Depending on your needs, a heating oil delivery service can provide several different grades of fuel for your heating system. Many times mixed oils are also available, and there are times throughout the year that you may need to completely change the mix you are using, depending on the temperatures outside.
Heating Oil Types
Most homes and businesses that use a boiler system to provide heat and hot water to the building use heating oil to fuel the boiler system. Number two heating oil is the most common type and is very similar to diesel fuel but is processed differently and is only legal for use in heating systems.
Most heating oil services sell the oil in bulk, but many companies have a minimum amount they will deliver, so you may need to buy a hundred or so gallons to avoid a service fee. While several other grades of heating oil are available, they are typically used for industrial furnaces and are not clean enough for home use.
Number two heating oil remains the most common for standard heating systems and is available in most areas of the United States. The oil price can fluctuate with the location and the availability, and it is crucial to keep a clean fuel filter on the line because there can be particulate and other dirt in the fuel when it is delivered.
Number two heating oil can have a tendency to thicken in cold weather, and if the tank you are storing it in is outside your home or business, you may need to consider using a mixed or blended fuel during the coldest months of the year. Kerosene is used with the heating oil to help reduce the gelling of the fuel and keep the fuel flowing through the lines correctly.
The fuel blend may change with the temperatures, but the heating oil service you use will work with you to determine the blend you need. Often a percentage of seventy to seventy-five percent heating oil and twenty to twenty-five percent kerosene is sufficient. Still, in areas experiencing extremely cold weather, you may need to blend the fuel as much as fifty-fifty to ensure it remains stable.
The blend you use is often a personal judgment and if you are unsure how much protection you need, talk with the heating oil delivery service to determine the most common blend used in your area. Most heating systems that burn heating oil can use straight kerosene, which will not gel in the cold but is expensive, so most people will not want to take the fuel blend to that extreme unless it is essential.