Using Bio-Diesel to Heat Your Home

bio diesel gas pouring into a container through a large hole

We tend to think of diesel as a source of power for engines, but bio-diesel is also a great alternative fuel for your oil-fired furnace.

What Is Bio-Diesel?

Bio-diesel is the fuel that is made from new, or used, vegetable oils or animal fats. This type of fuel has the added benefit of being non-toxic and renewable. Regular heating oil takes thousands of years to produce and is rapidly rising in costs. The new biodiesel fuel can be ready for use in just a few months.

No Special Equipment Needed

Usually, with alternative fuels, you need to retrofit the different mechanics and appliances to run on them. With a bio-diesel fuel, you can use the same oil-fired furnace that you have been using. There are no special pieces of equipment needed to burn your bio-diesel fuel.

Storage Considerations

Since bio-diesel is like regular No. 2 heating oil, it does have some temperature issues that make storage of it an issue. If you live in an area that gets extremely cold in the winter, you will need to make sure that the bio-fuel is not left outside during the winter months.

Bio-diesel will begin to gel when the temperature drops and will not pour smoothly when it gets to be 11 degrees below zero. People living in the country's southern areas will not have to worry about this problem, but those living in the north will need to either have indoor storage of the fuel or an underground tank.

Price Considerations

Bio-diesel makes a much better impact on the environment than it does on the wallet. Because of making the fuel, you will end up paying about 20 cents more per gallon than you would regular diesel fuel. However, since the demand for new alternative fuels is rising, the availability of bio-diesel is helping to decrease the cost over time.

Can Be Made at Home

In a day and age when people are looking more and more for self-sufficiency and green alternatives to energy and fuels, bio-diesel is a great option. To offset the cost of bio-diesel fuel, you can make the fuel at your own home. With the right equipment and some basic, common materials, it is quite easy to make your own fuel at home.

Some people who make their own bio-fuel have free access to used vegetable oil by reusing the oil used in restaurants. With a little bit of time (a few months of waiting) and some mixing with certain chemicals, you can have some oil to run your car or heat your home.

Getting Ready to Burn Bio-Diesel Fuel

Several tests have shown that there is no need for any special equipment, or a change of furnace, to heat your home there are some things you should do to get things ready to burn the new fuel. Thoroughly clean the furnace and boiler and replace the oil filter. If you have an older oil tank, then you may want to have that cleaned as well. Start with a lower B5 blend of bio-fuel to get you started, and then increase the concentration over the next few months or wait until the next heating season.