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Residential Heating Oil Applications

Heating oil is an important part of your entire HVAC system. In fact, the reliance on heating oil is ever important, especially as the colder months approach. To put this into perspective, homes in the United States spend around $500 to $1500 on heating oil and delivery services, with the higher end of the spending seen during the winter months. The winter months can be rough for some American regions. This is why many homeowners are calling on HVAC maintenance companies to ensure that their heating unit is functioning properly, as well as to ensure their safety and comfort during the cold months when you need HVAC the most. It goes without saying that regular furnace or boiler tune-ups are called for this season, as well as stocking up on heating oil. However, some people might think that gas is a lot easier to use, but did you know that households that use heating oil instead of gas experience more efficient and effective heating? 

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While all heating oils seem the same and serve similar purposes, they have different aspects that set them apart from each other. Granted, you can see some for military applications in fighter jets, some for industrial or commercial applications, and most of them can be seen used in American households. Each type and grade of heating oil comes with its fair share of benefits and drawbacks. Understanding each one of them and their applications help you make a more informed decision whenever you’re going to make a call for another heating oil delivery.

In this post, the premier company in your area serving heating oil and HVAC services, Burch Oil, shares the different heating oils used in residential applications. We’ll highlight some of the different types of heating oil, as well as the different types of heating oil grades.

Automatic vs. On-Demand Oil Delivery

Before discussing the different kinds of home heating oils, you’ll need to choose between automatic or on-demand delivery. When you pick the automatic option, you don’t have to worry about your fuel levels dropping or monitoring it time and time again. Instead, your heating oil delivery company will help you determine the proper frequency and will show up at pre-designated times.

In most cases, heating oil delivery is made every four weeks with regular consumption. This can be adjusted depending on the season. You might need a delivery every three weeks during the cold winter months. Usually, there are no additional delivery fees and you’ll only need to pay for the oil added to get your fuel tank back to optimal levels.

When you’re discussing on-demand delivery, you’ll need to keep an eye on your fuel usage and call on your heating oil delivery company as necessary. While some heating oil companies can deliver on the same day or the next, other companies require a lead time for delivery. This means that you’ll need to regularly check your fuel levels to avoid having cold days or nights.


Your HVAC services expert will mention that kerosene is the most common heating oil used in residential applications. Kerosene is also known as the “28-second” and is lighter and cleaner than its counterpart. This makes it the preferred choice for many American homeowners. This is the lightest fuel oil used for home heating and is a refined version of #1 fuel oil free of any impurities in it. This creates a cleaner burn that is safer for indoor applications. It also has a low boiling point and is less viscous.

When used outdoors, it can be used for heating applications or for illumination. It can be used indoors if you don’t have a heating unit intact, like a newly-constructed home. In fact, kerosene is also used during power outages or when you’re camping since it lights up lamps and stays lit for a long period of time.

No. 1 Fuel Oil

No. 1 fuel oil is basically a heavier variant of kerosene. This means that it has a higher burning point, requiring your boiler or furnace to work harder. It’s also more viscous and less refined than kerosene, with many impurities. When compared to No. 2 fuel oil, No. 1 fuel oil is lighter. In turn, it produces fewer British thermal units (BTU) than No. 2 fuel whenever it burns up. No. 1 fuel oil represents a fraction of oil that boils off during the petroleum distillation process before gasoline is made.

Homeowners use No. 1 fuel oil whenever they use outdoor stoves or portable heating. It isn’t recommended to use No. 1 fuel oil for home applications nowadays with the presence of No.2 heating oil and kerosene due to its heavy nature. It releases more toxins in the air as it burns which makes it unhealthy for homeowners over extended periods of time.

No. 2 Fuel Oil

No. 2 heating oil is very similar to diesel which is primarily used for automotive applications. The distinct names are used to reflect the heating oil’s purpose of usage, rather than the difference in its chemical composition. The government doesn’t impose taxes on No. 2 fuel oil, so it has the same red-dye appearance as untaxed diesel. No. 2 fuel oil stays untaxed since people use it for residential applications, such as fuel for their boilers or furnaces to heat up their homes during the winter months. Many homeowners refer to No.2 fuel oil as “home heating oil” or “regular fuel oil” to set it apart from regular diesel fuel. 

Similar to diesel fuel, No.2 fuel oil has a variant built for the winter known as “home heating oil winter blend”. This blend uses No. 2 heating oil and combines it with No. 1 heating oil to make it less viscous, making it easier for your boiler or furnace to burn. Other heating oil manufacturers call No. 2 fuel oil “kerosene mix” since it burns cleanly and is less viscous.

To know more about our heating oil and delivery services, just call Burch Oil today at (301) 373-2131 or fill out our convenient online contact form. We have the right experience and expertise in heating and HVAC services so you can be confident that you get what you need with speed and efficiency!

Reader Interactions


  1. Alice Carroll says

    Thanks for the reminder that it’s also important to properly choose the right kind of delivery mode when it comes to using residential heating oil. I’d like to start thinking more about that soon because I want to improve the heating in my home. It seems that I wouldn’t have to travel for the holidays this year so I want to make sure that my home would be as cozy as possible.

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