What’s the Difference Between Heating Oil and Fuel Oil?

Date: June 20, 2023

Home Heating Oil Can Go by Different Names

types of oilheat Massachusetts Have you ever referred to the fuel in your heating oil tank as fuel oil? Have you ever described it as Bioheat® fuel?

First, it’s perfectly all right to refer to the heating oil that powers your furnace or boiler as fuel oil, but be aware that this term is not limited to home heating oil. Fuel oil is a broader term because it refers to any petroleum product that can power a home heating system or an engine. For instance, diesel fuel is a good example of a fuel oil.

Both fuel oil and hone heating oil are sourced 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 slightly heavier fractions are used to produce gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel fuel, and No. 2 home heating oil.

In the case of Bioheat fuel, the petroleum part is derived from crude oil but it is then blended with renewable biofuels like vegetable oils and animal fats. We’ll dig deeper into Bioheat fuel soon.

Three Types of Common Fuel Oil Products

  1. 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.
  2. 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 is valued because it has a low “gel point.” This means it can continue to work well and flow to the heating system in sustained freezing temperatures. That’s why it is typically used by heating oil consumers with mobile homes or outdoor fuel tanks.
  3. 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 around the country, including here in Massachusetts, are now using a more environmentally-friendly product when they get a heating oil delivery.

Bioheat® Fuel Vs. Heating Oil

As many heating oil consumers in the Commonwealth know by now, Bioheat fuel is a blend of renewable biodiesel and ultra-low sulfur heating oil. It represents one of the best ways for reducing carbon dioxide in the environment without sacrificing comfort or needing to undertake expensive, disruptive equipment replacements.

Bioheat fuel basically works the same as traditional heating oil in your boiler or furnace. You can use it in your existing heating oil system without modification.

Bioheat Fuel Generates Fewer Emissions

Bioheat fuel offers a responsible, immediate road to carbon reduction. That’s because Bioheat fuel reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 86%, compared to traditional petroleum heating oil. Bioheat fuel also helps eliminate harmful sulfur oxides and particulate matter.

In terms of fuel efficiency, you don’t lose any heating power with Bioheat fuel either. On the contrary, it burns much more efficiently, reducing heating system maintenance, improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions. It also has the highest Btu content of any alternative fuel!