How Does a Boiler Work?
Understanding Different Types of Heating Oil Boilers
There are two main types of heating oil boilers found in New Jersey homes: a steam boiler, most often found in older homes, and the modern, and more energy-efficient, hot water boiler. Steam boilers require special safety precautions because of the temperature of the steam (the water must be heated to 212°F). As a result, it is vitally important to follow a regular maintenance schedule.
Your boiler extracts heat from heating oil as it burns; this heats the water (or creates steam) that will run through the zones that are calling for heat. The heat is delivered through your radiators or baseboards.
The problem is that some heat (as much as 30% in some older boiler models) will be lost as exhaust, which means you are paying a lot of money for heat that will never reach your living space. See how much you could save with a new boiler installation.
How Do Condensing Heating Oil Boilers Work?
A more efficient version of the hot water boiler is the condensing boiler, which is designed to keep heat loss to a minimum. By recycling heat from the exhaust process – and by operating at lower temperatures overall – your condensing boiler can improve operating efficiency by 10-15% compared to a non-condensing boiler.
However, a condensing boiler is not practical for all homes. Plus, condensing boilers cost more to manufacture. Installing a condensing boiler correctly requires highly trained technicians who know how to capitalize on the efficiency benefits of these sophisticated heating oil systems.
Maintaining Your Heating Oil Boiler
Regular maintenance is a vital money-saving investment for heating systems– not just because it can keep your equipment running safely and at peak efficiency, but also because four out of five heating system breakdowns are preventable if you follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations.
A system tune-up allows your heating oil technician to fix minor issues before they become big problems (worn parts, etc.). Regular tune-ups can also help you conserve heating fuel over the winter.
Your professional heating oil technician will conduct a series of tests to make sure your heating system is running at the best possible efficiency. Any adjustments and repairs can be done after this initial evaluation.
When to Replace Your Boiler: 5 Warning Signs
Like any piece of equipment, your boiler will eventually have to be replaced one day. Here are five signs that will help you determine if a replacement system is in your future.
- Age. If your boiler’s age is close to 20 years old–or older–you’ll save money on your annual heating costs by replacing it with a new, more efficient system. New heating oil boilers heat your home using significantly less energy compared to older generation equipment.
- Signs of Corrosion. Just like your water heater, if you see outward signs of rust on your boiler, time is running out. If your boiler is corroding, a professional inspection may also reveal damage to piping or other boiler components.
- Your Comfort Levels. Is your old boiler keeping you warm enough? A properly working heating oil boiler should keep you comfortable even on the coldest New Jersey nights, but a boiler’s operating performance diminishes with the passage of time.
- Your Heating Costs Continue to Rise. Your boiler’s efficiency slowly degrades the older it gets. Lower efficiency means higher heating costs. Add in a higher number of repairs for an old system and this is another strong sign that you would do well to let go of your old heating oil boiler and upgrade to a new one.
- Diminished Hot Water Production. If you depend on your boiler to heat your domestic hot water—and you’re not getting as much hot water as before–this could be a sign of a leaking or corroded coil on the boiler, a warning of potential boiler failure.
Today’s Heating Oil Systems Are Highly Efficient
The latest heating oil boilers (as well as heating oil furnaces) are small, sophisticated and super-efficient and can save you 20% or more on your annual heating costs. There are many different equipment options to fit your budget and full-service heating oil companies have expertise in all types and models of heating oil equipment.
To see how you can save on heating costs with a new, high-heating oil boiler, reach out to your nearby New Jersey heating oil company. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much you could save year-over-year on heating expenses. To save even more money, ask your heating oil company about New Jersey heating oil equipment rebates.
Detecting Heating Problems in Your Home
Odd Noises, Strange Smells and More
Sensing problems is very common at this time of year since we’re turning on our heating systems for the first time in a couple of months. Here are some problems that may come up, which usually can be detected by something you see, hear, smell, or even feel.
Dusty, Burning Smell
This smell often occurs when customers turn on their heating system for the first time. It usually means your heating system is just burning off the dust and dirt that has built up on it during the off-season.
The smell should stop in a few hours. If the smell continues, try replacing or cleaning the air filter in your furnace, which may be dirty. The filter should always be changed or cleaned (depending on its type) at the beginning of the season. Check it regularly during the heating season. Make sure you shut off your furnace before replacing the filter.
