Choosing the Correct Type of Oil Furnace Fuel

man working on a furnace

Millions of American households make use of furnace fuel oil to warm their homes. Nonetheless, choosing the correct fuel may prove to be a tricky task. Nowadays, more than ever before, there is a whole spectrum of petroleum derivatives and even some more eco-friendly options.

Even in the summer months, it is worthwhile to keep an eye out for fuel prices, as they fluctuate seasonally. In order to get good value for money, you could even fill your furnace with oil in summer while the demand is still low and thus costs would be minimal.

Using Traditional Petroleum Derivatives

Nearly all petroleum derivatives that are less volatile than gasoline are used to heat our homes. The variety of derivatives varies, including longer carbon chain compounds, which are easier to produce and thus cheaper when compared to the smaller carbon chain compounds.

The longer carbon chain fuels give off more ash and are less efficient than the smaller carbon chain petroleum derivatives. The latter are much more efficient, as they release more energy per unit volume. A choice could be nonexistent at times, as it often depends on which fuels are supplied to your region or locality. Ask your local fuel distributor to get an in depth view of the available options.

If there is a good variety of different fuel oil in your locality it would be worthwhile to distinguish and compare the different classes. Fuel oil is classified into six classes, from 1 to 6. Number 1 fuel oil is very similar to kerosene and is highly volatile and efficient. Number 4 fuel oil, on the other hand, is a mixture of distillate oil (efficient) and the heavier residual fuel oil.

Number 4 fuel oil is a good compromise between the efficiency of small carbon containing fuels that are efficient and the cheaper sooty bigger compounds. The cheapest on the market would be the Number 6 fuel oil.

The main drawback of using this type of fuel is that you could have to refill your oil furnace several times during the winter months, due to the oil’s inefficiency. You also might have to change the filter on a frequent basis. Thus, it is important to look at the longer term prospects with regards to fuel choice.

Heating Your Home with Biodiesel

If you are ready to splash out a little more money to adopt a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, biodiesel is the choice for you. All you have to do is clean your furnace and replace the oil furnace filter.

Biodiesel can burn in any furnace and will drastically reduce harmful and toxic emissions. Apart from its higher cost compared to petroleum derivatives, burning biodiesel also tends to dissolve sludge in oil tanks and fuel lines. Therefore, occasional cleaning and changing of filters is a must!

At the end of the day, however, it all comes down to the availability of oil fuels at your local market. When choosing the correct type of oil furnace fuel you should keep in mind various factors, such as price, efficiency, durability of the filter and furnace when using a particular oil fuel, and last but not least, the environment.