and cost effective space heating fuel.

How many gallons of heating oil does a home burn annually?

A 1,500 square foot home uses an average of 399 gallons each year.