If changing the filter doesn’t work, it’s time to call for service.
Other Unusual Smells
Foul smells can often be caused by stagnant water. That’s the most common source for bad odors because water often turns to mold. Look for water leaks in the roof, foundation, around sinks and other piping.
You may also encounter fuel oil odors. If your heating oil system has been maintained properly, you should never smell fuel oil. An oil smell could be caused by a leak, burner troubles, a heat exchanger failure or exhaust system problems. You should schedule service as soon as possible to correct this situation.
If you smell smoky odors when your burner is operating, you may have a backdraft. For example, if a fireplace or exhaust fan is running at the same time as your oil burner, this can result in a smoky odor because a backdraft is pulling flue gases through the exhaust system and into the home.
Here are a few sounds and the possible cause. Note: a correct diagnosis can only be made with an onsite visit by a service technician.
- Banging, whistling, howling or the sound of rushing water in your pipes. These are common symptoms of air in the pipes, insufficient water flow or a build-up of sludge.
- Booming or rumbling burner. It’s normal to hear a burner turn on, but if it makes a loud boom, also known as a “hard start,” the burner is not igniting properly. It needs to be serviced as soon as possible.
- Straining sound from fuel pump. This means that there is a clog somewhere in the delivery system, for instance, in a filter or supply line.
Feeling a Chill in Your Shower
If it takes longer to heat water than it used to, or the water doesn’t get as hot, these are strong signs that you are ready for a new water-heating unit. Other trouble signs include a slow leak from your tank or rust on the tank or in your tap water. (A water tank rusts from the inside out).
If you think your water heater is failing—the average water heater lasts anywhere from 7 to 13 years—please speak with your full-service heating oil company about your options in oil-fired water heaters.
Read about current rebate opportunities for a new water heater installation.
Seeing Signs of Heat Loss from the Attic
This winter, if you see icicles hanging from your roof, this usually means that you’re losing heat through your attic.
Icicles form when a roof has “hot spots” (caused by escaping heat), which melts snow. The water then trickles to colder spots on the roof and freezes. The water that drips over the eaves and turns into icicles.
Eventually, ice dams can be formed and the water trapped behind these mounds of ice can seep into the home, resulting in costly repairs.
The solution for heat loss and potential water damage is to seal air leaks in your attic and then improve the insulation. These steps will lower your heating costs—and reduce cooling bills in the summer too because your attic will retain less heat.
If you’re having any comfort problems at all, or think your furnace or boiler is not working properly, please reach out to your full-service New Jersey heating oil company.
Read about the benefits of working with a full-service NJ heating oil company.
What Is B100 Bioheat® Fuel?
B100 Represents a Cleaner Energy Future for New Jersey
Bioheat® fuel is not just helping to reduce carbon emissions right now. It will continue to reduce more emissions each year as it eventually evolves into B100, an all-biofuel, no-petroleum, home heating fuel.
Renewable heating fuels like Bioheat fuel combine ultra-low-sulfur heating oil and biofuel. A gallon-for-gallon substitute for traditional petroleum, biofuel is a “decarbonizing-now” solution that makes Bioheat fuel a drop-in fuel.
It’s estimated that widespread regional use of Bioheat fuel already prevents more than 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from polluting the atmosphere every year. Those emissions will shrink even further as the ratio of biodiesel blends gets higher in the years ahead.
That time will arrive sooner than you may think. It was recently announced that production of fully warrantied oil burners with B100-compliant components has now become a reality.
NORA Shows the Way with Its Net-Zero Home
The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) continues to pursue research with other partners on making B100 Bioheat fuel a reality.
NORA has been a leader in the transition to low carbon liquid fuels in the home heating sector for decades through testing and promoting the use of the advanced biofuel that’s combined with traditional heating oil. NORA’s liquid fuels research laboratory in Plainview, NY is among the leading facilities in the U.S. conducting this type of research.
As an example, NORA has demonstrated that a home heated with 100% biodiesel and using solar panels to produce electricity can reach net-zero carbon emissions quickly — and at an economically viable cost. The Energy Kinetics System 2000® heating oil boiler is used in the NORA Net-Zero Home with the new Beckett B100 burner.
How Bioheat Fuel Decarbonizes Your Home
Bioheat fuel’s already low carbon emissions are considered recycled carbon since that carbon becomes fully absorbed by the plant materials contained in biodiesel.
