Tuesday 20 March 2018

Clearing up some common home heating oil misconceptions

If you’re moving house and your new place has an oil-fired central heating system, then you’ll almost certainly hear all manner of horror stories from friends and family about how expensive, dirty and unreliable oil is.

* Collaborative post

Don’t panic, just nod and smile at the naysayers and then remind yourself of these busted myths.

Heating oil is expensive

It can certainly feel expensive when you place that first big order with supersaveroil, but then that’s probably going to be it until the next year! Moreover, home heating oil is the only fuel that’s actually fallen in price in recent decades; even better, most oil suppliers offer payment plans and deals to keep your costs down even further.

It’s not as efficient as other heating fuels

A US gallon of home heating oil has an output of 139,000 British thermal units (BTU), so it’s in keeping with most other fuels. Also, modern boilers and heating systems are designed to make more use of the output – people find they’re using less oil over their winters now because their boilers work better.

If you find sludge in your tank, you have a dodgy dealer

Not at all. Your dealer only has contact with the oil during a short portion of its “life”; they have no control over how it was processed at the refinery and, at the other end, how well you look after it. A professional dealer will make sure that their storage containers and trucks are water-tight and debris-free. Sludge is inevitable and it’s almost always caused by water and air in the domestic tank.

Dealers use weird additives to prevent sludge

Additives aren’t weird, they’re an important part of looking after your oil and you should continue to use them at home. These chemicals can only slow down the formation of sludge, however; it’s a biochemical phenomenon and it’s inevitable. You should have your tank inspected and cleaned professionally every couple of years.

Using heating oil is really bad for the environment

It certainly was bad for the environment, but one thing that humanity is good at is improving things. The home heating oil that we burned in the 1970s was almost twice as “dirty” as the oil we burn now. Modern oil mixtures send out far less emissions and the fact that only a small percentage of the UK population uses heating oil anyway means that it’s not a big contributor to climate change.

Heating oil isn’t renewable

This is very true and there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s a fossil fuel. However, the heating oil industry is working tirelessly towards formulating oil blends that will contain more and more renewable fuels. In time, home heating oil could become one of the cleanest fossil fuel heating options; if, indeed, it remains as a fossil fuel option! It may mean that people have to replace their boilers to use these new blends, but as uptake rises, our emissions will fall.


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