Is Heating Oil Safe?

Before choosing a type of fuel to use for your home or business, you’ll want to compare various aspects of each fuel type. One of the most important factors to consider is the safety of the fuel you are choosing. Fortunately, if you are considering the use of heating oil, you can rest easy knowing that heating oil is actually one of the safest fuels on the market.

The Safety of Heating Oil

Millions of Americans use heating oil to heat their homes and businesses every year. Heating oil is very similar to diesel fuel except that it doesn’t contain dye. For the most part, heating oil is stored in tanks that are located inside of a house or business. Sometimes, they are stored in tanks below the ground or even in the basement. You can store heating oil outside as well, but one of the drawbacks of heating oil is that it will gel during colder temperatures. Fortunately, as long as its stored correctly, heating oil is perfectly safe to use when stored inside as well as outside. Even though heating oil delivers 139,000 BTU’s a gallon (as opposed to propane, which delivers 91,000 BTU’s a gallon, and gas, which delivers 100,000 BTU’s a gallon), heating oil cannot support a flame until it surpasses 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and it does not produce enough fuel vapor in order to cause an explosion.

The Safety of Heating Oil Tanks

Although heating oil itself is very safe to use, you will want to be very careful about how you store it. A leaking storage unit can pose a number of potential dangers. First of all, heating oil vapors can cause headaches, nausea and other issues during short-term exposure. Long-term exposure caused by undetected leaks can cause more serious problems. Heating oil is also an environmental pollutant and can poison the groundwater, soil and surrounding wildlife. Even though exposure to heating oil can cause issues to people, it does contain a relatively low toxicity to humans compared to gasoline.

None of these potential issues should occur as long as you regularly inspect your tank to make sure there aren’t any large leaks and ensure that the area in which your tank is stored is properly ventilated. The following are a few ways to identify a heating oil tank leak:

  • Signs of temporary patches
  • Drips or leaks around the tank, piping, fittings, valves, fuel-delivery line or filter
  • Damaged oil tank lines
  • Dying vegetation around an outdoor tank
  • Wet spots or spots of rust on the outer surface of the tank
  • Strong odor of oil around the tank
  • Oil stains on the ground around the tank
  • Oil spills around the vent pipe or fill pipe

Heating Oil Company in New Jersey

Heating oil is considered one of the safest forms of fuel to use. Just make sure that the tank it’s stored in is in good shape and properly maintained. Be sure to contact us at Woolley Home Solutions for more information concerning the use of heating oil today.