In contrast, when traditional fossil fuels that do not contain biodiesel are burned, they take carbon that was originally stored in the ground and release 100% of that carbon into the atmosphere, where it will remain for decades.
Save $600 with Federal Tax Credits
Congress recently passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which allows homeowners to claim a federal tax credit of $600 for installing ENERGY STAR-certified heating oil systems that use renewable fuel blends of at least 20% biofuel.
Since many full-service heating oil companies in New Jersey install high-efficiency heating oil systems compatible with Bioheat fuel, there is a good chance you can qualify for this tax credit! Please reach out to your heating oil company to get started. It’s also a good idea to speak with your tax professional to learn how you can apply these tax credits to your next federal income tax return.
There are long-term savings too for equipment upgrades. A new heating oil system should help you save 20% or more on your annual heating costs.
The inclusion of tax credits for heating equipment powered by liquid renewable fuels provides validation by Congress that advanced biofuel (also known as biodiesel) can reliably eliminate carbon emissions from homes.
Read more about Bioheat fuel.
Why Should I Test My Heating Oil System Now?
Be Certain You Get Heat When You Need It Later
Although the weather is still mild, it’s not too early to prepare for the colder weather that comes with the change of seasons The best thing you can do right now is to test your heating oil boiler or furnace to make sure there are no problems.
If you turn on your heating system, but can’t get heat, we recommend following these troubleshooting steps first to see if you can identify the problem before calling your heating oil company for service. It’s better to find out if you have a problem now instead of on that first cold night of fall when you want heat right away.
Check for Power Problems
If your heating system isn’t turning on, check see if the power switches to your oil boiler or oil furnace have been accidentally turned off
If you find that power switches for your heating system have been turned off by mistake, simply turn the electrical switches back to the “on” position and your problem may be solved.
There is usually a power switch located on the side of the heating system or on a wall nearby. In addition, farther away, often at the top of the basement stairs, there is an emergency switch with a red cover plate that is labeled. Sometimes this switch is turned off because it is mistaken for the power switch for the basement light.
If your power switches are not the problem, check your circuit breaker box next to see if all circuit switches are still in the “on” position. Flipping the proper switch to “on” again may be all you need to get your system running again.
However, please keep this in mind: a circuit breaker rarely ever trips for no reason. If this happens once and never happens again, it may be just a fluke. But if this happens more than once, contact your heating oil company for service, as this could indicate a serious problem.
Many instances of heating systems not working can be traced to the thermostat, which sends a signal to your boiler or furnace to call for heat. But this signal may be interrupted if the wiring of the thermostat has begun to deteriorate. A build-up of dust inside your thermostat is another common reason why your thermostat is not operating correctly. Another thing to look for are weak or dead batteries in the thermostat.
No Heating Oil
Obviously, if this is the problem, you need to contact your heating oil provider for a delivery. Moving forward, if you call to order fuel, make sure to check your heating oil tank regularly. You should call when your oil tank gauge reaches the ¼ level. To save time and worry, ask your heating oil company about enrolling in its automatic heating oil delivery service to lower the chances of your tank running out of oil.
Reset Button and Heating System Maintenance
If you haven’t found the problem yet, press the reset button on the oil burner only once. Pushing it more than once could flood your system with oil, resulting in a costly repair. If the burner starts but stops again after a few minutes, you should call for service.
One more tip: you should always schedule preventive maintenance from your heating oil service company so you don’t have to worry about your furnace or boiler breaking down during the winter. Annual service, also known as a heating tune-up, will also improve system efficiency, helping you to conserve heating oil.
It’s always better to get this service done now instead of waiting for the cold weather to set in. Please check with your heating oil company to find out if you’re due for tune-up service.
Is Bioheat® Fuel Renewable Energy?
Renewable Biodiesel Blended with Heating Oil
If you’re among the many people in New Jersey who live in an oil-heated home, there’s a good chance that your heating oil company delivers a product that contains renewable ingredients that are making a significant impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
That’s because many heating oil companies in New Jersey now deliver Bioheat® fuel—renewable biodiesel fuel blended with ultra-low sulfur heating oil. Bioheat fuel helps contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions because it burns more cleanly than traditional heating oil. This also saves you money because of improved heating efficiency.
