13 million homes and businesses across North America rely on oil-fired
heat and hot water.
We'd like to share the reasons why.
The combination of high efficiency and minimal exhaust of emissions
are desirable traits for a home heating fuel. Oil-fired equipment has
always provided these features for both heat and hot water. There
are many ways to compare heating system efficiency. The most widely
accepted measure is the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Annual Fuel Utilization
Effciency (AFUE). Using
this benchmark, Oil heat gets excellent ratings. Annual Fuel Utilization
Efficiencies of new oil equipment range from 83% to 94%. The
average gas unit sold has an AFUE in the low 80s, while ratings on individual
gas units vary from 78% to 95%. While the high end effciency of some
natural gas systems may look attractive, they exhibit higher water vapor
in the exhaust than an Oilheat system -- which can be corrosive to the
Modern Oilheat systems are among the cleanest of combustion devices. New
oil burners release near zero levels of smoke and combustion discharge.
Residential oil burners produce less than one-third of one per cent (.003)
of total particulate emissions in the U.S. each year. Emissions
from residential gas burners are about the same as from equivalent size
oil burners, according to government research agency studies. Neither
fuel releases particulate matter of any consequence. While
electric heat at the point of use has no emissions at all, the power plant
creating the electricity may be giving off significant emissions depending
on how power is generated.
Heating oil is environmentally benign. It is non-toxic, contains no carcinogens,
and is biodegradable. Competitor
innuendos and exaggerated media reports that depict heating oil as an
environmental hazard are unjustified. Residential
oil tanks do not present a threat to human health or the environment.
A properly installed and maintained oil tank can last for decades. Oilheat
has the least environmental impact of any type of space heating and hot
water fuel, attributable to its high efficiency and clean burning. Natural
gas and propane are similarly benign, while electric, coal, and wood heat
are far more detrimental to air quality.
Oilheat enables you to have a supply of fuel oil stored safely on your
not worry about the weather, because the oil in your tank is yours to
use for heat and hot water whenever you want. By
comparison, in extremely cold weather, natural gas customers can be subject
to pres suredrops in the pipelines. A severe pressure drop can result
in total loss of heat.
The price of energy in the region where you live is the most dominant
influence on total heating costs. For
example: The installed cost of an electric heat system may look attractive,
but when you calculate the annual operating costs for electric power in
particular, any first time savings vanish. For
the past four years the cost for Oilheat has been consistently lower than
comparable natural gas costs. In climate regions of the country where
Oilheat is dominant, the cost to a homeowner for utility supplied natural
gas in 1995 can be as much as 40% more than Oilheat! Energy analysts do
not foresee that the price advantage for Oilheat will diminish any time
Heating oil prices are 2.5 to 5.5 times lower than electricity. Converting
from electric to Oilheat can substantially reduce energy costs. Electric
water heaters are very inefficient (about 29% AFUE). The potential savings
for converting an electric water heater to an oil-fired unit range from
$101 to $467 or more a year depending on your electric utility's rates.
There are many old gas heaters operating at less than 70% efficiency.
In the majority of cases, converting to efficient Oilheat would provide
a very good payback.
Oil, gas, and electric heat all have commendable safety records when the
equipment is installed properly and maintained regularly. However, when
heating units malfunction safety hazards can occur. Should
that situation arise, Oilheat offers important safety advantages: Heating
oil is non-explosive. If a heating oil leak should occur, it is not an
explosive hazard. When natural gas or propane leaks, an explosive mixture
of air and fuel forms rapidly. Heating
oil will not burn in a liquid state. If you were to place a lit match
into a vial of heating oil, the match would be extinguished because heating
oil in liquid form is well below its flash point of 140°F, the temperature
at which it begins to vaporize in order to fire inside a burner. By contrast,
natural gas and propane will burst into flames when mixed with air if
a match is struck in their presence.
A Special Home Safety Message
The risk of exposure to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) is substantially
less with Oilheat than natural gas, propane, or wood heat. Carbon monoxide
cannot be detected by one's senses, but prolonged exposure to it can cause
injury and even death.
set and maintained oil and gas burners produce very low, safe levels of
CO as a normal part of the combustion process. But should there be a malfunction,
oil is the safer fuel.