How Fuel Companies Process Heating Oil For Fuel And What The Different Numbered Oils Mean


If you currently use heating oil to heat your home, you probably have wondered how a fuel company processes and manufactures it. When you order another tank or half tank of oil for heating in the colder months, you may have noticed that your fuel delivery company asks what number of oil you need too. While this all may be confusing, the processes used to create heating oil are not that difficult to understand. Additionally, the numbers used to describe heating oils serve a very important purpose, both in the oil production process as well as the fuel type your furnace uses. Here is an explanation of the process and a brief introduction to the six numbered types of heating oil.

Extracting Heating Oil from Crude Oil

As crude oil is boiled, heated, burned and distilled, various parts of the crude oil are extracted. Gasoline and kerosene are both extracted distillates of crude oil. Heating oil is the thick, purified oil that is left when the impurities of coal or tar are burned off and the gasoline is removed. Then the heating oil may go through several more heating processes before it becomes one of six numbered types of heating oil. The heaviest oil is the cheapest oil, but only because your furnace has to heat it at a very high temperature to get this thick, number six oil to move. The lightest oil, oil number one, is the most expensive, but it is best for energy efficiency because your furnace does not have to burn or heat it extensively to keep the oil moving into the furnace's ignition.

The Six Numbered Heating Oils

  1. Heating Oil #6: This oil is the first batch extracted after the initial distillation process of crude oil. For that reason, it is the thickest, stickiest oil and the most difficult to use unless you have a commercial sized furnace.
  2. Heating Oil #5: This oil has been refiltered and reheated to produce a lighter viscosity (thickness) than heating oil #6, but it almost requires as much effort to use as #6. For that reason, it is more commonly used as an industrial heating oil and not a residential or commercial heating oil.
  3. Heating Oil #4: This a commercial heating oil used with furnaces that do not have preheaters. That means the oil goes cold and direct from the tank to the furnace where it is met with extreme temperatures and heated quickly. Like Oil #5, it is extracted through another round of processing to produce a slightly lighter oil.
  4. Heating Oils #3 and #2: Oils numbered 3 and 2 are so very close in viscosity and burning point that they are no longer distinguishable as two separate oil types, except when you have a really, really old oil tank and heating system that specifically requests Oil #3.
  5. Heating Oil #1: This the lightest, clearest and purest form of heating oil. It has been processed and filtered several times over to get to this point. It is most commonly used in the latest energy-efficient models of oil-burning furnaces, so if your oil-burning furnace is less than a decade old, this is probably the oil type it uses.

For more information, talk to a professional like Small & Sons Oil Dist Co.


18 March 2016

Making A Better Product

As soon as I started my own company, I realized that customers demanded superior products. I stopped worrying so much about costs and started focusing on improving the things that we sold to our clients. Although it seemed expensive at first, our efforts were rewarded with fresh loyalty from our consumers. We started to build additional clientele, and it was really refreshing to see. Now we are known for our high-quality products, and the same can't be said for other businesses. This blog is all about improving your processing and manufacturing procedures to make your customers happier and to keep losses to a minimum.