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Understanding Heating Oil – Uses and Variations

Once summer disappears and autumn starts to set in, the temperature drops and the control dial on your central heating system will probably be nearing maximum. Especially in the UK, where the rain and wind seem to creep up on us – and a warm, cosy home is all you really want. Understanding heating oil, its uses and commonly referred to terms can help you greatly when saving on purchases and using it correctly.

Heating Oil Facts

For some people, a simple switch of a button is all that’s required to fire up the heating system but if you’re running your central heating system on heating oil, you’ll have to make sure you don’t run out when you need it the most. Unlike the national grid, which pipes gas to homes in the UK, heating oil is delivered by a tanker and kept in a storage tank.

This article has been written to simply explain what heating oil is and does as well as to differentiate between the varied types of heating oil available and their uses. For more information, why not read our guide to heating oil?

What is heating oil?

Heating oil is a fuel designed for use in central heating systems, furnaces and boilers fitted in homes and large buildings like schools. There are several confusing things about heating oil which we will clear up throughout this blog to give you a much better understanding. One area of mystery is around the name, as heating oil comes under many guises, some of which are listed below:

  • Kerosene
  • Kero
  • 28 Second Burning Oil
  • Standard Kero
  • C2 Kero
  • Burning Oil
  • Fuel Oil

What is the purpose of heating oil?

Nearly 5 million people in the UK are not connected to the mains gas grid or other similar utilities which means they must rely on heating oil deliveries to keep their homes fuelled for warmth and hot water. Heating oil is burned in your boiler which heats up the water that’s propelled around your home via piping and your central heating system. If you’re heating a larger building such as a school, this would work in exactly the same way but for a much larger oil-fired heating system. A good understanding of heating oil will ensure you order the best type for your needs in the best quantity.

You can purchase heating oil from small quantities right through to 35,000+ litres. Heating oil requires above-ground storage so you will require your own storage tank which can be topped up with fuel when required. This not only securely stores the oil and keeps it clean and safe but you may also benefit from larger purchases with a lower cost per litre. Larger tanks will further benefit from a security device to help prevent any theft.

The different types of heating oil

Unlike other oils and fuels, which usually come in a lot of different variants, heating oil generally comes in just a handful of options. Low-sulphur options tend to be popular and the cleaner the oil you use, generally speaking, the longer the machinery life and efficiency.

  • Kerosene – Kerosene is the standard heating oil for homes and industrial purposes. It’s relatively cheap to buy and burns well with little pollution. This is the most common choice amongst customers and is the cheapest in price.
  • Gas Oil – Also known as red diesel, gas oil is used largely in older systems which require a heavier fuel. This is the ‘dirtiest’ option of the three.
  • Kleenburn Kerosene – This type of heating oil is a lot cleaner when burning which is less polluting than normal kerosene. Kleenburn kerosene is slightly higher in price, however; it’s a lot safer for the environment and helps keep emissions’ low, which is especially helpful for companies.
  • Furnace Fuel – Furnace fuel is usually required in municipal buildings like schools and colleges. It’s fully compliant to BS EN 2869, Class D parameters, which is the British Approved Standard for heating oil. It can be used in all commercial boilers.

The cost of heating oil

Oil-fired boilers, heaters and cookers generally cost a little more to run than connected gas appliances. This can make heating oil appear as an expensive option. With regards to the cost of heating oil, it’s more costly given the option of having gas but most people who purchase heating oil are not on the gas grid and have no other option. Heating oil, therefore, costs slightly more than gas but still works out the cheapest of the remaining options.

Buying heating oil at the wrong time of the year could cost you more. A lot of our heating oil customers make larger purchases throughout the summer in order to have enough fuel for winter when prices are usually higher.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you by supplying heating oil to your home or business, call our heating oil experts today on 0330 123 1444 to learn more and discuss your options.

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