What Is #2 Heating Oil?

cat on radiator depicting home heating oil system

Winter can be tough throughout certain parts of the United States. Homes have to have reliable heating equipment for assured safety and comfort throughout the coldest months of the year. This means having your furnace professionally tuned up, and stocking plenty of home heating oil for the season. There are, however, several kinds of heating oil, and each has its own applications and attributes. Among some of the more common heating oils are #1 heating oil, kerosene, diesel, and #2 heating oil. This last is easily the most important for meeting the heating needs of residential properties.

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The Different Heating Oil Types

Fuel oils come from crude oil. They are derived through distillation, and each oil or byproduct of distillation comes from a different stage of processing. Fuel oils are capable of generating significant amounts of heat when burned in furnaces. These fuels are distillates and they have their own weights according to the degrees of refinement that they’ve undergone. Following are heating oil listed by the lightest weight option to the very heaviest:

1. Kerosene

old kerosene lamp

Kerosene is the lightest heating oil used as a fuel source in residential properties. When #1 fuel oil is refined, impurities are filtered out and kerosene is created. This allows for a far cleaner burn and it makes kerosene safe for use indoors. Kerosene additionally has a lower boiling point and viscosity. In fact, you can even use kerosene indoors even if there’s no actually furnace in the building, such as with new construction. A lot of consumers use kerosene when power outages occur and on their camping trips. Kerosene lamps provide long-lasting light. Many of these lamps have odor suppressors and aesthetically beautiful designs.

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2. #1 Heating Oil

Given that kerosene is created by refining #1 heating oil, the two have a number of similarities. Because #1 fuel oil is less processed or less refined, it’s heavier, has more impurities, and has a higher viscosity. This fuel is often used in outdoor stoves and portable heaters. It does not burn cleanly and thus, it is not meant for use in any indoor application. The exhaust from this fuel can be harmful to anyone who breathes it in. When used outdoors, the impurities are disbursed in the outside air and thus, the risk of harm is minimized.

3. Diesel

image of diesel fuel pump

Diesel is probably one of the more familiar options given that it’s readily offered throughout the nation at gas stations. There is an untaxed option in diesel fuel that’s tinged with a recognizable red dye. This fuel is frequently used in certain off-road vehicles and construction machines. It is viewed as an eco-friendly fuel and has a low sulfur content. Conversely, taxed diesel has not been dyed red and instead has a greenish tone. This is the fuel that diesel-powered trucks and cars use when driving on public roads. The increased price is the only real difference between the two. When it comes to using diesel to heat a home, this fuel can be mixed with #1 fuel oil to limit the risk of sludge formation in the winter. This choice, however, is always best discussed with a home heating professional before using it.

4. #2 Heating Oil

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Number 2 heating oil and diesel fuel are basically the same in terms of their chemical composition. The primary difference between the two is how each of these fuels is intended to be used. Number 2 heating oil is tax-free so that prices are reasonable and people can affordably heat their homes in winter. After all, this is a cold-weather essential. Rather than being used in cars, it goes into furnaces and boilers. It’s also colored with the same dye as untaxed diesel. This fuel oil is often referred to as home heating oil given that this is its intended application.

For improved furnace efficiency and lower viscosity, there is also a mixture of #1 fuel and #2 fuel oil. This combination is sometimes called “the kerosene mix” or “the winter blend” of home heating oil.

Because these two fuel types of fuel are so similar, it is in theory, possible to use them interchangeably. However, there are various reasons why consumers don’t usually do this. If your heating oil tank runs empty and your heating oil delivery is delayed, then you can certainly visit the pump and buy diesel as a short-term alternative. However, it isn’t practical for any long-term use given that diesel costs a lot more than #2 fuel oil prices, but it’s certainly worth the extra spending during a heating emergency.

Using #2 fuel oil in a diesel truck or car is something you should never do. This is an illegal substitution due to tax regulations. If you are pulled over and law enforcement sees that your fuel is red-dyed, you may be subject to charges. Follow the law and use each fuel type in its intended application.

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Using #2 Fuel Oil to Heat Your Home

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Of the four fuels for home heating, the properties of #2 fuel oil make it the most widely used option. This fuel produces the most heated as confirmed by an impressively high British Thermal Unit (BTU) rating. When homeowners request oil delivery from local oil suppliers, the trucks that are dispatched for these deliveries carry #2 fuel oil. If other blends are being offered or delivered that are more suitable for the local climate or the oil tank setup, delivery companies will let their customers know. For instance, outdoor oil tanks that are installed above ground tend to be a lot more vulnerable to exceedingly cold temperatures. Number 1 and #2 fuel oil might be combined in various amounts to create a more fluid blend and one that’s less likely to cause sludge to form. For a cleaner burn, #2 heat oil is sometimes mixed with kerosene.

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Call Lawes Company For Fast & Reliable Oil Deliveries

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Lawes Company offers trusted and affordable heating oil deliveries. We are known for our honest prices and skilled services. Not only that, but we also offer heater maintenance services which also impact how much fuel your system requires to keep your home warm.

A tune-up greatly enhances the energy efficiency of your unit. This means that if it is operating at peak performance, then it uses less fuel. This, in turn, reduces your fuel costs throughout the winter. Be sure to call Lawes Company to schedule a delivery or set a heater tune-up appointment.

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