Whether you are new to having an oil heating system or naturally curious – here’s how heating oil works. We’ll also discuss the benefits of using heating oil to heat your home. 

The Science of Heating Oil

Heating oil is popular for heating homes and businesses in colder climates. It is an efficient, safe, and cost-effective way to heat indoor spaces.

Fuel oil is typically derived from petroleum and is a by-product of the refining process. The oil is then stored in tanks either inside or outside of buildings where it can be used as fuel.

Using Heating Oil

To use the oil as a heating source, it needs to be pumped through fuel lines connected to furnaces or other appliances. When the heating system turns on, the oil is heated with an ignition source like a spark plug or pilot light and circulates throughout the building.

The combustion of heating oil produces heat energy which warms air and water systems inside the home or business. This warm air and water can then be circulated throughout different parts of the building by fans and pumps so that rooms stay at a comfortable temperature.

How Oil Heating Systems Work

There are two primary oil-fired heating systems: the boiler and the furnace systems. 

Boiler heating system

Generally, a boiler uses heated water to warm your home via radiators or baseboard heaters. There are two types of boilers. 

A steam boiler heats water to its boiling point to create steam. Then the steam travels through a network of pipes to the radiators around your home. 

On the other hand, a hot water boiler heats water until it is hot and pushes the hot water through a network of pipes to the radiators. 

Here are the details on this oil-fired heating system:

  1. The thermostat sends a signal to the controls on your system’s burner when the temperature drops below a certain degree.
  2. The fuel pump draws heating oil through a filter to the burner.
  3. The burner turns the heating oil into a fine spray, mixes it with air, and ignites it in a combustion chamber.
  4. Water circulates in the hot combustion chamber. 
  5. The heated water is pumped through the radiators or baseboard heaters to heat the home.
  6. The water returns to the heating unit to be reheated.

The combustion admissions are vented out of the flue. 

Furnace oil heating system

An oil-burning furnace heats the air, which is distributed throughout your home’s duct system.

Here are the details on how this oil heating system works:

  1. When the temperature drops, the thermostat sends a signal to the controls on the burner. 
  2. The fuel pump draws oil through a filter to the burner.
  3. The burner turns the heating oil into a fine spray, mixes it with air, and ignites it in the combustion chamber – which turns it very hot.
  4. Air absorbs the heat in the heat exchanger.
  5. A blower sends the heated air through the ductwork to heat your home.

Like the boiler system, the combustion admissions from the furnace are vented out of the flue. 

If it’s time to purchase a new heating system, talk with your HVAC company about hydro-air heating systems. This exciting new technology uses water and warm air to heat your home.

It All Starts With Home Heating Oil

Whether you use a hot water, hot air, or steam system, the warm air in your home starts with home heating oil. So let’s discuss some advantages of using an oil heating system in your home.

Safe: Heating oil is one of the safest heating fuels. It’s a clean-burning, stable, non-explosive product found in approximately 8.1 million U.S. households. If your home fuel oil heating system malfunctions, it will produce clear warning signs like smoke, odors, or soot before releasing carbon monoxide. Other heating systems will produce carbon monoxide without warning, which can be deadly.

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Efficient: Efficiency ratings on new home fuel oil systems are higher now than ever. In addition, heating oil has a higher BTU content than equal measures of natural gas, propane, or electricity. Using more efficient heating solutions is good for your bank account – and the environment. 

Great Value: Heating oil is less expensive than natural gas when you compare each product by how much heat is produced. A gallon of heating oil generates 40% more BTUs of heat than the equivalent amount of natural gas. Because you are using more efficient fuel, you’ll save money on your energy bills without sacrificing home comfort. 

Oil Burning Systems Are Long Lasting: An oil heating system can last up to 30 years. Your friends with electric heating systems will have to replace theirs two or three times in 30 years. 

Automatic Delivery of Heating Oil

While some of you are interested in reading about how a combustion chamber or heat exchanger works in your home heating system, others aren’t as interested in the science. Instead, you want to know who you can turn to for automatic heating oil delivery. Simplify your life using one company for all your home heating needs.

HOP Energy will monitor your home heating oil usage and current weather patterns so that you always have heating oil. We also offer heating oil tank services to ensure your tank is always in good condition and working properly.

But besides offering efficient heating oil delivery at competitive prices, HOP Energy also will help you select from the most efficient furnaces on the market. We install furnaces and boilers and will help you by regularly maintaining your home heating and cooling system.

How Fuel Oil Works: Key Takeaways

  • Both furnaces and boilers work similarly. While one uses heating oil to heat air, the other use heating oil to heat water. The heated air or water is forced through the home to increase the indoor temperature.

  • Heating oil is more efficient than natural gas, propane, or electricity because it has a higher BTU content.

  • Fuel oil is safe and efficient, and heating oil systems last longer than those that run on electricity or natural gas.