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What Is Heating Oil?

Written on: October 10, 2022

How heating oil has improved in recent years

about heating oil maineIf you heat your home with heating oil, you know that it cannot be beaten for keeping your Central Maine home warm, safe, and comfortable. One reason is that no other fuel gets your home warm faster than heating oil.

With dependable heating oil delivery from AFC, you can enjoy the benefits of heating oil without worry.

Here’s some more information about heating oil.

What is heating oil?

No. 2 heating oil and diesel fuels are both distillates derived from crude oil and have a low viscosity. While they have nearly the same chemical makeup, they are used for different purposes. There is no federal excise tax on No. 2 heating oil, so like off-road diesel fuel, which is also untaxed, it is dyed red to distinguish it from the taxed on-road diesel fuel. Because people use No. 2 heating oil in their boilers or furnaces to heat their houses and not for on-road transportation, it is not subject to the federal excise tax. No. 2 heating oil is frequently referred to as home heating oil or fuel oil so that it does not get confused with diesel fuel.

Like diesel fuel, No. 2 heating oil has a winterized variety known as winter blend. This winter blend is a combination of No. 2 heating oil and No. 1 heating oil that is less viscous, less prone to gelling in extreme cold, and easier on your furnace or boiler. Winter blend is also sometimes referred to as kerosene mix. 

How is today’s heating oil different?

The heating oil AFC delivers to your home or business is not the same heating oil of just a decade or two ago.

That is because the heating oil industry has been committed to creating a cleaner burning heating oil that is more environmentally friendly than the heating oil of yesteryear. This has led to dramatic changes.

A major change has been the development of ultra-low sulfur heating oil (ULSHO). Since 2018, the State of Maine has required that all heating oil be delivered by ultra-low sulfur heating oil.

The reduced amount of sulfur in ULSHO provides a wide range of benefits. First, greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically lower than traditional heating oil, making it much better for the environment as the world continues to fight climate change.

That lower sulfur is also better for you and your home’s furnace or boiler. Less sulfur in heating oil allows your heating system to operate more efficiently, which can help to lower your winter heating energy costs. Because there is less sulfur, fewer deposits are left on the heat exchangers in your furnace or boiler. Thanks to that, the wear and tear on your furnace is reduced, helping it to run more smoothly with fewer breakdowns and a longer life expectancy.

This is just the beginning of the advances as the heating oil industry strives for net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. The addition of biodiesels, made from natural resources like plant oils and algae, offers the promise of even cleaner burning as well as less dependency on foreign oil.

Whether you’re in Augusta, Winslow, Clinton, or other nearby Central Maine communities, you can count on AFC for dependable heating oil delivery. Become an AFC customer today!