Heating oil has been a principal source for providing warmth to homes in the United States, Canada, Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales), the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland for many years. In the U.S., this petroleum product has its heaviest usage in the colder, northeastern part of the nation. In both Ireland and Northern Ireland, its usage can be found in more rural areas and smaller communities.
Known as No. 2 heating oil, this fuel must be in compliance with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard D396. It is commonly stored in external tanks that are either above or below ground. The suppliers of this fuel are typically locally owned and operated small businesses. Deliveries are made via tanker trucks. There are strict federal and state regulations to ensure the proper transportation, handling, and storage of this petroleum-based product. These regulations make using this method of supplying warmth one of the safest options available.
Like other furnaces and boiler systems, those powered by heating oil have constantly been improved as the result of new and more efficient technologies. Developments such as secondary heat exchange, modulating burners, and electronically-controlled thermostats have increased efficiency and reduced consumption by an average of 33.6% between 1996 and 2005. The creation of reduced sulfur-blends of this fuel will make it one of the cleanest sources of heat that can be selected.
Newer furnaces that utilize this method of generating power have an ASTM rating of 80%-90%. This rating evaluates the overall efficiency of a system. These newer systems have dramatically improved performance over the last decade by as much as 30%. While units powered by natural gas have a slightly higher efficiency rating, the cost of modern gas units can be as much as 10%-25% more expensive than units utilizing the petroleum-based fuel.
Local dealers of heating oil typically offer 24-hour emergency service as well as preventative maintenance programs. This personalized service is in dramatic contrast to natural gas suppliers that are a utility company (either private or municipal). Having the security of knowing that problems can be promptly taken care of is another intangible but significant benefit in using this method to provide a comfortable atmosphere in the home.
Today’s heating oil is a viable alternative for home comfort. The lower cost of a new heating system is less than those powered by other means. There are important factors when deciding on the type of system that is best a particular residence or business. Make sure you take everything into consideration.