What Is Heating Oil?

Date: October 24, 2022

It Starts with the Refinement of Crude Oil

heating oil south carolina Heating oil comes from crude oil, which has to be refined to remove impurities. It’s then separated into different “fractions.” More refined fractions are used to produce such products as gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel fuel and No. 2 home heating oil, which is what you use to heat your home. Even heavier fractions become No. 4 or No. 6 heating oils. These fuels are used for more heavy-duty purposes in commercial and industrial buildings, schools, and hospitals.

Diesel fuel and No. 2 fuel oil are virtually the same things, in terms of their chemical composition. Speaking of similarities, there is also a No. 1 fuel oil, which is similar to kerosene but less refined. No. 1 fuel oil has a lower pour point, which means it won’t gel as quickly as No. 2 heating oil does in extreme cold. However, it produces fewer BTUs of heating energy than No. 2 heating oil.

The Journey to Your Oil Storage Tank

There is more work to be done before your home heating oil reaches your heating oil tank. After it is refined and ready for use, heating oil is transported by ship, barge, truck, and/or pipeline to major fuel terminals. It is distributed from these terminals to local heating oil companies. Many of these companies have their own storage facilities, which can hold thousands of gallons of heating oil. These company storage facilities ensure that an adequate supply of fuel is on hand during the cold months to ensure people get their heating oil delivery whenever they need it.

Today’s Heating Oil Burns Much Cleaner

There have been significant strides in the refining of heating oil that make it much cleaner and increasingly greener. Notably, most of the sulfur content has been removed, which is why today’s heating oil generates so little soot compared to the past.
Here is why this is important.

  • Ultra-low-sulfur heating oil (ULSHO) has 99% less sulfur in it than standard heating oil.
  • The changeover to ULSHO results in a reduction in emissions of over 70%, compared with the emissions produced by heating oil from the past.
  • A buildup of sulfur in the heating system can lead to system maintenance issues. The drastic reduction of sulfur means that there will be far fewer system issues, which will result in lower maintenance costs for heating oil consumers.
  • Because there is virtually no sulfur in the heating system now thanks to ULSHO, heating oil systems can burn the fuel more efficiently, leading to lower heating bills.
  • ULSHO opens the door for the introduction of super-efficient heating systems, which are already being used with great results in other countries that have widely used ULSHO for many years.

Heating oil has also been reformulated with Bioheat® fuel, which consists of ultra-low sulfur heating oil that’s blended with renewable biodiesel. Bioheat fuel blends represent the future of heating oil in our country.

The most refined grade of heating oil available, Bioheat fuel is one of the cleanest burning heating sources for your home. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions significantly and no changes to your existing heating oil system are necessary.

Read more about the benefits of Bioheat fuel.