It’s possible that you’ve heard that heating your home with heating oil is old-fashioned, or unsafe. Or, you’ve received information about converting to another source of fuel. It’s a lot to absorb and we certainly understand if all of it is confusing.
At Home Energy LI, we want our customers to understand everything they can about their heating system. We offer a variety of services related to oil heat including delivery, maintenance and furnace installation. We know there’s a lot of talk out there about oil heat and we want to help you sort fact from fiction. We are here to bust the five myths about oil heat.
Myth #1: Heating with oil is inefficient.
Fact: Furnace efficiency is more a result of your furnace than the fuel. Heating oil furnaces can run for more than 50 years, but 50 years ago furnaces were not as efficient. A 50-year-old home might also have old windows and insulation that also contribute to inefficiency. Today’s heating oil furnaces run with up to 95% efficiency and heating oil actually puts out more heat per unit than natural gas, about 137,000 BTUs vs. 95,000 BTU for propane, for example.
Myth #2: Heating oil is dangerous.
Fact: Heating oil is non-explosive. If one were to put a lit match into a container of heating oil, the flame would extinguish, just as if it were put into a container of water. That’s because heating oil must first be heated to 140 degrees and then vaporized in order to burn it – unlike natural gas or gasoline, which can be volatile even at room temperature.
Myth 3: Heating with oil is expensive.
Fact: Adjusting for inflation, home heating oil is cheaper now than it was in 1980. Although the oil market does rise and fall, heating oil remains an affordable source of home energy. Heating oil equipment is less expensive than natural gas equipment. If properly maintained, heating oil furnaces will last 30-50 years, whereas natural gas furnaces have a much shorter life span of 12-15 years.
Myth 4: Oil heating harms the environment.
Fact: Burning heating oil may not have been great for our planet 40 years ago, but today’s fuel oil burns more than 95 percent cleaner than it did back then. In fact, oil heat emissions are so clean they aren’t even regulated by the federal Clean Air Act.
Myth 5: The heating oil industry is dependent on foreign energy from hostile suppliers.
Fact: The United States produces the vast majority of its heating oil and imports 10 to 15 percent from Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Canada and Mexico also provide the United States with a significant amount of its crude oil. Advances in biofuels such as Bioheat® (heating oil blended with renewable biodiesel) mean more heating oil can be produced in the Midwest instead of the Middle East. And new exploration technologies such as horizontal drilling also mean the United States can responsibly produce more oil at home.
When all of the economic and environmental factors are considered, heating oil has a great track record in terms of its reliability, affordability, and sustainability; and with biofuels, its future is even brighter.