What Is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel, also known as biofuel, is a gallon-for-gallon substitute for petroleum-based fuels, which have a higher carbon intensity. By 2030, it’s estimated that biodiesel will displace 529 million gallons of heating oil.
Biodiesel is generally produced by agricultural byproducts, including used cooking oil, animal fats, inedible corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil. This puts excess oil and fats that would otherwise be discarded to good use. Food is never sacrificed for fuel in the production of Bioheat fuel. Bioheat fuel is also sourced and produced right here in the United States, supporting local farmers, local industries and local economies.
Bioheat Fuel: Readily Available in New Jersey
Bioheat fuel is readily available now through local retail oil companies and it requires no modifications to your existing system. Bioheat fuel has three tiers, based on the percentage of biodiesel it contains:
- Bioheat fuel is made up of blends that range from 2% to 5% biodiesel (B2 to B5)
- Bioheat Plus® fuel represents blends that range from 5% to 20% biodiesel (B5 to B20)
- Bioheat SuperPlus® fuel designates blends that contain more than 20% biodiesel (B20+)
What’s Ahead for Bioheat® Fuel?
The end game is to transition to B100 Bioheat fuel (100% biodiesel/biofuel). We’re seeing important progress in this direction. Shortly after the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) updated its standards to include burners that use B100 Bioheat fuel, the R.W. Beckett Corporation announced that it had begun production of fully warranted burners with B100-compliant components. Beckett is the country’s largest producer of heating oil burners.
Additionally, the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) has demonstrated that a home heated with 100% biodiesel and using solar panels to produce electricity can reach net-zero carbon emissions quickly — and at an economically viable cost.
All of this is exciting news for everyone who appreciates the many benefits of using heating oil to stay safe and warm, but wants to do their part to preserve our precious environment.
Other Renewable Fuels in Use Today
Beyond Bioheat fuel, there are other sustainable products that are transforming how we live our lives and slowing the harmful effects of climate change:
- Renewable diesel is a biomass-produced diesel fuel that differs from biodiesel in several ways. Technically a hydrocarbon, renewable diesel is chemically identical to petroleum diesel. As such, it doesn’t need to be blended with petroleum for use.
- Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is fuel for aircraft made from renewable biomass and waste resources. It offers airlines the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint significantly. Right now, the U.S. Departments of Energy, Agriculture and Transportation are working on plans to scale up the production of SAF.
How Often Should HVAC Be Serviced?
Prevent Problems, Extend Equipment Life
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It refers to the systems that regulate and move heated and cooled air throughout buildings and other structures, from homes to offices and even submarines. Although there are many options when it comes to HVAC systems, they all work similarly, taking in fresh air and using a mechanical ventilation system to heat or cool a structure to a desired temperature. HVAC units also can control humidity levels and improve air quality through air cleaners that capture bacteria, spores, and virus-sized particles.
Just like your car, a home’s heating system, as well as its central air conditioning unit, has a range of electrical and mechanical components that can wear down or break if you don’t follow your equipment manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. The manufacturer can also void your long-term warranty if you are negligent with equipment maintenance.
Generally speaking, HVAC systems should be serviced once a year to ensure your equipment is operating safely and efficiently. Please review your owner’s manual for more specific maintenance guidelines.
Benefits of Annual HVAC Maintenance
Getting yearly tune-ups on your home comfort equipment is the most important thing you can do to ensure your equipment runs as efficiently as possible. Here are the key benefits of getting annual service done on your HVAC system.
- Improved system efficiency, which can lower your annual home energy expenses by 10% or more.
- A longer life span for your furnace, boiler, central air system, heat pump or water heater.
- Better for the planet: equipment that runs at top efficiency will emit fewer emissions.
- A tune-up allows the technician from your service company to spot minor issues before they become big problems (worn parts, a burner that needs adjustment, etc.) Problems tend to pop up during the worst times—such as when your furnace conks out during single-digit temperatures or when your air conditioning system shuts down in the middle of a heat wave.
- Staying in compliance with your warranty: manufacturers generally require you to get regular HVAC service. If you skip a tune-up and your equipment breaks down, you could end up paying the total cost of repair.
Do You Need Off-Season Heating Repairs?
Let’s shift the focus to identify certain problems you may be noticing with your heating oil system. By the way, certain system problems can be traced back to a lack of maintenance.
