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Heating Oil Types


heating oil


Have you ever wondered about the differences in heating oil?? Many oils are byproducts of the oil refinement process and others exist within the earth. Each of the following oils are derived from crude oil and they are created at various stages of the refinement process. They are divided into 6 oil types ranging from the lightest to the heaviest. The weight is determined by their boiling point, viscosity, and additives.


1-Kerosene: Kerosene is the lightest fuel on the list. It is created when you further refine No 1 fuel oil to make it cleaner and purer. Being one of the lightest oils, it means it has a lower boiling point and is less viscous than the heavier fuel oils. It is one of the cleanest burning fuels available which makes it relatively safe to use indoors.


2-No.1 Fuel Oil: This fuel oil is the next heaviest after Kerosene. This means it has a higher boiling point and is more viscous than Kerosene. As a result, it produces fewer BTUs (British Thermal Units**) than No. 2 fuel oil. People usually use this particular fuel oil as a source for outdoor stoves and portable heaters. Due to the release of impurities, it is best to limit your use of No.1 Fuel Oil to the outdoors. It can be harmful to breathe in over time.


3-Diesel Fuel: Diesel is used for on-road diesel-powered vehicles, off-road vehicles, construction equipment, and farm machinery. On-road diesel is taxed and off-road is not taxed. When used for off-road purposes companies dye it red to differentiate it from on-road diesel. On-road diesel has a slightly greenish hue and is undyed. Some people are concerned that the dye reduces its efficiency but upon combustion, it shows no sign of reduced efficiency or pollution.


4-No. 2 Fuel Oil: No.2 fuel oil and diesel are essentially the same but they are used for different purposes. This is mainly used for home heating purposes.


5-No. 3 Fuel Oil: No.3 fuel oil is a fuel oil that is now rarely used. It was once common fuel oil for burners due to its low viscosity. It has since been phased out by ASTM(American Society for Testing and Materials).


6-No.4 Fuel Oil: No.4 fuel oil may be referred to as "bunker oil", "diesel distillate", "residual fuel oil" or "heavy distillate". This fuel oil is the transition fuel separating the distillate oils from the residual oils. They are most commonly used in power plants, stationary engines, and commercial boilers. No.4 fuel oil is created when companies combine a distillate such as No. 2 fuel oil with the residual No. 5 fuel oil.


7-No. 5 Fuel Oil: No. 5 fuel oil is similar to No. 4 except it requires preheating to combust. If you combine it with No. 2 fuel oil you can help lower its viscosity and allow it to be pumped without preheating.


8-No.6 Fuel Oil: No. 6 fuel oil is commonly used to generate electricity in commercial generators and heavy-duty engines. This oil is what is left in the distillation process when the above fuels have been distilled or boiled off. It is also used to make the asphalt needed to build roads.


The most common fuels used in home heating are Kerosene, No.1 fuel oil, diesel, and No.2 fuel oil. Due to its viscosity, No. 2 heating oil is the preferred choice since it stays loose even in colder weather. No.2 fuel oil is the industry standard when it comes to home heating along with Kerosene. As your local oil provider, we care about your experience! If we can help you further understand the products used in your home, please give us a call!!

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