Even though heating oil is primarily used by households in the northeast and is perhaps not as common in residential applications as natural gas or electric heat, there are still six million households in the United States that use this as their heat source. Even still, many homeowners shy away from heat systems that use heating oil as the fuel source. Thanks to some common myths that have carried over from years past about heating oil, you may have some preconceived notions about heating oil as a home-heating source. But it is important to get to know the real truth about heating oil before you make any decisions about your own home heating system.
Myth: Heating oil does not burn clean.
Fact: Heating oil burned in a system that is properly maintained will burn just as clean as any other fuel source. You will not see any smoke, residue, or soot buildup in chimneys or notice any type of fumes while your home heat system is in operation. People often associate the resulting smoke from a diesel engine with what happens in a heating system that uses heating oil, because the two fuels are essentially the same and can actually be used interchangeably. However, the process heating oil goes through to heat your home is far different from what happens when used to power an engine. Therefore, the same result should not be expected.
Myth: Heating oil pricing is volatile, so you never know how much it will cost to fill your tank.
Fact: At one time, heating oil prices may have been more erratic, often times hitting lows in off seasons when most of the country was warmer and going up through the heating months. However, global interest and acquisition in fuel has been on a steady increase for several years. This helps to maintain a more stable pricing throughout the year for heating oil than what it once may have been.
Myth: Heating with heating oil is dangerous.
Fact: Heating oil is actually one of the safest ways to fuel a heat system because it is not as combustible as propane or natural gas. Furthermore, heating oil does not burn at an extreme temperature that would create a fire hazard within your home. Yet, the heat that is produced with a well-functioning furnace fueled by heating oil will often be warmer than that of a system operated by some other types of fuel.