Understanding Some Of The Different Fuel Grade Options That Are Available

If you have recently moved into a home that has a heating oil system, then you will need to get used to purchasing heating oil. This can be confusing for some individuals, especially since heating oil furnaces are not nearly as common as natural gas and electric varieties. There are many companies throughout the United States that sell and deliver the oil, and you may be asked to choose a specific grade of the fuel. Keep reading to learn a little bit about the different grades that are available to you.

Grades Two, Four, And Six

When it comes to home heating oil, most companies will offer the most standard grades of oil that include grades two, four, and six. Grade two oil is one of the more expensive oils and is most often purchased for home heating use. This oil is very similar to diesel fuel, but it is refined and distilled a bit differently than diesel fuel, so it is its own petroleum product. Grade two is fairly efficient, low in sulfur, and is likely to cost as much as $2.50 or a bit more. Since diesel and grade two oil is very similar, you can use the diesel in your heating system if there is a need. This can even save you a bit of money, since diesel is typically less than $2.50 a gallon. 

Number four and number six oils are both less expensive than number two oil. However, both of these petroleum products are much heavier and are likely to contain a much greater number of impurities. These impurities make the heating oil far less efficient and you should expect to complete more maintenance if you decide to use this oil. Filters will need to be cleaned and replaced more often and you may need to replace oil spray tips more often. Since the oil also has a higher sulfur content than number two oil, it releases more pollution into the air. This is one reason why the oil is rarely used now for residential purposes. However, it is sometimes available for commercial boilers, so this is why it may be offered by your local heating oil company.

Kerosene Grade K-1 and K-2

While kerosene is not a specific type of heating oil, the fuel is often used as an alternative to the traditional number 2 oil. Kerosene is much more refined and cleaner than heating oil. This means that the fuel burns longer and releases fewer pollutants into the air. Also, since kerosene has fewer impurities than heating oil, the fuel will not gel when it becomes cold. It has a much lower freezing point and this can be advantageous if your oil tank is housed outdoors. 

Kerosene will cost you quite a bit more money per gallon. For example, the average price of the fuel per gallon in New York state is well over $3.00. The different grades of the kerosene will differ in their cost and K-2 will cost less than K-1. The cost difference has a lot to do with the amount of sulfur that is contained within the fuel. K-2 has more of the sulfur than the K-1.

While some fuel companies will offer kerosene deliveries, many of the businesses will offer a kerosene and heating oil mix instead. This mix is often called a blended heating oil. The mix may be a 50/50 one or the kerosene content may be a bit lower. The mixture is ideal if you live in an area that experiences extremely cold winters, since the kerosene will keep the petroleum product from gelling or freezing. Ask your heating oil retailer about their winter mix if this is something you are concerned about. 

If you want to know more about all of the heating oil grades that are available and how one of the options may be better than another for your heating system, check out websites like BUCKSFUEL.COM and contact a local fuel delivery company.