If you noticed any problems with your heating system this past winter, please don’t ignore it. These are most likely “red flags” alerting you to the need for professional service.
Here are some examples.
- Oil odors. If your heating oil system is working properly, you should never smell fuel oil. An oil smell could be caused by a leak, burner troubles, a heat exchanger failure or exhaust system problems. You should schedule service as soon as possible to correct this situation.
- Smoky odors when your burner is operating. If a fireplace or exhaust fan is running at the same time as your burner, this can result in a smoky odor because a backdraft is pulling flue gases through the exhaust system and into the home. If you actually see smoke coming from your heating system, shut it down immediately and call for service.
Unusual Noises from Your Heating System
Here are a few sounds and the possible cause. Note: a correct diagnosis can only be made with an onsite visit by a licensed service technician.
- Banging, whistling, howling, or the sound of rushing water in your pipes. These are common symptoms of air in the pipes, insufficient water flow, or a build-up of sludge.
- Booming or rumbling burner. It’s normal to hear a burner turn on, but if it makes a loud boom, also known as a “hard start,” this means the burner is not igniting properly. It needs to be serviced and adjusted as soon as possible.
- Straining sound from the fuel pump. This means that there is a clog somewhere in the delivery system, for instance, in a filter or supply line. Sometimes, a build-up of sludge in your heating oil tank leads to your fuel lines getting obstructed.
If you have been experiencing these problems or need to schedule annual maintenance, please reach out to your New Jersey full-service heating oil company.
What Influences Heating Oil Prices?
Understanding the Ups and Downs
While your New Jersey heating oil company cannot control what happens in the global energy markets, it’s helpful to have some understanding about why heating oil prices rise and fall on a steady basis.
It begins with crude oil prices, which is usually the most important factor in the pricing of your residential heating oil. Like gasoline and jet fuel, heating oil is just one of the many products refined from crude oil. Crude oil is a globally traded commodity which means that it is subject to many forces that drive its value up or down.
Overall Supply and Demand
Over the last several years, 5% of U.S. refinery capacity, along with 6% percent of European refinery capacity, has been lost. While the pandemic, which drove fuel usage down significantly, played a role in this, there were other factors. Some older refineries were shut down because they were inefficient, and their profits weren’t large enough for Wall Street investors. Other refineries were closed so that their owners could convert them to produce biofuels*.
U.S. heating-oil prices are typically driven by the use of oil in homes in the Northeast, which consume about 90% of the heating oil used in the country. In a brutally cold winter, prices often rise because of heavy seasonal demand. In addition, labor costs, transportation, and storage expenses contribute to the price of heating oil just as they do for other businesses and industries. When gasoline prices go up, heating oil suppliers must pay more both to get heating oil supplies delivered to them, and to operate the trucks that deliver fuel to residential heating oil tanks.
View a long-term history of heating-oil prices in New Jersey.
Reliable Heating Oil Service in New Jersey
Even during difficult times, full-service heating oil companies have secure access to a secure supply of fuel and well-maintained trucks to deliver it. Heating fuel suppliers also have a staff large enough – or expert partnerships with service companies – to provide excellent customer service and technical expertise.
Your local heating oil company takes pride in their responsive service and they truly care about your comfort and safety. That’s why you can always expect a fast and courteous response whenever a situation arises where you need help in a hurry.
Responsiveness and dependability are among the most important attributes of full-service New Jersey heating oil company
But many New Jerseyans don’t realize just how much more their company can offer, especially when it comes to improving energy efficiency.
Many heating oil companies have expertise in all kinds of heating systems and are familiar with the best ways to maximize home energy efficiency. Because of their vast knowledge, your local heating oil company can serve as your go-to resource. Think of them as your energy savings partner.
They can also give you peace of mind by providing automatic heating oil delivery. Your heating oil company can track your fuel use and make a delivery when you’re getting low.
There is no need to schedule and wait for deliveries, and you’ll avoid the expense and hassle of having your heating oil system tested and primed for restart—something that is required after a fuel run-out.
Learn more by reaching out to a full-service heating oil company in New Jersey.
*Source: NY Times, 11-10-22
7 Reasons Ultra-Low Sulfur Fuel Oil Is Important
Emissions Have Been Reduced by More than 70%
The heating oil industry continues its commitment to fight climate change by improving efficiency and cleanliness. This is due to the combination of ultra-low-sulfur heating oil (ULSHO) and Bioheat® fuel.
