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Home Heating Oil and Furnace Oil – A Complete Guide

If you're someone who happens to be living in one of the world's colder regions like Canada, you’re well aware of how much of a holy grail reliable home heating is. Home heating and furnace oil continue to be the leading players in the heating market, and they are here to stay.

However, it can definitely be a tricky decision for someone who has little to no 'know-how' of home heating oils when browsing available fuel and heating options.

In order to remedy that we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to home heating and furnace oil. So why not let go of the clutter of confusing information directed at you by random people and focus on what we’ve got to offer at Bird Fuels.

Without further ado, read on to acquaint yourself with the universally known oils designed to keep your home and workplace warm.

What Is Home Heating Oil and Furnace Oil?

Home heating oil or furnace oil is a by-product of crude oil procured from the distillation of petroleum. It’s often confused with diesel due to their overlapping properties. But, take note that they aren't one and the same; the chemical composition differs.

Stepping in right after petrol, heating oil is one of the most prime products of crude oil and has a plethora of uses. As reflected by its name, it’s used in most heating applications. If you have a central heating system, it’s very likely that it runs on home heating oil or furnace oil.

Due to the scarcity of furnaces or boilers in the past, heating oil went by the name of home heating oil because its use was limited to residential items such as lanterns and stoves. Further variants were introduced to meet industrial requirements.

On a general note, heating oil is classified as either gas oil or kerosene. Gas oil, also referred to as red diesel, mostly caters to the heating requirements of commercial and agricultural purposes. On the other hand, kerosene is mostly used in homes with its subdued heating properties, making it a widely used home heating oil. Therefore, kerosene also goes by the name of home heating oil.

What are the Different Types of Heating Oil?

If you’re wondering about the different types of heating oils out there, we’ve got it covered:

  • Gas oil: As mentioned earlier, this type of heating oil is commonly known as red diesel. If you wish to know another name, 35-second oil was also attached to gas oil due to the timing of its distillation process. This type is best suited to industrial use – commercial and agricultural. Being a rebated fuel, its price point is lower than road diesel.
  • Kerosene: With its subtle heating properties, kerosene is widely used as a home heating oil. It’s also lighter in consistency than gas oil.
  • Kleenburn kerosene: How is this one different from your average kerosene? Well, Kleenburn kerosene is less contaminated than normal kerosene, which makes it a better environmental option. However, this ‘green factor’ makes it pricier than the standard one. Kleenburn kerosene is also easy on the emissions, which has made it popular with several companies worldwide.
  • Furnace fuel: You will see this type being utilized in community buildings such as schools and universities as it meets the safety parameters for heating oil used in stationary applications. Furnace fuel works well for residential and commercial boilers.

Is Kerosene and Home Heating Oil the Same Thing?

Due to kerosene's widespread use in household heating systems, it is often interchangeable with home heating oil. It has clear benefits for domestic use like efficiency, price point and a comparatively less destructive burn.


  • Comfort coupled with clean-burning: Of all the available heating options out there, heating oil remains unparalleled. This outstanding reputation is primarily down to the ambient environment it creates – a subtle warmth that is neither too cold or too warm. Since liquid burns at a much higher temperature than natural gas, your room will be heated in no time with warmth evenly spread out. To top it all off, contemporary heating oils are upgraded to burn cleaner without the overwhelming scent of soot pervading your senses.
  • Safety comes first: Natural gas has the tendency to spill through leaks and spread across the room, sparking fires when even slightly exposed to air. Conversely, heating oils do not cause loaded spills, and even if they do, it will not result in a fire. This eradicates fire hazards, both when using and storing heating oils. Additionally, transportation of heating oils is very secure, minimizing the chances of spilling and blowouts. To conclude, you should feel assured that any discrepancy in your tank or furnace is detected much quicker and more regularly than with any other means due to it being more upfront. This in turn leads to a speedy fixing of any potential problem.
  • Amplified heat: Home heating or furnace oils incorporate a greater concentration of energy per gallon in comparison to other sources. You get amplified heat with the same amount of oil without spending another dime. Heating oils are, therefore, an efficient means of heating.
  • Plan your heating needs your own way: Home heating oils give you the option of managing your finances to suit your lifestyle and income. You’re at liberty to construct your heating costs in a customized manner. All aspects of home heating oils, such as call delivery, billing or budget are under your control and at your convenience.

How Does Heating Oil Heat your Home?

Boilers and furnaces mainly use heating oil and it’s useful to know how such type of oil works for both.

