All About Oil
The 411 on No. 2 – Heating Oil Basics
What is heating oil?
Heating oil is crude oil, or unrefined petroleum, that is filtered. Using a distilling process, crude oil is separated into different “fractions” for use. It is the middle levels that are further refined to produce fuel sources such as the oil used to heat your home, also known as No. 2.
Why is it red?
Typically, unrefined petroleum is black or dark brown (123RF) [sometimes greenish-yellow]. After refining, No. 2 heating oil is light in color like champagne. It is only for tax purposes that regulations require heating fuel to be dyed red so it can be distinguished from on-road diesel fuel. The red dye itself has no effect on the No. 2 fuel or how it burns.¹
Where does it come from?
Much of today’s heating oil comes directly from the good ole’ U.S.A! As of late 2014 our national crude oil production was the highest it’s been in decades, and the 2015 forecast is projected to be the highest annual average crude oil production since the 1970s. Crude oil is produced in 31 states. The top 3 producing states are Texas, North Dakota, and California.²
There are more than 50 oil-producing countries meaning that the U.S. is not overly dependent on any one region for our supply. In fact, nearly one third of our crude oil imports come from Canada. Mexico, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia are our other largest suppliers.¹
How has it changed over the years?
Heating oil has made great advances over just the last few decades. Oil-heat is now more clean, efficient, accessible, and reliable than ever! Today’s oil-heat burns 95 percent cleaner compared to 1970. Since it burns so cleanly, it comes well within the air pollution standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, modern low sulfur products and renewable biofuels, such as those made from soy beans, reduce today’s oil-heat near-zero emissions even more. Not only is heating oil as a product much more reliable, but so are the ways it’s delivered and stored too. Fuel can be delivered to your home on a schedule, automatically, and even during emergency situations. This makes accessing the fuel very simple and convenient. Also, today’s tanks (AZ Energy Efficient Home) are now built with optimum design that include corrosion-resistant materials and can be installed with monitoring systems that detect leaks. This technology helps heating oil remain a reliable and safe source of fuel to heat your home day after night.³
What are the benefits of heating your home with oil?
Not only is heating oil domestic, clean, efficient, accessible, and reliable but it is also safe and versatile! Since the design and technology of storage tanks have advanced over the years, modern tanks are stronger and less likely to leak. By using combinations of fiberglass, state-of-the-art steel, double plastic walls, and sensors your oil tank is sure to be secure whether it’s indoor, outdoor, or even underground. If a problem should arise with your oil heating system malfunctions are typically visible. Signs like soot or smoke are early indicators to more serious problems such as leaking toxins. With home heating oil systems it is rare that a carbon monoxide leak will happen without alert.
There is a common misconception that heating oil is not only dangerous, but explosive. This is true only under certain circumstances. In fact, heating oil will not burn or explode when lit. In order to light heating oil on fire, you must heat it above 140 degrees, the temperature at which it begins to vaporize.⁴
Not only does heating oil serve you with cozy warmth while you’re on the couch, but it also keeps you steamy in the shower. Heating oil is a great source for consistently hot water showers and for all of your other major appliances that use water regularly. Oil-fired water heaters have a quick recovery time for families whose washing machines and dishwashers seem to running all day. Heating oil is used for more traditional functions in the home, but it can also be used in more innovative ways. For example, to heat pools, floors, and driveways.⁵
¹Oilheat America. “FAQS”. <http://oilheatamerica.com/knowledge-base/faqs/#attributes>.
²Oilheat America. “Domestic”. <http://oilheatamerica.com/oilheat/domestic/>
³Oilheat America. “Clean”. <http://oilheatamerica.com/oilheat/clean/>
⁴Oilheat America. “Safe”. <http://oilheatamerica.com/oilheat/safe/>
⁵Oilheat America. “A Homeowner’s Guide To Oilheat”. <http://oilheatamerica.com/files/6314/4536/1402/AEC-NORA-Homeowners-Guide.pdf>
123RF. “Stock Photo – Petroleum industry and fossil fuel business as a world map on an oil drop with a drum barrel can of gasoline fuel as a commodities concept for energy resources”. http://goo.gl/QK4gSp
AZ Energy Efficient Home. ‘The Green Room”. <http://www.kamaratos.gr/images/kamaratos/green-energy-house.jpg>.Friends of the Pleistocene. “Geological Heat Following The Flow of Red Diesel”. <https://fopnews.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/no2.jpg>.
Monday Mornings With Matey. “Without Inspiration: A box of matches will never be lit!” <https://mateyforfr.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/match1.jpg>.