How ULSHO Lessens Impact on the Environment
- ULSHO has 99% less sulfur in it than conventional heating oil.
- The changeover to ULSHO has resulted in a reduction in emissions of over 70%, compared with the emissions produced by traditional heating oil with higher amounts of sulfur.
- Heating oil consumers benefit from better heating efficiency and easier maintenance, since ULSHO creates fewer deposits on heat exchangers.
- ULSHO allows for the use of super-efficient heating systems, which are already being used with great results outside of the United States.
- A buildup of sulfur in the heating system can lead to system maintenance issues. The drastic reduction of sulfur means that there will be far fewer system issues, which will lead to lower maintenance costs for New Jersey homeowners.
- Because there is virtually no sulfur in the heating system now thanks to ULSHO, heating oil systems can burn fuel more efficiently, resulting in lower heating bills.
- ULSHO is extremely clean-burning, producing near-zero particulate emissions.
Matching ULSHO with Bioheat® Fuel
Heating oil companies in New Jersey remain on a proven pathway to reduce carbon emissions (CO2) with their embrace of Bioheat® fuel. This clean-burning fuel blends ULSHO with recycled and organic materials such as animal fats, used cooking oil, and vegetable oils. This renewable liquid biofuel is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and it’s produced under rigid specifications.
Bioheat Fuel Vs. Heating Oil
Bioheat fuel improves the performance of traditional heating oil. It’s completely compatible with existing heating systems. You don’t have to invest in costly new equipment or modify your home to use it.
And you don’t lose any heating power with Bioheat fuel. On the contrary, it burns much more efficiently than conventional heating oil. This reduces heating system:
- maintenance costs
- fuel consumption.
Bioheat fuel also achieves significant emissions reductions compared to petroleum that’s not blended with biofuel.
Read more about the benefits of Bioheat fuel.
NORA Net-Zero Home
Some New Jersey heating oil companies that started off delivering Bioheat fuel blends at 2% (known as B2) are now offering a B20 blend. Meanwhile, the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) continues to pursue research with other partners on making B100 Bioheat fuel a reality.
NORA has been a leader in the transition to low carbon liquid fuels in the home heating sector for decades through testing and promoting the use of the advanced biofuel (biodiesel) that’s combined with traditional heating oil. NORA’s liquid fuels research laboratory in Plainview, NY is among the leading facilities in the U.S. conducting this type of research.
As an example, NORA has demonstrated that a home heated with 100% biodiesel and using solar panels to produce electricity can reach net-zero carbon emissions quickly — and at an economically viable cost. The Energy Kinetics System 2000® heating oil boiler is used in the NORA Net-Zero Home with the newly-manufactured Beckett B100 burner.
Learn how heating oil companies in New Jersey are fueling the future with every heating oil delivery.
What Kind of Oil Is Furnace Oil?
It’s the Same Product as Home Heating Oil
You might hear the terms furnace oil, fuel oil and home heating oil from time to time, perhaps even in reference to the heating oil that powers your boiler or furnace. But are they all the same product? Well, not exactly.
Fuel oil is the broader term since it refers to any petroleum product that can power a home heating system or an engine. Furnace oil or home heating oil has a stricter definition because it applies to the heating fuel your furnace (or hot water boiler) uses to heat your home.
All of these fuels are derived from crude oil during the refining process, which separates crude oil into different “fractions” while removing impurities.
The lighter fractions of crude oil eventually become propane, butane, and petrochemicals while heavier fractions are used to produce gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel fuel, and No. 2 home heating oil. Even heavier fractions become No. 4 or No. 6 heating oils. This is used for commercial and industrial buildings, schools, and hospitals.
3 Types of Fuel Oil Products
- Kerosene — A clear fuel that was first used to power oil lamps in the 19th Century, kerosene is made by distilling crude oil at extremely high temperatures. Kerosene has a low “gel point.” This means it can continue to work well in sustained freezing temperatures. That’s why it is typically used by oilheat consumers with mobile homes or outdoor fuel tanks.
- Diesel —This is the fuel of choice for most commercial ventures. It can be used to power buses, trucks, forklifts, generators, farm equipment and boats. While there are two categories of diesel–on-road and off-road—there is no chemical difference between them. The only difference is their appearance, intended usage and price.
