As the end of the year draws near, the weather steadily gets colder and colder. This requires you to stock up on fuel oil for your heating system. While space heaters generally rely on electricity to generate enough heat to warm up the surrounding area, heating oil is typically used in boilers and furnaces to heat the entire house. But there’s more to using these systems than pouring in random types of fuel oil. Different oils have different traits, along with advantages and disadvantages. If you’re unsure about which kind of fuel oil you should stock up on, Thomas J. Fannon & Sons is here to share some info!
Kerosene. Known as the lightest fuel oil for indoor heating, kerosene is made through the refinement of #1 fuel oil, then the filtering out of any impurities. Kerosene is well-regarded as a good fuel oil due to its low boiling point and viscosity, as well the clean burn it produces, which makes it safe for indoor use (though it does emit a certain odor, as well as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide). It’s also used for outdoor heating sources, as well as a long-lasting fuel for lamps.
#1 Fuel Oil. Used for outdoor stoves and portable heaters, this fuel oil is heavy and viscous, with a high boiling point. The boiling point is important for fuel, as the lower the boiling point of a fuel source is, the faster it evaporates, making it better for combustion. #1 fuel oil is also less refined and has a lot of impurities, which means it would be ill-advised to use it in a water heater. When this type of fuel oil burns, it releases more impurities into the air, and can pose health risks to someone who inhales it and is exposed to it over a long period of time. That’s why it’s typically used outdoors.
Diesel. A well-known and well-regarded fuel oil, diesel has low sulfur content and is eco-friendly. Typically used in vehicles and machinery, it comes in two types. Untaxed diesel fuel is dyed red and is typically used for heavy machinery, while taxed diesel fuel is not dyed and is a light green color. There’s not much difference between the two other than the price. Diesel is also known to be used for home heating after its mixed with #1 fuel oil to minimize the instances of sludge formation during the winter, or as a temporary replacement for #2 fuel oil.
#2 Fuel Oil. The most commonly used fuel oil for home heating, #2 fuel oil has the same chemical composition as diesel. This fuel oil is very well known for its high heat output, as well as producing a clean burn that’s safe for indoor use. It’s so similar to diesel, the only difference is its color. #2 fuel oil is dyed red (meaning it’s untaxed) and cannot be used in your car. If authorities spot you using this red-dyed fuel in your car, you might face charges for using untaxed fuel for your vehicle. There’s also a special mix of this fuel oil: a combination of #2 fuel oil with a little #1 oil. This blend is commonly referred to as the “winter blend”, as it prevents sludge formation and makes it easier for your boiler or furnace to operate.
If you need an immediate HVAC repair, Thomas J. Fannon & Sons is here for your home heating and cooling needs! We offer a wide array of professional services and products, topped off with the best customer and client assistance. You can call us at (703) 549-5700 if you have any inquiries, or fill out our contact form to request an estimate. We serve clients in the state of Virginia.