When we talk about furnaces, heating oil runs through the feed pipe until it reaches the heating chamber. As soon as you switch on the furnace, the heating oil warms the air while the system works to spread the heat into the house evenly through duct work.

In the case of boilers, water acts as a heating agent through the burning of the heating oil. The heat in the water causes clouds of steam to erupt. This steam is carried from the boiler through the pipes and into the radiators which then reaches and heats the rooms.

How to Use your Heating Oil Efficiently

How you use your heating oil is mainly centered around the following considerations:

  • Number of rooms in your house/workplace
  • Number of rooms in use
  • Outdoor temperature
  • Outdoor influences on indoor warmth
  • Type of thermostat you own
  • Radiator temperature settings.

Taking all or some of these factors into account will enable you to make more efficient decisions on how to use your heating oil. For example, it’s always advisable to use your heating oil in rooms that are actually occupied rather than draining your fuel in rooms that are rarely used.

Managing your thermostat while coordinating the indoor and outdoor temperatures during winter and summer is also a wise move. This saves up your heating fuel considerably.

Try to keep your doors closed to trap heat and prevent it from escaping. It’s also advised to isolate and maintain droughts and keep an eye on your thermostat settings so that your heater only works when there is a need. Keep your boiler checked and clean to maintain the best level of performance from the burning heating oil. These tips could help you save money as well as energy.

Precautions when Using Heating Oil

Although heating oil is much safer than gas, there’s still some precautions you need to adhere to when using heating oil to warm up your home or workspace.

  • Carbon monoxide risk is real: When dealing with heating oil, don’t fret over the possibility of an oil fire -it can’t happen. This is because heating oil is a non-explosive and non-toxic fuel. What needs to be your concern is the emission of carbon monoxide gas during the process of heating. This vile and potentially lethal gas is not only scent-free and lacking in colour but is also extremely toxic. No matter how improbable such an incident may be, you still need to take safety steps. Regardless of you being in Ontario or not, we strongly recommend you get a carbon monoxide detector from any hardware store or home supply outlet. Plug the detector in close proximity of the burner so that the risk is diminished before it even becomes a considerable threat. The detector will go off as soon as it comes in contact with carbon monoxide keeping you and everyone else in the vicinity free from harm. You’ll also have to keep an eye on the detector's batteries to make sure it's functional. In a worst-case scenario where the detector does not go off, and you feel light-headed or nauseous, instantly slide open your windows to create ventilation. Also, call up an expert for an emergency assessment.
  • Keep a safe distance from the burner: The oil burner needs to be isolated, so keep anything flammable at least 3 feet away from it. Be aware that the extreme heat from the burner may lead to flammable items catching fire. Instruct any kids or to steer clear of the burner and make them aware of the dangers of getting too close. This will minimize the chances of one of them sustaining a burn injury.
  • Keep a close eye on the burner: Getting a licensed oil burner technician to make frequent checks of your burner throughout the year can help keep trouble away. Maintenance not only ensures your burner using up your fuel safely but also guarantees that your heating oil is being used efficiently without any wastage.
  • Use premium-quality heating oil: If the first thought that entered your mind was the heavy pricing associated with good-quality heating oil, you may be worrying over nothing. Supreme quality heating oil doesn’t always have to be expensive and a reliable oil can save you from a lot of possible pitfalls. Bird Fuels has the reputation and resources to help you and answer any related queries.

When is the Best Time to Load up your Tanks with Heating Oil?

Generally, the prices of heating oil fluctuate every day and across the seasons. This is due to the fact that prices are strongly related to the ever-changing price of crude oil.

It should come as no surprise should that prices start to rocket when there’s a competitive demand in the market (which is quite apparent during the winter season).

To combat escalating prices, we’d advise you to stack up on your heating oil supplies during the summer months, which will help you reduce your fuel costs when the cooler weather sets in. This is a further way Bird Fuels can assist you -we ensure you a cozy winter, minus the worry of a higher-than-expected fuel bill.

The Bottom Line

All in all, heating oil or furnace oil is the ultimate source of reliable heating in your homes and offices. With its competitive pricing, wider accessibility and little to no hazards, either of these oils keep your home safer and running more efficiently.

Contact Bird Fuels today to learn about the best deals for furnace oil prices and furnace oil delivery. Our customer support team is ready to help you find what you’re looking for.

Bird Fuels delivers propane, furnace oil, clear diesel, dyed diesel, DEF & lubricants to commercial and residential customers from Collingwood, Orangeville & Owen Sound. Contact us today for all your fuel delivery needs.

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