- Heating oil — Petroleum-based home heating oil, also called No. 2 fuel oil, is essentially the same as off-road diesel. However, many homeowners and businesses in New Jersey can count on an even more environmentally-friendly product when they get a heating oil delivery.
Bioheat Fuel in New Jersey
In much of the country, heating oil has been reformulated with Bioheat® fuel, which is ultra-low sulfur heating oil that’s blended with renewable biodiesel. Bioheat fuel blends represent the future of heating oil in our country, and New Jersey is one of the leaders in making this clean-burning fuel available to heating oil consumers in the Garden State.
The most refined grade of heating oil available, Bioheat fuel is one of the cleanest burning heating sources for your home. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions significantly and no changes to your existing heating oil system are necessary.
Why Biodiesel Is Carbon Neutral
The biodiesel blend in Bioheat fuel is composed of various organic products, including vegetable oils, animal fats and even algae. New studies have also shown the viability of using various grasses for the production of biofuel.
Biodiesel is considered a biogenic fuel that eliminates carbon output. By contrast, when traditional fossil fuels that do not contain biodiesel are burned, they take carbon that was stored in soil and put 100% of that carbon into the atmosphere.
The combustion of biofuels and other biogenic energy sources recycles carbon-dioxide emissions through renewable plant materials and other biomass feedstocks. That’s why you’ll keep hearing a lot about net-zero carbon emissions in the years ahead.
Find out more about the commitment of New Jersey heating oil companies to deliver clean-burning Bioheat fuel to your heating oil tank.
How Does a Furnace Work?
A Furnace Distributes Warm Air Through Vents
Furnaces can be powered by either fuel oil, propane gas, natural gas or electricity. Also known as warm-air or forced-air systems, furnaces produce heated air in the unit’s combustion chamber. Here is how that warm air gets distributed throughout your home.
- Inside an oil-fired furnace, the fuel is mixed with air and burned.
- The heat exchanger transfers the heat to the air, which is pushed through the heat exchanger by the furnace’s blower fan.
- The fan blows the heated air through a network of air ducts before the warm air exits through registers or vents throughout your home.
- Combustion gases are vented out of your home through a flue pipe.
The Advantage of Having a Furnace
Besides heat, the ductwork that connects with your furnace can provide other kinds of conditioned air, including through:
- a central air conditioning system
- a whole-house humidifier
- an air cleaning system or air purifier
Differences Between Old Furnaces and New Furnaces
Modern-day furnaces can operate at a range of speeds and feature other efficiency-enhancing features including microprocessor-based controls, high-pressure flame-retention burners and durable heat exchangers. Here is a look at different furnaces operate, according to the U.S. Energy Department. The newer the furnace, the higher its efficiency rating, which is defined by its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE).
Older, low-efficiency furnaces:
- Natural draft that creates a flow of combustion gases
- • 56% to 70% AFUE.
- Exhaust fan controls the flow of combustion air and combustion gases more precisely
- Compact size and lighter weight to reduce cycling losses
- Small-diameter flue pipe
- 80% to 83% AFUE.
- Condensing flue gases in a second heat exchanger for extra efficiency
- Sealed combustion
- 90% to 98.5% AFUE.
Learn more about efficiency ratings, furnace maintenance and more.
Replacing Your Old Furnace
If your furnace is more than 25 years old, or if you’ve had more than a few repairs in the last couple of years, it’s time to start thinking about replacing your heating equipment. As noted above, today’s high-efficiency furnaces provide extra heat more efficiently than units made a generation ago.
Higher efficiency means more energy savings, which of course translates into lower energy costs. This is why it pays to learn as much as you can about today’s high-tech heating solutions—and your heating oil service contractor can help you, with all of the latest information on new, high-efficiency heating oil furnaces.
When discussing your heating oil furnace replacement options with your heating expert, you’ll most likely learn about the importance of proper sizing.
- Sizing refers to the heating system’s Btu rating. If your equipment contractor installs something too powerful (oversized), it will give you more heat than you need, wasting energy and money.
- But if the system doesn’t have enough power (undersized), your home will not feel comfortable, and you will spend more on fuel because the heating oil furnace will switch on and off throughout the day.
- To determine how much power your home’s heating system needs, an experienced heating-oil-system installer will do tests that show how much heat your home loses in the winter.
Find out how much you could save with a furnace installation.